|Design by Amber of Shelf Notes|
Welcome to Day 4 of Armchair BEA!
It is so hard to believe how quickly this week is flying by and how many amazing discussions have been happening around the blogosphere! I am particularly interested in the conversation today: Beyond the Borders. According the Armchair BEA agenda, this means . . .
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!
Here's the thing ... I love to travel, but I have never been outside of the U.S. (with the exception of a weekend getaway to Canada) and I am fascinated with cultures and traditions that are different from my own. There is so much about the world that I do not know about, yet I want to. So, until the day comes where I can fly across those big oceans and begin exploring, books have served as a good medium for a little international travel.
One thing that many of you may have heard about is #WeNeedDiverseBooks. If you have not, be sure to check out their Tumblr and Twitter accounts to follow along. In short, readers have shouted from the rooftops that they want to see more diversity represented both in the books and out (i.e., book panels that may be featured at BEA). The voices are beginning to be heard, but I do believe that there is still work to be done. (An interesting side note, Armchair BEA decided on this topic before the controversy erupted or the full announcement of the panels. How awesome is that?!?)
With the importance of diversity on my mind, I want to highlight two specific authors that I personally have enjoyed in regards to learning about traditions and cultures outside of my own. The first is Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Shanghai Girls, among others. The second is Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and more recently, And The Mountains Echoed. It is guaranteed that I will read anything that both of these authors write. In fact, I have read all that Hosseini has written and I have a number of See's books on my shelves that I intend to read in the near future. Both of these authors write something that is very personal to them, yet also share a great story that gives their readers a peek into the lives of those in other countries (or, the lives of others entering the U.S.). All of them are eye-opening, encompassing me every single time I open the pages.
As I continue to think about other authors that have this effect on me, I honestly come up blank. This is where I need your help. I want to hear which diverse books or authors that you turn to. What books should I read to broaden my horizons even more, to open my eyes to even more cultures and traditions? Tell me any and all that you can think of!
How do you weigh in on the #WeNeedDiverseBooks conversation? What books do you feel fit into this category of going beyond the borders?