Lists and Suggestions
List: Social Justice in Fiction and Nonfiction
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Rothstein, Richard, author.
The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes it clear that it was de jure segregation--the laws and polic... More
The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes it clear that it was de jure segregation--the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments--that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the South to the North. As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post-World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Milwaukee show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. Less
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
"The Mohawk phrase for depression can be roughly translated to "a mind spread out on the g... More
"The Mohawk phrase for depression can be roughly translated to "a mind spread out on the ground." In this urgent and visceral work, Alicia Elliott explores how apt a description that is for the ongoing effects of personal, intergenerational, and colonial traumas she and so many Native people have experienced. Elliott's deeply personal writing details a life spent between Indigenous and white communities, a divide reflected in her own family, and engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, art, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, and representation. Throughout, she makes thrilling connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political. A national bestseller in Canada, this updated and expanded American edition helps us better understand legacy, oppression, and racism throughout North America, and offers us a profound new way to decolonize our minds."-- Amazon.. Less
Please See Us
Mullen, Caitlin, author.
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dim... More
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they're there. Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl--so long as their efforts don't attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims? Less
The City We Became
Jemisin, N. K., author.
"Five New Yorkers must come together in order to save their city from destruction in the first... More
"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 others are 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"-- Less
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir
Jones, Saeed, author.
Haunted and haunting, Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South... More
Haunted and haunting, Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence--into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another--and to one another--as we fight to become ourselves. Less
Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They... More
Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They've been together for a few years, but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together, but their time together ends up meaning more than they ever could have predicted. As both men change, will it make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known? -- Adapted from jacket. Less
Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City
Moore, Wes, 1978- author.
"When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an 'illegal knife' in April 2015, he ... More
"When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an 'illegal knife' in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated 'roughly' as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma he would never recover from. In the wake of a long history of police abuse in Baltimore, this killing felt like a final straw--it led to a week of protests and then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge, and caught the nation's attention. Wes Moore is one of Baltimore's most famous sons--a Rhodes Scholar, bestselling author, decorated combat veteran, White House fellow, and current President of the Robin Hood Foundation. While attending Gray's funeral, he saw every strata of the city come together: grieving mothers; members of the city's wealthy elite; activists; and the long-suffering citizens of Baltimore--all looking to comfort each other, but also looking for answers. Knowing that when they left the church, these factions would spread out to their own corners, but that the answers they were all looking for could only be found in the city as a whole, Moore--along with Pulitzer-winning coauthor Erica Green--tells the story of the Baltimore uprising. Less
Your House Will Pay
Cha, Steph, author.
"In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's ... More
"In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She's distraught that her sister hasn't spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace's understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale. But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence"-- Less
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman
Petersen, Anne Helen, author.
"From celebrity gossip expert and Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessi... More
"From celebrity gossip expert and Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be an 'acceptable' woman. You know the type: the woman who won't shut up, who's too brazen, too opinionated--too much. It's not that she's an outcast (she might even be your friend, or your wife, or your mother) so much as she's a social variable. Sometimes, she's the life of the party; others, she's the center of gossip. She's the unruly woman, and she's one of the most provocative, powerful forms of womanhood today. There have been unruly women for as long as there have been boundaries of what constitutes acceptable 'feminine' behavior, but there's evidence that she's on the rise--more visible and less easily dismissed--than ever before. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of 'unruliness' to explore the ascension of eleven contemporary pop culture powerhouses: Serena Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, Jennifer Weiner, and Lena Dunham. Petersen explores why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures, each of whom has been conceived as 'too' something: too queer, too strong, too honest, too old, too pregnant, too shrill, too much. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today."--Jacket. Less
Notorious RBG : The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Carmon, Irin, author.
"Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a visually rich, intimate, un... More
"Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg's refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation's highest court--with the fierce dissents to match--get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah,"--Amazon.com. Less
Ewing, Eve L., author.
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March: Book One
Lewis, John, 1940-2020.
A first-hand account of the author's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his you... More
A first-hand account of the author's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement. Less
Emezi, Akwaeke, author.
