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If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Qurʼan
Power, Carla. If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Qurʼan. 1st ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015. View the BookAbstract
If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship -- between a secular American and a madrasa-trained sheikh -- had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text. A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humor and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars.
Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education
Pryal, Katie Rose Guest. Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education. Chapel Hill, NC: Blue Crow Publishing, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
The essays in this book cover topics such as disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. Written for a popular audience, for those with disabilities and for those who want to learn more about living a disabled life, Life of the Mind Interrupted aims to make higher education, and the rest of our society, more humane.
Even If You're Broken: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo
Pryal, Katie Rose Guest. Even If You're Broken: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo. Chapel Hill, NC: Blue Crow Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"From the bestselling author of 'Life of the Mind Interrupted' comes an essay collection 'rich in vulnerability and candor.' How do we make a good life in a world where sexual violence always lurks in the shadows? Katie Pryal, a rape survivor, a former law professor, and a bestselling author, takes on the rapidly changing legal and social landscape of \#MeToo, Title IX, and the lawsuits they've empowered women to bring. Moving between the deeply personal and the socially critical, the essays in this collection are incisive dispatches from survivor territory. In these fiery essays, Pryal documents reporting her rape to a university Title IX office, in grim, yet hilarious, detail. She turns her law-trained eye to the Bill Cosby case and to musician Kesha's struggle to break free of her recording contract because of alleged abuse by her producer. This book is for survivors, those who love them, and those who want to make the world a better place for them. These stories strip away shame. They burn off fear. They lay bare the injustices women face and how we can fight them. Most of all, Pryal shows how she has fought those injustices herself-and by showing us, she inspires us to do the same. "Rich in vulnerability and candor, Pryal's evocative essays remind us that the survivor journey is far from linear, and that there is power and beauty in our imperfect journey." -Andrea Pino, co-author of We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out"– Provided by publisher.
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Citizen: An American Lyric
Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"You take in things you don't want all the time. The second you hear or see some ordinary movement, all its intended targets, all the meanings behind the retreating sounds, as far as you are able to see, come into focus. Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just do that? Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn't be an ambition. --from back cover

"Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV -- everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named 'post-race' society." -- from publisher's description.
Karma and Other Stories
Reddi, Rishi. Karma and Other Stories. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"In this sparkling collection, award-winning writer Rishi Reddi weaves a multigenerational tapestry of interconnected lives, depicting members of an Indian American community struggling to balance the demands of tradition with the allure of Western life"–
Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim
Rehman, Sabeeha. Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Threading My Prayer Rug is a richly textured reflection on what it is to be a Muslim in America today. Beginning with a sweetly funny, moving account of the author's arranged marriage, the author undercuts stereotypes and offers the refreshing view of an American life through Muslim eyes.
A student of history
Revoyr, Nina. A student of history. New York: Akashic Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Rick Nagano is a graduate student in the history department at USC, struggling to make rent on his South Los Angeles apartment near the neighborhood where his family once lived. When he lands a job as a research assistant for the elderly Mrs. W--, the heir to an oil fortune, he sees it first simply as a source of extra cash. But as he grows closer to the iconoclastic, charming, and feisty Mrs. W--, he gets drawn into a world of privilege and wealth far different from his racially mixed, blue-collar beginnings. Putting aside his half-finished dissertation, Rick sets up office in Mrs. W--'s grand Bel Air mansion and begins to transcribe her journals - which document an old Los Angeles not described in his history books. He also accompanies Mrs. W-- to venues frequented by the descendants of the land and oil barons who built the city. One evening, at an event, he meets Fiona Morgan - the elegant scion of an old steel family - who takes an interest in his studies. Irresistibly drawn to Fiona, he agrees to help her with a project of questionable merit in the hopes he'll win her favor. A Student of History explores both the beginnings of Los Angeles and the present-day dynamics of race and class. It offers a window into the usually hidden world of high society, and the influence of historic families on current events. Like Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby, it features, in Rick Nagano, a young man of modest means who is navigating a world where he doesn't belong." (from dust jacket)
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 Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. New York: Vintage, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
An intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent-- from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. The tale begins with Anjum-- who used to be Aftab-- unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd Tilo and the men who loved her-- including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover. Their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo's landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs' Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi. "An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy" -- Provided by publisher.
The God of Small Things
Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. Random House reader's circle. Random House Trade paperbacks edition. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
In 1969 in Kerala, India, Rahel and her twin brother, Estha, struggle to forge a childhood for themselves amid the destruction of their family life, as they discover that the entire world can be transformed in a single moment
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"–
A Woman is No Man
Rum, Etaf. A Woman is No Man. New York: Harper, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear. Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra's oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda's insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can't help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family – knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future. Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect."–Publisher's description
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Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice
Salaam, Yusef. Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"They didn't know who they had. So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life. Yusef learned that we're all "born on purpose, with a purpose." Despite having confronted the racist heart of America while being "run over by the spiked wheels of injustice," Yusef channeled his energy and pain into something positive, not just for himself but for other marginalized people and communities. Better Not Bitter is the first time that one of the now Exonerated Five is telling his individual story, in his own words. Yusef writes his narrative: growing up Black in central Harlem in the '80s, being raised by a strong, fierce mother and grandmother, his years of incarceration, his reentry, and exoneration. Yusef connects these stories to lessons and principles he learned that gave him the power to survive through the worst of life's experiences. He inspires readers to accept their own path, to understand their own sense of purpose. With his intimate personal insights, Yusef unpacks the systems built and designed for profit and the oppression of Black and Brown people. He inspires readers to channel their fury into action, and through the spiritual, to turn that anger and trauma into a constructive force that lives alongside accountability and mobilizes change. This memoir is an inspiring story that grew out of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice, one that not only speaks to a moment in time or the rage-filled present, but reflects a 400-year history of a nation's inability to be held accountable for its sins. Yusef Salaam's message is vital for our times, a motivating resource for enacting change. Better, Not Bitter has the power to soothe, inspire and transform. It is a galvanizing call to action"–
Season of Migration to the North
Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. New York Review Books classics. New York: New York Review of Books, 2009. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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After years of study in Europe, the young narrator returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood--the enigmatic Mustafa Sa'eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in
Salman, Ayser. The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

"You know that feeling of being at the wrong end of the table? Like you’re at a party but all the good stuff is happening out of earshot (#FOMO)? That’s life—especially for an immigrant.

What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable (albeit fascist-regimed) homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohio—with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned?

This is Ayser Salman’s story. First comes Emigration, then Naturalization, and finally Assimilation—trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts, and always feeling left out. On her journey to Americanhood, Ayser sees more naked butts at pre-kindergarten daycare that she would like, breaks one of her parents’ rules (“Thou shalt not participate as an actor in the school musical where a male cast member rests his head in thy lap”), and other things good Muslim Arab girls are not supposed to do. And, after the 9/11 attacks, she experiences the isolation of being a Muslim in her own country. It takes hours of therapy, fifty-five rounds of electrolysis, and some ill-advised romantic dalliances for Ayser to grow into a modern Arab American woman who embraces her cultural differences.

Part memoir and part how-not-to guide, The Wrong End of the Table is everything you wanted to know about Arabs but were afraid to ask, with chapters such as “Tattoos and Other National Security Risks,” “You Can’t Blame Everything on Your Period; Sometimes You’re Going to Be a Crazy Bitch: and Other Advice from Mom,” and even an open letter to Trump. This is the story of every American outsider on a path to find themselves in a country of beautiful diversity." --Publisher description.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg reignited the conversation around women in the workplace.

Sandberg is chief operating officer of Facebook and coauthor of Option B with Adam Grant. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TED talk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which has been viewed more than six million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

Lean In continues that conversation, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. Sandberg provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career. She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment, and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women both in the workplace and at home.

Written with humor and wisdom, Lean In is a revelatory, inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth that will empower women around the world to achieve their full potential. " --Amazon description.

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.
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"–
Ground Zero, Nagasaki: Stories
Seirai, Yūichi. Ground Zero, Nagasaki: Stories. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Set in contemporary Nagasaki, the six short stories in this collection draw a chilling portrait of the ongoing trauma of the detonation of the atomic bomb. Whether they experienced the destruction of the city directly or heard about it from survivors, the characters in these tales filter their pain and alienation through their Catholic faith, illuminating a side of Japanese culture little known in the West. Many of them are descended from the "hidden Christians" who continued to practice their religion in secret during the centuries when it was outlawed in Japan. Urakami Cathedral, the center of Japanese Christian life, stood at ground zero when the bomb fell.

In "Birds," a man in his sixties reflects on his life as a husband and father. Just a baby when he was found crying in the rubble near ground zero, he does not know who his parents were. His birthday is set as the day the bomb was dropped. In other stories, a woman is haunted by her brief affair with a married man, and the parents of a schizophrenic man struggle to come to terms with the murder their son committed. These characters battle with guilt, shame, loss, love, and the limits of human understanding. Ground Zero, Nagasaki vividly depicts a city and people still scarred by the memory of August 9, 1945." --Publisher description.

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