10 Classics to Diversify Your Reading

There are thousands of different religions, nationalities, and other groups of people all across the world, and each one has its own culture and traditions.  It’s honestly the most beautiful thing about humanity.  We are creators, believers, and innovators.  We are all unique, yet we are all bonded together by hope for the future.  Due to recent events, I have felt inspired to broaden the amount of cultures I’m exposed to by diversifying my reading.  This week I have decided to compile a list of ten classics by people of color (including people of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern backgrounds).  For those who would simply like to experience a new perspective, consider giving one of these a try.

  1. The Analects by Confucius – For lovers of philosophy, this is a collection of sayings and ideas taught by the philosopher Confucius.  After his death in 497 BC several of his students compiled his work into this fascinating read.
  2. One Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous – This is a collection of stories told within the frame narrative of a woman named Shahrazad whose husband, the king, has had each of his previous wives executed after one night of marriage.  In order to keep herself alive, Shahrazad tells a story each night to keep her husband’s wrath at bay.
  3. Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano – This is the first narrative written by a slave to be widely read.  In it he discusses many of the experiences he had as a slave in Britain during the 18th century.
  4. The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone Part 1) by Cao Xueqin – This is a magical story discussing the struggles of life (such as sibling rivalry, love affairs, and even murder) from the context of Buddhist beliefs.
  5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – This is a fascinating story following a young Frenchman’s need for revenge after being betrayed by men he once saw as friends.  It’s a pretty long one, but definitely worth the read.
  6. Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth – Another memoir regarding Sojourner’s experiences with slavery as well as her life as a traveling preacher.  Whereas Olaudah Equiano’s narrative focuses on slavery in Britain, Sojourner’s is based in America.
  7. The Curse of Caste, or The Slave Bride by Julia C. Collins – This was the first ever novel published by an American black woman.  It follows the experiences of a mixed-race mother and daughter living in Louisiana and then Connecticut.
  8. Hawai’i’s Story by Hawai’i’s Queen by Queen Lili’uokalani – This is a key piece of Hawaiian literature in which their queen pleas for a restoration of her people’s kingdom.
  9. The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China by Lu Xun – Lu Xun is considered by many to be one of China’s greatest modern writers.  His works kick-started a great deal of modern Chinese Literature.  His stories are rich with discussion of the beauty of Chinese culture and traditions.
  10. Passing by Nella Larsen – This is the story of two childhood friends from Harlem as they reconnect after many years apart.  It was first published in the late 1920s and received a great deal of critical acclaim at the time.