Publications

    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.
    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.
    Quarantine: Stories
    Mehta, Rahul. Quarantine: Stories. P.S. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "With buoyant humor and incisive, cunning prose, Rahul Mehta sets off into uncharted literary territory. The characters in Quarantine--openly gay Indian-American men--are Westernized in some ways, with cosmopolitan views on friendship and sex, while struggling to maintain relationships with their families and cultural traditions. Grappling with the issues that concern all gay men--social acceptance, the right to pursue happiness, and the heavy toll of listening to their hearts and bodies--they confront an elder generation's attachment to old-country ways. Estranged from their cultural in-group and still set apart from larger society, the young men in these lyrical, provocative, emotionally wrenching, yet frequently funny stories find themselves quarantined."
    New Waves
    Nguyen, Kevin. New Waves. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company's sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he's nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech start-up's user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn when Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is left reeling, wondering what to do with their secret–and wondering whether her death really was an accident. When Lucas hacks into Margo's computer looking for answers, he is drawn into her secret online life and realizes just how little he knew about his best friend. With a fresh voice, biting humor, and piercing observations about human nature, Kevin Nguyen brings an insider's knowledge of the tech industry to this imaginative novel. A pitch-perfect exploration of race and start-up culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know each other? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world?"–
    Mother Country
    Reyn, Irina. Mother Country. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Nadia's daily life in south Brooklyn is filled with small indignities: as a senior home attendant, she is always in danger of being fired; as a part-time nanny, she is forced to navigate the demands of her spoiled charge and the preschooler's insecure mother; and as an ethnic Russian, she finds herself feuding with western Ukrainian immigrants who think she is a traitor. The war back home is always at the forefront of her reality. On television, Vladimir Putin speaks of the "reunification" of Crimea and Russia, the Ukrainian president makes unconvincing promises about a united Ukraine, while American politicians are divided over the fear of immigration. Nadia internalizes notions of "union" all around her, but the one reunion she has been waiting six years for - with her beloved daughter - is being eternally delayed by the Department of Homeland Security. When Nadia finds out that her daughter has lost access to the medicine she needs to survive, she takes matters into her own hands. -- from Amazon.com
    The World Doesn't Require You
    Scott, Rion Amilcar. The World Doesn't Require You. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "One of Esquire's Most Anticipated Books of 2019 Breathtakingly imaginative and unapologetically original, The World Doesn't Require You announces a bold, generational talent. Deftly spinning genres of his feverish literary invention, Rion Amilcar Scott creates his very own Yoknapatawpha County with fictional Cross River, Maryland. Established by the leaders of America's only successful slave revolt, the town still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. Among its residents are David Sherman, a struggling musician who just happens to be God's last son; Tyrone, a ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga; and Jim, an all-too-obedient robot who serves his Master. Culminating with an explosive novella, these haunting stories of the denizens of Cross River serve to explore larger themes of religion, violence, and love–all told with sly humor and a dash of magical realism. Shattering rigid literary boundaries, Scott is "a necessary voice in American literature" (PEN Award citation), a writer whose storytelling gifts the world very much requires"–
    The Revisioners
    Sexton, Margaret Wilkerson. The Revisioners. Berkeley, California: Counterpoint, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    In 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now, her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine's family. Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine's descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays her grandchild to be her companion. But Martha's behavior soon becomes erratic, then even threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine's converge.
    Real Life
    Taylor, Brandon. Real Life. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend – and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends – some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community"–
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
    Vuong, Ocean. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. New York: Penguin Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender, and highly original - poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born–a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam–and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity"–
    Memorial
    Washington, Bryan. Memorial. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They've been together for a few years, but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together, but their time together ends up meaning more than they ever could have predicted. As both men change, will it make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known? -- adapted from jacket

    We Cast a Shadow
    Ruffin, Maurice Carlos. We Cast a Shadow. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedure that boasts unprecedented success rates. In a society plagued by racism, segregation, and private prisons, this operation saves lives with a controversial method–by turning people white. Like any father, our unnamed narrator just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly absurd hoops–from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups–in a tragicomic quest to protect his son. This electrifying, suspenseful novel is, at once, a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. In the tradition ofRalph Ellison's Invisible Man, We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love"–
    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.

    Redeployment
    Klay, Phil. Redeployment. New York: The Penguin Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Mortuary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains-of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation"– Provided by publisher.

    The Bluest Eye
    Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, the tragic heroine of Toni Morrison's haunting first novel, grew out of her memory of a girlhood friend who wanted blue eyes. Shunned by the town's prosperous black families, as well as its white families, Pecola lives with her alcoholic father and embittered, overworked mother in a shabby two-room storefront that reeks of the hopeless destitution that overwhelms their lives. In awe of her clean well-groomed schoolmates, and certain of her own intense ugliness, Pecola tries to make herself disappear as she wishes fervently, desperately for the blue eyes of a white girl. In her afterward to this novel, Morrison writes of the little girl she once knew: "Beauty was not simply something to behold, it was something one could do. The Bluest Eye was my effort to say something about that; to say something about why she had not, or possibly never would have, the experience of what she possessed and also why she prayed for so radical an alteration. Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing. And twenty-years later I was still wondering about how one learns that. Who told her? Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak that what she was? Who had looked at her and found her so wanting, so small a weight on the beauty scale? The novel pecks away at the gaze that condemned her."

    The Death of Vivek Oji
    Emezi, Akwaeke. The Death of Vivek Oji. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "A tender, potent, and compulsively readable novel of a Nigerian-Indian family and the deeply held secret that tests their traditions and bonds"– Provided by publisher., Southeastern Nigeria. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens, an act of violence leads to a family's struggle with loss and transcendence. – adapted from jacket

    Bird at My Window
    Guy, Rosa. Bird at My Window. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Rosa Guy's novel follows Wade Williams, a brilliant young black man who wakes up in a mental hospital and is told he has assaulted his sister. Throughout Guy's engrossing story, Wade retraces his steps to identify the circumstances that brought him to commit this unthinkable act, and reveals the rich complexity of mid-twentieth-century Harlem and its mothers, sons, and daughters, whose aspirations prevail and perish within both white and black America."–Jacket.

    Dogside Story
    Grace, Patricia. Dogside Story. Talanoa. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    There is conflict in the whanau. The young man, Te Rua, holds a 'secret for life, the one to die with'. But he realizes that if he is to acknowledge and claim his daughter the secret will have to be told. 'The Sisters' are threatening to drag the whanau through the courts. But why? What is really going on?
    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."

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