Publications

    Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy
    Harkins, Anthony, and Meredith McCarroll, ed. Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region's future? Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia's intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities."--Back cover.

    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."
    Little Reef and Other Stories
    Carroll, Michael. Little Reef and Other Stories. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "From Key West to Maine, this collection of stories depicts the lives of characters who are no longer provincial but are not yet cosmopolitan. These women and their gay male friends are B-listers of a new, ironic, media-soaked culture. They live in a rich but increasingly divided America, a weirdly paradoxical country increasingly accepting of gay marriage but still marked by prejudice, religious strictures, and swaths of poverty and hopelessness. Carroll shows us people stunned by the shock of the now, who have forgotten their pasts and can't envision a future."

    The Kindest Lie: A Novel
    Johnson, Nancy. The Kindest Lie: A Novel. First edition. New York, NY: William Morrow, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "It's 2008, and the rise of Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He's eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to, and abandoned, when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she'd never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past. Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. Determined, Ruth begins digging into the past. As she uncovers burning secrets her family desperately wants to hide, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. When a traumatic incident strains the town's already searing racial tensions, Ruth and Midnight find themselves on a collision course that could upend both their lives."--Publisher.
    LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia
    Mann, Jeff, and Julia Watts, ed. LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia. First Edition. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "This collection, the first of its kind, gathers fiction and poetry from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer authors from Appalachia. Like much Appalachian literature, these works are pervaded with an attachment to family and the mountain landscape, yet balancing queer and Appalachian identities is an undertaking fraught with conflict. This collection confronts the problematic and complex intersections of place, family, sexuality, gender, and religion with which LGBTQ Appalachians often grapple. With works by established writers such as Dorothy Allison, Silas House, Ann Pancake, Fenton Johnson, and Nickole Brown and emerging writers such as Savannah Sipple, Rahul Mehta, Mesha Maren, and Jonathan Corcoran, this collection celebrates a literary canon comprising writers who give voice to what it means to be Appalachian and LGBTQ"-- 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)
    Negroland: A Memoir
    Jefferson, Margo. Negroland: A Memoir. New York: 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."
    United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope
    Duncan, Lenny. United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope. Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A deeply personal story about growing up Black and queer in the US. In his characteristically powerful voice, Duncan recounts hitchhiking across the country, spending time in solitary confinement, battling for sobriety, and discovering a deep faith, examining pressing issues like poverty, mass incarceration, white supremacy, and LGBTQ inclusion through an intimate portrayal of his life's struggles and joys. The result is a love story about America, revealing the joy and resilience and making the bold claim that God is present with us in the most difficult of circumstances, bringing life out of death. -- adapted from jacket
    The Other Americans
    Lalami, Laila. The Other Americans. New York: Pantheon Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Moor's Account–a timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Nora Guerraoui, a jazz composer, returns home to a small town in the Mojave after hearing that her father, owner of a popular restaurant there, has been killed in a suspicious hit-and-run car accident. Told by multiple narrators–Nora herself, Jeremy (the Iraq war veteran with whom she develops an intimacy), widow Maryam, Efrain (an immigrant witness to the accident who refuses to get involved for fear of deportation), Coleman (the police investigator), and Driss (the dead man himself), The Other Americans deftly explores one family's secrets and hypocrisies even as it offers a portrait of Americans riven by race, class, and religion, living side by side, yet ignorant of the vicissitudes that each tribe, as it were, faces" – provided by publisher.

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