12 May 2015

Dive Into Diversity: How Diverse Are Your Shelves? Experiment

For today's post, I wanted to do a little bookish experiment. Basically, I wanted to examine my shelf with a critical eye and see how diverse they really are. After all, if we want more diversity, we have to support it, right? The results were certainly interesting...
The facts: 
- All up, I have 191 books. (This is only counting books I keep on my shelf. I also have others in cupboards that I’m finished with, on loan, ect.)
- After sorting through, I found 31 books that counted as diverse, including QUILTBAG, POC, authors of colour, nerodiversity, ect. I went off what I knew and Goodreads, so it’s a rough estimate, give or take a few.
- So to sum up, my shelves are 1/6 diverse.

Now for some picture evidence...

Now, the first picture is my shelf with any diverse titles removed. And the second drastic picture, where-did-all-the-books? go are the diverse titles I own:

Quite an eye-opener, huh?

Was I surprised by the results?
Yes, but also, sadly, no.
No, because you have to counter in the diverse books available/published vs. all the other books. That is, the latter dominates.
Yes, because I thought my shelves were more diverse than they are. So to see photos and numbers showing otherwise was quite a realisation.

What did I learn?
Well, my shelves are definitely not as diverse as I’d like them to be. I wouldn’t say I make a special note to buy them, but I’m learning it’s very important to do so. Because the bottom line is: If we buy and borrow and request them, publishers will print them, libraries will have them and bookshops will sell them. It’s as simple as that.

So…what did you think of my little experiment? 
How diverse do you think your shelves really are?


  1. I don't want to admit it BUT honestly, I think my shelves are even less diversified than yours. Which is so, so sad. I'd love to read so many more diverse books but there's such a gaping hole in the market. I'm so glad that we're getting more diversity in YA nowadays though!

  2. Like Jess, it's sad to admit but I don't think I have that many diverse books in comparison to the amount of books I have on my shelves too :| It's definitely time to fix that up and buy more diverse books! My copy of Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee just arrived so that's one already!

  3. This is actually really eye-opening. I'm currently away from my books, but I know for a fact that I won't have that many diverse books, and I don't know exactly how that makes me feel. I feel as though I really should have more, and I definitely should have more that compliment my own personal preferences, and I think I'm lucky because there's more diversity in UK reads I've found, but it will be great to check out my books when I'm back.

    Thanks for sharing your books Rebecca!<3

  4. I have quite a few, but in ratio to the amount of bookcases I have, probably not that great. I have quite a few that are contemporaries that heavily discuss mental illness, I think more than any other genre that can fit into the diverse category really. I think I've read 5 or more so far this year. I think I'm sorely lacking in GLBT novels at a glace. Quite a few have the token gay friend in them, but not many with the main character. I'll have to go searching I think. I'd love to see more Aussie YA with indigenous Australians. So far I've only come across Nona & Me and The Tribe series. I find them more spiritual, without being religious and gives us an insight into indigenous communities that we probably wouldn't be able to explore otherwise.

    Great discussion Bec, I think if most of us took a good look at our shelves, we'd realise how lacking in diversity they are <3

  5. Okay, this is really interesting and enlightening. I want to analyze my shelves now!

  6. This is a really great exercise. I like to think I have a pretty good percentage of books that would be considered diverse but you've got me really curious!! Thanks for sharing your shelves :) I spy Openly Straight- loved that one!!

  7. Sadly, I have more books in piles than I do on bookcases. (Seriously need to rearrange my room, get my new bookcases up, and my books off the floor/desk!) However, I do make a point of trying to read diversely, especially LGBTQ YA, so I don't think I would be that bad. I'll definitely have far more non-diverse books, because, as you said, there are far more of them available generally, but I don't think I'll be doing too badly. At least I hope so! When I'm able, maybe I'll try out your experiment.

    How you have managed to keep your number of books down to 191 I do not know! Lol.

  8. I have to admit that I'm a little scared to do this myself. I'm embarrassed by how non-diverse my bookshelf is. Now that I'm working on a diverse book site, I'm using the library more than buying books to keep costs down- but I want to remember to support authors I care about :). Thanks for the reminder. - Anisha (The Bookmark Place)