Diverse-A-Thon Wrap Up

I started 2017 with a lot of energy and was eager to fly through my mile-high TBR. But that energy only lasted a couple of weeks. By the time the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon concluded on January 15th, I was exhausted and my reading definitely slowed down for the next week. But Diverse-A-Thon started on January 22nd and I was once again excited to read all the books! I had set my TBR to 3 books because I genuinely thought the enthusiasm I had when I created it would allow me to meet my goal. However, I underestimated how much the inauguration of the new president (#NotMyPresident) would put a damper on my enthusiasm to do anything, let alone read.

So I definitely did not meet my overly-ambitious goal of reading three novels in one week. I only read 1 novel and then decided on two short poetry collections and one graphic novel to finish off the weekend. I’d say it was a successful Diversathon nonetheless. 

The chats, when I could participate in them, were fantastic. I want to give a huge shout out to the 4 hosts of the chats – Christina Marie, Joce, Monica, and Simon. They provided insightful and thought-provoking questions all week and encouraged us to be better readers and people with the discourse they created during these chats. I am incredibly proud to be part of a smart and kind community of readers who teach me so much every day. Thank you all! 

If you participated in Diverse-A-Thon, be sure to write a wrap-up post on your blog and link it to #ReadDiverse2017 for a point towards your goal of the 30-point “Diversity Advocate” badge!


Reading Round-Up

 

The Reader – by Traci Chee

 

The first book I read was The Reader by Traci Chee, which was also the January book for #DSFFBookClub. It was 437 pages, so I almost want to say it counts as two books. 😉 I wrote my review a couple of days ago and it’ll go up in a few weeks. I really enjoyed it! Sefia is a fascinating character and I thoroughly enjoyed unraveling the mysteries of her world and her powers as a Reader. In the world of Kelanna, reading is literally magic and only a few people know that reading exists.  I’ll try to explain the intricacies of the story in my review, but for now I’ll go ahead and recommend it, especially if you enjoy complex story lines that interweave in surprising ways. This is a YA fantasy, but it reads more like adult Fantasy, so keep that in mind. 

 

Bone – by Yrsa Dely-Ward

Salt – by Nayyirah Waheed

It took me 5 days to get through The Reader, so I decided to read something short but powerful to follow it up. Fortunately, I had downloaded the Bone and Salt poetry collections, which were free on Kindle. I devoured both in one sitting on Saturday night!

Bone didn’t resonate with me as much as Salt did, but some of the poems were incredibly poignant and memorable. They explore topics such as relationships, family, death, sex, and love. Most of them are a few lines long, and a few are longer and read like mini short stories. 

A few favorites:

  • “Loving someone who hates themselves is a special kind of violence. A fight inside the bones. A war within the blood.”
  • “If you were married to yourself could you stay with yourself? My house would be frightening and wild.”

Salt was a wild and emotional ride. Loved every minute of it and found myself highlighting almost every other page. I was in awe at how much meaning, experience, and emotion Waheed was able to pack into only a few lines. She is economical with her words, but there’s a poignant simplicity in them that will blow you away. Read this collection as soon as possible.

A few favorites:

  • “You broke the ocean in half to be here. Only to meet  nothing that wants you.” -immigrant
  • “I bleed every month. But do not die. How am I not magic.” – the lie
  • “If a man an can only show vulnerability for what is between my legs. Can only be a heart during sex. If an orgasm is the only way he can weep. What is his life but a cage.”  -prison

 

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why – by G. Willow Wilson

 

I finished off Diverse-A-Thon with a light but very important read, Volume 2 of Ms. Marvel. I am utterly enchanted with Kamala Khan as a character and hero. She is funny, relatable, and slowly growing into her powers and confidence. Right now we need stories of Muslim heroes and heroines more than ever and I will continue to seek them out, read, review, support, uplift, and do anything I can as a way to combat the Islamophobia that is rampant in western countries, but the U.S. in particular. I’m going to create a TBR of books by Muslim authors to read in 2017. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

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How many books did you read for Diverse-A-Thon? Did you meet your goals? Let me know about your experience in the comments!


