What Reading Diversely Means to Me

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion going on in the book world and especially on social media about the lack of diversity in the publishing world.  This has led to many book bloggers and readers making a commitment to highlight diversity in their reading life and show the publishing industry that we want more diverse voices.

But this brings up another topic - just what do we mean by diversity?  Diversity can mean different things for different people.  And I don’t think that any one person’s definition of diversity is more important than another person’s.  The important thing here is that we are supporting voices and experiences that are different from ours as well as voices and experiences that don’t get the attention and promotion that others do.

So, it is important for me to establish just what diversity means for me.  I have been fortunate enough to grow up in a world-class, multicultural city.  Diversity has always been reality for me.  I am a white Canadian woman whose parents are from Europe, am married to a man from the Caribbean, and have 2 beautiful multi-racial children. I live in a neighbourhood where all 3 of the races in my family are the 3 least-represented races.  I want to read books that reflect my world.

When I talk about diversity in books, I’m talking about race specifically. I’m talking about people that do not look like me (white, European ancestry.)  I think it’s very important to read books that represent the LGBTQIA community, to read books that represent characters and authors who are disabled, and to read and learn about different religions.  And if that is what you include in diversity in your reading, that is great.  But right now, for me, this is about the racial inequalities that exist in the book world.  And I’ve found so far, that in paying attention to race in my reading has included these other diversities into my reading.  The key here, is to pay attention to which books you are choosing and how they reflect the world outside of who you are.  When us as the readers do this, the publishing industry will pay attention.

How are you defining diversity in your reading? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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