Publications

    Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas
    Dumas, Henry. Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas. Second edition. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "Championed by Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, Dumas's fabulist fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on real, magical, and mythic quests. Humming with life, Dumas's stories create a collage of midcentury Black experiences, interweaving religious metaphor, African cosmologies, diasporic folklore, and America's history of slavery and systemic racism. Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 and spent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. Upon his return, Dumas became active in the civil rights movement, married, had two sons, attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York City Transit Authority police officer."--Amazon.com.
    Drag King Dreams
    Feinberg, Leslie. Drag King Dreams. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    " A veteran of the women's and gay movement of the past 30 years, Max's mid-life crisis hits in the midst of the post-9/11 world. Max is lonely and uncertain about her future -- fearful, in fact, of America's future with its War on Terror and War in Iraq -- with only a core group of friends to turn to for reassurance. Max is shaken from her crisis, however, by the news that her friend Vickie, a transvestite, has been found murdered on her way home late one night. As the community of cross-dressers, drag queens, lesbian and gay men, and "genderqueers" of all kinds stand up together in the face of this tragedy, Max taps into the activist spirit she thought had long disappeared and for the first time in years discovers hope for her future."
    Less
    Greer, Andrew Sean. Less. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past."
    Flowers for Algernon
    Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon. 1st ed. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.

    As the treatment takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?" - provided by publisher

    An American Sunrise: Poems
    Harjo, Joy. An American Sunrise: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history ... Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice." -- Jacket.
    Interpreter of Maladies: Stories
    Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies: Stories. Second Mariner Books edition. Boston: Mariner Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required] - 1999 edition

    "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this stunning debut collection unerring charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. In stories that travel from India to America and back again, Lahiri speaks with universal eloquence to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner."–Provided by publisher.

    A Student of History
    Revoyr, Nina. A Student of History. New York: Akashic Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Rick Nagano is a graduate student in the history department at USC, struggling to make rent on his South Los Angeles apartment near the neighborhood where his family once lived. When he lands a job as a research assistant for the elderly Mrs. W--, the heir to an oil fortune, he sees it first simply as a source of extra cash. But as he grows closer to the iconoclastic, charming, and feisty Mrs. W--, he gets drawn into a world of privilege and wealth far different from his racially mixed, blue-collar beginnings. Putting aside his half-finished dissertation, Rick sets up office in Mrs. W--'s grand Bel Air mansion and begins to transcribe her journals - which document an old Los Angeles not described in his history books. He also accompanies Mrs. W-- to venues frequented by the descendants of the land and oil barons who built the city. One evening, at an event, he meets Fiona Morgan - the elegant scion of an old steel family - who takes an interest in his studies. Irresistibly drawn to Fiona, he agrees to help her with a project of questionable merit in the hopes he'll win her favor. A Student of History explores both the beginnings of Los Angeles and the present-day dynamics of race and class. It offers a window into the usually hidden world of high society, and the influence of historic families on current events. Like Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby, it features, in Rick Nagano, a young man of modest means who is navigating a world where he doesn't belong." (from dust jacket)
    Ceremony
    Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. Penguin classics. New York: Penguin, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Almost forty years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature–a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power." -- Publisher's 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.
    Friday Black
    Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

     "An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny...The wildly talented Adjei-Brenyah has made these edgy tales immensely charming, via his resolute, heartful, immensely likeable narrators, capable of seeing the world as blessed and cursed at once." -- George Saunders

    "This book is dark and captivating and essential...A call to arms and a condemnation. Adjei-Brenyah offers powerful prose as parable. The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope. Read this book." -- Roxane Gay

    A piercingly raw debut story collection from a young writer with an explosive voice; a treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America. From the start of this extraordinary debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In "The Finkelstein Five," Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In "Zimmer Land," we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And "Friday Black" and "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King" show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all. Entirely fresh in its style and perspective, and sure to appeal to fans of Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, and George Saunders, Friday Black confronts readers with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope.

    A treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. Readers are left with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope." -- adapted from info provided

    Homeland Elegies
    Akhtar, Ayad. Homeland Elegies. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home. Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation's unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one–least of all himself–in the process."–Provided by publisher.