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36 thoughts on “Diverse-A-Thon Wrap Up

  1. I wanted to read 3 but I only managed 2 and a half. Couldn’t finish the third one because I had work. This is still impressive. I can’t imagine reading poetry on a schedule!

  2. Thanks for doing this Naz! Personally, as a reader, I sought out some longish, dense novels back in December so I started War & Peace and Gravity’s Rainbow, but guess what……..male authors of Europe or European descent. This event got me to pause those tomes, push both Swing time and Private Citizens, great books, further up my TBR, and plow through them.

  3. I completely failed Diverseathon, I wanted to read 3 book and only managed to read one and I didn’t have the time to participted in any of the twitter chats. The good thing is that I really enjoyed the book I read, Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee.

    I was really excited about The Reader but I heard mixed things about it, so I’m not sure if I want to read it or not. I’m looking forward to your review so I can have a better idea about this book. Also, I’m adding Salt and Bone to my tbr, I read a few poetry collections in December and I really enjoyed them. Poetry is a genre that I definitely want to explore more.

    1. Aww, no Twitter chats? 🙁 They were both fun and enlightening. But the purpose of Diverseathon was simply to encourage and remind people that reading diverse books is important and we should be doing it as often as we can, not just for that week. 🙂 So we have all year to read great books!

      The Reader isn’t for everyone, and perhaps it’s not the right book for you. Hope my review will convince you to try it, at least!

  4. You’re right – the events of the past week definitely made it harder to concentrate on reading. I managed to get through one novel and one novella, which was pretty much as expected (if not what I hoped). I adored Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani (a teenage girl with a magical gift fights an oppressive regime in a foreign country) and I appreciated The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami (a retelling of the fate of the Narvaez expedition from the perspective of the only slave to survive it). I’ll get reviews up for each of them this week with any luck! Thank you for putting the call out on Diverseathon – it was a lovely way to get stuck into the year.

  5. You had a successful DiverseAThon! I actually won The Reader in a giveaway back in September, beautiful book and I’m a sucker for any books abut books or lack thereof. I have read so many mixed reviews, that I’ll admit being a bit discouraged. Going to have to remedy that now that I’ve read how much you enjoyed it, look forward to your review, Kamala Khan! LOVE HER!!! I believe i’m only slightly behind but OooO it’s one of my favorites! i think it’s awesome you plan to compile a list of Muslim books/authors 🙂

    1. I think some people will love The Reader and others will not get or appreciate it at all. :/ I don’t blame you for being hesitant to read it. Perhaps it’s not a book for you, but I’m optimistic about the rest of the series!

      1. tbh I’m surprised at myself, usually whenever a book gets mixed reviews, i end up loving the book lol. I will be reading it this year though & hope to fall on teh side of those who love it 😉

  6. I kind of failed diverse-a-thon I had to contend with a teething infant who possibly has four teeth coming in, and although I get assistance from my parents, I am a single parent. Human acts by han kang came late, and I am feeling a bit lazy when it comes to writing reviews…:( I did start human acts, although did not finish.

  7. I read all 4 books on my Diverse-A-Thon TBR. I’m so happy about discovering two new amazing books. I’ve been recommending Saree to my mother as her brother’s name and her maiden name are used, and her ethnicity is represented. And I love Finding Your Feet.

    Hence, I’m feel like this was a really successful week.

    I really need to get the first Ms. Marvel book. I can’t wait to read your review about The Reader – I wasn’t that interested in it when I heard from it in the beginning but it’s started to grow on me.

  8. I’ve been putting off The Reader for ages but you had me when you said ” it reads more like adult Fantasy” The little snippets you gave from the poetry collections are LIFE <3 I definitely have to read it now! I haven't ventured into poetry yet and this sounds like the perfect one to start with, so thanks 😀

  9. I had a really good time in Diverse-A-Thon — read the three books I’d put on my TBR and wrote up some reflections on them yesterday. The Reader sounds pretty cool — I must pick that one up. And <3 <3 <3 for Kamala Khan.

