A More Diverse Universe

In his novel Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami said, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” I instantly memorized that quote, as I like to do with Murakami’s words, because one of the reasons I love to read is for the way that it takes me outside of my box. As well as everyone else’s. 
What would my life be with a steady diet of classics, or fairy tales, or mysteries written only by people of my own culture? It would be as dull as a steady diet of cheeseburgers and fries: neither nutritious nor interesting. I need to eat samosas and chicken biryani, beef lo mien and tempura, as much as I do spaghetti and meatballs. I need to read books written by people of other cultures as much, or more, than I need to read those written by my own.
Aarti of Book Lust has planned a challenge which will run from September 23 through September 29 called A More Diverse Universe. To participate, readers will chose a work of speculative fiction written by an author of color. In conjunction with my own Japanese Literature Challenge, therefore, I’d like to read Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. (You can find a list of Japanese sci-fi writers here.)
I know that in September, I am first and foremost committed to reading The Thorn Birds with my dear friend, Lesley. But, I’d like to participate in Arti’s most worthy challenge, and I encourage you to give it a try as well. Do you have any other suggestions? Any titles you’d like to read yourself?

12 thoughts on “A More Diverse Universe”

  1. It's the first time I've heard the term 'speculative fiction”… I'll have to look it up. As for Woman in the Dunes, I read it a few years ago, before rediscovering Japanese Literature thanks to your challenge… Now, I still wonder why could be more thrilling that that, since every month I read a bit of JL and I can't get enough of it 🙂


  2. I remembered enjoying The Woman in the Dunes. I read it a long, long time ago.

    I jsut finished reading Michel Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory. I have not read his earlier works but I enjoyed this novel. It's about art and artist, relationship between father and son, death, and aging.


  3. I love the Murakami quote. In fact you remind me that one of the authors I really must get to is Murakami! I seem to have suddenly acquired a lot of work, so probably no challenges for me this autumn, but I look forward to reading about the wonderful books you discover!


  4. Thanks for pointing this out! I have so many I want to read (including Abe's The Ark Sakura), but I left most of them at home when I went off to college…I think D.L. Birchfield counts, though, and I do have Field of Honor with me!


  5. Thanks so much for posting about this, Bellezza! Spec fic, just for those that don't know, is anything in the fantasy/sci fi/magical realism genres 🙂


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