Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Update on 2015 Diverse Reading Challenge

In December I posted my Cry to the Captain with a challenge to myself to choose and read more specifically targeted diverse books.

I started the year off with some great books by Asian authors about Asian cultures. I read Gail Tsukiyama's Women of the Silk and posted about how much I loved it and how it opened my eyes. I loved her writing and learning about China in that time period so much that I read the sequel, The Language of Threads. It was fabulous. I loved it in that way that you like the second book you read by a previously unread author just a teeny bit less than the first one that blew you away not just because of the writing and character development, but because you had never heard of the events written about.

I also read Lisa See's Shanghai Girls about two sisters in 1930s, 40s China and coming to America. Again, so many culture things I didn't know and was fascinated to read about. Coddled as it sounds, I had never considered or learned about the impact of Japan on China in that time (or the reverse). And the relationship See writes about between the two sisters, sometimes loving, sometimes fraught, but inextricably bound together, is probably true of sisters across time and across the globe.

Gail Tsukiyama's Street of a Thousand Blossoms will finish up my reading (for now) of books about Asian culture and heritage by an author of Asian heritage. I have just barely started it, but am looking forward to reading another of Tsukiyama's fine novels.

Many thanks to my adult reading buddies, Hannah and Carolyn, for their recommendation and book talks to me about these great books and for lending me their copies!  Because of you, I was able to read not just the 2 books by Asian authors I had set out for myself, but 4! And learned a lot along the way.

I'd love suggestions for books that take place in Africa by an African author or books about Mexican culture by a Mexican author. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is thick, but it won't last forever! What great book that inundates us in African or Mexican culture can I read next?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

On Selecting Beta Readers . . .

This week, I'd like to direct you to an excellent article by Debbie Reese, of American Indians in Children's Literature. If you are not familiar with this blog, please do take some time to browse. There are TONS of helpful resources and insights for writers.

But today's post, Dear Writers and Editors: Some Cautions About Selecting Beta Readers, deals specifically with the thought process behind selecting beta readers. Please do read it.

In her post, Debbie links to Walk Softly and Listen Carefully, a publication from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Montana State University's Center for Native Health Partnerships. I had not heard of this publication before, but it is a great overview for mindset when working with Native Nations.

Much good food for thought on this sunny Sunday.

Dance Fan by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography