Memoir

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The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary
Abū Sayf, ʻĀṭif. The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
An ordinary Gazan's chronicle of the struggle to survive during Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza The fifty-day Israel-Gaza conflict that began in early July of 2014 left over 2,100 people dead. The overwhelming majority of the dead were Palestinians, including some 500 children. Another 13,000-odd Palestinians were wounded, and 17,200 homes demolished. These statistics are sadly familiar, as is the political rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike. What is less familiar, however, is a sense of the ordinary Gazan society that war lays to waste. One of the few voices to make it out of Gaza was that of Atef Abu Saif, a writer and teacher from Jabalia refugee camp, whose eyewitness accounts (published in the Guardian, New York Times, and elsewhere) offered a rare window into the conflict for Western readers. Here, Abu Saif's complete diaries of the war allow us to witness the events of 2014 from the perspective of a young father, fearing for his family's safety. In The Drone Eats with Me, Abu Saif brings readers an intimate glimpse of life during wartime, as he, his wife, and his two young children attempt to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, in spite of the ever-present danger and carnage that is swallowing the place they call home.
Americanah
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"-- Provided by publisher.
The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran
Alinejad, Masih, and Kambiz Foroohar. The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"An extraordinary memoir from an Iranian journalist in exile about leaving her country, challenging tradition, and sparking an online movement against compulsory hijab. A photo on Masih Alinejad's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked My Stealthy Freedom, a social media campaign that went viral. But Alinejad is much more than the arresting face that sparked a campaign inspiring women to find their voices. She's also a world-class journalist whose personal story, told in her unforgettably bold and spirited voice in The Wind in My Hair, is emotional and inspiring. She grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailor and respected figure in the community, was the exception to the rule in a culture where women reside in their husbands' shadows. As a teenager, Alinejad was arrested for political activism and then surprised to discover she was pregnant while in police custody. When she was released, she married quickly and followed her young husband to Tehran, where she was later served divorce papers, to the embarrassment of her religiously conservative family. She spent years struggling to regain custody of her only son and remains in forced exile from her homeland and her heritage. Following Donald Trump's immigration ban, Alinejad found herself separated from her child, who lives abroad, once again. A testament to a spirit that remains unbroken, and an enlightening, intimate invitation into a world we don't know nearly enough about, The Wind in My Hair is the extraordinary memoir of a woman who overcame enormous adversity to fight for what she believes in and to encourage others to do the same."–Jacket
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."
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.
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Malaya: Essays on Freedom
Barnes, Cinelle. Malaya: Essays on Freedom. New York: Little A, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"From Cinelle Barnes, author of the memoir Monsoon Mansion, comes a moving and reflective essay collection about finding freedom in America. Out of a harrowing childhood in the Philippines, Cinelle Barnes emerged triumphant. But as an undocumented teenager living in New York, her journey of self-discovery was just beginning. Because she couldn't get a driver's license or file taxes, Cinelle worked as a cleaning lady and a nanny and took other odd jobs–and learned to look over her shoulder, hoping she wouldn't get caught. When she falls in love and marries a white man from the South, Cinelle finds herself trying to adjust to the thorny underbelly of "southern hospitality" while dealing with being a new mother, an immigrant affected by PTSD, and a woman with a brown body in a profoundly white world. From her immigration to the United States, to navigating a broken legal system, to balancing assimilation and a sense of self, Cinelle comes to rely on her resilience and her faith in the human spirit to survive and come of age all over again. Lyrical, emotionally driven, and told through stories both lived and overheard, Cinelle's intensely personal, yet universal, exploration of race, class, and identity redefines what it means to be a woman–and an American–in a divided country."–provided by publisher
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.
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.
Punch Me Up to the Gods
Broome, Brian. Punch Me Up to the Gods. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"A poetic and raw coming-of-age memoir in essays about blackness, masculinity, and addiction"-- Provided by publisher.

