DiversityDecBingo and a New Year’s Goal

I talked recently into the void of the Internet about how I loved seeing the lesbian coming out story in Supergirl. It resonated with me and my experiences as a late bloomer–especially when Alex talks about burying memories and feelings because she didn’t want to be a disappointment/she wanted to be normal. Because the world around us says straight is better, straight is normal, straight is majority and everything else is Other.

I also just finished IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo, a book about a trans girl by a trans woman that had some similar relateable experiences–although not as much for obvious reasons. P.S. This book is a fantastic read for cisgender readers looking for a book about a trans person (in the young adult contemporary genre).

Gift it to your transphobic relatives this year! They’ll never bother you again. 😉

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL was the first in a set of five books I’m reading for DiversityDecBingo, which is a fun game for readers that is exactly whaalt='A bingo board with different diverse identities listed't it sounds like.

I picked the middle column because I was already reading two books that fit the column and I can’t read five books in a month so I cheated a little bit.

Hey, neither of them had been halfway completed so it’s not like I was a chapter out and decided to finish it in December and count it for the challenge.

Monthly challenges like this are fairly common and, when I participate, I often find myself dipping into the contemporary books for better inclusiveness. Because, apparently, genre fic hasn’t caught up to the idea that protagonists really can be somewhere on this board!

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL is a YA contemporary book. I am reading THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE for the Biracial Main Character slot and that IS a fantasy (and I’m intrigued so far!). But the two books with disabled main characters sitting on my TBR shelf are both contemporaries and when I looked up books with refugees I couldn’t find a single one with a hint of magic.

The refugee slot I kind of understand why I’m not finding any sff, spec fic examples readily available. I would probably actually stick with contemporary on that block to get the perspective of a modern-day refugee, a perspective I so rarely get to hear.

But I’m writing a magical blind girl and I know disabled rep can be done well in fantasy, it just so rarely is.

With my free space, I will probably borrow the Asian Main Character block to read THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangszee Choo. Read by the author, I bought this from Audible and it looks like a really, really cool spec fic book drawing on Chinese mythology and taking place in colonial Malaya. Luckily, this challenge isn’t limited to YA because THE GHOST BRIDE is an adult book but I just can’t resist ghost cities, ghost grooms, and ancient lore.

I love seeking out new books and new stories from perspectives I don’t read as much as I should. Just as I was thinking there should be a year-long challenge like this, someone went and made one!

http://www.readsleeprepeat.org/2016/12/announcing-the-2017-diverse-reading-challenge/

These three ladies have set aside a different diverse identity for each month and participants are encouraged to read any book that fits the month’s theme. They even have book suggestions for each of the months!

As much as I enjoy the monthly challenges, in my experience, boards like this provide a lot of variety but not a lot of intersectionality. I find it hard to cram in five books in a month, much less ensure no book counts for two squares. For the year-long challenge, the point is to read widely and set personal goals.

Read widely regarding sexual orientation, gender, race, disability status, religion, national origin, etc. Pretty much everyone who reads three or more books a year should either already have a book with a PC who meets one of the monthly mini-challenges or has time to find such a book.

I’m adding my own twist to it: For at least one book meeting each of the monthly mini-challenges, I will find a book in my preferred genres (spec fic, fantasy, and horror) and read it.

My focus is on finding these books in genre fiction, where they tend to be the most rare. When I can’t find anything or much of anything, I want to be able to highlight that.

Delving into diverse reading has shown me that there are still stories that haven’t been told. As a reader and a writer, that is something to relish.

So join us in this year-long challenge on Twitter with the hashtag #DiversityBingo2017. I’ll be charting my progress on this blog.

Good luck!

 

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There will be a special post this week as I finally catch up from being sick and respond to being nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award! Woo!

 

 

 

 

 

Author: JA Goodsell

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @JAGoodsell or Instagram at books_and_dogs

2 thoughts

  1. This is a great post. I’ll be interested in learning about your completed DiversityDecBingo. I’ve been away from my blog working with an editor and have finished. Soon I will self-publish my book The Winter Loon and get back to my blog.

    Like

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