So this week, it’s time for Diversity Spotlight Thursday, sponsored by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. For this event, you highlight a diverse read that you’ve read and enjoyed, a diverse read you want to read, and a diverse read that’s not out yet. So without further ado, here’s my first Diversity Spotlight Thursday.
A Book I’ve Read
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
I read this book over the summer after reading Butler’s Earthseed duology. This book tells the story of Dana, a black woman who starts getting pulled back in time to pre-Civil War Maryland to protect a white boy and later man, who she eventually figures out is her ancestor. (I swear I’m not spoiling..it’s in the book summary!) This wasn’t an easy read by any means, but it was an engrossing, well-crafted story that tackles the horrifying nature of slavery and all of its effects. Highly recommend. Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon.
A Book I Want to Read
Marriage on the Street Corners of Tehran: A Novel Based on the True Stories of Temporary Marriage by Nadia Shahram
At age twelve, Ateesh is forced into an arranged marriage with an abusive man. When she objects, she is told that she “needs a man’s name on her, to protect her.” While in one era that would have been the end of her story, here it is just the beginning for a young woman determined to make her own decisions. She engages the help of other strong women who, despite worries about family honor, eventually help Ateesh obtain a divorce and enter the path to a new life that leads to university. Learning there about modern relationships, independence and control become even more important to her. Rather than submit to the oppressive control of another man, she decides to use men to gain independence from them.
This decision leads her to enter into multiple “temporary marriages,” a form of prostitution sanctioned by society and religion through a skewed interpretation of the Koran and Islamic law. We follow Ateesh in the coming years as her world becomes increasingly complicated and divided—one life behind closed doors as a siqeh and another as a university student and researcher working for women’s equality.
Based on interviews conducted by the author, Ateesh’s story represents the compelling accounts of legal and cultural injustices that prevail in modern Iran.
I’ll admit I’m not very culturally savvy about the Middle East, beyond what I hear in the news (which I know is biased) and a few books I’ve read here and there. Nadia Shahram, the author, is an Iranian professor and attorney who left Iran after the 1979 revolution and now advocates for Muslim women’s rights in the US. Excited to read this!
An Upcoming Release
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
I’ve not yet read anything by Zadie Smith, but White Teeth has been on my TBR for a very long time. I’m also looking forward to this release, which I may honestly get to before White Teeth.
What were your picks for Diversity Spotlight Thursday? Have you read these? Let me know in the comments!