Publications

    If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Qurʼan
    Power, Carla. If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Qurʼan. 1st ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015. View the BookAbstract
    If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship -- between a secular American and a madrasa-trained sheikh -- had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text. A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humor and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars.
    She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders
    Boylan, Jennifer Finney. She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders. 1st ed. New York: Broadway Books, 2003. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "

    When she changed genders, she changed the world.  It was the groundbreaking publication of She’s Not There in 2003 that jump-started the transgender revolution. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan – a cast member on I Am Cait; an advisor to the television series Transparent, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times – explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of love and family.
     
    She’s Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity.  Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself:  What is it that makes us—ourselves?  What does it mean to be a man, or a woman?  How much could my husband, or wife, change—and still be recognizable as the one I love?
     
    Boylan’s humorous, wise voice helped make She’s Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American–and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them.  This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny’s wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo.
     
    “Love will prevail,” said Boylan’s conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter’s identity. She’s Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible." - provided by publisher.

    Autobiography of a Face
    Grealy, Lucy. Autobiography of a Face. First Mariner Books edition. Boston: Mariner Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "This powerful memoir is about the premium we put on beauty and on a woman's face in particular. It took Lucy Grealy twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance after childhood cancer and surgery that left her jaw disfigured. As a young girl, she absorbed the searing pain of peer rejection and the paralyzing fear of never being loved"– provided by publisher.
    Socialist Realism
    Low, Trisha. Socialist Realism. Minneapolis, Brookyln: Coffee House Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "As she recovers from a breakup with a lover who had meant everything to her, Trisha Low grapples with the meaning of everything, in memoir rich with theory and digression, but also in stark, gorgeous imagery and memorable, epigrammatic insight. Low, a young queer woman from a Singaporean family, must travel between the American coasts and experience debasement both routine -- in the form of sexist, racist world around her -- and extraordinary -- in the form of (for example) an S&M waterboarding workshop -- in order to come to terms with the end of her relationship and the beginning of the next chapter of her adult life"-- Provided by publisher.
    In the Dream House: A Memoir
    Machado, Carmen Maria. In the Dream House: A Memoir. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "The author's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming."
    The Argonauts
    Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
    My Body is a Book of Rules
    Washuta, Elissa. My Body is a Book of Rules. Pasadena, CA: Red Hen Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren't threatening her life, they're shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. Her crisis of American Indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. Sifting through the scraps of her past in seventeen formally inventive chapters, Washuta aligns the strictures of her Catholic school education with Cosmopolitan's mandates for womanhood, views memories through the distorting lens of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and contrasts her bipolar highs and lows with those of Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain. Built on the bones of fundamental identity questions as contorted by a distressed brain, My Body Is a Book of Rules pulls no punches in its self-deprecating and ferocious look at human fallibility.
    Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology
    Willis, Morgan Mann, ed. Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology. Riverdale, NY: Riverdale Avenue Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An anthology of more than 50 stories, memoirs, poems, ideas, essays and letters–all examining what it looks like, feels like, and is like to inhabit masculinity outside of cisgender manhood as people of color in the world.
    Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
    Gay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. New York: Harper, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Roxane Gay addresses the experience of living in a body that she calls 'wildly undisciplined.' She casts an insightful and critical eye over her childhood, teens, and twenties -- including the devastating act of violence that was a turning point at age 12 -- and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With candor, vulnerability, and authority, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen."
    We Are Bridges: A Memoir
    Lane, Cassandra. We Are Bridges: A Memoir. New York: Feminist Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "Cassandra Lane's debut memoir WE ARE BRIDGES follows her late entry into pregnancy and motherhood. As she prepares to give birth, she traces the history of her Black American family in the early twentieth-century rural South, including the lynching of her great-grandfather, Burt Bridges, and the pregnancy of her great-grandmother, Mary. With almost no physical record of her ancestors, Cassandra crafts a narrative of familial love and loss to pass on to her child, rescuing the story of her family from erasure"-- Provided by publisher.

    Know My Name: A Memoir
    Miller, Chanel. Know My Name: A Memoir. New York: Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "She was know to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford's campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral--viewed by almost eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time. Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways--there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life. "Know My Name" will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic." -- summary from book jacket.

    Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
    Mock, Janet. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. New York: Atria Books, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "In a landmark book, an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen--a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism. In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America. Welcomed into the world as her parents' firstborn son, Mock set out early on to be her own person--no simple feat for a young person like herself. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving, yet ill-equipped family that lacked money, education, and resources. Mock had to navigate her way through her teen years without parental guidance but luckily with a few close friends and mentors she overcame extremely daunting hurdles. This powerful memoir follows Mock's quest for identity, from her early gender conviction to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that found her transitioning through the halls of her school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. Ever resilient, Mock emerged with a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned her masters degree, basked in the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. It wasn't until Mock fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams that she felt ready to finally tell her story, becoming a fierce advocate for girls like herself. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness shows as never before what it means to be a woman today and how to be yourself when you don't fit the mold created for you"-- Provided by publisher.

    The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in
    Salman, Ayser. The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    "You know that feeling of being at the wrong end of the table? Like you’re at a party but all the good stuff is happening out of earshot (#FOMO)? That’s life—especially for an immigrant.

