In the beginning of this year I embarked upon a hefty tomb titled READING THE WORLD: CONFESSIONS OF A LITERARY EXPLORER by Ann Morgan. Morgan is a Cambride-educated woman with great literary ideas and it’s a shame that this book is lacking in popularity despite her featured start-up (via her WordPress blog through which she documented her “Reading the World” quest) and the great questions she raises.
#WeNeedDiverseBooks fans should be endorsing this book through every platform they can because I believe that you can’t truly imagine the diversity of your reading unless you read this book. Although the writing comes off as academic at times Morgan attempts to keep her tone straightforward and engaging. This might not be the dragon-conquering fiesta you were hoping for (she doesn’t really speak much about what was in those exotic books she had been reading) but it’s certainly great and necessary food for thought.
Consider how we as Western readers are a billion times more jaded than we think we are when it comes to our reading despite all of our efforts to diversify our reading so that it represents the world we live in more closely. It is no longer just the matter of reading LGBTQ+ books, reading about ethnic/religious minorities, or even reading from more women authors) we can never achieve true diversity because the books we are reading have been written by Western authors. With Facebook and Twitter algorithms already shutting us inside our own viewpoints and perspectives it is dangerous to allow our reading – one of the most manual and personal choices we have – to do the same. Even if the authors we read from belong to minorities, they have grown up to some extent in the West.
The world has 192(ish) countries. And we have only read from a handful. What can we say about #weneeddiversebooks as we reach towards a more globally connected world when we don’t read the world?
What does diversity mean, why is it so important, and how do we fix our reading?
Morgan writes a thoroughly-researched, emphatic call to arms with READING THE WORLD. This book should be required reading for every avid bookworm. It is 100% worth your time.