This summer The Seattle Public Library in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Beach Blanket Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we’ve pulled together some reading suggestions based on each category. Stay tuned for more throughout the summer!
The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign began in April 2014 by calling out the lack of diverse narratives in children’s literature. This grassroots organization advocates for essential changes in the publishing industry in order to foster books which reflect and honor all lives. They define diversity as: “all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”
While Summer Book Bingo is geared toward adults’ reading experiences, we felt this group’s mission and message about the value of reading diverse voices was a perfect fit for the reading adventure that is Book Bingo. We encourage you to seek out books representing voices, experiences and identities different from your own. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev – Indian-American author Dev’s debut novel focuses on Mili, a young Indian woman on scholarship in Michigan. She has been married since the age of four to a man she’s never met; unbeknownst to her, her brother-in-law has been sent to annul the marriage. Nothing goes according to plan, and sparks fly.
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy – It’s 2008 in Detroit, and the 13 adult Turner siblings need to decide what to do with their family home, worth only one-tenth of its mortgage. Flournoy shines a light on the workings of a large family, on how people negotiate the space between who they think they are and who their family thinks they are. She also creates a nuanced picture of Detroit, from the time the Turner patriarch arrived as part of the Great Migration to the 2008 recession. This is African-American author Flournoy’s first novel.
The Collective by Don Lee – After the death of a friend, Eric Cho reflects back on college when he and two classmates formed the 3AC (Asian American Artists Collective) and pursued their dreams. Lee covers a lot of ground in this coming-of-age novel, from interpersonal relationships to sexuality, racism to artistic censorship.
The City of Palaces by Michael Nava – best known for his mystery series featuring gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, Nava’s latest novel is historical fiction. Set before and during the Mexican Revolution, at its core this epic novel focuses on the familial relationships among doctor Miguel Sarmiento, his aristocratic wife, and their gay son.
There are so many good books out there that reflect diverse experiences, I could write indefinitely. Here is a list in our catalog with some more ideas. What are your favorite diverse reads? Comment here, or tweet w/ #BookBingoNW.