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How Do I Diversify?

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers YOUR questions about life, love, and literature! My guest this week is the delightful Preeti Chhibber. We had a lot of fun (and got a little heated) discussing questions relating to getting out of your reading comfort zone in different ways (see below for the specific questions). Have a listen and see if you agree with our advice!


Preeti is the Book Buyer for the teen Scholastic Reading Club. She also co-hosts the Oh, Comics! podcast for and is a Book Riot contributing editor. You can find her on Twitter @runwithskizzers. Thanks for joining me, Preeti!

This episode was sponsored by Scribd and The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter.


Dear Book Nerd,

I was a ferocious reader in my childhood, but fell out of love with reading in my mid teens. I’m in my mid-twenties now, and I’ve only started reading again in the past few years. I got back into reading by going back to the children’s and young adult books I used to love, then branched out into other YA novels. I’ve only started reading adult books in the past year, mostly genre fiction (sci-fi, mystery, steampunk). I still read mainly YA books, though, because I have trouble finding adult books I like – I often struggle with the writing style and can’t engage with the story.

I don’t want to stop reading YA, but I do want to diversify and read more adult books. I’ve tried looking for recommendations online and browsing at my local library (long live libraries!) but I keep getting stuck, giving up and going back to the familiar territory of YA. I almost feel like I missed some crucial adult book reading step during my non-bookish years. Help! How can I develop my reading taste and get better at finding books that interest me?


Dear Book Nerd,

Pardon if this is a repeat question; I am a relatively new listener and have not yet listened to the full back catalog. I have been experiencing some guilt (I have listened to enough episodes to know this is not a good thing!) over my reading choice in regards to protagonists. I find it comforting to read characters I wish I could be – which are usually scrappy or tough girls (ie. Arya Stark from the “Song of Ice and Fire” series or Katniss from The Hunger Games) or characters I connect with. Usually this means they have some sort of anxiety or mental illness (as I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression). I’d like to branch out from this, but never feel quite as satisfied with a book when I try. I was a backer of “We Need Diverse Books” and I am terrible at diversifying my favorite characters. Help!


Protagonist Picky

Dear Book Nerd,

For a long time now, I’ve realized that I’ve been reading mainly women writers and I’ve been having trouble getting into the writing of male authors. This troubles me because I really want to diversify my reading experience but every time I pick up a book that interests me, it seems to be by a woman and I can’t seem to get into books, especially novels, written by men. Do you have any suggestions on how to go about fixing this and are there any authors you would recommend to an unconscious literary misandrist?

Confused and lost,




It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers (YALSA)

So You Want to Read YA? (Stacked Books)

Young Adult Books to Read This Summer Instead of Reading Harry Potter (Upworthy)

13 Literary Books That Young Adult Readers Will Love (BuzzFeed)

Alex Awards (ALA)


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