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NPR - Identity & Culture

NPR's best identity and culture books of 2020, for kids, teens, and adults.

Postcolonial love poem by Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages―bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers―be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

The chiffon trenches : a memoir by André Leon Talley

"Discover what truly happens behind the scenes in the world of high fashion in this detailed, storied memoir from style icon, bestselling author, and former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley. During André Leon Talley's first magazine job assisting Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decade's long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, Talley moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild's Women's Wear Daily, befriending fashion's most important designers. But as Talley made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella. There, he developed an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour, and as she rose to the top of Vogue's masthead, Talley became the most influential man in fashion. The Chiffon Trenches is a candid look at the who's who of the last fifty years of fashion, and proof that fact is always fascinatingly more devilish than fiction. André Leon Talley's engaging memoir tells the story of how he not only survived but thrived--despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry--to become one of the most legendary voices and faces in fashion"--

So we can glow : stories by Leesa Cross-Smith

"From Kentucky to the California desert, these forty-two short stories expose the glossy and matte hearts of girls and women in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more"--

The vanishing half : a novel by Brit Bennett

"The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, evenseparated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise"--

Ring shout : or, Hunting Ku Kluxes in the end times by P Clark

"In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die. Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan's demons straight to Hell. But something awful's brewing in Macon, and the war on hell is about to heat up. Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?"--inside jacket

Mary and the Trail of Tears : a Cherokee removal survival story by Andrea L Rogers

It is June first and twelve-year-old Mary does not really understand what is happening: she does not understand the hatred and greed of the white men who are forcing her Cherokee family out of their home in New Echota, Georgia, capital of the Cherokee Nation, and trying to steal what few things they are allowed to take with them, she does not understand why a soldier killed her grandfather--and she certainly does not understand how she, her sister, and her mother, are going to survive the 1000 mile trip to the lands west of the Mississippi.

Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you by Jason Reynolds

"A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning"--

Cemetery boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.

Me and white supremacy : combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor by Layla F Saad

"When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would become a cultural movement. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it... Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 80,000 people downloaded the supporting work Me and White Supremacy. Updated and expanded from the original edition, Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too"--

Flamer by Mike Curato

In the summer between middle school and high school, Aiden Navarro navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and finds himself drawn to Elias, a boy he can't stop thinking about.

Transcendent kingdom : a novel by Yaa Gyasi

"A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice"--

The dead are arising : the life of Malcolm X by Les Payne

"An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author's interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative. Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X-all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world.His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm's life not only within the Nationof Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century's most politically relevant figures "from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary." In tracing Malcolm X's life from hisNebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm's Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl's death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm's exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary. With a biographer's unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations-from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder "Fard Muhammad," who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz's 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X's murder at the Audubon Ballroom. Introduced by Payne's daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father's death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle"--

Transcendent kingdom : a novel by Yaa Gyasi

"A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice"--

Caste : the origins of our discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

""As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today"--

Song below water by Bethany C Morrow

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers. Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school's junior year. But, everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment. Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it's only Tavia and Effie's unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all

Trouble the saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Forced to give up her identity and the man she loves after a decade in the glittering underworld of Manhattan, a Harlem assassin fights the ghosts of her past at the dawn of World War II.

One to watch : a novel by Kate Stayman-London

"Bea Schumacher is a leading fashion blogger, known for her warm, honest body-positive message. But after an unexpected heartbreak, Bea's confidence is shaken and she feels hopelessly alone. In the midst of her sadness (and some drunken internet rantings), she receives a surprising proposition: Would Bea like to be the first plus-size woman to star in the next season of reality dating competition sensation Main Squeeze? Against her better judgment, she accepts. The producers promise it will be the most diverse cast yet and a great opportunity to expand her brand. And while she knows she'll never find love, she might find distraction from her broken heart and inspire other plus-sized women to believe that they have a right to the spotlight too. But as thecameras roll, she is forced to face down judgement, ridicule, and expectations amidst over-the-top dates and international travel with a line-up of men who feel like fantasies (a sexy French chef, a sardonic professor, a playful younger man) as she ultimately discovers the truth behind the fairytale, and the reality of falling in love. In this witty, heartfelt debut, Kate Stayman-London shines a light on how the complex standards of female beauty affect how we define ourselves and who deserves to be seen...and loved"--

