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I am Lover of romance, who indulges in the romantic adventures of literature

My name is Renee, and I am the host of this site. I am a 34 year old woman, on the prowl for her mate, searching out the best of books, exploring the wilds of the imagination and delving into the heart of a beautiful love story.

 

Reading Diversely:A Deep Discussion on Quality vs Quantity

by | Jul 11, 2022 | Tea and Biscuits Discussions | 10 comments

So today I wanted to share some thoughts on a issue that I think many of us can relate to, an issue that has been pushed towards readers specifically in recent years and having a discussing on the important of reading diversely and whether it should be a focus for us readers or not.

So I first want to say that I think that this issue is very dividing in some ways and in all honesty I think it depends on the style in which you want to read diverse reads and what reading diversely actually means to you. I am sure that this might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think that reading diversely for diversity’s sake is actually a good thing. I think its important that we have diverse situations and characters that are a main focus in the story that represent various cultures and races and disabilities. When you read diversely its not just reading black romance or even interracial romance, its a pretty massive base. It extends to LGBTQ rep as well as reading characters that live with disabilities. So there is a lot that can go into it and many books that are available to us as readers that offer a different perspective than what we receive in the norm. Now I do think the big question that readers tend to get pressured into is: Should I read diverse reads for diverse sake? Should I be looking at the numbers and trying to build those reads? Or do the numbers actually matter? I have seen actual booktubers and bookstagrammers blast readers for not reading diverse enough. And the question comes into your mind, I should be able to read what I want to read when I want to read them. I think at the end of the day, it depends on what works best for you as a reader.

I think for me as a reader reading diverse reads for diversity’s sake is NOT a good plan at all. When it comes to the books that I read, I want to read quality books, I want to read just really GREAT books and not just because they have diverse aspects in the story. Because I think if that is all you look for, then what your reading might not be so great and will turn into average type of reading. I personally do not care what race my characters have, or what gender they are attracted to or if they deal with certain disabilities. I want to see that in the books I read, but in a natural genuine way. Its actually quite cool if I look at the amount of diverse reads I read every month and I am not looking to reading diversely all the time, I don’t chase them, they just tend to come to me and they end up being close to 25-30% of my reading minimum every single month. And I think much of that stems from me just looking at recommendations, and reading the blurbs and reading reviews and deciding if its a book that will work for me or not. I honestly do not care or even look for authors with a certain race, personally, they could be blue aliens with horns and I would still read their book if it was a GOOD book. I just want to enjoy the books that I read and my only aspects I really look for is: The cover ( I need something pretty), engaging writing, a solid romance and a HEA. If it has those elements you can bet I will pick it up. So while I want to have more diversity in the books I read, I don’t chase it as that being the only reason I will read certain books. Because I think when you do that it takes away looking for a quality read. I think there are many quality diverse reads and many times it will just naturally happen in your reading. I know that some in the community don’t agree with this, but I have tried going the route of just reading for diversity sake and I ended up in a book slump because I wasn’t reading books I really wanted to and I ended up with slow uninteresting reads that didn’t do much for me, so instead I switched to reading books that people highly recommended, and I have found that today more authors write more diversely than you would expect even. And I think if you look at your numbers you would be amazed by how many books actually have diversity in them.

I know that this topic is very divided and I am not sure of the reaction that I will get, but I have been thinking about this for a LONG time, and think its important to have these honest discussions in the community and not be afraid to be honest in our we feel about picking up the books that we read.

So below I wanted to share some of my favorite diverse reads that were amazing romances and had all the aspects of a GREAT quality book but also some fabulous representation as well!

So tell me how do you do your diverse reads? Do you let them come to you naturally? Or do you seek them out more proactively? What is most important to you when reading diversely? And if you read romance, what books have great diverse representation but are also amazing quality reads that you would recommend the most? ( Feel free, to be honest and open, this is a safe place to interact with each other and never be ashamed of what you read!) Let me know in the comments below!

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10 Comments

  1. Ann Lorz

    I can’t say that I go out of my way either way. I read what feels good to me. The only thing I care about is the fact that I like the writers writing. Can’t make yourself get into a book just because you feel like you have too. If I was totally honest I wouldn’t even know what half the authors I read even look like. I do need a book that I can feel like I can get into it. If I like your characters I don’t care who they are. I don’t want to feel forced or bad because I don’t read enough book that are diverse for other people. You should always read what and who you like.

    Reply
    • Lover of Romance

      I definitely agree Ann. I think readers should read what they want to read. And if it wasn’t for blogging, and how I format my reviews, I wouldn’t know what my authors look like either, and it really doesn’t matter. I just want a good story, as long as I get that, than it doesn’t matter to me.

      Reply
  2. Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

    Great discussion. I often read diverse stories simply because I love so many genres. Do I seek books out just to read more diverse authors or protagonists? Simply put, no. Will I shy away from an urban fantasy or historical romance because the protagonist is gay or a different ethnicity ..NOPE. I have traveled to many countries, and explores many cultures simply because the story/cover/etc caught my eye or was recommended to me by a fellow blogger.

