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.
    A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano
    Navarrette, Ruben. A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano. New York: Bantam Books, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    In 1985 an ambitious young Mexican-American from California’s rural San Joaquin Valley became one of the few Latinos to enter America’s most prestigious university. With intelligence and grace, Navarrette chronicles his experiences at Harvard, where he confronted questions of identity and ethnicity, and wrestled with the need to reconcile his values and opinions with the expectations of his family, his race, and society at large. More than a deeply personal memoir, A Darker Shade of Crimson also dares to pursue the complex questions of what needs to be done to provide a quality education for Latinos and other minorities in America.
    A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century
    DeParle, Jason. A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century. New York: Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    When Jason DeParle moved in with Tita Comodas in the Manila slums thirty years ago, he didn't expect to make a lifelong friend. Nor did he expect to spend decades reporting on her family–husband, children, and siblings–as they came to embody the stunning rise of global migration. In A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, DeParle paints an intimate portrait of an unforgettable family across three generations, as migration reorders economics, politics, and culture across the world. At the heart of the story is Rosalie, Tita's middle child, who escapes poverty by becoming a nurse, and lands jobs in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and, finally, Texas–joining the record forty-four million immigrants in the United States. Migration touches every aspect of global life. It pumps billions in remittances into poor villages, fuels Western populism, powers Silicon Valley, sustains American health care, and brings one hundred languages to the Des Moines public schools. One in four children in the United States is an immigrant or the child of one. With no issue in American life so polarizing, DeParle expertly weaves between the personal and panoramic perspectives. Reunited with their children after years apart, Rosalie and her husband struggle to be parents, as their children try to find their place in a place they don't know. Ordinary and extraordinary at once, their journey is a twenty-first-century classic, rendered in gripping detail.
    The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary
    Abū Sayf, ʻĀṭif. The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An ordinary Gazan's chronicle of the struggle to survive during Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza The fifty-day Israel-Gaza conflict that began in early July of 2014 left over 2,100 people dead. The overwhelming majority of the dead were Palestinians, including some 500 children. Another 13,000-odd Palestinians were wounded, and 17,200 homes demolished. These statistics are sadly familiar, as is the political rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike. What is less familiar, however, is a sense of the ordinary Gazan society that war lays to waste. One of the few voices to make it out of Gaza was that of Atef Abu Saif, a writer and teacher from Jabalia refugee camp, whose eyewitness accounts (published in the Guardian, New York Times, and elsewhere) offered a rare window into the conflict for Western readers. Here, Abu Saif's complete diaries of the war allow us to witness the events of 2014 from the perspective of a young father, fearing for his family's safety. In The Drone Eats with Me, Abu Saif brings readers an intimate glimpse of life during wartime, as he, his wife, and his two young children attempt to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, in spite of the ever-present danger and carnage that is swallowing the place they call home.
    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 Yellow House
    Broom, Sarah M. The Yellow House. First Grove Atlantic edition. New York: Grove Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Sarah M. Broom's [memoir] The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America's most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother's struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina."-- Provided by publisher.
    Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
    Corchado, Alfredo. Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration. New York, London, Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is the narrative of the United States in a painful economic and political transition. As we move into a divisive, nativist new era of immigration politics, Homelands is a must-read to understand the past and future of the immigrant story in the United States, and the role of Mexicans in shaping America's history. A deeply moving book full of colorful characters searching for home, it is essential reading."
    Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago
    Gartz, Linda. Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Redlined exposes the racist lending rules that refuse mortgages to anyone in areas with even one black resident. As blacks move deeper into Chicago's West Side during the 1960s, whites flee by the thousands. But Linda Gartz's parents, Fred and Lil choose to stay in their integrating neighborhood, overcoming previous prejudices as they meet and form friendships with their African American neighbors. The community sinks into increasing poverty and crime after two race riots destroy its once vibrant business district, but Fred and Lil continue to nurture their three apartment buildings and tenants for the next twenty years in a devastated landscape–even as their own relationship cracks and withers. After her parents' deaths, Gartz discovers long-hidden letters, diaries, documents, and photos stashed in the attic of her former home. Determined to learn what forces shattered her parents' marriage and undermined her community, she searches through the family archives and immerses herself in books on racial change in American neighborhoods. Told through the lens of Gartz's discoveries of the personal and political, Redlined delivers a riveting story of a community fractured by racial turmoil, an unraveling and conflicted marriage, a daughter's fight for sexual independence, and an up-close, intimate view of the racial and social upheavals of the 1960s."– 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.