And I do not forgive you : stories and other revenges by Amber Sparks

"Exciting fans of such writers as Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Carmen Maria Machado with prose that shimmers and stings, Amber Sparks holds a singular role in the canon of the weird. Now, she reaches new, uncanny heights with And I Do Not Forgive You. In "Mildly Happy, With Moments of Joy," a friend is ghosted by a simple text message; in "Everyone's a Winner at Meadow Park," a teen precariously coming of age in a trailer park befriends an actual ghost. At once humorous and unapologetically fierce, these stories shine an interrogating light on the adage that "history likes to lie about women"- as the subjects of "A Short and Speculative History of Lavoisier's Wife" and "You Won't Believe What Really Happened to the Sabine Women" (it's true, you won't) will attest. Blending fairy tales and myths with apocalyptic technologies, all tethered intricately by shades of rage, And I Do Not Forgive You offers a mosaic of an all- too- real world that fails to listen to its silenced goddesses"--

One life by Megan Rapinoe

"Raised in a conservative small town in Northern California, the youngest of six, Megan Rapinoe was four years old when she kicked her first soccer ball. Her parents encouraged her love for the game, but taught her that winning was much less important than how she lived her life. From childhood on Rapinoe always did what she could to stand up for what was right - even if meant going up against people who disagreed. In One Life, Rapinoe reflects on the choices she has made, her victories and her failures, and embarks on a thoughtful and candid discussion of her personal journey into social justice. After the 2011 World Cup, discouraged by how few athletes were willing to discuss their sexuality, Rapinoe decided to come out publicly as gay and use her platform to advocate for marriage equality. Recognizing the power she had to bring attention to critical issues, in 2016 she took a knee during the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick to protest racial injustice and police brutality - the first high-profile white athlete to do so. The backlash was immediate, but it couldn't compare to the overwhelming support. Rapinoe became a force of change, both on and off the field. Using anecdotes from her own life and career as an Olympic gold medalist and two-time women's World Cup champion, from suing the US Soccer Federation over gender discrimination to her widely publicized refusal to visit the White House, Rapinoe discusses the obligation we all have to speak up, and the impact each of us can have on our communities. Deeply personal and inspiring, One Life reveals that real, concrete change lies within all of us, and asks: If we all have the same resource - this one precious life, made up of the decisions we make every day - what are you going to do?" --book jacket

The talk : conversations about race, love & truth

"Thirty diverse and award-winning authors and illustrators capture frank discussions about racism, identity, and self-esteem"--

Riot baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

""Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether."-Marlon James Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella-through visits both mundane and supernatural-tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down"--

The only good Indians : a novel by Stephen Graham Jones

"Peter Straub's Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends"--

The shadow king : a novel by Maaza Mengiste

Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record. At its heart is orphaned maid Hirut, who finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. What follows is a heartrending and unputdownable exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

Children of the land : a memoir by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

"When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary. With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor. Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen." --book jacket

Efren divided : a novel by Ernesto Cisneros

While his father works two jobs, seventh-grader Efr©♭n Nava must take care of his twin siblings, kindergartners Max and Mia, after their mother is deported to Mexico. Includes glossary of Spanish words.

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

In southeastern Nigeria, twelve-year-old Mnamdi is determined to avenge his police chief father, who was murdered while triyng to rid the town of criminals, but Nnamdi feels powerless until he receives a magical object which gives him superpowers.

Luster : a novel by Raven Leilani

"Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, Raven Leilani's debut novel, Luster, sees a young black woman fall into art and someone else's open marriage"--

Almost American girl : an illustrated memoir by Robin Ha

Shares the author's experiences as an only child born to a single mother in Korea, who abruptly moved to the United States as a teenager and the difficulties she had fitting in in both countries.

Amnesty : a novel by Aravind Adiga

"A young illegal immigrant who must decide whether to report crucial information about a murder—and thereby risk deportation. Danny—formerly Dhananjaya Rajaratnam—is an illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia, denied refugee status after he fled from Sri Lanka. Working as a cleaner, living out of a grocery storeroom, for three years he’s been trying to create a new identity for himself. And now, with his beloved vegan girlfriend, Sonja, with his hidden accent and highlights in his hair, he is as close as he has ever come to living a normal life. But then one morning, Danny learns a female client of his has been murdered. The deed was done with a knife, at a creek he’d been to with her before; and a jacket was left at the scene, which he believes belongs to another of his clients—a doctor with whom Danny knows the woman was having an affair. Suddenly Danny is confronted with a choice: Come forward with his knowledge about the crime and risk being deported? Or say nothing, and let justice go undone? Over the course of this day, evaluating the weight of his past, his dreams for the future, and the unpredictable, often absurd reality of living invisibly and undocumented, he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities." --book jacket

I am Every Good Thing by Derrick D Barnes

Illustrations and easy-to-read text pay homage to the strength, character, and worth of a child.

