This site is now in archives-only mode. Click here to read why.

Diverse Worlds

I mentioned in my first post that I was looking for more diverse stories to for my eReader. Roxane Gay’s article in Salon in response to David Gilmour’s unfortunate comments during a recent interview perfectly captures why I want that diversity.

I have always loved how reading can open new worlds to me. This is why I loved fantasy and sci-fi as a kid, and continue to love those genres now. But I also love how reading can expand my horizons and show me aspects of my own world that lie outside my own limited experiences. Some stories hold up a mirror and help us better see ourselves, others give us a window into the experiences of different people. A rare few do both.

As Anna Quindlen wrote in How Reading Changed My Life,“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.” This is one of the reasons I went looking for eBook discovery mechanisms outside the realm of things like the “you might also like…” algorithms. If I only read things that an algorithm can relate to the other things I’ve read, my horizons will only expand in small, stepwise increments. I want to add an element of the random walk to my reading list, in hopes of stumbling upon a brand new corner of the universe.

Back when I read mostly physical books, I got that random component by browsing the new release tables in the bookstore. I have yet to find something equivalent in the digital realm. This exploration need not be explicitly about looking for writers of a particular gender or color. It is about looking for writers who tell me about a part of my world I haven’t seen or understood before. Often, this means reading things written by people who do not look like me, but the point isn’t so much who the writer is as what he or she can tell me.

As Roxane Gay explains in another of her essays, I want to read urgent, unheard stories. I think that the small time investment short eBooks require make them a great way to explore- if you don’t like the part of the world one exposes, you didn’t lose more than a few hours to the exploration. I’m not sure the short eBook ecosystem is entirely ready to support such exploration, as even with my enhanced search strategies, I am not finding the diversity in voice I hoped to find. I’ll keep looking, though, and do my best to support what I find.

Post type: 

Add new comment