    Waking up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race
    Irving, Debby. Waking up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race. Cambridge, MA: Elephant Room Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us."
    Negroland: A Memoir
    Jefferson, Margo. Negroland: A Memoir. First Vintage Books edition. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. In these pages, Jefferson takes us into this insular and discerning society: "I call it Negroland," she writes, "because I still find 'Negro' a word of wonders, glorious and terrible." Negroland's pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South. It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs--a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and "the masses of Negros," and where the motto was "Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment." At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America."
    Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong
    Lawton, Georgina. Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong. New York: Harper Perennial, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina's insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was. It was only after her father's death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage--and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in black communities around the globe--the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco--and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves. Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: what constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one's identity." --Amazon.ca.
    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."
    Heart Berries: A Memoir
    Mailhot, Terese Marie. Heart Berries: A Memoir. Berkeley, California: Counterpoint, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father-an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist-who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world."– Provided by publisher.
    The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
    Markham, Lauren. The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. First paperback edition. New York: Broadway Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador's violence to build new lives in California–fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong. Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the faraway land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind–away from one danger and toward the great American unknown. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers–girls, grades, Facebook–with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America's child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience."–Provided by publisher.
    How to Be a Muslim: An American Story
    Moghul, Haroon. How to Be a Muslim: An American Story. Boston: Beacon Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Haroon Moghul was first thrust into the spotlight after 9/11, as an undergraduate leader at New York University's Islamic Center. Suddenly, he was making appearances everywhere: on TV, talking to interfaith audiences, combating Islamophobia in print. He was becoming a prominent voice for American Muslims. Privately, Moghul had a complicated relationship with Islam. In high school he was barely a believer and entirely convinced he was going to hell. He sometimes drank. He didn't pray regularly. All he wanted was a girlfriend. But as Haroon discovered, it wasn't so easy to leave religion behind. To be true to himself, he needed to forge a unique American Muslim identity that reflected his own beliefs and personality. How to Be a Muslim is the story of a young man coping with the crushing pressure of a world that shuns and fears Muslims, struggling with his faith and searching for intellectual forebears, and suffering the onset of bipolar disorder. This is the story of the second-generation immigrant, of what it's like to lose yourself between cultures, and how to pick up the pieces."
    Unbecoming: A Memoir
    Bhagwati, Anuradha Kristina. Unbecoming: A Memoir. First Atria Books hardcover edition. New York: Atria Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A raw, unflinching, and inspirational memoir by a former United States Marine Captain describing her journey from dutiful daughter of immigrants to wide-eyed recruit to radical activist dedicated to effecting historic policy reform in the military. After a lifetime of buckling to the demands of her strict Indian parents, Anuradha Bhagwati abandons her grad school career at Harvard University to join the Marines. It's the fiercest, most violent, most masculine branch of the military: the perfect place for her to prove that she's the ultimate Cool Girl, someone who can brawl with the boys in every sense of the word. Or at least that's what she thinks. From the moment training begins, Anuradha's G.I. Jane fantasy is punctured. As a bisexual woman of color in the military, she faces adversity and underestimation at every stage, confronting misogyny, racism, abuse, and astonishing injustice perpetrated by those in power. Pushing herself beyond her limits to prove her ability, she is forced to wrestle with what exactly drove her to pursue such punishment and violence in the first place. Once her service concludes in 2004, instead of retreating and putting it all behind her, she decides to do the exact opposite: take to task the leaders and outmoded conventions that she found so objectionable and even dangerous. Full of strength, courage, and heroic resilience, Unbecoming is about one woman who learned to believe in herself in spite of everything; it is the kind of story that will light a fire beneath you, and that will inspire our next generation of fierce female heroes to always persist"-- Provided by publisher.
    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.

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