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

"A queer American teacher describes a series of intimate encounters with lovers, friends, and students in and around Sofia, Bulgaria"--

Kim Jiyoung, born 1982 by Nam-ju Cho

"The runaway bestseller that helped launch Korea's new feminist movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman's psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny. In a small, tidy apartment on the outskirts of the frenzied metropolis of Seoul, KimJiyoung-a millennial "everywoman"-spends her days caring for her infant daughter. Her husband, however, worries over a strange symptom that has recently appeared: Jiyoung has begun to impersonate the voices of other women-dead and alive, both known and unknown to her. Truly, flawlessly, completely, she became that very person. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, Jiyoung's concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist, who listens to her narrate her own life story-from her birth to a family who expected a son, to elementary school teachers who policed girls' outfits, to male coworkers who installed hidden cameras in women's restrooms and posted the photos online. But can her doctor cure her, or even discover what truly ails her? Rendered in eerie prose, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 announces the arrival of a major international writer"--

Apple : skin to the core : a memoir in words and pictures by Eric L Gansworth

How about a book that makes you barge into your boss's office to read a page of poetry from? That you dream of? That every movie, song, book, moment that follows continues to evoke in some way? The term "Apple" is a slur in Native communities across the country. It's for someone supposedly "red on the outside, white on the inside." Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking

Party of two by Jasmine Guillory

"A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking. Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe's mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can't resist-it is chocolate cake, after all. Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble-not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max's high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?"--

Mad, bad & dangerous to know by Samira Ahmed

"It's August in Paris, but 17-year-old Khayyam-American, Desi, Muslim, the only child of Chicago-based academics with a summer apartment on the Ile de la Cite-is at a crossroads. Uncertain of her relationship with Zaid, the boy back home, she can't hold on to the past. Stung by her dream college's rejection of the essay she wrote to apply early, she doesn't see a clear future. Khayyam is alone in her belief that the mysterious "raven-tressed lady" in the poems of Alexandre Dumas not only inspired the paintings of Eugène Delacroix, they were based on a real person named Leila. A chance encounter with a descendant of Alexandre Dumas plunges Khayyam back into her research and the hunt for the truth. Interstitials offer a tantalizing glimpse of Leila's lifeas it could have been-defined by a high-wire balance of privileged status, servitude, and survival as a Muslim woman subject to European patriarchy and colonialism. As the stakes rise for both, Khayyam and Leila must ultimately wrestle with desires and expectations outside of their control to determine their own fates"--

Sisters in hate : American women on the front line of white nationalism by Seyward Darby

"After the election of Donald J. Trump, journalist Seyward Darby went looking for the women of the so-called "alt-right" -- really just white nationalism with a new label. The mainstream media depicted the alt-right as a bastion of angry white men, but was it? As women headlined resistance to the Trump administration's bigotry and sexism, most notably at the Women's Marches, Darby wanted to know why others were joining a movement espousing racism and anti-feminism. Who were these women, and what did their activism reveal about America's past, present, and future? Darby researched dozens of women across the country before settling on three -- Corinna Olsen, Ayla Stewart, and Lana Lokteff. Each was born in 1979, and became a white nationalist in the post-9/11 era. Their respective stories of radicalization upend much of what we assume about women, politics, and political extremism. Corinna, a professional embalmer who was once a body builder, found community in white nationalism before it was the alt-right, while she was grieving the death of her brother and the end of hermarriage. For Corinna, hate was more than just personal animus -- it could also bring people together. Eventually, she decided to leave the movement and served as an informant for the FBI"--Amazon

When stars are scattered by Victoria Jamieson

"Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal offamily and daily life in a refugee camp"--

Homeland elegies : a novel by Ayad Akhtar

"A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home. Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation's unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one -- least of all himself -- in the process."--Amazon

Such a fun age : a novel by Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason

Memorial Drive : a daughter's memoir by Natasha D Trethewey

"At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother's life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother's history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a "child of miscegenation" in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet's attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers."--Amazon

Race against time : a reporter reopens the unsolved murder cases of the civil rights era by Jerry Mitchell

"An award-winning investigative reporter shares the real-life detective story of how Klansmen came to justice in notorious unsolved civil rights cold cases--decades after they had gotten away with murder"--

Lifting as we climb : black women's battle for the ballot box by Evette Dionne

Describes a history of the role of African American women as a significant force in the suffrage movement and their efforts to be accepted as equal partners by their fellow activists.