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.
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Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, An American Daughter
Cao, Lan, and Harlan Margaret Van Cao. Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, An American Daughter. New York: Viking, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"A mother-daughter memoir exploring loss, love, and healing, told in two alternating voices, from the critically acclaimed novelist and her teenage daughter"-- 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.

Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
Corchado, Alfredo. Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration. New York, London, Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is the narrative of the United States in a painful economic and political transition. As we move into a divisive, nativist new era of immigration politics, Homelands is a must-read to understand the past and future of the immigrant story in the United States, and the role of Mexicans in shaping America's history. A deeply moving book full of colorful characters searching for home, it is essential reading."
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.

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Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice
Deer, Ada Elizabeth, and Theda Perdue. Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice. New Directions in Native American Studies. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
 "A memoir of the first eighty-three years in the life of Ada Deer, the first woman to serve as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and her tireless campaigns to reverse the forced termination of the Menominee tribe and to ensure sovereignty and self-determination for all tribes"-- Provided by publisher.

"A deeply personal story, written with humor and honesty, this book is a testimony to the ability of one individual to change the course of history through hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to social justice"-- Provided by publisher.
A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century
DeParle, Jason. A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century. New York: Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
When Jason DeParle moved in with Tita Comodas in the Manila slums thirty years ago, he didn't expect to make a lifelong friend. Nor did he expect to spend decades reporting on her family–husband, children, and siblings–as they came to embody the stunning rise of global migration. In A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, DeParle paints an intimate portrait of an unforgettable family across three generations, as migration reorders economics, politics, and culture across the world. At the heart of the story is Rosalie, Tita's middle child, who escapes poverty by becoming a nurse, and lands jobs in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and, finally, Texas–joining the record forty-four million immigrants in the United States. Migration touches every aspect of global life. It pumps billions in remittances into poor villages, fuels Western populism, powers Silicon Valley, sustains American health care, and brings one hundred languages to the Des Moines public schools. One in four children in the United States is an immigrant or the child of one. With no issue in American life so polarizing, DeParle expertly weaves between the personal and panoramic perspectives. Reunited with their children after years apart, Rosalie and her husband struggle to be parents, as their children try to find their place in a place they don't know. Ordinary and extraordinary at once, their journey is a twenty-first-century classic, rendered in gripping detail.
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Horses, Horses, In the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale that Begins with Fukushima
Furukawa, Hideo, Douglas Slaymaker, and Akiko Takenaka. Horses, Horses, In the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale that Begins with Fukushima. Weatherhead books on Asia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is a multifaceted literary response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that devastated northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The novel is narrated by Hideo Furukawa, who travels back to his childhood home near Fukushima after 3/11 to reconnect with a place that is now doubly alien. His ruminations conjure the region's storied past, particularly its thousand-year history of horses, humans, and the struggle with a rugged terrain. Standing in the morning light, these horses also tell their stories, heightening the sense of liberation, chaos, and loss that accompanies Furukawa's rich recollections. A fusion of fiction, history, and memoir."--Syndetics.

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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."

Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago
Gartz, Linda. Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Redlined exposes the racist lending rules that refuse mortgages to anyone in areas with even one black resident. As blacks move deeper into Chicago's West Side during the 1960s, whites flee by the thousands. But Linda Gartz's parents, Fred and Lil choose to stay in their integrating neighborhood, overcoming previous prejudices as they meet and form friendships with their African American neighbors. The community sinks into increasing poverty and crime after two race riots destroy its once vibrant business district, but Fred and Lil continue to nurture their three apartment buildings and tenants for the next twenty years in a devastated landscape–even as their own relationship cracks and withers. After her parents' deaths, Gartz discovers long-hidden letters, diaries, documents, and photos stashed in the attic of her former home. Determined to learn what forces shattered her parents' marriage and undermined her community, she searches through the family archives and immerses herself in books on racial change in American neighborhoods. Told through the lens of Gartz's discoveries of the personal and political, Redlined delivers a riveting story of a community fractured by racial turmoil, an unraveling and conflicted marriage, a daughter's fight for sexual independence, and an up-close, intimate view of the racial and social upheavals of the 1960s."– Provided by publisher.

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