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self... More
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities. Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: As?ughara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves, now protective, now hedonistic, move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction. Narrated from the perspective of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author's realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self. Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice. Less
Good Kings Bad Kings
The residents at a facility for disabled young people in Chicago build trust and make friends in an... More
The residents at a facility for disabled young people in Chicago build trust and make friends in an effort to fight against their living conditions and mistreatment. Less
The Hate U Give
Thomas, Angie, author.
After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life... More
After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died. Less
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century
Wong, Alice, 1974- editor.
"A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern ... More
"A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, "an art . . . an ingenious way to live." According to the last census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden--but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers. There is Harriet McBryde Johnson's "Unspeakable Conversations," which describes her famous debate with Princeton philosopher Peter Singer over her own personhood. There is columnist s. e. smith's celebratory review of a work of theater by disabled performers. There are original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma. There are blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, and testimonies to Congress. Taken together, this anthology gives a glimpse of the vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own assumptions and understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and past with hope and love."-- Less
The Making of Black Lives Matter
Lebron, Christopher J., author.
Started in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #... More
Started in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a powerful and uncompromising campaign demanding redress for the brutal and unjustified treatment of black bodies by law enforcement in the United States. The movement is only a few years old, but as Christopher J. Lebron argues in this book, the sentiment behind it is not; the plea and demand that "Black Lives Matter" comes out of a much older and richer tradition arguing for the equal dignity--and not just equal rights--of black people. The Making of Black Lives Matter presents a condensed and accessible intellectual history that traces the genesis of the ideas that have built into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Drawing on the work of revolutionary black public intellectuals, including Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Lebron clarifies what it means to assert that "Black Lives Matter" when faced with contemporary instances of anti-black law enforcement. He also illuminates the crucial difference between the problem signaled by the social media hashtag and how we think that we ought to address the problem. As Lebron states, police body cameras, or even the exhortation for civil rights mean nothing in the absence of equality and dignity. To upset dominant practices of abuse, oppression and disregard, we must reach instead for radical sensibility. Radical sensibility requires that we become cognizant of the history of black thought and activism in order to make sense of the emotions, demands, and argument of present-day activists and public thinkers. Only in this way can we truly embrace and pursue the idea of racial progress in America. -- Inside jacket flap. Less
The Muslims are Coming! : Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror
"Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, polls showed that Americans were more anxious about... More
"Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, polls showed that Americans were more anxious about terrorism than they were before his death. The new front in the War on Terror is the "homegrown enemy," domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States, the UK, and across Europe. Based on several years of research and reportage from Dallas to Dewsbury, and written in exciting, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counter-radicalization strategies in the US and the UK. The new policies and policing campaigns have been backed by an anti-extremism industry of newly minted experts, and by examining the ideas of commentators like Martin Amis, Peter Beinart, and Christopher Caldwell, the book also looks at the way liberalism has itself been transformed by its embrace of anti-extremism"-- Less
Confessions of the Fox
Rosenberg, Jordy, author.
"Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines t... More
"Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation. Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack's true story--his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox. Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as "Jack." When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London's newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious--and most wanted--thieves in history. An imaginative retelling of Brecht's Threepenny Opera, Confessions of the Fox blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within. "Confessions of the Fox is a riotous and transporting novel. It's rich in the sound of another time, while thrillingly germane to our own. Jordy Rosenberg is a total original--part scamp, part genius--who has written a rollicking page-turner of a first novel. Hang on for the ride."--Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts "Hot damn! Jordy Rosenberg is one of the finest new talents I've seen in many years, and Confessions of the Fox is a startlingly good debut novel. The book is rich with fact and well-invented fiction, bubbling with ideas that surprise and satisfy."--Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling"-- Less
We Cast a Shadow
Ruffin, Maurice Carlos, author.
"In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedur... More
"In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedure that boasts unprecedented success rates. In a society plagued by racism, segregation, and private prisons, this operation saves lives with a controversial method--by turning people white. Like any father, our unnamed narrator just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly absurd hoops--from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups--in a tragicomic quest to protect his son. This electrifying, suspenseful novel is, at once, a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. In the tradition of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love"-- Less