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Reflection

Black and Asian Authors

One thing that I found disturbing was to see a section in the Reading Central library called Black and Asian Authors. I have been a member of many libraries in the UK, (Manchester, Burgess Hill, Wimbledon previously) I have never seen one with this section. It probably makes my life easier because then I could go straight to that section and get what I want, and there are usually good books, prize winners and works that I like to read about, such as Khaled Hosseini, Vikram Seth of A Suitable Boy, VS Naipaul, Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro, Monica Ali of Brick Lane, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith etc. all very talented, colourful authors who had received the highest accolades in the literary world. 

The section connotes a certain kind of stigma. The section feels like it belongs to another world, another world which is un-English. For the time I am there in the library, I don’t see a lot of library visitors hover around that section. 

It is such a shame really. If you are a British-Asian or American-Asian author, do you really want to see your books sitting in this section? Wouldn’t you want your books to sit at the general popular fictions which runs alphabetically (the Reading Library has one too)? Do you want your books to be read for your literary genius or for the colour of your skin? If I hadn’t known Sadie Jones, Zadie Smith or some English sounding name is black-African, would I end up browsing the popular fiction and miss some of the wonderful stories from a writer of different ethnic origin? 

And why do we need to classify books myopically? Why does the library has to classify books into sci-fi and fantasy, crime fiction, and general fiction? What happens if it is a Black and Asian author who writes about murder? What happens if it is sci-fi and also crime fiction? Which section should we place her /his books? The book stores don’t do that, why should library classify it this way? I am tempted to discuss or write about this to the library. Perhaps the catalogue system had serves me well so far, so I am not complaining, but if the Black-Asian authors knew about this, they might.

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, is sitting at the best seller section now. Soon in a year’s time it will be placed back in this section called Black and Asian Authors. Would that upset him? If President Barack Obama wrote fictions, would his books end up in the Black and Asian Authors corner in the Reading Central Library? Most probably it would.

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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