If you aren’t on booktube, you may not have heard about the recent controversy around a video raging against the idea of diversity in books. I won’t link the video, because there’s really nothing new or interesting said, and it’s not worth giving it more views. Many booktubers responded to this with videos about why diversity matters and is important to them, and people raged back against this vitriolic “rant.”
In that response were a few people deliberately trying to steer the conversation towards something positive, instead of focusing it on one person’s anti-diversity rant. The result was that four prominent booktubers–Christina Marie, Monica of shemightbemonica, Joce of squibblesreads, and Whitney of WhittyNovels–organized a week-long readathon celebrating diversity called #diverseathon.
Here’s Christina’s video explaining what #diverseathon is and why they created it:
So why participate in #diverseathon?
1) Celebrate diversity in books with tons of fellow book lovers!
It’s great to talk about why we need more diverse books, but we also have to celebrate and recognize the amazing diversity of books that are out there now! There are lots of places on the internet, including Book Riot, that try to do this on a regular basis, but this will be a week where you can find other readers talking about diverse books all over twitter, instagram, youtube, and every other platform bookish people congregate on!
2) Get awesome book recommendations!
One of the cool things that the #diverseathon organizers have done is put together a giant list of recommendations for people who want to read diversely but may not know where to start. This list of diverse book recommendations already has 300 books, all with a brief explanation of “Why do you recommend this book?” and you can add even more using this form!
3) There’s no pressure.
I’ve been meaning to participate in #booktubeathon every year since it started, but every time I freeze up at the challenges. 7 books in a week during which I have all my usual responsibilities? It’s overwhelming, even though I know I don’t have to complete all the challenges. #Diverseathon is a readathon that’s focused on the quality of reading you’re doing, not the quantity, so there’s no need to feel like you’re failing if you don’t get “enough” reading done.
4) Twitter chats, not twitter sprints!
In the spirit of not focusing on quantity of reading, the #diverseathon organizers will be hosting discussions throughout the readathon instead of the usual reading sprints. (Reading sprints are when everyone tries to read as much as they can within a certain time limit.) I’m really excited to have this opportunity for readers to come together and discuss big questions about diversity in books together.
5) It’s an opportunity to stay positive.
Christina’s video announcing the #diversathon really pulled me in because I was impressed with how she focused on using the energy of the community towards something productive and positive. It’s easy to get bogged down in other people’s criticism when you’re trying to effect change, especially when it feels like your individual choices and actions don’t have a big impact. It can be satisfying, sometimes, to defend yourself to the critics, but there’s also a time to stop giving them attention and start using your voice to lift up the people you do support. Seeing this group of diverse booktubers come together to do that really inspired me.
So those are some reasons why I will be participating in the impromptu #diverseathon, and I hope you do, too! And if you are participating, let me know what you’re planning to read!