    In the Country: Stories
    Alvar, Mia. In the Country: Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A powerful, globe-trotting debut short-story collection from an exciting new writer–vivid, character-driven stories about Filipinos from every walk of life. Mia Alvar's stunning debut gives us a vivid, insightful picture of the Filipino diaspora: exiles and emigrants and wanderers uprooting their families to begin new lives in the Middle East and America–and, sometimes, turning back. One man smuggles drugs from his pharmacy in New York to Manila for his ailing father, only to discover an alarming truth about his mother. A woman living in Bahrain faces a challenge that compels her to question her marriage. A college student in Manila struggling to write fiction knows that her brother, who has gone abroad to make money, is the one living a life that stories are made of. The novella-length title story follows the unexpected fates of a journalist and a nurse during the 1970s labor strikes in Manila. Exploring the universal experience of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined, In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home"–Provided by publisher.
    If They Come for Us: Poems
    Asghar, Fatimah. If They Come for Us: Poems. New York: One World, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "This imaginative, soulful debut poetry collection captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America. Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the man facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people's histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging."
    Bestiary
    Chang, K-Ming. Bestiary. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "One evening, Ma tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body, named Hu Gu Po. She hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterwards, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt leaves red on everything she touches; another aunt arrives with eels in her belly. All the while, Daughter is falling for her neighbor, a girl named Ben with mysterious powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother's letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies an old Taiwanese myth–and that she will have to bring her family's secrets to light in order to change their destiny. With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the magical realist aesthetic of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family's history from Mainland China to Taiwan, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and womanhood"– provided by publisher.

    American Dirt
    Cummins, Jeanine. American Dirt. First U.S. edition. New York: Flatiron Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "También de este lado hay sueños. Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy-two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia-trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed when they finish reading it. A page-turner filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page, it is a literary achievement."– provided by publisher.
    A Particular Kind of Black Man
    Folarin, Tope. A Particular Kind of Black Man. First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "A stunning debut novel, from Rhodes Scholar and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Tope Folarin about a Nigerian family living in Utah and their uncomfortable assimilation to American life. Living in small-town Utah has always been an uneasy fit for Tunde Akinola's family, especially for his Nigeria-born parents. Though Tunde speaks English with a Midwestern accent, he can't escape the children who rub his skin and ask why the black won't come off. As he struggles to fit in and find his place in the world, he finds little solace from his parents who are grappling with their own issues. Tunde's father, ever the optimist, works tirelessly chasing his American dream while his wife, lonely in Utah without family and friends, sinks deeper into schizophrenia. Then one otherwise-ordinary morning, Tunde's mother wakes him with a hug, bundles him and his baby brother into the car, and takes them away from the only home they've ever known. But running away doesn't bring her, or her children, any relief from the demons that plague her; once Tunde's father tracks them down, she flees to Nigeria, and Tunde never feels at home again. He spends the rest of his childhood and young adulthood searching for connection–to the wary stepmother and stepbrothers he gains when his father remarries; to the Utah residents who mock his father's accent; to evangelical religion; to his Texas middle school's crowd of African-Americans; to the fraternity brothers of his historically black college. In so doing, he discovers something that sends him on a journey away from everything he has known. Sweeping, stirring, and perspective-shifting, A Particular Kind of Black Man is a beautiful and poignant exploration of the meaning of memory, manhood, home, and identity as seen through the eyes of a first-generation Nigerian-American"– provided by publisher.

    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

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "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."

    Bright Lines
    Islam, Tanwi Nandini. Bright Lines. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A Bangladeshi orphan haunted by her parents' murders moves in with family members in Brooklyn until a fateful coming-of-age summer when her Islamic runaway cousin and she confront painful family secrets."
    How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir
    Jones, Saeed. How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Haunted and haunting, Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence--into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another--and to one another--as we fight to become ourselves."
    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
    Machado, Carmen Maria. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Presents a collection of short stories about the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in 'Especially Heinous, ' Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes." --Adapted from publisher description.

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