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Is diversity in fiction important to you?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma ~ Eartha Kitt.
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books, novels, fiction, diversity


Do you ever get tired of books where the characters are all white, middle class, able bodied and straight? Maybe you find it hard to find characters you can identify with personally, or just like a little variety in your characters.

Do you deliberately seek out books with a more diverse range of characters, or authors from different backgrounds, or is that not something you think about?

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I read books where the plot interests me, or if they are a classic children's book. I'm not particularly looking for them to feature a particular culture, race, or sexuality. If the books have that aspect to them then fine; if they don't, I cant say I notice. It's not what I am focussing on or thinking about when I read.
I don't generally seek out books simply because they have a diverse cast or author. But having an author from a non-majority background or culture that isn't your own tends to give a level of insight and detail that isn't always there, even in fiction or fantasy. Especially since people tend to use the myths and legends that they are most familiar with. The typical default fantasy setting for most novels resembles a very English Camelot, not Baghdad or Kyoto, which can get boring, or at least lose its novelty value after your hero stumbles into it for the tenth time.

For example, Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon being set in a fantasy middle eastern equivalent would not have had the same verisimilitude if it had been written by a white middle class author, and that's what turned it from a good but tired(or classic) tale into something both exciting and exotic.
I don't specifically seek them out, but one of the reasons I joined a book club was to read out of my comfort zone. That said, I read a lot of comics and they tend to have a greater diversity in characters than the average fiction books. I think that may be to do with the visual aspect...
Yes. I am aware that my background was pretty much monocultural and I find reading books by authors from different backgrounds fascinating, as well as eye opening in many cases. For me, part of the pleasure of reading is being transported to other times and places, so a novel about someone just like me isn't all that interesting.... I like being made to think and having my assumptions challenged!
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