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Decolonizing Your Bookshelves

Hello Readers & Friends,

Following up from my recent post on systematic racism,  I wanted to share some of the books on my shelf that support writers from ethnic minorities. The majority of these are written by black authors, but I also wanted to pick out some east-Asian to celebrate my Japanese heritage, as on reflection I have read barely anything by a Japanese author or with Japanese representation.

So I saw a post about 'decolonizing the bookshelf' which revolves around 'actively seeking out and reading work by authors whose work has been disadvantaged by colonialism'. This was perfect for me! As I share some of my favourite fiction titles in this post, it's worth highlighting that all of these books were 5-star or 4-star reads. So some incredible talent in the below list and I really encourage you to try them out if you haven't already!

I have also been buying more non-fiction titles to educate myself on systemic racism, but most of them are temporarily out of stock so have not arrived yet - this is great news! It means so many people are out there trying to educate themselves as a result of the movement that suppliers are running out of stock! Incredible!
I don't want to read them all at once though, I want to make sure my journey of self-improvement and awareness is not rushed or as part of a trend, so I'm going to try to read one book per month so that the conversation is always being re-raised as I review my reads.

ANYWAY, without further adieu...

Books I've read:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

An incredible YA story set in modern-day America and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that follows the story of sixteen-year-old Starr, who witnesses her best friend Khalil get shot and murdered by a police officer. It follows her struggle for justice and the difficulty of standing up and speaking out when you're afraid.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

This is super popular as it has the TV adaption now as well, but I read this for the first time when I was maybe 8 or 9. Noughts and Crosses is set in a world where race is turned on its head and you have Sephy, who is black and from a world of wealth and privelege, and Callum, a white 'nought' who has nothing. It's about how two childhood friends have to fight against society to be together.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

A YA fantasy about The Belles, a group of women who have the power to control beauty, who can change anything physical and create perfection. A wonderfully diverse YA Fantasy with the price of beauty and what it means to be beautiful as key themes. I got this in a Waterstones as a 'blind book' purchase and am so glad I did!

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

A happy YA about Korean-American Lara Jean, and what happens when a box of her private love letters get mailed out. The hit Netflix adaption was great, but I was disappointed by how much less her Korean culture was in the film compared to the book. I really liked reading about asian culture in this story, albeit in a very lighthearted way.

Frankly In Love 
by David Yoon

An amazing YA contemporary romance which follows Korean-American Frank, and what happens when he falls for Joy, who is white. His family only want him to date Korean girls, and this is quite a beautiful story that looks at the complexities of Asian families clinging onto outdated traditions and culture and how it affects their younger generations growing up in America.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyumi

A West-African inspired YA fantasy which Adeyumi wrote after being inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. A story that follows heroine Zelie as she tries to reclaim the magic stolen from her poeple, to set the maji free from oppression. "You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone."

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

One everyone should read once. Set in the 30s in the Deep South, the story of a black man charged with the rape of a white girl and how it all is perceived through the eyes of young Scout Finch as her father, Atticus, acts as the defendant's lawyer. A beautiful and great anti-racist story.

Books I've added to my shelf and have not yet read...

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

'A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family'

The Clapback by Elijah Lawal

'In order to have an honest and open conversation about race, we need to identify areas where things are not right.
The Clapback: Your Guide to Calling Out Racist Stereotypes examines the evolution of the negative stereotypes towards the black community and arms you with the tools to shut them down once and for all.'

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

'Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.'

Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

'Meet Adunni, a teenage girl born into a rural Nigerian village.
Aged fourteen, she is a commodity, a wife, a servant.
She is also smart, funny, curious, with a spirit and joy infectious to those around her.
And despite her situation going from bad to worse, she has a plan to escape: she will find her 'louding voice' and get her education, so that she can speak up for herself - and all the girls who came before her.'

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

'Battle Royale is a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, and one of Japan's bestselling - and most controversial - novels.'

What are you adding to your shelf?

C x


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