Complete Collection

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The Famished Road
Okri, Ben. The Famished Road. Newburyport, MA: Open Road Media, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
Oluo, Ijeoma. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. New York: Seal Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

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

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

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

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

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

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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."

I Am Not Your Negro
Peck, Raoul. I Am Not Your Negro. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2017. Streaming Video @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract
Using James Baldwin's unfinished final manuscript, Remember This House, this documentary follows the lives and successive assassinations of three of the author's friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., delving into the legacy of these iconic figures and narrating historic events using Baldwin's original words and a flood of rich archival material. An up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, this film is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.
Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be: Essays
Perkins, Nicole. Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be: Essays. First edition. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Pop culture is the Pandora's Box of our lives. Racism, wealth, poverty, beauty, inclusion, exclusion, and hope -- all of these intractable and unavoidable features course through the media we consume. Examining pop culture's impact on her life, Nichole Perkins takes readers on a rollicking trip through the last twenty years of music, media and the internet from the perspective of one southern Black woman. She explores her experience with mental illness and how the TV series Frasier served as a crutch, how her role as mistress led her to certain internet message boards that prepared her for current day social media, and what it means to figure out desire and sexuality and Prince in a world where marriage is the only acceptable goal for women. Combining her sharp wit, stellar pop culture sensibility, and trademark spirited storytelling, Nichole boldly tackles the damage done to women, especially Black women, by society's failure to confront the myths and misogyny at its heart, and her efforts to stop the various cycles that limit confidence within herself. By using her own life and loves as a unique vantage point, Nichole humorously and powerfully illuminates how to take the best pop culture has to offer and discard the harmful bits, offering a mirror into our own lives"-- Provided by publisher.
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.

 

Detransition, Baby
Peters, Torrey. Detransition, Baby. New York: One World, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn't hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she's pregnant with his baby—and that she's not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he's been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can't reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel." - Publisher description.
Feed
Pico, Tommy. Feed. Portland, Oregon: Tin House Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Feed is the fourth book in the Teebs tetralogy. It's an epistolary recipe for the main character, a poem of nourishment, and a jaunty walk through New York's High Line park, with the lines, stanzas, paragraphs, dialogue, and registers approximating the park's cultivated gardens of wildness. Among its questions, Feed asks what's the difference between being alone and being lonely? Can you ever really be friends with an ex? How do you make perfect mac & cheese? Feed is an ode of reconciliation to the wild inconsistencies of a northeast spring, a frustrating season of back-and-forth, of thaw and blizzard, but with a faith that even amidst the mess, it knows where it's going."–
For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity
Plank, Liz. For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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

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

Some of My Friends Are...: The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits of Cross-Racial Friendships
Plummer, Deborah L. Some of My Friends Are..: The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits of Cross-Racial Friendships. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Surveys have shown that the majority of people believe cross-racial friendships are essential for improving race relations. However, further polling reveals that most Americans tend to gravitate toward friendships within their own race. Psychologist Deborah L. Plummer examines how factors such as leisure, politics, humor, faith, social media, and education influence the nature and intensity of cross-racial friendships"-- Publisher's description.
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.
The Grass Dancer
Power, Susan. The Grass Dancer. New York: Putnam's, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
A multi-generational saga of the Sioux Indians, mixing magic and reality. Set in the Dakotas, it begins in the 1860s with the tragic romance of Ghost Horse, a sacred clown, and Red Dress, a woman warrior, whose spirits seek desperately to be reunited.
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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Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity
Rajunov, Micah, and Scott Duane, ed. Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"What happens when your gender doesn't fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary. The powerful first-person narratives of this collection show us a world where gender exists along a spectrum, a web, a multidimensional space. Nuanced storytellers break away from mainstream portrayals of gender diversity, cutting across lines of age, race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, family, and relationships. From Suzi, who wonders whether she'll ever "feel" like a woman after living fifty years as a man, to Aubri, who grew up in a cash-strapped fundamentalist household, to Sand, who must reconcile the dual roles of trans advocate and therapist, the writers' conceptions of gender are inextricably intertwined with broader systemic issues. Labeled gender outlaws, gender rebels, genderqueer, or simply human, the voices in Nonbinary illustrate what life could be if we allowed the rigid categories of "man" and "woman" to loosen and bend. They speak to everyone who has questioned gender or has paused to wonder, What does it mean to be a man or a woman--and why do we care so much?"
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.

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