Weekend Reading

The June LibraryReads list brings some good news in terms of diversity.


Two of the titles are debuts by nonwhite writers.There There by Tommy Orange, (PRH/Knopf) is recommended for its “large cast of interwoven characters [that] depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place.”

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, is a romance with an unusual twist. The main character is a woman on the autism spectrum, as is the author, and the heart-throb hero is half Vietnamese, as is the author.

If you haven’t already, get to know these titles. There There is available for download from Edelweiss and The Kiss Qutient via Netgalley, by request (while you wait to get approved, you can read an excerpt on Bustle here). UPDATE: The book is featured in the NYT‘s summer preview:

 …a groundbreaking novel about Native Americans who are city dwellers. But it’s not the Oakland, Calif., setting that leaps out. It’s Orange’s extraordinary ability to invest a series of interlocking character sketches with the troubled history of his displaced people.…

Getting published is an accomplishment for any first-time author, but nonwhite writers find it particularly challenging. Gabrielle Union’s memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine was on the October LibraryReads list, Despite being a well-known actress, she told the NYT that she found it difficult to navigate the publishing business as a black woman. Then she discovered that getting published was just part of the battle. Even after her book hit best seller lists, she “heard from readers that they had asked for it in certain cities, only to find it was still in stacks on the floor or in carts in the back.”

Similarly, landing on the LibraryReads list as a debut author is an accomplishment, but it only has meaning if other library staff read and recommend the titles.

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