    Reply
    • Lover of Romance

      Thank you Kimberly! I really love exploring other cultures in my books as well. And I read all over the genre of romance so I will run into many diverse books without even meaning to. But I don’t go after diverse books just only to read diverse books. I want my reading to be diverse but not have that be the only reason I pick up a book ya know? I still want to read things that are good stories and well written. But I never steer from a book because it has diverse aspects. That is only the whipped cream and cherry on top if it happens to have diverse elements. I really appreciate you sharing your honest thoughts on this.

      Reply
  3. Kal @ Reader Voracious

    I make an effort to diversity and decolonize my bookshelf in large part because I like reading books as diverse as the world I live in but also because marginalized authors still have a much more difficult time breaking into the industry and I like to boost them whenever possible. I still read and TBR books based on what sounds interesting to me, but I do tend to submit library recommendations for marginalized authors. It’s a preference and one people shouldn’t be forced to do by any means, but I think it is important to notice if there are gaps in your reading and if there are books from marginalized authors that look interesting to read.

    Reply
    • Lover of Romance

      I think it’s great that you go after diverse books or more marginalized authors. I do try to make an effort to do it, but I don’t want it to be the only reason that I am looking at a book either. But since I read all the sub genres in romance, I will run into diverse books without even proactively going after it all the time. I always look at my monthly stats though and to have at least 25% of it to have some values of diversity and most times I hit it without going after it just because of how much I read all over the place. But I think people should read what they love. I never will not read a book though because it is diverse. For me, its only a plus if a book happens to have diverse aspects to it especially if it is a well-written story that entertains and delivers what I look for! I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your honest perspective!

      Reply
  4. Sophia Rose

    I appreciate you bringing it up. I’ve not had anyone out and out tell me I need to read more diversity. I don’t think it is wrong for people to shout out about favorite authors or books that they loved for the diversity aspect, say they will personally only be reading books from authors of color or about characters of color, or that generally people need to be aware of the diverse richness is out there and should be tried like any other new to me books. However, the problem comes if those same shoutout-ers cross the line into telling individuals what to read and start policing people’s reading piles and tastes. Like you, I end up reading diversity without much deliberate effort simply because a blurb or cover grabs my attention. Since I read a smattering of non-fic and all the fictional genres save horror plus get curious about new to me authors, I end up getting in some culturally rich and diverse characters without trying and this was even true back over the forty years I’ve been reading adult level books and pulling books that intrigued me off the shelf or the display at my little hometown library. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Christine @ Captivated Reading

    I love what you wrote here. And I very much align with how you read. I’m 100% a mood reader. So if I’m reading a book that just isn’t holding my interest, it doesn’t matter if it’s diverse or not–it gets put away.
    So I, too, will read diverse books that sounds entertaining. One, because authors who write these books, have in the past, had a more difficult time with being read. But also because some of these stories GREATLY appeal to me. And I will scream and shout their merit to anyone else–but NOT because they’re diverse. But because they are quality. I think we should all be free to read what we want to read.
    Is it awful that there are some who won’t read diverse books of a certain genre or subgenre? Sure. But they are free to do so. And I’m free to not follow them. I just, also, don’t want to ever feel pressured to read a certain subgenre.

    Reply
  6. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    Great discussion post, Renee. I have seen many bloggers basically give a call to arms about reading diversely and entreat that it is every readers’ responsibility to read diversely. And, frankly, I take issue with that. I am one reader. A reader who reads entirely for pleasure. I read what I choose based on what I feel like reading, what sounds good to me, what interests me. I do not choose my books based on the race or nationality of its characters, the gender/sexuality of the characters, the ability/disability of the characters, or even the cultural setting. I do not seek those books out, but neither do I avoid them. I read what I want to read and accept what is in them. Like you, there are often diverse aspects in the books I read, but I come to them naturally. not because I have some checklist of what I am “supposed” to read. I don’t understand how “forcing” certain reads is a benefit. I don’t agree with “forcing” others to read in a certain way, or preaching what anyone should be doing. Reading is a joy, why turn it into anything else? As a side note: when I saw Kulti included in your book covers I had to sit here for several minutes and question what made it diverse. It honestly did not occur to me for several minutes until I realized that Sal being Mexican/Argentinan was a diverse aspect. It’s not that I overlook it or ignore it, but I just accept it and move on. She’s just Sal. I don’t view her as a minority… she’s just a great character. And that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  7. Samantha @WLABB

    I think it’s great that there are all kinds of books for all kinds of readers, but I read for entertainment. Does that mean that there is no diversity in the books I read? Does that mean I don’t read books by marginalized authors? No to both, but the most important thing is that the story piques my interest. In the end, if that’s something that is important to you as a reader, then you should read that way, but I don’t think it’s any reader’s responsibility to read a certain way.

    Reply

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