February 6, 2017

The Importance of Reading Diverse Books.

What's up, everyone?!

I've been trying to write this post for a couple of weeks now. I write it, delete everything, rewrite it and always end up at the same spot. There are a lot of topics I want to include in this post and I'm not really sure what's the best way to do it, so I'm just gonna wing it here. I'm a firm believer that the best way to do something is to just do it, so here I am doing it! I have some free time right now and I've made it my mission to write this post to, hopefully, get this up for you guys on Monday. Wish me luck!

If you've read my Reading Goals for this year, you already know that reading more diverse books is one of them, and that's not a coincidence or just something that came to my mind one day. The world right now is filled with separation, prejudice and hate (for the lack of a better word to describe certain kinds of behavior). A lot of people are failing at showing compassion and at just being a good person in general. There's a lot of horrible things happening in the world at the moment and I feel like the lack on compassion and understanding is what is making this horrible time even more horrible. 

And now, you might ask yourself what the heck does this have to do with reading diverse books? In my opinion (and all this post is written according to my opinion so I won't be repeating that), it's extremely hard for a person to feel compassion towards another (or a group of people) if they don't know very much about them. If you live in a community that has predominantly white-straight people, it might be hard for you to understand the hardships  gays and people of color face everyday in order to live their lives like you and me. You might not even know these hardships exist simply because you've never seen it and it's very far from your reality. This a form of ignorance and lack of knowledge, and I believe the best way to make it better is with information. I was taught that if you don't know very much about something, you should go and read a book. Informing yourself on what's going on with other human beings is not an option, it's your duty as part of the humankind and if you fail to see that, than you really should go read a book.

People need to sympathize with others. They need to see that we're all equal and focus on the things we all have in common. Books and stories have a powerful kind of magic that transports you to different places and introduces you to new topics you've never even knew existed. So if you know of a better way to spark compassion in people, please let me know. The same way journalism combined with powerful pictures (like that one of a Syrian boy in an ambulance after a shooting) sparks feelings of rage, sadness and revolt, and pushes you to get out of your comfort zone and do something about it, I believe books and story telling can have a similar impact. You can't feel compassion if you don't put yourself in other people's shoes, and you can't help if you don't feel compassion. 

I know some people are just awful and not misinformed. I know a lot of people will never change their mindset simply because they don't want to. But when misinformation and ignorance is the case, books can help out a lot. I had know idea the amount violence gay people suffered before I met one of my gay friends. I knew that there was violence and prejudice towards them because I read the paper and watched the news, but I had know idea the extent of it. It didn't even cross my mind the situations he went through and some things he had to face. You see where I am going with this, right?

Reading diverse books is also a way to support this genre and the authors, specially when you read a own-voices book, so they can keep doing what they're doing. In today's world, I strongly believe that your money is your vote in a way - when you buy diverse books, you are sending a message to the publishing companies that yes, you do want to see more of that. You want to see more diverse books in bookstores, more characters of color, with different sexualities and different backgrounds, that way you're making the way clearer for new authors to dive into this genre. When you talk about diversity in general on your blog and in social media, you're making this topic less taboo. You're sending the message that this is normal and that we should all accept each other and our diversity. And, in my humble opinion, that's the kind of message you want to be sending.

Another topic I wanted to talk about is that these kinds of books make all kinds of people feel included and important. They have the possibility of creating a world where everyone feels represented and equal, and by showing us that this is in fact possible, what's stopping us from seeking that utopia in real life. And on the other hand, they also show us the kind of behavior we should be fighting against. It's really sad that I'm writing this in 2017 and that people are still being discriminated by the color of their skin, their religion and their sexuality, when in fact we're all humans and we have way more things in common than we realize. 

Having said all of that, I know I'm just a small blogger with a small amount of followers - although I do appreciate you guys much more that you'll ever understand. And I know I'm not gonna change the world with a blog post. I'm not saying that that's not possible, I'm just saying that if anyone is going to do it, it's not going to be me with this post right now. But, I do believe that books can change the way people think and the way they see the world and each other. So, I urge you to support diverse authors, to read their work and to share the ones you've enjoyed. The world is in desperate need of compassion, love and kindness and if you believe books can inspire that like me, please read more diverse stories. 

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! This is an important topic to me and I didn't write this to offend anyone - although I don't see how this could offend anyone, but this is the internet and people always get offend, so if you feel that way I'm truly sorry. I really want to hear your opinion on this topic and I want to start a discussion. Let me know how you feel about this, if you enjoy reading diverse books and if you think I'm just rambling nonsense. I'm really interested in your thoughts on this one, guys! 

What are your thoughts on diverse books?

Thanks so much for reading and come back soon!

1 comment:

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