Publications

    Winter in the Blood
    Welch, James. Winter in the Blood. Penguin classics. New York: Penguin, 2008. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Narrated by a young Native American living on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana, Winter in the Blood is the story of a man living out the tragedy of his people. Intelligent, sensitive, and self-destructive, he is haunted by the untimely deaths of his father and older brother and the shards of his once proud heritage. He sleepwalks through his days working on his stepfather's cattle ranch and consoles himself with alcohol and women. An ironic epiphany provides a tie to the vast land of his ancestors and an alternative to despair.
    The Nickel Boys
    Whitehead, Colson. The Nickel Boys. New York: Doubleday, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    " As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy." (Publisher's summary)
    The Gone Dead
    Benz, Chanelle. The Gone Dead. New York: Ecco, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day, and she hasn't been back to the South since. Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger."--Book cover flap.
    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.
    The Tradition
    Brown, Jericho. The Tradition. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Jericho Brown's daring new book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown's poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we've become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown's mastery, and his invention of the duplex--a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues--testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction"--Goodreads.com.

    Your House Will Pay
    Cha, Steph. Your House Will Pay. New York: Ecco, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She's distraught that her sister hasn't spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace's understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale. But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence"-- Amazon.com
    The Water Dancer
    Coates, Ta-Nehisi. The Water Dancer. New York: One World, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage -- and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child -- but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn't understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram's private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he's ever known. So begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind -- but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss."-- Provided by publisher.
    Patsy
    Dennis-Benn, Nicole. Patsy. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A Jamaican woman leaves her daughter behind to immigrate to New York, where the happier life she expected is difficult to find as an undocumented worker." -- adapted from jacket description.

    "When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, she looks forward leaving Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where they were raised. Her plans don't include her overzealous, evangelical mother-- or her own five-year-old daughter, Tru. When Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, she survives as an undocumented immigrant, working as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and trying desperately to empathize with her mother's decision." -- adapted from jacket
    Sabrina & Corina: Stories
    Fajardo-Anstine, Kali. Sabrina & Corina: Stories. New York: One World, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Kali Fajardo-Anstine's magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force."

    Salt Houses
    Alyan, Hala. Salt Houses, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past, between displacement and home ... On the eve of her daughter Alia's wedding, Salma reads the girl's future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is up rooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia's brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can't escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia's children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities. Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand--one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can't go home again"-- Provided by publisher.
    These are Love(d) Letters
    Hawkins, Ames. These are Love(d) Letters. Made in Michigan writers series. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Ames Hawkins's These are Love(d) Letters is a genre-bending visual memoir and work of literary nonfiction that explores the questions: What inspires a person to write a love letter? What inspires a person to save a love letter even when the love has shifted or left? And what does it mean when a person uses someone else's love letters as a place from which to create their own sense of self? Beginning with the "simple act" of the author receiving twenty letters written by her father to her mother over a six-week period in 1966, These are Love(d) Letters provides a complex pictorial and textual exploration of the work of the love letter. Through intimate and incisive prose-the letters were, after all, always intended to be a private dialogue between her parents-Hawkins weaves her own struggles with gender, sexuality, and artistic awakening in relation to the story of her parents' marriage that ended in divorce. Her father's HIV diagnosis and death by complications related to AIDS provide the context for an unflinchingly honest look at bodily disease and mortality. Hawkins delicately and relentlessly explores the tensions in a father-daughter relationship that stem from a differently situated connection to queer identity and a shared struggle with artistic desire. In communion with queer and lesbian writers from Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf to Alison Bechdel and Maggie Nelson, Hawkins pushes exploration of the self with the same intellectual rigor that she critiques the limits of epistolarity by continually relocating all the generative and arresting creative powers of this found art with scholarly rhetorical strategies. Exquisitely designed by Jessica Jacobs, These are Love(d) Letters presents an affective experience that reinforces Hawkins's meditations on the ephemeral beauty of love letters. As poetic as it is visually enticing, the book offers both an unconventional and queer(ed) understanding of the documentarian form, which will excite both readers and artists across and beyond genres."

    The Removed: A Novel
    Hobson, Brandon. The Removed: A Novel. New York: Ecco, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

     "Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago--from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson"-- Provided by publisher.

    "Quah, Oklahoma. In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer's in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. With the family's annual bonfire approaching-- marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray's death-- each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world." -- adapted from jacket

    The Rib King
    Hubbard, Ladee. The Rib King. New York, NY: Amistad, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household's all-black staff, along with "Miss Mamie," the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices - the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to "civilize" - boys like August. But the Barclays' fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie's delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name "The Rib King" - using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label - Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy. "--Publisher.
    My Broken Language: A Memoir
    Hudes, Quiara Alegría. My Broken Language: A Memoir. New York: One World, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Quiara Alegria Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother's tight South Philly kitchen, "frizzy hair cut short, bangs teased into stiff clouds, sweat glistening in the summer fog, pamper-butt babies weaving between legs." Quiara was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken stories of the barrio – even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering of powerful orishas with tragic wounds and she vowed to tell their stories–but first she'd have to get off the stairs and join the dance; she'd have to find her langauge. This is an inspired exploration of home, family, memory, and belonging, narrated by the obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty"– provided by publisher.
    The Prophets: A Novel
    Jones, Robert. The Prophets: A Novel. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence"-- Provided by publisher.

    Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. When an older fellow slave seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony. -- adapted from jacket
    Pachinko
    Lee, Min Jin. Pachinko. First trade paperback edition. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"– provided by publisher.
    The Topeka School
    Lerner, Ben. The Topeka School. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of '97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting 'lost boys' to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. When a group of seniors bring loner Darren Eberheart into the social scene, Adam is unaware that Darren is one of his father's patients. When a disastrous event occurs, Adam feels partly responsible."--Provided by publisher.
    Whereas
    Long Soldier, Layli. Whereas. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     This volume confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through an array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created an innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. "I am," she writes, "a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation -- and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live."
    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.

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