Publications

    Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story
    Kweli, Talib. Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "One of the most lyrically gifted, socially conscious rappers of the past twenty years offers a firsthand account of hip-hop as a political force in addition to illuminating his own upbringing and artistic success."

    Before Talib Kweli became a world-renowned hip-hop artist, he was a Brooklyn kid who wandered the streets of Greenwich Village with a motley crew of artists, rappers, and DJs who found hip-hop more inspiring than their textbooks. Kweli's was the first generation to grow up with hip-hop as established culture. As childhood friendships turned into collaborations, Kweli gained notoriety as a rapper in his own right, ultimately leaving his record label, and taking control of his own recording career. Here Kweli tells the winding, always compelling story of the people and events that shaped his own life as well as the culture of hip-hop that informs American culture at large." -- adapted from jacket
    Season of Migration to the North
    Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. New York Review Books classics. New York: New York Review of Books, 2009. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    After years of study in Europe, the young narrator returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood--the enigmatic Mustafa Sa'eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.

    Parade: A Folktale
    Kawakami, Hiromi, Allison Markin Powell, and Takato Yoshitomi. Parade: A Folktale. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "On a summer afternoon, Tsukiko and her former high school teacher have prepared and eaten somen noodles together. 'Tell me a story from long ago,' Sensei says. 'I wasn't alive long ago,' Tsukiko says, 'but should I tell you a story from when I was little?' 'Please do,' Sensei replies, and so Tsukiko tells him that, when she was a child, she awakened one day to find something with a pale red face and something with a dark red face in her room, arguing with each other. They had human bodies, long noses, and wings. They were tengu, creatures that appear in Japanese folktales. The tengu attach themselves to Tsukiko and begin to follow her everywhere. Where did they come from and why are they here? And what other invisible and unacknowledged forces are acting upon Tsukiko's seemingly peaceful world?"– provided by publisher.
    Sweet Bean Paste
    Sukegawa, Dorian. Sweet Bean Paste. London: Oneworld, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste. But everything is about to change. Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue's dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences." (Publisher's description)
    Where the Wild Ladies Are
    Matsuda, Aoko, and Polly Barton. Where the Wild Ladies Are. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales-shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells-and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them. A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women-who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive "feminine" passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company"– provided by publisher.
    The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories
    Motoya, Yukiko, and Asa Yoneda. The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique, which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking commuters struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon, until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A saleswoman in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won't come out of the fitting room, and who may or may not be human. A newlywed notices that her spouse's features are beginning to slide around his face to match her own. In these eleven stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien--and find a doorway to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearlessly inventive young writers"--Back cover.
    Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
    Imarisha, Walidah, and Adrienne Maree Brown. Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing visionary fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. This book brings twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia's Brood span genres--sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism--but all are united by an attempt to experiment with new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a foreword by Sheree Renée Thomas"--Page 4 of cover.

    Persepolis
    Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An intelligent and outspoken only child, Satrapi--the daughter of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor--bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
    Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
    Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. New York: Pantheon Books, 2004. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists continues her description of growing up in Tehran--a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life.
    Whereabouts: A Novel
    Lahiri, Jhumpa. Whereabouts: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies–her first in nearly a decade. Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father's untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and "him," a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun's vital heat, her perspective will change. This is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel she wrote in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement"– provided by publisher.
    Written on the Body
    Winterson, Jeanette. Written on the Body. New York: Vintage, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    From the cover:

    The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman.

    "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation."--New York Times Book Review.

    Washington Black
    Edugyan, Esi. Washington Black. New York: Vintage Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life."
    Split Tooth
    Tagaq, Tanya. Split Tooth. Toronto: Penguin, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you've ever read. Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them. A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents' love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us. When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this. Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains. Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget."-- Provided by publisher.
    Mind Platter
    Zebian, Najwa. Mind Platter. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Mind Platter is a compilation of reflections on life as seen through the eyes of an educator, student, and human who experienced her early days in silence. It is written in the words of a woman who came from Lebanon to Canada at the age of sixteen and experienced what it was like to have fate push her to a place where she didn't belong. It is written in the voice of every person who has felt unheard, mistreated, misjudged, or unseen. The book contains over 200 one-page reflections on topics we encounter in our everyday lives: love, friendship, hurt, inspiration, respect, motivation, integrity, honesty, and more. Mind Platter is not about the words it contains, but what the reader makes of them. May this book give a voice to those who need one, be a crying shoulder for those who yearn for someone to listen, and inspire those who need a reminder of the power they have over their lives."–from Amazon
    The God of Small Things
    Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. Random House reader's circle. Random House Trade paperbacks edition. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    In 1969 in Kerala, India, Rahel and her twin brother, Estha, struggle to forge a childhood for themselves amid the destruction of their family life, as they discover that the entire world can be transformed in a single moment
    The Runaways
    Bhutto, Fatima. The Runaways. London, New York: Verso, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "Anita lives in Karachi's biggest slum. Her mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita's life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbour, a man whose shelves of books promise an escape to a different world. On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city and expects great things of him. But when a beautiful and rebellious girl joins his school, Monty will find his life going in a very different direction. Sunny's father left India and went to England to give his son the opportunities he never had. Yet Sunny doesn't fit in anywhere. It's only when his charismatic cousin comes back into his life that he realises his life could hold more possibilities than he ever imagined. These three lives will cross in the desert, a place where life and death walk hand in hand, and where their closely guarded secrets will force them to make a terrible choice" -- Publisher description.

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
    Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. New York: Vintage, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent-- from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. The tale begins with Anjum-- who used to be Aftab-- unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd Tilo and the men who loved her-- including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover. Their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo's landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs' Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi. "An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy" -- Provided by publisher.
    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.

    The Cotillion, or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd
    Killens, John Oliver. The Cotillion, or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd. The Coffee House Press black arts movement series. St. Paul, MN: Coffee House Press, 2002. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Beautiful, high-stepping Yoruba of Harlem is invited to the annual cotillion thrown by African American high society of Queens. Caught between the indifference of her father, the excitement of her social-climbing mother, and her prodigal boyfriend's militancy, Yoruba persuades her sister debutantes to challenge the aging doyennes in one of the most sidesplitting scenes in American literature."

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