Diversifying Your Bookshelf


If you know me in my personal life, you’ll know that I love to read and listen to audiobooks. I love to read memoirs, biographies, and all forms of non-fiction. At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost my love of reading and really struggled to finish the book I was reading.

As social injustices and systemic racism continued to be uncovered this past month, my motivation to read returned. However, I decided to be intentional in the books I’ve read and listened to. I engaged in books from BIPOC and the LGBTQ2S* community or about BIPOC, trying to diversify my library and in attempts of learning.

Here are some of the books I’ve read this June:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

This book is about the systemic racism in America regarding how society has formed into creating “new” Jim Crow laws through the way different communities are treated. Alexander explores the disproportionate numbers of black men in the U.S. criminal justice system. This was written in 2010 but I listened to the tenth anniversary edition which includes a forward from 2020.

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

This is a workbook that I’ve been working through over the past month. It is meant to be done over 28 days, however, I have to admit I’ve been spending more than a day on each designated day. This workbook encourages you to turn inward and reflect on your outward behaviours, whether intentional or not. It continues to be hard, which is a good thing. 

This One Looks Like A Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man by Lorimer Shenher

This memoir goes through Lorimer’s life as he grapples with his gender identity throughout his life. Lorimer candidly shared his experiences as a child not identifying with his gender assigned at birth, in a time where there was no conversation about transgender folks happening. I highly recommend this book.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

To be honest, at the time I’m writing this, I’m currently halfway through Tagaq’s book. Tagaq is a well known Inuit throat singer, who’s poetic way of writing really shines throughout this book of stories from growing up in what is now known as Nunavut. While I haven’t finished the book, I do recommend listening to it as the audiobook includes Tagaq’s throat singing, and I also recommend having a hard copy to revisit her stories. I look forward to finishing it. 

What are other books I should check out? Leave a comment and let me know.

Written by Alana Kaplan, Project Manager for the I Am Resilient Project.

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