Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.
P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!
I thought I’d give this week’s post a theme: South Asian literature. I know South Asian literature forms a minor niche in the book industry, and many really great books get overlooked because they’re considered “too foreign.” I made a discussion post a few days ago talking about this very thing, so I thought it fitting to spotlight South Asian books this week.
Fire Boy (Djinn-Son Duology #1) by Sami Shah
“Growing up in Karachi isn’t easy. Wahid has a lot on his mind: the girl he likes, mostly, but also choosing a good university and finding time to play Dungeons & Dragons. Oh, and the fact that he can see djinns, other-worldly creatures made of a smokeless and scorching fire. After a horrific car accident kills his best friend and djinns steal his girlfriend’s soul, Wahid vows to find out why. Fortunately, he has help in finding the djinns that tried to kill him. Unfortunately, that help is from the darkest of all spirits, the Devil himself …
Fire Boy is filled with supernatural entities and high-paced action, but it also gives the reader a vivid insight into life in Pakistan.”
I read this book fairly recently, but it’s become one of my favorites of this year. It was a genuinely terrifying read with creatures drawn from both Islamic and South Asian mythology, and was set in an authentic, nuanced portrayal of Pakistan’s urban capital, Karachi. I loved how Sami Shah didn’t concentrate on what was expected of him to concentrate on i.e. poverty, violence, misogyny- but instead wrote a captivating urban fantasy while never sugarcoating the problems that are obviously present in the region.
The e-book is also only $2.99 on Amazon!
An Unrestored Woman: and Other Stories by Shobha Rao
“In An Unrestored Woman, the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 cuts a jagged path through the lives of ordinary women and men, leaving ripples of sorrow through time and space. Each couplet of stories spans the Indian subcontinent, from refugee camps and torched trains to the spacious verandas of the British Raj, and billows into the wider world. An old woman recounts the murdering of what was most precious to her, and the many small cuts that led her to that act. A girl forced into prostitution wields patience as deftly as a weapon, and manages to escape her fate. An Indian servant falls in love with his employer, and spins a twisted web of deceit.
The characters in these fearless stories stumble – occasionally towards love, more often towards survival – and find that history, above all, is their truest and greatest opponent. And what emerges, in the midst of newly erected barriers, boundaries, and nations, is a journey into the centre of the only place that matters – the human heart.”
I’ve yet to read a book about the partition of the Indian subcontinent, but this one was recently brought to my attention and I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. The partition was such a pivotal moment in global history, taking place almost immediately after India kicked the British out. It was chaos, and entire families were torn apart. My grandparents used to tell me that borders were formed between neighborhoods; my grandmother’s best friend was in the same country as my grandma one day, and the next day, there was a border in between them. So many people died, so many tragedies occurred and I feel like these stories and voices are important to be told. But they don’t reach the international public. So I hope to read an #ownvoices book about this event.
Also, the beautiful cover has me shook (my Twitter slang is seeping into my blog too, send help).
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
“Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers… right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, why not? Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.“
This just sounds like such a fun, light-hearted, entertaining read. Arranged marriage plays such a prominent role in South Asia, and is considered tradition. The image Westerners get of arranged marriage is this archaic thing where the bridge and the groom are forced into a marriage without ever having interacted; most arranged marriages don’t work like that. The parents set up a meeting, the guy and girl interact and then collectively decide if they want to get married. Although forced marriage definitely exists and that narrative cannot and should not be ignored, I’m frankly sick of this one-sided, tinted look at foreign traditions. So I’m super excited to see how arranged marriage is dealt with in a lighter, varied tone.
This book releases on May 30th, 2017
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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Across the Blogosphere
Charlotte @ cahwrites | Morgan @ The Backlist Babe | Esther @ Chapter Adventures | Shahirah @ Bookloves_Reviews | Clemence @ Clemi’s Bookish World | Diana @ A Haven for Book Lovers | Avery @ Book Deviant | Meep @ Book 7 | Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons | Jordyn @ JordztheBibliophile |