List: Summer Reads: Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes
Ahmed, Nawaaz, author.
Raised in India, Seema is the beloved daughter of a commanding, erudite, romantic-poetry-loving doct... More
Raised in India, Seema is the beloved daughter of a commanding, erudite, romantic-poetry-loving doctor father who cut her off when she came out to him as a lesbian. Now living alone in San Francisco, estranged from her African American ex-husband, Seema is one week away from delivering a baby boy, Ishraaq. Ishraaq's arrival has brought to Seema's side, for the first time in 15 years, her terminally ill mother, Nafeesa, and her devoutly religious, hijab-wearing sister Tahera, an ob/gyn living with her husband and two young children in Irving, Texas. But there is to be no easy reconciliation. Instead, this fateful week, narrated by the new-born Ishraaq, ends in an emergency delivery, revealing both a family and a country in distress. The characters confront the complex tensions in their relationships and within their innermost selves, even as their lives are upended by the vandalism of a family mosque in Irving during the lead-up to President Obama's first mid-term elections. Ishraaq must make sense of the broken family and the complicated world that awaits him. Less
Keane, Mary Beth, author.
A family saga about two Irish American families in a New York suburb, the love between two of their ... More
A family saga about two Irish American families in a New York suburb, the love between two of their children, and the tragedies that threaten to tear them apart and destroy their futures. Less
Nayeri, Dina, author.
What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet t... More
What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee-camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials. Nayeri confronts notions like "the swarm," and, on the other hand, "good" immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis. Less
Gonzalez, Xochitl, 1977- author.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Olga, the tony wedding planner for Manhattan's power brokers, m... More
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Olga, the tony wedding planner for Manhattan's power brokers, must confront the effects of long-held family secrets when she falls in love with Matteo, while other family members must weather their own storms. Less
Jones, Cherie, 1974- author.
In Baxter's Beach, Barbados, Lala's grandmother Wilma tells her a cautionary tale of the o... More
In Baxter's Beach, Barbados, Lala's grandmother Wilma tells her a cautionary tale of the one-armed sister, and what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter's Tunnels. Now Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. Less
El Akkad, Omar, 1982- author.
A second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle--a story... More
A second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle--a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself. Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike. Less
Quintana Albertson, Alana, author.
When fate and tacos bring Ramón and Julieta together on the Day of the Dead, the star-crossed pair ... More
When fate and tacos bring Ramón and Julieta together on the Day of the Dead, the star-crossed pair must make a choice: accept the bitter food rivalry that drives them apart or surrender to a love that consumes them. Ramón Montez always achieves his goals. Whether that means collecting Ivy League degrees or growing his father's fast-food empire, nothing sets Ramón off course. So when the sexy señorita who kissed him on the Day of the Dead runs off into the night with his heart, he determines to do whatever it takes to find her again. Celebrity chef Julieta Campos has sacrificed everything to save her sea-to-table taqueria from closing. To her horror, she discovers that her new landlord is none other than the magnetic mariachi she hooked up with on Dia de los Muertos. Even worse, it was his father who stole her mother's taco recipe decades ago. Julieta has no choice but to work with Ramón, the man who destroyed her life's work--and the one man who tempts and inspires her. As San Diego's outraged community protests against the Taco King take-over and the divide between their families grows, Ramón and Julieta struggle to balance the rising tensions. But Ramón knows that true love is priceless and despite all of his successes, this is the one battle he refuses to lose. Less
Pride, Christine, author.
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters,... More
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen's husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband's freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend. Less
Applewhite, Ashton, author.
In our youth obsessed culture, we're bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs ... More
In our youth obsessed culture, we're bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs and declines of our later years. Beauty and pharmaceutical companies work overtime to convince people to purchase products that will retain their youthful appearance and vitality. Wrinkles are embarrassing. Gray hair should be colored and bald heads covered with implants. Older minds and bodies are too frail to keep up with the pace of the modern working world and olders should just step aside for the new generation. Ashton Applewhite once held these beliefs too until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does. Less
Johnson, Jocelyn Nicole, author.
An irresistibly accessible yet startlingly bold book of short stories and a novella, inspired by Bla... More
An irresistibly accessible yet startlingly bold book of short stories and a novella, inspired by Black lives in America and featuring the gripping eponymous work My Monticello. Less
Gaines, James R., author.
A bold and original argument that upends the myth of the Fifties as a decade of conformity to celeb... More
A bold and original argument that upends the myth of the Fifties as a decade of conformity to celebrate the solitary, brave, and stubborn individuals who pioneered the radical gay rights, feminist, civil rights, and environmental movements, from historian James R. Gaines. Less
Bennett, Brit, author.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern... More
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, even separated 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? Less
Turner, Dawn, author.
The three girls formed an indelible bond: roaming their community in search of hidden treasures for ... More
The three girls formed an indelible bond: roaming their community in search of hidden treasures for their "Thing Finder box," and hiding under the dining room table, eavesdropping as three generations of relatives gossiped and played the numbers. The girls spent countless afternoons together, ice skating in the nearby Lake Meadows apartment complex, swimming in the pool at the Ida B. Wells housing project, and daydreaming of their futures: Dawn a writer, Debra a doctor, Kim a teacher. Then they came to a precipice, a fraught rite of passage for all girls when the dangers and the harsh realities of the world burst the innocent bubble of childhood, when the choices they made could-- and would-- have devastating consequences. There was a razor thin margin of error -- especially for brown girls. With a keen investigative eye and intimate detail, Dawn chronicles the dramatic turns that send their lives careening in very different -- and shocking -- directions over the decades. Less
Garmus, Bonnie, author.
Set in 1960s California, this blockbuster debut is the hilarious, idiosyncratic and uplifting story ... More
Set in 1960s California, this blockbuster debut is the hilarious, idiosyncratic and uplifting story of a female scientist whose career is constantly derailed by the idea that a woman's place is in the home, only to find herself starring as the host of America's most beloved TV cooking show. Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it's the 1960s and despite the fact that she is a scientist, her peers are very unscientific when it comes to equality. The only good thing to happen to her on the road to professional fulfillment is a run-in with her super-star colleague Calvin Evans (well, she stole his beakers.) The only man who ever treated her-and her ideas-as equal, Calvin is already a legend and Nobel nominee. He's also awkward, kind and tenacious. Theirs is true chemistry. But as events are never as predictable as chemical reactions, three years later Elizabeth Zott is an unwed, single mother (did we mention it's the early 60s??) and the star of America's most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth's singular approach to cooking ('take one pint of H2O and add a pinch of sodium chloride') and independent example are proving revolutionary. Because Elizabeth isn't just teaching women how to cook, she's teaching them how to change the status quo. Less
Cha, Steph, author.
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been si... 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
Cosby, S. A., author.
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out ... More
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss. Derek's father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy. Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. Less