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The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You
Nayeri, Dina. The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard Library
What Is an American Muslim? Embracing Faith and Citizenship
Naʻīm, ʻAbd Allāh Aḥmad. What Is an American Muslim? Embracing Faith and Citizenship. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Since 2001, there has been a tremendous backlash against the very idea that it is possible to be both American and Muslim –the controversy over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" and the attempts to ban shari'a law are examples. Even within the Muslim community many leaders urge believers to integrate more fully into the mainstream of American life. Is it possible to be both fully American and devoutly Muslim? An American citizen born and raised in the Sudan, an internationally recognized scholar of Islam, and a human rights activist, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im brings a unique perspective to this crucial question. By demanding that Muslims assimilate, he argues, allies and critics alike assume that American Muslims are a monolithic bloc, a permanent minority set apart from that which is truly "American." An-Na'im wholeheartedly rejects this notion and urges Muslims to embrace their faith without fear. Islam, he argues, is one of many dimensions of identity-Muslims are also members of different ethnic groups, political parties, and social circles, not to mention husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, baseball fans and movie buffs. In short, Muslims share a vast array of identities with other Americans, but the most important identity they all share is as citizens. Muslims, An-Na'im argues, must embrace the full range of rights and responsibilities that come with American citizenship, and participate fully in civic life, while at the same time asserting their right to define their faith for themselves. They must view themselves, simply, as American citizens who happen to be Muslims. What Is an American Muslim? is a bold and provocative take on the future of Islam in America"–

The Argonauts
Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
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?"–
Things We Lost to the Water
Nguyen, Eric. Things We Lost to the Water. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. Over time, Huong realizes she will never see Cong again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity–as individuals and as a family–tears them apart, until disaster strikes and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them"–
Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel
Nussbaum, Susan. Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
The residents at a facility for disabled young people in Chicago build trust and make friends in an effort to fight against their living conditions and mistreatment.
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Interior States: Essays
O'Gieblyn, Meghan. Interior States: Essays. New York: Anchor Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A fresh, acute, and even profound collection that centers around two core (and related) issues of American identity: faith, in general and the specific forms Christianity takes in particular; and the challenges of living in the Midwest when culture is felt to be elsewhere.

What does it mean to be a believing Christian and a Midwesterner in an increasingly secular America where the cultural capital is retreating to both coasts? The critic and essayist Meghan O’Gieblyn was born into an evangelical family, attended the famed Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for a time before she had a crisis of belief, and still lives in the Midwest, aka “Flyover Country.” She writes of her “existential dizziness, a sense that the rest of the world is moving while you remain still,” and that rich sense of ambivalence and internal division inform the fifteen superbly thoughtful and ironic essays in this collection. The subjects of these essays range from the rebranding (as it were) of Hell in contemporary Christian culture (“Hell”), a theme park devoted to the concept of intelligent design (“Species of Origin”), the paradoxes of Christian Rock (“Sniffing Glue”), Henry Ford’s reconstructed pioneer town of Greenfield Village and its mixed messages (“Midwest World”), and the strange convergences of Christian eschatology and the digital so-called Singularity (“Ghosts in the Cloud”). Meghan O’Gieblyn stands in relation to her native Midwest as Joan Didion stands in relation to California – which is to say a whole-hearted lover, albeit one riven with ambivalence at the same time." -- Publisher description

Half and Half: Writers on Growing up Biracial and Bicultural
O'Hearn, Claudine C., ed. Half and Half: Writers on Growing up Biracial and Bicultural. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
As we approach the twenty-first century, biracialism and biculturalism are becoming increasingly common. Skin color and place of birth are no longer reliable signifiers of one's identity or origin. These eighteen essays, joined by a shared sense of duality, address the difficulties of not fitting into and the benefits of being part of two worlds. Through the lens of personal experience, they offer a broader spectrum of meaning for race and culture. And in the process, they map a new ethnic terrain that transcends racial and cultural division
Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History
O'Toole, Corbett Joan. Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History. Fort Worth, TX: Autonomous Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Uncovering stories about disability history and life, O’Toole shares her firsthand account of some of the most dramatic events in Disability History, and gives voice to those too often yet left out. From the 504 Sit-in and the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, to the Disability Forum at the International Woman's Conference in Beijing; through dancing, sports, queer disability organizing and being a disabled parent, O’Toole explores her own and the disability community's power and privilege with humor, insight and honest observations.
Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives
Odets, Walt. Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
From the dust jacket: "Even today, it's not easy to be gay in America. While many young men now come out more readily, even those from the most progressive backgrounds often struggle with the legacy of early-life stigma and a deficit of self-acceptance, both of which fuel self-doubt and, at worst, self-loathing. And this is to say nothing of the ongoing trauma wrought by HIV, which is all too often relegated to history. Drawing on his work as a clinical psychologist during and in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic, Walt Odets reflects on what it means to survive and find a way to live in a new, uncompromising future, both for the men who endured the upheaval of those years and for the younger men who are now coming of age at a time when HIV is still deeply affecting gay communities, especially the most marginalized. Through moving, emotional stories--of friends and therapy patients, and of his own--Odets considers how experiences early in life launch men on trajectories to futures that are not authentically theirs. He reimagines how we might reframe gay life by considering everything from the misleading and constraining idea of "the homosexual," to the diversity and richness of gay relationships, to the historical role of stigma and shame and the significance of youth and aging. Crawling out from under the trauma destructive of early-life experience and the epidemic, and emerging into a century of shifting social values, provides an opportunity to explore possibilities rather than live with societally imposed limitations. Though it is drawn from decades of his private practice, activism, and personal experience, Odets's work achieves remarkable universality. At its core, Out of the Shadows is driven by his belief that it is time we act on the basis of who we are, and not who others are, or who they would want us to be. We--particularly the young--must construct our own paths through life. Out of the Shadows is a necessary, impassioned argument for how and why we all must take hold of our futures."
The Famished Road
Okri, Ben. The Famished Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard Library
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
Oluo, Ijeoma. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. New York: Seal Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"In her new book, rather than tear down the statues of certain white men, Ijeoma Oluo casts her eye on the long view of a nation that, as a whole, has built a dominant identity for white men. Her book challenges what we value most in America, during a tumultuous time of upheaval as we painfully strive toward a more perfect union. With her signature sharp wit, Oluo exposes how white male identity not only blatantly marks our divided culture today, from presidential politics to popular culture, but it is insidiously embedded even in the history of apparent progress, from women entering the workforce, to rising access to higher education, to the work of white civil rights advocates and male feminists. Oluo relates the glorification of White male aggression behind Western Expansion, the disdain of women workers strengthening the Great Depression, the fear of racial integration driving the Great Migration, and more examples of how White male America was forged and reinforced-at a devastating cost. Far from arguing that all white men are mediocre, Oluo instead challenges a national narrative that for generations has defined success exclusively around white men. Status for white men is granted only in relation to others, and is separated from actual achievement. This is not a benign mediocrity; it is brutal for everyone who is erased. Deeply researched, passionate, and revelatory, Oluo's Mediocre argues that if we wish to move beyond the rancorous politics where only white men are created equal, if we wish to write better stories for the next generation of Americans, we first need upend everything we thought we knew about our founding stories"–

