Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Armchair BEA -Introduction and Diversity

Armchair BEA 

Since I cannot afford to attend BEA in person, I thought I would try participating in this.  First year participating so I have no idea what to really expect.  I remember noticing this around last year so figured I would check it out and see what all goes on.  Very excited!

So we are asked some Q's and here are my answers:

1.  What is the name you prefer to use?

Vailia is actually a gaming name and Jay Riv is an OLD default name that google wont let me fully change so I am stuck with it sadly)

2.  How long have you been a book blogger?
3 years

3.  Have you participated in ABEA before?
Nope first time :) 
*What is your favorite genre and why?
Anything fantasy.  High fantasy takes to top, but in can cross into urban, paranormal, etc as well.  It my escapism.  Away from reality. Also the imagination for fantasy is something I just love.
*How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all?
Well my manga is in my office, organized by series title A-Z in volume order.  My star wars books are suppose to be in chronological order but are a mess right now.  Fiction MG/YA/Adult are mixed together and sorted by author (last name A-Z).  I like to keep it in title/series order from there but right now I am a disaster due to space restrictions so it is quite basic for most books.  Series' with multiple authors (Warcraft, Forgotten Realks, etc) are grouped and sorted by series name (not author).  Non-fiction is by subject type. All very loosely done.  I used to be extremely picky but the time it takes to organize a few thousand books that way takes way, WAY too much time and energy.  Seriously having to rearrange 12 shelves to squeeze in 1 book is crazy!  

*If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose? (You can include more than one if you want :D)
Well, when trying to organize them-   Rolling Stones 'Satisfaction'
For picking a book to read-    Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Parody: 'Unread Book'  
When in a reading mood-   'Read It All' (Taylor Swift Parody) by WaffleBox  
Yes I like book parady songs :) 

Diversity in books and the publishing industry
 In a word-Lacking.

While it is becoming less an issue is some ways, it is also more abundantly fought, discovered and pointed out.  And also very true.

Be it in about race, religion, sexuality, disability/illness, etc. Even Popularity.
I don't pick books with any specifications for diversity or lack there-of.  I am all about the plot.  Now because I don't read contemporary books very often, that does nix many books where people are focused on diversity.  When reading a fantasy or sci-fi the focus is not on a disability.  Religions can be imaginary.  I get even more races, creatures and aliens!  So in some ways I get more diversity.  Now I do like to read about various cultures from time to time.  But I prefer to get away from things I can too easily relate to.  Take me to another time period or country please.  I deal with day-to-day reality enough.  I want to get away from that usually when I read.
  However, I will most books I associate with focus on characters that are either Caucasian  or (especially in the past 10 years) Hispanic.  Or Asian, since I love manga (hehe).  But other nationalities or even cultural settings are rare.  Not because I wouldn't be willing, but because they are not as known or readily available. 
Just this past month, my local library created an Urban fiction section.  It is tiny.  The new release selection is 3x the size!  Out of thousands of novels for adults, that was all we had that focused on this nationality.  While checking out my books I overheard one person asking what it was with the response being "That are books for black readers."  What?!  Now not only are books itself and issue but to me that is discouraging to other to read it (I had to stop and give that librarian a good talking to).  But it does force me to look at my own reading a see a habit. 
 Also, as a side note, I then wonder why this is separate but nothing else.  Their is no Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, etc book sections.   
 I am all about the synopsis and genre.   But at the same time I have rarely sought out something different.
The sad thing is that it often has to be sought out at all.  While we are making progress (Thank you goodreads for the lists available to help us find options), it is still limited.  
The same goes for religious fiction (or even if a character has any religious beliefs), some on sexuality (although that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years), disabilities,illness etc.
I should be able to walk into a library or bookstore blindfolded, grab 5 books and have a variety of character types (physically, personality, etc).  There should not be a standard.  Does every book have to have diversity within it? No.  But it is good to have many that do.
How can we as bloggers and readers change this?  By promoting diverse books, especially if diverse from you.  Be willing to read something different.  You might like it.  Talk to your bookstores and libraries about getting more book options.  Many of these books are self-published or maybe from another country.  Be willing to step outside your comfort zone.  Without us stepping up saying "This is what we read" publishers won't invest.  We have to make the first steps and get it going.  We have to bridge the gaps to share that it is okay and wanted.

**I want to apologize if any of this comes across as strange or "politically incorrect" or even just a crazy ramble.  It is the middle of the night when writing this and I am exhausted so probably not putting myself across quite the way I want to.


  1. Have fun this week! It's my first time too!
    Gabriella M Reads
    My Armchair BEA post.

  2. You have some thoughtful insights on diversity. I especially liked what you said about randomly picking five books. Happy Reading!

  3. I love this concept! I can't afford BEA, either, so maybe I'll do this next year, too. :)
    I can't imagine growing up an ethnic minority and having little to no representation in all of the books I read. How discouraging! I agree, though, the plot comes first. I don't want the MC to be non-white for the sake of the appearance of diversity, I want them to be an authentic representation. Even in fantasy and scifi. Where's a Turkish female starship captain? An elderly male Hispanic smuggler on the rebel side? A young black man who is also a powerful wizard? A Korean woman who becomes the realm's queen?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.