Followers : a novel by Megan Angelo

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss--a striving, wannabe A-lister--who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss's methods are a little shady--and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can't be wrong. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity--twelve million loyal followers--Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks. Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we'll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection

Shuggie Bain : a novel by Douglas Stuart

"Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for his artistic brother and practical sister. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a "whoremaster" of a husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good-her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits-all the family has to live on-on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to look after her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. He is meanwhile doing all he can to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that Shuggie is "no right," and now Agnes's addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her-even and especially her beloved Shuggie. A heartbreaking novel of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction"--

Big friendship : how we keep each other close by Aminatou Sow

"Two of the nation's leading feminists and hosts of the hit podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" make the bold and compelling argument that a close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can contain-helping you improve as a person and in your relationships with others"--

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--

Godshot : a novel by Chelsea Bieker

Drought has settled on the town of Peaches, California. The area of the Central Valley where fourteen-year-old Lacey May and her alcoholic mother live was once an agricultural paradise. Now it's an environmental disaster, a place of cracked earth and barren raisin farms. In their desperation, residents have turned to a cult leader named Pastor Vern for guidance. He promises, through secret "assignments," to bring the rain everybody is praying for. Lacey has no reason to doubt the pastor. But then her life explodes in a single unimaginable act of abandonment: her mother, exiled from the community for her sins, leaves Lacey and runs off with a man she barely knows. Abandoned and distraught, Lacey May moves in with her widowed grandma, Cherry, who is more concerned with her taxidermy mouse collection than her own granddaughter. As Lacey May endures the increasingly appalling acts of men who want to write all the rules and begins to uncover the full extent of Pastor Vern's shocking plan to bring fertility back to the land, she decides she must go on a quest to find her mother no matter what it takes. With her only guidance coming from the romance novels she reads and the unlikely companionship of the women who knew her mother, she must find her own way through unthinkable circumstances. Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O'Connor's Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own

Winter counts : a novel by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

"An addictive and groundbreaking debut thriller set on a Native American reservation"--

How much of these hills is gold by C Pam Zhang

"Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future."--From publisher's description

Blacktop wasteland : a novel by S Cosby

"A gritty, voice-driven thriller about a former getaway driver who thought he had escaped the criminal life who is pulled back in by race, poverty, and his own former life of crime. Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a man with many different titles: husband, father, friend, honest car mechanic. But before he gave it up, Bug used to be known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best Wheel Man on the East Coast. After a series of financial calamities, Bug feels he has no choice but totake one final job as the getaway driver for a daring diamond heist that could solve all his money troubles and allow him to go straight once and for all. Like "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Drive" (but with a mostly black cast of characters), Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of sons living up (or down) to their fathers; of a heist gone sideways; of a man ground down by economic desperation; of fast cars and daring chases and identity and love"--

Interior Chinatown : a novel by Charles Yu

"From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play."--

Yellow Bird : oil, murder, and a woman's search for justice in Indian country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

"When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher 'KC' Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and no one but his mother was actively looking for him. Unfolding like a gritty mystery, Yellow Bird traces Lissa's steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke's disappearance. She navigates twoworlds -- that of her own tribe, changed by its newfound wealth, and that of the non-Native oil workers, down on their luck, who have come to find work on the heels of the economic recession. Her pursuit becomes an effort at redemption -- an atonement forher own crimes and a reckoning with generations of trauma. Yellow Bird is both an exquisitely written, masterfully reported story about a search for justice and a remarkable portrait of a complex woman who is smart, funny, eloquent, compassionate, and --when it serves her cause -- manipulative. Ultimately, it is a deep examination of the legacy of systematic violence inflicted on a tribal nation and a tale of extraordinary healing"--

