Publications

    The Undocumented Americans
    Cornejo Villavicencio, Karla. The Undocumented Americans. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Traveling across the country, journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio risked arrest at every turn to report the extraordinary stories of her fellow undocumented Americans. Her subjects have every reason to be wary around reporters, but Cornejo Villavicencio has unmatched access to their stories. Her work culminates in a stunning, essential read for our times. Born in Ecuador and brought to the United States when she was five years old, Cornejo Villavicencio has lived the American Dream. Raised on her father's deliveryman income, she later became one of the first undocumented students admitted into Harvard. She is now a doctoral candidate at Yale University and has written for The New York Times. She weaves her own story among those of the eleven million undocumented who have been thrust into the national conversation today as never before. Looking well beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMERS, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented as rarely seen in our daily headlines. In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited in the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami we enter the hidden botanicas, which offer witchcraft and homeopathy to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we witness how many live in fear as the government issues raids at grocery stores and demands identification before offering life-saving clean water. In her book, Undocumented America, Cornejo Villavicencio powerfully reveals the hidden corners of our nation of immigrants. She brings to light remarkable stories of hope and resilience, and through them we come to understand what it truly means to be American"– provided by publisher.

    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
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male
    Valerio, Max W. The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    Review: "Max Wolf Valerio's observations about transitioning from a lesbian to a heterosexual male both challenge and confirm our assumptions about gender. As Valerio undergoes the physical and emotional changes associated with testosterone treatment, he is intrigued by his eye-opening discoveries about the nature of masculinity and femininity. The Testosterone Files offers a perspective on men and women that only someone who's lived in both skins can speak to with such insight and eloquence."--BOOK JACKET.

    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.
    Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
    Guo, Xiaolu. Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China. First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition. New York: Grove Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders. Xiaolu Guo has traveled further than most to become who she needed to be. Now, as she experiences the birth of her daughter in a London maternity ward surrounded by women from all over the world, she looks back on that journey. It begins in the fishing village shack on the East China Sea where her illiterate grandparents raised her, and brings her to a rapidly changing Beijing, full of contradictions: a thriving underground art scene amid mass censorship, curious Westerners who held out affection only to disappear back home. Eventually Xiaolu determined to see the world beyond China for herself, and now, after fifteen years in Europe, her words resonate with the insight of someone both an outsider and at home, in a world far beyond the country of her birth. Nine Continents presents a fascinating portrait of China in the eighties and nineties, how the Cultural Revolution shaped families, and how the country's economic ambitions gave rise to great change. It is also a moving testament to the birth of a creative spirit, and of a new generation being raised to become citizens of the world. It confirms Xiaolu Guo as one of world literature's most urgent voices."--Provided by publisher.

    Between the World and Me
    Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men–bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son–and readers–the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward."–Publisher's description.

    Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir
    Galloway, Terry. Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life."

    Breathe: A Letter to My Sons
    Perry, Imani. Breathe: A Letter to My Sons. Boston: Beacon Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and what it means to parent our children in a persistently unjust world. Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition. Perry draws upon the ideas of figures such as James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ida B. Wells. She shares vulnerabilities and insight from her own life and from encounters in places as varied as the West Side of Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; and New England prep schools. Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience"-- Provided by publisher.

     

    Assata: An Autobiography
    Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur, aka JoAnne Chesimard, lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infilitrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. ... Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides." From the bookjacket.

    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."
    Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement
    Burke, Tarana. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement. First edition. New York, NY: Flatiron Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the "me too" movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words-me too-and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history. Tarana didn't always have the courage to say "me too." As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work...until it didn't. Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves. Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman's inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying "me too," Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys"-- Provided by publisher.
    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 Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir
    Harper, Michele. The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.


    In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

    The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician." - Publisher description.

    Later: My life at the Edge of the World
    Lisicky, Paul. Later: My life at the Edge of the World. Minneapolis, MN: Greywolf Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time. In this idyllic haven, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art, Lisicky searches for love and soon finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of Town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopia look like during a time of dystopia? Later dramatizes a spectacular yet ravaged place and a unique era when becoming one's self collided with the realization that staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention"--Page [4] of cover.

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