Some reading options for Diverse December!

It seems like I can never resist a reading challenge!

Although I’m a bit challenged-out courtesy of the madness that was November, I am quite tempted by Diverse December, hosted by the brilliant Naomi.

#DiverseDecember is a month of reading and recommending books by Black, brown and indigenous writers. It is an opportunity to discover new books, to consider our reading habits and to make a permanent change in what we choose to read.

How do you join in? Read and recommend at least one book by a Black, brown or indigenous writer during December. Use the hashtag #DiverseDecember so your recommendations can be seen and shared.

You can also follow the campaign on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. On those channels, over the next week, Naomi will be highlighting some of the publishers, organisations and individuals who’ve been doing this work for some time.

I decided to have a quick look through the 746 and see what I could read to take part in the challenge. I have a few tempting options…

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

I had this lined up for Novellas in November, but didn’t quite get round to it. It has become a kind of modern classic and I like the sound of the episodic nature of the narrative.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

This was another Novellas in November almost ran. I haven’t read Baldwin before and I really need to rectify that.

Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

This has been on the 746 for far too long and given that I haven’t read any Oyeyemi before I’m not sure quite what to expect from this story of a writer and his muse.

Sag Harbour by Colson Whitehead

The only other Whitehead I have read is Zone One which I quite enjoyed. I like the sound of this coming-of-age novel set over one long summer holiday.

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

Set in Mumbai, Last Man in Tower explores a battle of wits between a property developer who wants to tear down an old tower block and a retired schoolteacher who refuses to leave his home.

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Edugyan’s novel tells the story of Hieronymous Falk, a jazz musician who goes missing in 1940 after the fall of Paris. I’ve heard great things about this one and it’s time I got round to reading it.

I also have a few newer books which I’ve been planning to read and which would fit in nicely with Diverse December:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half has such a great premise, following the lives of twin black sisters, one of whom is passing as a white person. I hope this lives up to the hype!

Such A Fun Age by Kelly Riley

Another very hyped novel, this explores what happens when a black woman is apprehended for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she is actually babysitting.

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

I adored Jefferson’s short book ‘On Michael Jackson’ and am looking forward to this memoir of her life growing up as a member of the black elite in Chicago.

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Akhtar’s critically acclaimed novel blends fact and fiction to tell an epic family drama set in a post 9/11 America.

Leila by Prayaag Akbar

I bought this in India a few years back, simply because I loved the cover! This debut is set in a dystopian future where a mother searches for her lost daughter.

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

I read Black Water Rising quite a few years ago and enjoyed it very much and I like the sound of this thriller, set in a plantation house museum.

As I was planning a quieter month in December, I’ll only be reading a few of these. Are there any you have read and would recommend?

Reading Challenge The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

31 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this and deciding to take part, Cathy. I know what you mean about reading challenges – sometimes I just want to read what I want to read or to read and not feel like I have to review something. It’s why I tried to make it as broad as possible and am also v.keen to encourage people to post what they’re reading on social media. I often do that when I’m pushed for time.
    Your selections are great. I’ve read and loved Half Blood Blues, The Vanishing Half, Such a Fun Age, Negroland and The Cutting Season. They’re all great. The Vanishing Half more than lives up to the hype. I found that Such a Fun Age wasn’t the book I was expecting from the blurb – the incident is a catalyst rather than the focus of the book. It reminded me of A.M. Homes’ May We Be Forgiven; it’s a social satire more than anything and really well written.

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    • Thanks Naomi, these are all books I’m keen to read so even if I only get to a couple this month, I can keep the diverse reading up into 2021. I remember you recommending Half Blood Blues to me before. I started Mr Fox last night and am really enjoying it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As it happens I’m reading Ishiguro’s Nocturnes and slowly but steadily ploughing through N K Jemisin’s short story collection When Will It be Black Future Month? so theoretically I’m already ‘doing’ Diverse December! I’ll certainly tag them if I manage to finish and review them before the end of the month.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list! I quite like Adiga (must get round to reading his latest book) but Last Man in Tower didn’t work for me. Similarly, I’ve enjoyed Locke’s more recent novels more than The Cutting Season – but then, I didn’t like Black Water Rising, either, so you may have a different experience! Such a Fun Age, The Vanishing Half and Negroland are all worth reading. Half Blood Blues fell foul of my inability to enjoy books about music, but I do rate Edugyan as a writer.

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  4. Great selection. Think Such a Fun Age comes out in paperback after Christmas, what great timing, imagine reading it over the New year lull.
    I like Attica Locke too, very atmostpheric.

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  5. You’ve got so many good choices here. I LOVED The Vanishing Half and Giovanni’s Room, and very much liked Such a Fun Age and The Cutting Season. Mr. Fox is definitely worth the read but it’s a bit of a head-scratcher!

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  6. I loved both The Vanishing Half and Such a Fun Age and I read NetGalley copies of both so right in the middle of the hype and still enjoyed them! You have a great variety to choose from – enjoy!

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  7. The only one I’ve read is Last Man in Tower. I didn’t care for it initially – it had a slightly comic tone which jarred. But it won me over once the novel began to get darker.

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  8. So many great options. I think I’d be happy reading any of these! I recommend Half-Blood Blues, and am very curious about Leila – that cover caught my attention too!

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