I want you to know we're still here by Esther Safran Foer

"Esther Safran Foer grew up in a family where history was too terrible to speak of. The child of parents who were each the sole survivors of their respective families, for Esther the Holocaust was always felt but never discussed. So when Esther's mother casually mentions an astonishing revelation--that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust--Esther resolves to find the truth. Armed with only a black-and-white photo and hand-drawn map, she travels to Ukraine, determined to find the shtetl where her father hid during the war. What she finds not only reshapes her identity but gives her the long-denied opportunity to mourn the all-but-forgotten dead"--

Show me a sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

It is 1805 and Mary Lambert has always felt safe among the deaf community of Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard where practically everyone communicates in a shared sign language, but recent events have shattered her life; her brother George has died, land disputes between English settlers and the Wampanoag people are becoming increasingly bitter, and a "scientist" determined to discover the origins of the islands' widespread deafness has decided she makes the perfect "live specimen"--and kidnapped her.

Intimations : six essays by Zadie Smith

"Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it? Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened--and what should come next"--

Leave the world behind : a novel by Rumaan Alam

"A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong"--

Real life by Brandon (Brandon L Taylor

"A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend -- and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends -- some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But aseries of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community"--

Miss Iceland by 1958- author Auður A. Olafsdaottir

"Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman. After packing her few belongings, including James Joyce's Ulysses and a Remington typewriter, Hekla heads for Reykjavaik with a manuscript buried in her bags. She moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theater, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla's opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two friends feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world. And yet that world is changing: JFK is shot and hemlines are rising. In Iceland another volcano erupts and Hekla meets a poet who brings to light harsh realities about her art. Hekla realizes she must escape to find freedom abroad, whatever the cost. Miss Iceland is a novel of extraordinary poise and masterful acuity from one of our most celebrated Icelandic writers"--

All because you matter by Tami Charles

A lyrical, heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere reminds them how much they matter, that they have always mattered and they always will

I don't want to die poor : essays by Michael Arceneaux

"Ever since Oprah Winfrey told the 2007 graduating class of Howard University, 'Don't be afraid,' Michael Arceneaux has been scared to death. You should never do the opposite of what Oprah instructs you to do, but when you don't have her pocket change, how can you not be terrified of the consequences of pursuing your dreams? Michael has never shied away from discussing his struggles with debt, but in I Don't Want to Die Poor, he reveals the extent to which it has an impact on every facet of his life--how he dates; how he seeks medical care (or in some cases, is unable to); how he wrestles with the question of whether or not he should have chosen a more financially secure path; and finally, how he has dealt with his 'dream' turning into an ongoing nightmare as he realizes one bad decision could unravel all that he's earned. I Don't Want to Die Poor is an unforgettable and relatable examination about what it's like leading a life that often feels out of your control."--Amazon.com

Black Bottom saints : a novel by Alice Randall

"From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit's famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city's African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he's rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats. As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it."--Amazon

Legendary children : the first decade of RuPaul's drag race and the last century of queer life by Tom (Thomas) Fitzgerald

"A definitive deep-dive into queer history and culture with hit reality show RuPaul's Drag Race as a touchstone, by the creators of the popular pop culture blog Tom and Lorenzo"--

New waves by Kevin Nguyen

"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?"--

The undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

"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 Villavicenciopowerfully 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"--

Snapped by Alexa Martin

"The game gets more serious off the field in this new football romance in the Playbook series. Elliot Reed is living her best life. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but she's trying really hard. With her dad's passing, this year has not been the easiest. But now that she's landed her dream job as the Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs, things are starting to look up. Or at least they were until Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage when he becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem. As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton has a lot to say about the company he plays for. He's worked his entire life to earn this platform and nothing could make him change his mind. Not even thebrilliant but infuriating woman the Mustangs send in to get him off of his knee and back in line. After getting off to a horrible start, Elliot is convinced that Quinton is nothing more than an entitled jerk. But as her new job forces them to spend timetogether, she realizes they may have more in common than she could've ever imagined. Football brought her closer to her dad, but it ripped Quinton's away from him. And with her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win"--

The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

"Stein's most famous work; one of the richest and most irreverent biographies ever written, now illustrated by Maira Kalman"--

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

"Imagine an America very similar to our own. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples. Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry"--

Family in six tones : a refugee mother, an American daughter by Lan Cao

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

Rural voices : 15 authors challenge assumptions about small-town America

"For most of America's history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors' real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors--diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status--explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you'll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed--and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own."--Amazon

Something that may shock and discredit you by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

"Daniel Mallory Ortberg is known for blending genres, forms, and sources to develop fascinating new hybrids--from lyric rants to horror recipes to pornographic scripture. In his most personal work to date, he turns his attention to the essay, offering vigorour and loug-out-loud funny account of both oppular and highbrow culture while mixing in meditations on gender transition, relationship dynamics, and the many meanings of faith." --book jacket

The night watchman : a novel by Louise Erdrich

Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new 'emancipation' bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn't about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a 'termination' that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans 'for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run'?

