The Ruler of Books Tag

If you were the Ruler of Books…
1) What book would you make everyone read?
2) What would you abolish in book construction?
3) What author would you commission to write you any book?
4) What book would you demote to the library basement to make room for new books?
5) What cover artist would you commission to make a mural?
6) What characters face would you put on a coin?
7) What book would you award the “Ruler of Books” 2016 Prize to?

Watch Ariel's original video | Watch Bree's video


Princess Mononoke [#YearofMiyazaki]

Princess Mononoke
written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki
originally released in 1997 as Mononoke Hime


My Fall TBR

Avenue of Spies / Alex Kershaw
Out / Natsuo Kirino
Howl's Moving Castle / Diana Wynne Jones
A Whisper of Leaves / Ashley Capes
The Girl on the Train / Paula Hawkins
Star Sand / Roger Pulvers
Operation Shylock / Philip Roth
Bird by Bird / Anne Lamott
A Pale View of Hills / Kazuo Ishiguro
Howards End / E.M. Forster
Hawaii / James Michener
The Fox Woman / Kij Johnson


Do Not Say We Have Nothing | Madeleine Thien

TITLE / Do Not Say We Have Nothing

AUTHOR / Madeleine Thien


DATE OF PUBLICATION / July 7, 2016 (originally published May 31, 2016)

NO. OF PAGES / 480



Whisper of the Heart [#YearofMiyazaki]

Whisper of the Heart
written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yushifumi Kondo
originally released in 1995 under the title Mimi wo Sumaseba


On Diversity in Publishing

Seeing as today is Labor Day (and I ironically have work to catch up on), I wasn't actually planning on sharing anything here on the blog. That is, until I woke up to find Book Twitter aflame around the hashtags #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #IStandforDiversity.

Apparently the current diversity discussion among the voices on Book Twitter was spurred by a video made about the "problems with diversity." As I didn't think this video needed any additional views or hits, I chose not to watch it and have instead gathered information regarding its content from Booktubers and bloggers I trust. The video has since been taken down and the poster's Twitter account deleted.

Although I hadn't seen the original video, I still felt I wanted to participate in the discussion somehow. So I tweeted about my own reasons for supporting increased diversity and probably engaged one troll too many. I do plan on discussing how being bi-racial and multi-ethnic have contributed to my personal understanding of diversity and inclusion, but will do that in a separate video and post because it is quite the big topic.

Aside from participating in the hashtag on Twitter, I knew I would need to do a longer-form response here on the blog. At first I considered highlighting some diverse books or authors and then actually laughed out loud. If you scroll through my posts, especially from the last year and a half, the majority of what I read counts as "diverse reading." I have no need to write a special diversity recommendations post because that's what I already do, all the time!

So instead you get this rambly post about diversity in publishing. Sorry about that.

I say diversity in publishing and not just diversity in books because, at the most basic level, this is a PUBLISHING issue, not just a story-writing issue. The problem isn't that there are no diverse writers out there; all of my social media feeds are full of POC, LGBTQ+, and disabled writers eager to share their stories and ideas with the world. The real problem is that these writers don't get picked up by major publishers as often as straight, cis gender, white writers and, when they do, often do not receive the same level of promotion.

Much like the discussion of increasing diversity among the major Hollywood studios, what we need is a more diverse representation among the publishing elite. If publishers are able and willing to look at a broader range of manuscripts with a more inclusive eye, then more of these diverse stories and perspectives will be made available to the public for consumption. And if your argument against diversity in publishing is based on the idea that there is no market for diverse literature, you couldn't be more wrong. If this outcry in the online book community only proves one thing, it is that we, the readers, want more varied books so much that we are willing to fight for them.

You might be thinking, okay, Marisa. That's great, but what can I do? I'm just one reader.

What you might not realize is that you, the reader, have so much power. Seek to read broadly, from a variety of authors, cultures, countries, and perspectives. Support diverse authors by sharing their work. And you don't just have to do this online. Suggest the book to a friend, or add it to your library's request list. Use your spending power to support the publishers who are publishing books from a wide range of authorial voices and make it clear to the publishers who aren't that they need to start trying harder.

And finally, among the reactions to #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #IStandforDiversity were many people claiming that supporters of diversity were only considering skincolor and that diversity would actually serve to segregate readers and writers. To these people, I would first say that nobody would force you to read these diverse authors if you really didn't want to. But probably more importantly I would hope they could come to understand that while diverse stories do highlight what makes us different, they also underscore the human emotions, relationships, and experiences that bind us together.