Complete Collection

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God Help the Child
Morrison, Toni. God Help the Child. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"This fiery and provocative novel from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride's mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.” - Publisher description.
Paradise
Morrison, Toni. Paradise. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"The acclaimed Nobel Prize winner challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present—in prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem.“They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” So begins Toni Morrison's Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage." - Publisher description.
The Bluest Eye
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, the tragic heroine of Toni Morrison's haunting first novel, grew out of her memory of a girlhood friend who wanted blue eyes. Shunned by the town's prosperous black families, as well as its white families, Pecola lives with her alcoholic father and embittered, overworked mother in a shabby two-room storefront that reeks of the hopeless destitution that overwhelms their lives. In awe of her clean well-groomed schoolmates, and certain of her own intense ugliness, Pecola tries to make herself disappear as she wishes fervently, desperately for the blue eyes of a white girl. In her afterward to this novel, Morrison writes of the little girl she once knew: "Beauty was not simply something to behold, it was something one could do. The Bluest Eye was my effort to say something about that; to say something about why she had not, or possibly never would have, the experience of what she possessed and also why she prayed for so radical an alteration. Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing. And twenty-years later I was still wondering about how one learns that. Who told her? Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak that what she was? Who had looked at her and found her so wanting, so small a weight on the beauty scale? The novel pecks away at the gaze that condemned her."

Moving Up without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility
Morton, Jennifer M. Moving Up without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Upward mobility through the path of higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own. Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing Your Way looks at the ethical dilemmas of upward mobility–the broken ties with family and friends, the severed connections with former communities, and the loss of identity–faced by students as they strive to earn a successful place in society."

The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories
Motoya, Yukiko, and Asa Yoneda. The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique, which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking commuters struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon, until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A saleswoman in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won't come out of the fitting room, and who may or may not be human. A newlywed notices that her spouse's features are beginning to slide around his face to match her own. In these eleven stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien--and find a doorway to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearlessly inventive young writers"--Back cover.
Convenience Store Woman
Murata, Sayaka, and Ginny Tapley Takemori. Convenience Store Woman. First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition. New York: Grove Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis--but will it be for the better? Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko's thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amélie ." -- (Source of summary not specified).

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The little death: A Henry Rios mystery
Nava, Michael. The little death: A Henry Rios mystery. Latino literature. 4th ed. Los Angeles, Calif: Alyson Books, 2003. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"Henry Rios is introduced as a troubled San Francisco public defender battling alcoholism and burnout. While investigating the murder of an old friend, he traces clues back to the man’s own wealthy family. It is here that we first encounter Henry Rios’s struggle to maintain his faith in a legal system caught between justice and corruption, a theme that will continue throughout the series." - Amazon description.
A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano
Navarrette, Ruben. A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano. New York: Bantam Books, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
In 1985 an ambitious young Mexican-American from California’s rural San Joaquin Valley became one of the few Latinos to enter America’s most prestigious university. With intelligence and grace, Navarrette chronicles his experiences at Harvard, where he confronted questions of identity and ethnicity, and wrestled with the need to reconcile his values and opinions with the expectations of his family, his race, and society at large. More than a deeply personal memoir, A Darker Shade of Crimson also dares to pursue the complex questions of what needs to be done to provide a quality education for Latinos and other minorities in America.
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 Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Nelson, Stanley. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. PBS Distribution, 2016. Film @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Emory Douglas, Jamal Joseph, and many others, its an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America."–Container.
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.
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"–
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?"–
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

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