Open Discussion – What prevents you from reading?

Hooray for Saturday!

Today, I’m bringing you your favorite open discussion (at least I hope we’re your favorite).

I wanted to examine diversity in Christian fiction a little more deeply today. We’ve talked about who writes it, avoiding stereotypes, etc. What I want to delve into today is its lack of reception.

Why do readers assume they cannot identify with minority characters? Now this question isn’t just for the majority to answer, but all ethnic groups. What prevents you (the reader) from picking up a book with diverse characters in it?

As always, keep it kind and an open mind.


Written by Toni Shiloh

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10 thoughts on “Open Discussion – What prevents you from reading?

  1. If it is a story or genre I don’t read. For example, I don’t read romance generally. I have read some books with romance like Waiting to Exhale, Like Water for Chocolate, Jane Eyre, but if it looks like (either by the cover or by the back cover blurb) a typical “romance” book, I probably won’t read it. I prefer contemporary (in general), political, drama, fantasy, amd the occasional mystery. A lot of Christian fiction is in the romance genre…so that’s why I won’t read it. Like if the cover has people looking over their shoulder, or holding hands, or people in general, I usually won’t get it (or even read the blurb) unless it looks unique.

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  2. I am the exact opposite of athewriter. I LOVE romance and I read Christian Fiction almost exclusively. I actively look for diversity in fiction and I am happy to identify well-written characters — minority or otherwise. What will keep me from reading a book regardless of the ethnicity or ability of the characters is foul language and explicit scenes. I’m not the type of reader who can just skim over something I might find offensive — I need to read every word and totally immerse myself in the story. And I appreciate a solid inspirational thread as well.

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  3. I read broadly. Working in a bookstore has exposed me to genres and authors that I wouldn’t have found on my own. Having said that, I read characters all the time who are not like me. My favorite book, next to the Bible, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. If I needed to “identify” with her characters, I would have never found the most amazing book ever. I think one of the challenges of diverse Christian fiction is this idea that you need to identify with it to read it. If that were the case, people of color wouldn’t read books featuring Caucasian characters. All I need for me to read outside my culture and race is a compelling character and an engaging plot. I don’t always need characters to be exactly like me. I like to experience other cultures in races in my reading. It’s funny how we read books and watch movies with aliens or animals and enjoy them, but we can’t identify with a human of color. Then one would have to ask themselves is identifying really the issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love: “It’s funny how we read books and watch movies with aliens or animals and enjoy them, but we can’t identify with a human of color.” Yes! This sums up my thoughts perfectly. And of course, it’s not all people who do this, but there are too many that do. It seems some publishing companies still have this attitude, because they feel they have to market differently.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Totally love what you are saying here, Terri. Maybe instead of identify we should be thinking a long the lines of connecting with a character. I love getting emotionally involved with a story — experience what the characters are feeling, thinking. I become them for a while. As to aliens or animals — that’s such a great point!!!! I can totally identify with Reepicheep in the Chronicles of Narnia and I can’t kill a spider because Charlotte made a huge impression on me. 🙂

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  4. If the book is truly DIVERSE, than it should have characters somewhere, who we can all identify with. I think sometimes we call novels which have minority characters in them “diverse” when really they are not. Though I read broadly by theme, time-period, and type of character, I would much prefer to see more books that have a truly diverse population. Mostly because it feels more realistic to me since that is like the world I live in. I have sometimes been stunned at novels that are set near my area where not only is most of the cast white, but they keep tripping over Bible-believing Christians like they are a dime a dozen. That has never been my experience in the Baltimore-Washington area. I like to see characters that range from black to white, asian, middle-eastern, jewish, muslim, etc. etc. I know an author may not be able to fit them all into one book, but when they have some, the book has more “flavor” to me because likely they will also include dashes of culture as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel that way when I read a book set in Chicago and not a single mention of any minority characters is in a novel. It’s unreal. I applaud those who try, but like you said we can’t fit them all into one book.

      Liked by 1 person

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