Memoir

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Nonbinary: A Memoir
P-Orridge, Genesis. Nonbinary: A Memoir. New York: Abrams Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"In a memoir spanning decades of artistic risk-taking, Genesis P-Orridge, the inventor of "industrial music," founder of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and world-renowned fine artist takes us on a journey through creativity and destruction, pleasure and pain. Genesis's unwillingness to be stuck-in one place, in one genre, or in one gender-will be an inspiration to the newest generation of trailblazers and nonconformists. It's for an audience that cannot and will not be ignored. 'Nonbinary' has far-reaching potential because of Genesis's remarkable body of work. It is full of great stories about Genesis's experiences with icons like William S. Burroughs and Ian Curtis."

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.

 

Unprotected: A Memoir
Porter, Billy. Unprotected: A Memoir. New York: Abrams Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard Library
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.
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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.
Letters to My White Male Friends
Ross, Dax-Devlon. Letters to My White Male Friends. First edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"In A Letter to My White Male Friends, Dax-Devlon Ross speaks directly to the millions of middle-aged white men who are suddenly awakening to race and racism. Finally, white men are realizing that simply not being racist isn't enough to end racism. These men want deeper insight not only into how racism has harmed black people, but, for the first time, into how it has harmed them. They are beginning to see that racism warps us all. A Letter to My White Male Friends promises to help the millions of white men who have said they are committed to change and develop the capacity to see, feel and sustain that commitment so they can help secure racial justice for us all. In part 1, Dax-Devlon Ross helps readers understand what it meant to be America's first generation raised after the civil rights era. He explains how we were all educated with colorblind narratives and symbols that typically, albeit implicitly, privileged whiteness and denigrated blackness. He provides the context and color of his own experiences in white schools so that white men can revisit moments in their lives where racism was in the room even when they didn't see it enter. In part 2, Ross shows how learning to see the harm that racism did to him, and forgiving himself, gave him the empathy to see the harm it does to white people as well. In part 3, he offers white men direction so that they can take just action in their workplace, community, family, and, most importantly, in themselves, especially in the future when race is no longer in the spotlight"-- Provided by publisher.
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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"–
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.

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.
Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America
Sen, Sharmila. Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America. New York: Penguin Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race: on INS forms, at the doctor's office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation: not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian, and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate, watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts, she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?
Assata: An Autobiography
Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur, aka JoAnne Chesimard, lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infilitrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. ... Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides." From the bookjacket.

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Smarsh, Sarah. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. New York: Scribner, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to examine the class divide in our country and the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh grew up in a family of laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty. Whether working the wheat harvest, helping on her dad's construction sites, or visiting her grandma's courthouse job, she learned about hard work. She also absorbed painful lessons about economic inequality. Through her experience growing up as the child of a dissatisfied teenage mother--and being raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita--she gives us a unique, essential look into the lives of poor and working-class Americans living in the middle of our country. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess. "--Dust jacket.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract

"From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time comes an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy. Bryan Stevenson was a gifted young attorney when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn't commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever."--Back cover.

Find the Print Book in HOLLIS. (Record #1 and Record #2)

In the Country of Women: A Memoir
Straight, Susan. In the Country of Women: A Memoir. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight--and eventually her three daughters--heard for decades the stories of Dwayne's female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight's mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan's family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward--from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California. A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan--those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, "The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival." In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women." -- from Jacket.
My War at Home
Sultan, Masuda. My War at Home. New York: Washington Square Press, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Review: "Born in Kandahar in 1978, Masuda Sultan fled to the United States at age five with her family. Raised in Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, Sultan saw her life change when she was married by arrangement at the young age of seventeen to a virtual stranger fourteen years her senior - a marriage that she struggled to maintain and then hastily fought, eventually (after three years) being granted a divorce. This very divorce would become one of the first in her close-knit Afghan community, where the subject is considered rare and taboo."

"Sultan went on to graduate from college summa cum laude with a degree in economics, and in July 2001, she returned to Kandahar, to explore her family roots and find herself. There she met her relatives and surveyed the conservative provincial town where she was born. On return visits to Afghanistan, she discovered the tragic death of her relatives at the hands of American troops and began to seek answers."

"My War at Home is her memoir of self-discovery, family tradition, and life as a Muslim and feminist with political ideals. It speaks to the younger generation of Muslims in America as they struggle to resolve the ever-present inner conflict about what it means to be an American and a Muslim, while also examining the Muslim-American identity at both personal and political levels."--Jacket.

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They Called Us Enemy
Takei, George, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker. They Called Us Enemy. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten 'relocation centers', hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?"-- Provided by publisher.
Fairest: A Memoir
Talusan, Meredith. Fairest: A Memoir. New York: Viking, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"A heartrending immigrant memoir and a uniquely intersectional coming-of-age story of a life lived in duality and the in-between, and how one navigates through race, gender, and the search for love."

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The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male
Valerio, Max W. The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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Review: "Max Wolf Valerio's observations about transitioning from a lesbian to a heterosexual male both challenge and confirm our assumptions about gender. As Valerio undergoes the physical and emotional changes associated with testosterone treatment, he is intrigued by his eye-opening discoveries about the nature of masculinity and femininity. The Testosterone Files offers a perspective on men and women that only someone who's lived in both skins can speak to with such insight and eloquence."--BOOK JACKET.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Vance, J. D. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. New York, NY: Harper, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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