    What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable (albeit fascist-regimed) homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohio—with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned?

    This is Ayser Salman’s story. First comes Emigration, then Naturalization, and finally Assimilation—trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts, and always feeling left out. On her journey to Americanhood, Ayser sees more naked butts at pre-kindergarten daycare that she would like, breaks one of her parents’ rules (“Thou shalt not participate as an actor in the school musical where a male cast member rests his head in thy lap”), and other things good Muslim Arab girls are not supposed to do. And, after the 9/11 attacks, she experiences the isolation of being a Muslim in her own country. It takes hours of therapy, fifty-five rounds of electrolysis, and some ill-advised romantic dalliances for Ayser to grow into a modern Arab American woman who embraces her cultural differences.

    Part memoir and part how-not-to guide, The Wrong End of the Table is everything you wanted to know about Arabs but were afraid to ask, with chapters such as “Tattoos and Other National Security Risks,” “You Can’t Blame Everything on Your Period; Sometimes You’re Going to Be a Crazy Bitch: and Other Advice from Mom,” and even an open letter to Trump. This is the story of every American outsider on a path to find themselves in a country of beautiful diversity." --Publisher description.

    In the Country of Women: A Memoir
    Straight, Susan. In the Country of Women: A Memoir. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight--and eventually her three daughters--heard for decades the stories of Dwayne's female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight's mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan's family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward--from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California. A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan--those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, "The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival." In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women." -- from Jacket.
    Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else
    Giménez Smith, Carmen. Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else. Camino del sol. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric memoir to shed light on the difficulties—and joys—of being a mother juggling work, art, raising children, pregnancy, and being a daughter to an ailing mother, and, perhaps most important, offering a rigorous and intensely imaginative contemplation on the concept of motherhood as such.

    Writing in fragmented yet coherent sections, the author shares with us her interior monologue, affording the reader a uniquely honest, insightful, and deeply personal glimpse into a woman’s first and second journeys into motherhood. Giménez Smith begins Bring Down the Little Birds by detailing the relationship with her own mother, from whom her own concept of motherhood originated, a conception the author continually reevaluates and questions over the course of the book.

    Combining fragments of thought, daydreams, entries from notebooks both real and imaginary, and real-life experiences, Giménez Smith interrogates everything involved in becoming and being a mother for both the first and second time, from wondering what her children will one day know about her own “secret life” to meditations on the physical effects of pregnancy as well as the myths, the nostalgia, and the glorification of motherhood.

    While Giménez Smith incorporates universal experiences of motherhood that other authors have detailed throughout literature, what separates her book from these many others is that her reflections are captured in a style that establishes an intimacy and immediacy between author and reader through which we come to know the secret life of a mother and are made to question our own conception of what motherhood really means."

    Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States
    Allen, Samantha. Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States. First Back Bay trade paperback edition. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A transgender reporter's narrative tour through the surprisingly vibrant queer communities sprouting up in red states, offering a vision of a stronger, more humane America. Ten years ago, Samantha Allen was a suit-and-tie-wearing Mormon missionary who cited the Bible to denounce homosexuality. Now she's a senior Daily Beast reporter happily married to another woman. A lot in her life has changed, but what hasn't changed is her deep love of red state America, and of queer people who stay in so-called flyover country rather than moving to the liberal coasts. In Real Queer America, Allen takes us on a cross-country road trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah, to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt and to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: 'Something gay every day.' Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to extraordinary LGBT people working for change, including the first openly transgender mayor in Texas, a bisexual activist in Mississippi, the manager of the only queer bar in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more. Along the way, Allen weaves in her own moving story of discovering her identity, venturing out of the closet, meeting her wife, and creating a national network of chosen family. In writing this book, she takes her place among them, reclaiming 'real America' as beautifully, unequivocally, powerfully queer. While Allen faces the dark realities and challenges of queer life in the United States head-on her book is anything but despairing. Real Queer America is a story of hope, joy, friendship, and the exhilarating possibility of change for the better."--Jacket., Review: Capturing profound cultural shifts underway in unexpected places and revealing a national network of chosen family fighting for a better world, this is a treasure trove of uplifting stories and a much-needed source of hope and inspiration in these divided times."
    Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement
    Burke, Tarana. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement. First edition. New York, NY: Flatiron Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the "me too" movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words-me too-and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history. Tarana didn't always have the courage to say "me too." As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work...until it didn't. Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves. Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman's inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying "me too," Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys"-- Provided by publisher.
    The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir
    Harper, Michele. The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.


    In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

    The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician." - Publisher description.

    Nonbinary: A Memoir
    P-Orridge, Genesis. Nonbinary: A Memoir. New York: Abrams Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey Required]

    "In a memoir spanning decades of artistic risk-taking, Genesis P-Orridge, the inventor of "industrial music," founder of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and world-renowned fine artist takes us on a journey through creativity and destruction, pleasure and pain. Genesis's unwillingness to be stuck-in one place, in one genre, or in one gender-will be an inspiration to the newest generation of trailblazers and nonconformists. It's for an audience that cannot and will not be ignored. 'Nonbinary' has far-reaching potential because of Genesis's remarkable body of work. It is full of great stories about Genesis's experiences with icons like William S. Burroughs and Ian Curtis."