Publications

    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
    Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
    Gay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. New York: Harper, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Roxane Gay addresses the experience of living in a body that she calls 'wildly undisciplined.' She casts an insightful and critical eye over her childhood, teens, and twenties -- including the devastating act of violence that was a turning point at age 12 -- and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With candor, vulnerability, and authority, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen."
    Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
    Klein Halevi, Yossi. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. New York: Harper, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli's powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians and into the hearts of "the enemy." In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East."–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.
    I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
    Gharib, Malaka, and Toby Leigh. I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream."–Amazon
    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.
    When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
    Khan-Cullors, Patrisse, and Asha Bandele. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin's killer went free, Patrisse's outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love, to tell the country -- and the world -- that Black Lives Matter."
    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
    Katihar to Kennedy: The Road Less Travelled
    Kumar, Sanjay. Katihar to Kennedy: The Road Less Travelled. New Delhi, India: Vani Book Company, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "'Katihar to Kennedy' is an extraordinary journey of a man from dusty alleys of Katihar to the gleaming pathways of Kennedy. It is an autobiographical account of a small-town boy who starts his journey from a tiny town of Bihar, in one of India’s economically backward districts and is able to reach the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The journey also depicts the inner conflicts of a man and his continuous efforts to overcome all the difficulties in his path while fighting with his inner shortcomings. The book is about the lessons he learned – from failures as well as from moments of triumph. These are learned while engaging intimately with harsh socio-economic realities, and contrasts he experienced while moving between cities, institutions, and job roles. It is also a book of honest confrontation, of a person’s own ego and pride." - Amazon.com
    Whereabouts: A Novel
    Lahiri, Jhumpa. Whereabouts: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies–her first in nearly a decade. Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father's untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and "him," a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun's vital heat, her perspective will change. This is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel she wrote in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement"– provided by publisher.
    The Other Americans
    Lalami, Laila. The Other Americans. New York: Pantheon Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "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.
    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 Other Americans
    Lalami, Laila. The Other Americans. New York: Pantheon Books, 2019. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "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.
    This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto
    Mehta, Suketu. This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and rancor these days than immigration. In [this book], the renowned author Suketu Mehta offers a reality-based polemic that vitally clarifies the debate. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the globe, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by fear of immigrants. Ranging from Dubai and Morocco to New York City, Mehta contrasts the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, domestic workers, and others, and he takes readers on a heartbreaking trip to San Diego and Tijuana, where a border fence divides families and damages lives. Throughout, Mehta shows why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality in large swaths of the world: when today's immigrants are asked, "Why are you here?" they can justly respond, "We are here because you were there." And now that they are here, Mehta contends, they bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, [this book] is an urgent and necessary intervention, and a literary argument of the highest order."--Dust jacket.
    Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution
    Archibald, John. Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    On growing up in the American South of the 1960s--an all-American white boy--son of a long line of Methodist preachers, in the midst of the civil rights revolution, and discovering the culpability of silence within the church. "My dad was a Methodist preacher and his dad was a Methodist preacher," writes John Archibald. "It goes all the way back on both sides of my family. When I am at my best, I think it comes from that sermon place." Everything Archibald knows and believes about life is "refracted through the stained glass of the Southern church. It had everything to do with people. And fairness. And compassion." In Shaking the Gates of Hell, Archibald asks: Can a good person remain silent in the face of discrimination and horror, and still be a good person? Archibald had seen his father, the Rev. Robert L. Archibald, Jr., the son and grandson of Methodist preachers, as a moral authority, a moderate and a moderating force during the racial turbulence of the '60s, a loving and dependable parent, a forgiving and attentive minister, a man many Alabamians came to see as a saint. But was that enough? Even though Archibald grew up in Alabama in the heart of the civil rights movement, he could recall few words about racial rights or wrongs from his father's pulpit at a time the South seethed, and this began to haunt him. In this moving and powerful book, Archibald writes of his complex search, and of the conspiracy of silence his father faced in the South, in the Methodist Church and in the greater Christian church. Those who spoke too loudly were punished, or banished, or worse. Archibald's father was warned to guard his words on issues of race to protect his family, and he did. He spoke to his flock in the safety of parable, and trusted in the goodness of others, even when they earned none of it, rising through the ranks of the Methodist Church, and teaching his family lessons in kindness and humanity, and devotion to nature and the Earth. Archibald writes of this difficult, at times uncomfortable, reckoning with his past in this unadorned, affecting book of growth and evolution.
    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."

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