01 March 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books to Read if You're in the Mood for Diversity


It's Tuesday so that definitely means another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the The Broke and the Bookish. It's funny that this is the Top 10 Tuesday pick of the week because I just filmed a BookTube video about reading diversely and reading outside of one's comfort zone. In the video I highlight 10 books outside of my comfort zone that would help me read diversely. Check out the video below and keep reading for those 10 books. 







In 1937 Shanghai--the Paris of Asia--twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree--until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are--Shanghai girls. 





The Autobiography of Malcolm X defines American culture and the African American struggle for social and economic equality that has now become a battle for survival. Malcolm's fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for any who wants to understand America. 











Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in-mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story of women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come. 






In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again. 




Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States. In "Private Experience," a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she's been pushing away. In "Tomorrow is Too Far," a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother's death. The young mother at the center of "Imitation" finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them. Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorry, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers. 



James Weldon Johnson's emotionally gripping novel is a landmark in black literary history and, more than eighty years after its original anonymous publication, a classic of American fiction. The first fictional memoir ever written by a black, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man influenced a generation of writers during the Harlem Renaissance and served as eloquent inspiration for Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright. In the 1920s and since, it has also given white readers a startling new perspective on their own culture, revealing to many the double standard of racial identity imposed on black Americans. Narrated by a mulatto man whose light skin allows him to "pass"for white, the novel describes a pilgrimage through America's color lines at the turn of the century--from a black college in Jacksonville to an elite New York nightclub, from the rural South to the white suburbs of the Northeast. This is a power, unsentimental examination of race in America, a hymn to the anguish of forging an identity in a nation obsessed with color. And as Arna Bontemps pointed out decades ago, "the problems of the artist [as presented here] seem as contemporary as if the book had been written this year."



Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rules of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep's heretical desire to forsake  Egypt's ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship. From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband's perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband's rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds--and brave enough to tell the queen--is her younger, Mutnodjmet.





Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller- Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. 




With the words "Once upon a time," the Brothers Grimm transport readers to a timeless realm where witches, giants, princesses, kings, fairies, goblins, and wizards fall in love, try to get rich, quarrel with their neighbors, and have magical adventures of all kinds--and in the process reveal essential truths about human nature. When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm set out to collect stories in the early 1800s, their goal was not to entertain children but to preserve Germanic folklore--and the hard life of European peasants was reflected in the tales they discovered. However, once the brothers saw how the stories entranced young readers, they began softening some of the harsher aspects to make them more suitable to children. 










Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself, in the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray--he tilts at windmills, imaging them to be giants--Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years. With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel.





6 comments:

  1. Who doesn't love a good fairy tale!? I'm not sure I've read any of Grimm's fairytales, but I love all of the re-tellings I have read that were, essentially, inspired by those early fables. :)

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    1. I love the re-tellings so I definitely wanted to read some of the originals.

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  2. Great topic and list! I really enjoyed SHanghai Girls, and still need to read the sequel. Loved The Secret Life of Bees too!

    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies

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    1. I'm glad someone else enjoyed those books! Now I'm definitely looking forward to reading them. :)

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  3. Great list! Been meaning to read Life in the Time of Cholera but haven't had time to delve into it. Really liked Don Quixote. Also, I had no idea Battle Royale was a book first! I just thought it was a movie on its own, very interesting to see!

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    1. I'm really excited about Don Quixote as well! I think Battle Royale is a manga as well! :)

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