We are water protectors by Carole Lindstrom

When a black snake threatens to destroy the earth, one young water protector takes a stand to defend the planet's water, in a tale inspired by the many indigenous-led conservation movements across North America.

Black Sunday : a novel by Tola Rotimi Abraham

"Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, an institution led by a charismatic pastor who is not shy about worshipping earthly wealth. Soon Bibike and Ariyike's father wagers the family home on a "sure bet" that evaporates like smoke. As their parents' marriage collapses in the aftermath of this gamble, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins' paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power. Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham's Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence."--Provided by publisher

The freedom artist by Ben Okri

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner? When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization. To find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question. Karnak's search leads him into a terrifying world of lies, oppression and fear at the heart of which lies the Prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth

Neon girls : a stripper's education in protest and power by Jennifer Worley

A riveting true story of a young woman's days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. When graduate student Jenny Worley needed a fast way to earn more money, she found herself at the door of the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, auditioning on a stage surrounded by mirrors, in platform heels, and not much else. So began Jenny's career as a stripper strutting the peepshow stage as her alter-ego "Polly" alongside women called Octopussy and Amnesia. But this wasn't your run-of-the-mill strip club--it was a peepshow populated by free-thinking women who talked feminist theory and swapped radical zines like lipstick. As management's discriminatory practices and the rise of hidden cameras stir up tension among the dancers, Jenny rallies them to demand change. Together, they organize the first strippers' union in the world and risk it all to take over the club and run it as a co-operative. Refusing to be treated as sex objects or disposable labor, they become instead the rulers of their kingdom. Jenny's elation over the Lusty Lady's revolution is tempered by her evolving understanding of the toll dancing has taken on her. When she finally hangs up her heels for good to finish her Ph.D., neither Jenny nor San Francisco are the same--but she and the cadre of wild, beautiful, brave women who run the Lusty Lady come out on top despite it all. A first-hand account as only an insider could tell it, Neon Girls paints a vivid picture of a bygone San Francisco and a fiercely feminist world within the sex industry, asking sharp questions about what keeps women from fighting for their rights, who benefits from capitalizing on desire, and how we can change entrenched systems of power

The city we became by N Jemisin

"Five New Yorkers must come together in order to save their city from destruction in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and othersare as new and destructive as children. New York? She's got six. When a young man crosses the bridge into New York City, something changes. He doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can feel the pulse of the city, can see its history, can access its magic. And he's not the only one. All across the boroughs, strange things are happening. Something is threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all"--

Swimming in the dark : a novel by Tomasz Jedrowski

When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable. Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse

A promised land by Barack Obama

"In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil"--

Just us : an American conversation by Claudia Rankine

"At home and in government, contemporary America finds itself driven by a culture war in which aggression and defensiveness alike are on the rise. It is not alone. In such partisan conditions, how can humans best approach one another across our differences? Taking the study of whiteness and white supremacy as a guiding light, Claudia Rankine explores a series of real encounters with friends and strangers - each disrupting the false comfort of spaces where our public and private lives intersect, like the airport, the theatre, the dinner party and the voting booth - and urges us to enter into the conversations which could offer the only humane pathways through this moment of division. Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, and to breach the silence, guilt and violence that surround whiteness. Brilliantly arranging essays, images and poems along with the voices and rebuttals of others, it counterpoints Rankine's own text with facing-page notes and commentary, and closes with a bravura study of women confronting the political and cultural implications of dyeing their hair blonde." --Publisher's description

Upright women wanted by Sarah Gailey

"Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her-a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing"--

Hood feminism : notes from the women that a movement forgot by Mikki Kendall

"A collection of essays taking aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women"--

If I had your face : a novel by Frances Cha

"Kyuri is a heartbreakingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a "room salon," an exclusive bar where she entertains businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake with a client may come to threaten her livelihood. Her roomate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in a precarious relationship with the super-wealthy heir to one of Korea's biggest companies. Down the hall in their apartment building lives Ara, a hair stylist for whom two preoccupations sustain her: obsession with a boy-band pop star, and a best friend who is saving up for the extreme plastic surgery that is commonplance. And Wonna, one floor below, is a newlywed trying to get pregnant with a child that she and her husband have no idea how they can afford to raise and educate in the cutthroat economy. Together, their stories tell a gripping tale that's seemingly unfamiliar, yet unmistakably universal in the way that their tentative friendships may have to be their saving grace"--

Prairie lotus by Linda Sue Park

In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves. Includes author's note.