Fires on the Plain
Ooka, Shōhei. Fires on the Plain. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Review: "This haunting novel explores the complete degradation and isolation of a man by war. The book is set on the island of Leyte in the Philippines during World War II, where the Japanese army is disintegrating under the hammer blows of the American landings. Within this larger disintegration is another, that of a single human being, Private Tamura. The war destroys each of his ties to society, one by one, until Tamura, a sensitive and intelligent man, becomes an outcast... Nearly losing the will to survive, he hears of a port still in Japanese hands, and struggles to walk through the American lines. Unfazed by danger, he welcomes the prospect of dying, but first he loses his hope, and then his sanity. Lost among his hallucinations, Tamura comes to fancy himself an angel enjoined by God to eat no living thing - but even angels fall."-- Adapted from jacket.
There There
Orange, Tommy. There There. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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The book opens with an essay by Orange as a prologue, and then proceeds to follow a large cast of Native Americans living in the area of Oakland, CA, as they struggle with a wide array of challenges ranging from depression, alchoholism, unemployment, and the challenges of living with an ethnic identity of being ambiguously nonwhite. All coalesce at a community pow wow in Oakland.

An African American and LatinX History of the United States
Ortiz, Paul. An African American and LatinX History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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Scholar and activist,Paul Ortiz, challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations such as "manifest destiny" and "Jacksonian democracy," and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.

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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.

 

Feed
Pico, Tommy. Feed. Portland, Oregon: Tin House Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Feed is the fourth book in the Teebs tetralogy. It's an epistolary recipe for the main character, a poem of nourishment, and a jaunty walk through New York's High Line park, with the lines, stanzas, paragraphs, dialogue, and registers approximating the park's cultivated gardens of wildness. Among its questions, Feed asks what's the difference between being alone and being lonely? Can you ever really be friends with an ex? How do you make perfect mac & cheese? Feed is an ode of reconciliation to the wild inconsistencies of a northeast spring, a frustrating season of back-and-forth, of thaw and blizzard, but with a faith that even amidst the mess, it knows where it's going."–
For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity
Plank, Liz. For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

"In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don’t cry and dolls are for girls (a newer phenomenon than you might realize—gendered toys came back in vogue as recently as the 80s). They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that their masculinity must constantly be proven. They must be the breadwinners, they must be the romantic pursuers. This hasn’t been good for the culture at large: 99% of school shooters are male; men in fraternities are 300% (!) more likely to commit rape; a woman serving in uniform has a higher likelihood of being assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire.

"In For the Love of Men, Liz offers a smart, insightful, and deeply-researched guide for what we're all going to do about toxic masculinity. For both women looking to guide the men in their lives and men who want to do better and just don’t know how, For the Love of Men will lead the conversation on men's issues in a society where so much is changing, but gender roles have remained strangely stagnant. What are we going to do about men? Liz Plank has the answer. And it has the possibility to change the world for men and women alike." -- Provided by publisher.

Some of My Friends Are...: The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits of Cross-Racial Friendships
Plummer, Deborah L. Some of My Friends Are..: The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits of Cross-Racial Friendships. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Surveys have shown that the majority of people believe cross-racial friendships are essential for improving race relations. However, further polling reveals that most Americans tend to gravitate toward friendships within their own race. Psychologist Deborah L. Plummer examines how factors such as leisure, politics, humor, faith, social media, and education influence the nature and intensity of cross-racial friendships"-- Publisher's description.
The Grass Dancer
Power, Susan. The Grass Dancer. New York: Putnam's, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
A multi-generational saga of the Sioux Indians, mixing magic and reality. Set in the Dakotas, it begins in the 1860s with the tragic romance of Ghost Horse, a sacred clown, and Red Dress, a woman warrior, whose spirits seek desperately to be reunited.

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