Hello friends! How are you all? I hope you’re doing wonderfully and that you’re having a lovely day.
This is my second scheduled post while I’m on hiatus, and today’s post is all about identity. I have chosen this theme because although I’m going on holiday, I’ll be rediscovering (or reconnecting?) with my cultural roots. I was born in New Zealand, but hold my heritage very close to my heart. Having two cultural identities is a wonderful thing that took me many years to accept and love, and I am blessed to have the best of two worlds.
Though I am talking specifically about cultural identity, I would love to share some books that explore the many other facets of identity too. Identity is something that is unique to all of us, and it is a both a process and project, and the many differences are beautiful and something to celebrate.
Lastly, I invite you all to share your thoughts and your own book recommendations with me, if you have any!
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – I loved this book and am taking the opportunity to rave about it again! Though More Happy Than Not explores many, many different themes, the one that stands out is his exploration of being gay in a poor community where homosexuality is misunderstood and not accepted. Aaron’s exploration of his own identity is excellently written and wonderfully done – a must read for everyone. (Goodreads, my review)
For Today I’m a Boy by Kim Fu – Another of my 2015 favourites, this profound and unforgettable book explores the life of Peter Huang – a Chinese trans woman, an incredibly invisible narrative, which is why For Today I Am a Boy is so so necessary and important. Whilst also addressing and exploring Peter’s process of discovering her identity, this book also offers a raw and honest exploration of the difficulties of growing up in a patriarchal and traditional Chinese home. (Goodreads, my review)
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Aside from being the most adorable and sweetest romances, this gorgeous gem is about Simon, a gay character, who develops an unorthodox relationship with another boy – though his identity is unknown. Simon also features wonderful platonic relationships, the tribulations of high school, and a lot of warm, happy feels. (Goodreads)
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman – I read this in high school, and this book really changed my perspective in race and identity. In a world where Crosses, dark-skinned individuals, are the ruling class and Noughts, the ‘colourless’ underclass, were formerly slaves to the Crosses, this book is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but also explores the racial identity and the essence of social constructions. (Goodreads)
The Arrival by Shaun Tan – Probably one of my favourite illustrated books of all time, The Arrival tells an emotional, profound, and deep story through incredible illustrations – and no words. Featuring a heartfelt narrative of immigration and family, it also explores the beautiful and important elements of who we are and what makes us human. (Goodreads)
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok – This book is the immigrant experience story that people ought to read. It follows Kimberly’s emigration to the United States, where she and her mother begin their new journey and life. Fraught with obstacles, including language barriers, working underpaid in a factory, and struggling in her new school as an immigrant, Girl in Translation is an earnest portrayal of finding one’s identity in a new place. (Goodreads)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – If you haven’t read this book already, add it to your to-reads! Beauty Queens is about a plane-full of beauty pageant contestants who survive after a plane crashes on an island – killing everyone but them. Absolutely hilarious, silly and fun, but it’s also – surprisingly – a satire of a range of social issues, including white supremacy, feminism, consumerism, and corporatism. (Goodreads)
Black Iris by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake – Dark, gritty, and not for the faint of heart, Black Iris may be a revenge tale that promises no redemption, but it also explores Laney’s identity – something she has yet to figure out and fully understand. (Goodreads, my review)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A fantastic dystopia and impactful book, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a world where women have become objects and tools for an extreme religious and patriarchal society. Centred on Offred, the story explores the new world created by Republic of Gilead, but also examines how her identity is influenced by her past, present, and future, showing that society plays a big part in shaping who we are. (Goodreads, my review)
I am sure I am missing many, many books that explore identity, so what are some books on your mind? What are some books that explore identity? Any recommendations? Were there any books that made a big impact for you, or shaped your own identity?
Let me know in the comments! Have a wonderful day everyone, and thank you again for visiting!