This week of Non-Fiction November is hosted by Becca at I’m Lost in Books and asks about what diversity in non-fiction means to us.
Diversity to me means foremost a wide range of subject matter. I like history, so my non-fiction reading often focuses on a particular historic event or person, like the World’s Fair in Chicago in The Devil in the White City or President Garfield in Destiny of the Republic. For the past few years, I used non-fiction to become acquainted with subjects I have previously had little interest in, like DNA in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or chemistry in Napoleon’s Buttons.
However, diversity should also apply to the people who write these books. I admit that I don’t pay much attention to the author of the books I read, especially when it comes to non-fiction. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the majority of the non-fiction I’ve read over the past three years has been written by women. Some of the writers have been from Asia, but I have only one African writer on my list. On the one hand, I should make an effort to increase that number, but on the other hand, I don’t think I should feel obligated to read a book about a subject I currently have no interest in simply to even my stats.
So far, the non-fiction posts of the last two weeks have led to 36 new books on my wish list. On top of that list are books about small pox, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, rugby, India, and World War I. That is a pretty diverse list, and I’ll be happy if I find the time to read them all. But I will loosely challenge myself to read at least one non-fiction book set in each continent in 2015. Ideally, these will be books written by people who either are from that region or have spent a considerable amount of time there.
With that being said, I have not seen any non-fiction books about or set in South America. Did I miss them? Do you have recommendations for anything that takes place south of Mexico?