Wow, no thank you : essays by Samantha Irby

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "tv executives slash amateur astrologers" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," "with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees," who still hides past due bills under her pillow.

Everything sad is untrue : (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri

"At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. But Khosrou's stories are beautiful, and terrifying, from the momenthis family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the refugee camps of Italy, and further back to Isfahan."--

Accidental trouble magnet by Zanib Mian

"Imaginative Omar goes through the ups and downs of starting a new school and making new friends with the help of his wonderful (and silly) Muslim family"--

A good neighborhood by Therese Fowler

"A gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side by side in an idyllic neighborhood, and the one summer that changes their lives irrevocably"--

Once I was you : a memoir of love and hate in a torn America by Maria Hinojosa

"Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa shares her personal story interwoven with American immigration policy's coming-of-age journey at a time when our country's branding went from "The Land of the Free" to "the land of invasion.""--

The most beautiful thing by Kao Kalia Yang

"Drawn from Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this heartfelt picture book offers a window into the life of a family with little money and a great deal of love"--

Anna K : a love story by Jenny Lee

Told from multiple viewpoints, while seventeen-year-old Anna K seems above the typical problems of her Manhattan friends and siblings, finding love with a notorious playboy changes everything.

Here for it : or, how to save your soul in America : essays by R Thomas

"R. Eric Thomas didn't know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went--whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city--he found himself on the outside looking in. In essays by turns hysterical and heartfelt, Eric redefines what it means to be an "other" through the lens of his own life experience. He explores the two worlds of his childhood: the barren urban landscape where his parents' house was an anomalous bright spot, and the verdant school they sent him to in white suburbia. He writes about struggling to reconcile his Christian identity with his sexuality, about the exhaustion of code-switching in college, accidentally getting famous on the internet (for the wrong reason), and the surreal experience of covering the 2016 election as well as the seismic change that came thereafter. Ultimately, Eric seeks the answer to the ever more relevant question: Is the future worth it? Why do we bother when everything seems to be getting worse? As the world continues to shift in unpredictable ways, Eric finds the answers to these questions by re-envisioning what "normal" means, and in the powerful alchemy that occurs when you at last place yourself at the center of your own story"--

Shiner by Amy Jo Burns

An hour from the closest West Virginia mining town, fifteen-year-old Wren Bird lives in a cloistered mountain cabin with her parents. They have no car, no mailbox, and no visitors-except for her mother's lifelong best friend. Every Sunday, Wren's father delivers winding sermons in an abandoned gas station, where he takes up serpents and praises the Lord for his blighted white eye, proof of his divinity and key to the hold he has over the community, over Wren and her mother. But over the course of one summer, a miracle performed by Wren's father quickly turns to tragedy. As the order of her world begins to shatter, Wren must uncover the truth of her father's mysterious legend and her mother's harrowing history and complex bond with her best friend. And with that newfound knowledge, Wren can imagine a different future for herself than she has been told to expect

Sex and vanity : a novel by Kevin Kwan

"The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with a glittering tale of love and longing as a young woman finds herself torn between two worlds--the WASP establishment of her father's family and George Zao, a man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with"--

King and the dragonflies by Kacen Callender

"In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself"--

Every reason we shouldn't by Sara Fujimura

Olivia Kennedy, daughter of two Olympians, is disappointed when her competitive figure skating dreams come to a halt, but is excited to enjoy being a regular teenager, that is until her rival starts training at her parents' struggling rink and her life becomes more complicated.

