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!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
“Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.”
I read this book last year, I believe, and I really enjoyed it – you’ve probably heard of it now, but you may not know that the protagonist of this book is blind. I’d never read a book with a blind protagonist before, and I was blown away by the beauty with which Doerr writes the world as Marie-Laure experiences it; his descriptions are almost tangible, the feelings he injects into his prose are incredible. This is a sad, devastating book and it will break your heart, but it’s such a wonderful, poignant read- you need it in your life.
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
“Beginning on August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, and ending in a prison cell in the United States in 2002, as a man is waiting to be sent to Guantánamo Bay, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of love and betrayal.
Hiroko Tanaka is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, two years later, Hiroko travels to Delhi. It is there that her life will become intertwined with that of Konrad’s half sister, Elizabeth, her husband, James Burton, and their employee, Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu.
With the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, Hiroko will find herself displaced once again, in a world where old wars are replaced by new conflicts. But the shadows of history—personal and political—are cast over the interrelated worlds of the Burtons, the Ashrafs, and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York and, in the novel’s astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound these families together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences.”
Kamila Shamsie is arguably one of Pakistan’s most well-known authors, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read anything by her. When I was browsing her books online, this was the one that struck out to me the most- particularly because it’s about a Japanese woman living during and after the India-Pakistan partition. I’m interested to see how Shamsie deals with themes of war and displacement- sounds complex!
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura
“Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.
When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.
Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.”
Biracial f/f contemporary? That sounds freaking awesome? This isn’t a book that’s “coming soon” per se (May’s pretty far away tbh), but it’s one that I very recently came across and wanted to tell you all about.
This book releases on May 9th, 2017