  10. I’m looking forward to your review for The Reader, Naz! I listened to the audiobook for it some time ago, and I liked it but had great difficulty connecting to the characters in the story. So, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts – perhaps I missed something and should give the book a second chance. 🙂

    I didn’t participate in Diverse-A-Thon because I put way too much pressure on myself to do it (even if the -thon is casual and fun!) and then it all goes backwards for me. Maybe I’ll participate in the future. But it’s so awesome to see so many people reading diversely and everyone participating. Warms my heart. Big big props to you, Naz. ❤

  11. Thanks for joining the party, Naz 🙂
    My #DiverseAThon was kind of a mixed bag because I was traveling and working remotely. Managed to read one short story collection plus a couple of poetry collections. Listened to a few chapters of “The Mothers” on audiobook as well. Glad I managed to join a few twitter chats. Definitely taking time off work for the next readathon…

  12. My new year of reading got off to a late start because my plans for holiday reading sprawled into January (and I didn’t want to pull back because they were recommendations) so my stacks have been feeling really crammed and reading time limited and I didn’t think I should sign up. But I was reading Toni Morrison and N. Scottt Momaday and Paule Marshall, so I should have just snapped some pics and joined! Chee’s novel looked like one that I would race through, but maybe it’s not quite as compelling as I’d intuited (or, maybe you just had a busy week)! And I’m looking forward to binging on all the MsMarvel’s soon: this volume sounds really good! I’ll be ready for the next DAT!

  13. *hugs Naz* don’t worry about not having the energy – it’s for yourself that you’re reading anyway, no-one else. I’m gad you enjoyed the Diverse-a-thon anyway 🙂 if I hadn’t been too busy this month as it was (espec. with #DisabilityDiaries2017) then I would’ve been tempted to join in too.

    Sometimes you can only do what you can do *shrugs* and that’s good enough for us!

  14. My diverseathon totally tanked as well, because well *flails*. I’m super annoyed with myself because I really didn’t make any progress during both diversity readathons this month. Totally understandable that current events put a damper on your reading. SALT blew my mind, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. Everyone is raving about The Reader so I’ll have to read it soon. And Kamala Khan is the best, no contest. Hope February is kinder to you!

  15. I didn’t do well at this read-a-thon, the timing was bad for me – only two books read, one finished, some partially read. I already wanted to read Ms. Marvel and you’ve sold me on adding Salt and Bone to my TBR. The Reader didn’t grab my attention, but now I’m starting to get interested, might see if the library has it.

  16. Sounds like a successful Diversathon to me! Those lines you shared from salt are AMAZING. I don’t know why I haven’t read that yet.

    My reading went to hell over the last weekend with the atrocious news. I was glues to Twitter and freaking out. But I’ve rebounded some this week. And like you, I’m feeling the need to commit to reading more from Muslim, Arabic, and Persian voices. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’ll let you know what I find too!

  17. I love those lines you shared from the poetry collections – especially from Salt. Wow, those are powerful. The two from Bone are also thought-provoking.
    Very rarely do I add poetry collections to my list, but I’m about to do it!

  18. Awesome List, I won Bone but still haven’t got to it!! Happy you liked the Reader, because I have heard so many mixed things about it. I wasn’t able to participate although I will keep on the look out to participate in the future. I was sick for over a month with the flu, so I’m trying to take better care of my health and not push back into things too fast. Happy Reading!

  19. I’d say a 437 page book definitely counts for two books! I wish I could have participated in the official diverse-a-thon, but I did finish Hidden Figures during this week and started a diverse middle grade book called Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai. Plus I read a few diverse children’s picture books to my kids. So in a small way, I participated.

  20. Like many here, I didn’t participate in the official Diverse-a-thon (mostly because I just wasn’t coordinated enough to get my act together!), but I did read some diverse books! I read George during that time period, and I am so glad I did. What a moving book.
    I LOVE Ms. Marvel. It’s a brilliant series. Personally, I think volume 2 is the weakest thus far. That said, it’s obviously still an amazing book. I can’t wait to get my paws on Reader. There are so many books! When will I ever find all the time to read them? 😉

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