Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Diaspora in literature is something that appeals to us greatly, primarily because two out of the three GB ladies happen to be living outside of their home country (that will be me, living in Singapore; and Fats who is an immigrant in the US). Over the years, we’ve had quite a number of reading themes that touch on this. Click on the widgets below to be taken to lists of titles that we have explored and featured here.

One of the things that we usually do before we launch our reading theme is to search online for lists that would fuel our book hunting expeditions as we search for titles that would be a good-enough match. Here are a few lists that caught our eyes, and made us actively hunt down a few titles, or to at least dig up our unread dusty copies from our bookshelves.

Best Diasporic Fiction from Goodreads

There are 19 books in this list, and here are the few that caught my eye, and I wish I had time to read:

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (a novel that my 15 year old is currently reading in preparation for her Literature Year 4 class in the coming school year – all the more reason for me to read this), The Undead by Michael Pugh, The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh, The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar.

Goodreads List of Immigrant Experience (Fiction / Nonfiction) in Literature

There are 681 titles in this list, including graphic novels, middle grade fiction, nonfiction titles, memoirs, so a whole LOT to mine here. I have only gone through the first hundred titles, and already, I want to immediately find these books:

White Teeth by Zadie Smith, The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, An Ishmael of Syria by Asaad Almohammad, Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (I have this book aging and practically dying in my bookshelves, I should resurrect it soonest).

Popular Immigrant Themed Picture Books Shelf in Goodreads

So many familiar titles in this list (51 books in all), so I will only be highlighting those which we have yet to feature here at GB.

La Mariposa by Francisco Jimenez and Simon Silva, Coolies by Yin and Chris Soentpiet, The Dream On Blanca’s Wall El Sueno Pegado En LA Pared De Blanca: Poems in English and Spanish/Poemas En Ingles Y Espanol by Jane Medina and Robert Casilla, Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger and Miriam Nerlove, We Came To America by Faith Ringgold.

12 Essential Books Celebrating Women Writers of the African Diaspora

This list is created by Dianca Potts for Signature-Reads. A few titles that I want to read now are the following:

The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans, Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair, Negroland by Margo Jefferson, Anything We Love Can Be Saved by Alive Walker, What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons, Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name – A Biomythography by Audre Lorde.

Any other lists that you think we missed? We are looking for the following titles:

  • Diaspora or written by authors in diaspora – not necessarily limited to the Jewish experience
  • Dispersion or spread from one’s home land
  • (Im)migration, refugee experience, finding sanctuary
  • Journeys, travels, moving and writing home
  • Peripatetic adventures, itinerant existence, wandering, on-the road, vagabond way of being

Looking forward to your recommendations! Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] Links to Diasporic Fiction, Immigrant Experience, Writing Home

  1. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is pretty excellent. I read White Teeth many years ago but don’t remember much about it except that it’s kind of long and meandering. I think I liked it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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