The importance of diversity in books has been talked about many times and it is often seen as something “extra” in a book, while it should (according to me and many others) be considered as normal. When a book is not diverse, it should be the exception, instead of the rule. Therefore I have thought of something to rate every book I read, to see how diverse I actually read.
I will rate all the books I read on 5 different criteria, and each book can gain a maximum of 1 point per criteria. Half points can be given if the book for example only partly takes place in a non-western setting or a character is not openly LGTB+.
The 5 criteria are:
- There is at least one POC (person of colour) / non-Caucasian (meaning: not white) character. Only main characters and important side characters count.
- Everything, Everything (has a black MC) would be given 1 point, as would Winter (The Lunar Chronicles; has a black MC) and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (has an Asian MC).
- City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) would not be given a point.
- There is at least one LGTBQIAP (lesbian/gay/trans/bi/queer/intersex/ace/pan) character. Only main characters and important side characters count.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (has a gay character) would be given 1 point, as would Radio Silence (has an ace character).
- A Court of Thorns and Roses would not be given a point.
- There is at least one character with a disability/disorder/disease, this can be either mental or physical. Examples of mental disabilities/disorders are OCD, anxiety, amnesia, PTSD, examples of physical disabilities/diseases are paralysis, missing limbs, skin diseases, cancer. Only main characters and important side characters count.
- The Fault in Our Stars (MC has cancer) would be given 1 point, as would The One Memory of Flora Banks (MC has amnesia).
- Shadow and Bone (the Grisha Trilogy) would not be given a point.
- There is at least one character from an ethnic, cultural or religious minority. Only main characters and important side characters count.
- Examples are hard to find, but Everything is Illuminated would be given 1 point.
- Since You’ve Been Gone would not be given a point.
- The story takes place in a non-western setting. Only main characters and important side characters count.
- The Wrath & The Dawn would be given 1 point,
- Fantasy settings that are based on western societies such as in The Hunger Games would not be given any points.
I will do a complete example of the book that is probably the most widely read: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which would get 0 points (sadly). Another example is Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles), this would be given 3 points (POC: Cinder & her family are Asian, disability: cyborg arm (I would consider this a disability because it is considered a disability in the books), non-western setting: Eastern Commonwealth which is based on China).
I have made myself an Excel file of all the books I have read and will update this throughout the year so I can see how diverse the books are that I read and to keep actively busy with diversity in books, because only now that I am filling it in I realize how little diversity there is in many of the books I read.
I will from now on add a diversity rating to every review and will add the info as described above to the review policy tab in my header with so I can refer to it and people know what I am talking about.
Do you think this is a good system? Have I made any mistakes in the way I assigned the points? How do you keep track of how diverse the books you read are? Do you keep track?