Diversireads began in 2014 with N, R, A, and K, four queer girls of colour who were unsatisfied with the general bent of the publishing industry’s discourse on diversity. It seemed unnuanced and insincere, particularly with popular blogs recommending novels whose diversity was unconvincing at best, and offensive and regressive at worst, so we took it upon ourselves to read and review “diverse media” and bring them to people’s attention.
While the mod makeup has changed somewhat over the years, our goal remains the same.
How do we define diversity?
Diversity in itself is a loaded term, because it implies compliance with the current hegemonic structure of a publishing industry that is built around whiteness, and heterosexuality and cis-ness, etc. “Diversity” in itself implies a normative (white, neurotypical, able-bodied, etc.) reader who must be exposed to “diverse narratives” in order to broaden the spectrum of their knowledge. This definition does not in any way serve readers belonging to marginalised communities, and the books that are produced under such a mindset are rarely meant for us. Instead, in general, we tend to evaluate books based on three premises:
- Is the representation well-done?
- Is the representation for the marginalised community in question or is it about the marginalised community?
- Does it reduce us to our marginality?
Of course, we’re also human and also fallible and our range of understanding is limited to our own experiences, so we do encourage other readers to correct us if we misjudge a novel’s quality of representation.
We also prefer the framework of decolonising, not diversifying.
Will you review X book?
We do our best to accommodate a wide range of interests, but reading is of course a highly personal experience, and we don’t have the time or the money to read books in which we have no interest. We can promise to consider reading certain books, but we can’t actually promise to read particular books.
At present, our books are largely bought out of pocket or as ARCs from Netgalley. I (Mod N) do also review ARCs I bring home from the office (I’m a publishing intern), but as of right now, we don’t have plans to review unsolicited ARCs or novels, simply because of the organizational difficulty, since we live on different continents with different books available, and with different levels of interest in different forms and genres of media. This is subject to change, but this is our current policy.
Reviews are published on a five-star scale, with five stars being an unreserved recommendation, two/three stars being an average rating, and one/zero stars being unequivocal, unreserved dislike. This scale is a reflection of our individual, personal tastes and opinions, and are not necessarily reflexive of our opinion as a group. Reviews are also tagged with the year, medium, genre, author, title, reviewer, and target audience of the media in question. We do our best to keep up with our Goodreads, but we do also keep personal Goodreads accounts, so it may lag a little behind our main site.