7 Multicultural Stories to Read in 2017 | In the Spotlight Guest Post

Posted on February 3, 2017 «
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7 Multicultural Stories to Read in 2017

by Cassie Phillips


While it may seem all the mainstream authors are churning out the same material—murder, mystery, and mayhem has taken the shape of vampires, post apocalyptic worlds, and Fifty Shades—there are plenty of multicultural picks to choose from if you go looking. Like Native-American-style storytelling? There’s plenty of that. Love the flavor of Latino culture? There’s that as well. While none of the stories are the same, they all paint amazing literary portraits from around the world from writers that aren’t so run-of-the-mill.

So if you’re on a mission to make better reading choices in the new year, this list of 7 Multicultural Stories to Read in 2017 is a great place to start. What are you waiting for? Get to turning these pages!

7 Multicultural Stories to Read in 2017

A Cheaters Guide to Love

1. A Cheater’s Guide to Love, Junot Díaz

Díaz is a master of words, and A Cheater’s Guide to Love has a caliber of storytelling that gets you to refrain from judgment and involve yourself in the story—even if the protagonist is the most cheating, anti-hero of any story you’ve ever read. Following one of Díaz’s favorite characters, Yunior, this one tells of Dominican culture, modern gender roles, and the everyday life of one man as he deals with his transgressions. Originally printed in The New Yorker, it also appears in This Is How You Lose Her, a collection of more short stories from Díaz about Yunior.

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Norwegian Wood

2. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age story with a new twist: nostalgia. The tale takes us through the university scene of Tokyo in the 1960s as our protagonist remembers his defining romantic relationships—one with an energetic, bright girl, another with a beautiful yet deeply troubled girl. With the student movement in the background, readers will fall in love with Toru Watanabe’s naiveté and spirit, making this one a great one to remember old lessons learned.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

With comic book drawings and add-ins and a main character whose self-descriptions will either have you rolling on the floor laughing or crying, this book is about how one Native American kid from the reservation gets the opportunity to study in a predominately white school. Once there, he finds himself struggling to live a life between the two worlds. Though targeted to young adults, it’s great for any age and is one that will open the eyes of American readers.

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Marielitos, Balseros and Other Exiles

4. Marielitos, Balseros and Other Exiles, Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

This collection of stories studies the culture and traditions of the Cuban Americans who fled their homeland during the 1980 Mariel boat lift, the rafters who made it to the mainland in the years after and everyone else in between. Their lives often don’t have a voice in the mainstream literary world, but these tales expose the true hardiness and resilience of the Cuban American community as they hold onto their past and strive to make their place in the present world.

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5. Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko

Part war story and part healing medicine, this novel by Leslie Marmon Silko was published in the 1960s and subsequently started an entire literary movement. Combining the traditional ceremonial practices of the Navajo and Pueblo people as well as their unique storytelling, Ceremony centers on a half Laguna, half white soldier suffering from PTSD after participating in the Bataan Death March and watching his cousin die. This pick is for those who enjoy history and have a love for words. Silko is a singularly gifted writer whose use of the English language takes on a life and a spirit all its own.

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The Color Purple

6. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

This classic from Alice Walker definitely belongs on your must-read list if you haven’t gotten around to it. Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, this novel expounds on the social constraints of black women in the U.S. during the early 19th century in a heartbreaking story that will resonate with every reader. Once you’re done, the film based on the book is streaming on American Netflix so you can experience the same life-altering tale in a new medium.

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7. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this story based in contrasts, Americanah dives into the tough subject of how race and ethnicity change a person. The novel follows two Nigerian lovers as a military dictator comes to power in their country. While one is granted the opportunity to study in America, the other is denied a visa and decides to move to London instead, pursuing an undocumented life and future there. The two undergo incredible personal transformations and discover how much identity and individual experience can make a difference even between two people who share the closest relationship. Adichie’s previous novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, won numerous awards, and her storytelling is one for the ages.

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Whether you’re looking for something to take your mind off the world or to understand it a little better, these 7 Multicultural Stories to Read in 2017 will provide all the great storytelling, heartbreaking plot twists and incredible ah-ha moments readers love. What are you waiting for? Get to reading, and then leave me a comment about how you liked them below!



About Cassie Phillips

headshot cassie phillips

Cassie is an avid reader of everything from comic books to Harry Potter, and she’s always after her next great read. More likely to be found with an overdue library book than a Pokémon Go account, she hopes you enjoy these great reads.