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

"A new Gilead novel that tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister from Gilead, Iowa"--

Ace : what asexuality reveals about desire, society, and the meaning of sex by Angela Chen

"Ace" delves into the lives of those who identify using the little-known sexual orientation of asexuality and shows what all of us can learn-about desire, identity, culture, and relationships-when we use an asexual lens to see the world"--

My autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland

"While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie-letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in the letters' language-but does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her. And so, Shapland is compelled to undertake a recovery of the full narrative and language of McCullers's life: she wades through the therapy transcripts; she stays at McCullers's childhood home, where she lounges in her bathtub and eats delivery pizza; she relives McCullers's days at her beloved Yaddo. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and McCullers, she sees the way McCullers's story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results reveal something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories. In genre-defying vignettes, Jenn Shapland interweaves herown story with Carson McCullers's to create a vital new portrait of one of America's most beloved writers, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are"--

Swimming in the dark : a novel by Tomasz Jedrowski

When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable. Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse

Crooked hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford

"It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women, presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine's father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout memberof the Holiness Church-a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But she does her best as a devoted daughter, until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever. Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine-a mixed-blood Cherokee woman-and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from herfamily in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world-of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces like wildfires and tornadoes-intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home. In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn women sacrifice for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel-in-stories of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent"--

Falastin : a cookbook by Sami Tamimi

"A soulful tour of Palestinian cooking today from the Ottolenghi restaurants' executive chef and partner-120 recipes shaped by his personal story as well as the history of Palestine"--

World of wonders : in praise of fireflies, whale sharks and other astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

"From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction-a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us."--

The meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

The global icon, award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, actress, mother, daughter, sister, storyteller, and artist tells the unfiltered story of her life.

Remembrance by Rita Woods

"Remembrance...It's a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy...if you can make it there. Ohio, present day. A refugee struggling to rebuild her life in America after the devastating Haitian earthquake is suddenly inexplicably bound to a mysterious old woman who is not at all what she seems. Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers. 1857 New Orleans-a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper.... Remembrance"--

Broken faith : inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, one of America's most dangerous cults by Mitch Weiss

n 1979, a fiery preacher named Jane Whaley attracted a small group of followers with a promise that she could turn their lives around. In the years since, Whaley’s following has expanded to include thousands of congregants across three continents. In their eyes she’s a prophet. And to disobey her means eternal damnation. The control Whaley exerts is absolute: she decides what her followers study, where they work, whom they can marry—even when they can have sex. Based on hundreds of interviews, secretly recorded conversations, and thousands of pages of documents, Pulitzer Prize winner Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr’s Broken Faith is a terrifying portrait of life inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the harrowing account of one family who escaped after two decades.

Bestiary : a novel by Kristin Chang

"One evening, Ma tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body, named Hu Gu Po. She hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterwards, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes inthe backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt leaves red on everything she touches; another aunt arrives with eels in her belly. All the while, Daughter is falling for her neighbor, a girl named Ben with mysterious powers of herown. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother's letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies an old Taiwanese myth--and that she will have to bring her family's secrets to light in order to change their destiny. With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the magical realist aesthetic of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family's history from Mainland China to Taiwan, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and womanhood"--

At night all blood is black by David Diop

Haunted for refusing to kill an injured comrade who begged to be spared an agonizing death, a World War I soldier from Senegal begins killing enemy soldiers as penance, earning a sinister reputation.

Life of a Klansman : a family history in white supremacy by Edward Ball

"An examination of the history of the author's family and its ties to white supremacist movements."--

Conditional citizens : on belonging in America by Laila Lalami

"The acclaimed, award-winning novelist--author of The Moor's Account and The Other Americans--now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the experiences of "conditional citizens." What does it mean to be American? In thisstarkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, or gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other. Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author's own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture"--

Days of distraction : a novel by Alexandra Chang

As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run. Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?

Recipe for persuasion : a novel by Sonali Dev

"Chef Ashna Raje thinks that joining the cast of Cooking with the Stars will help save her restaurant and prove to her mother that she's not a failure, but when she's paired with her first love, Rico Silva, the kitchen begins to heat up."--Publisher description

Members only by Sameer Pandya

"First the white members of Raj Bhatt's posh tennis club call him racist. Then his life falls apart. Along the way, he wonders: where does he, a brown man, belong in America?"--

Uncanny valley : a memoir by Anna Wiener

"The story of Anna Wiener's time spent working in Silicon Valley as the tech industry went through monumental changes"--

The death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

"A tender, potent, and compulsively readable novel of a Nigerian-Indian family and the deeply held secret that tests their traditions and bonds"--

No filter : the inside story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

"Award-winning reporter Sarah Frier reveals an inside, never-before-told, behind-the-scenes look at how Instagram defied the odds to become one of the most culturally defining apps of the decade"--
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