We Will Not Be Silenced
Stories by authors in groups targeted by the most powerful man in the country.
By simply tapping his fingers, the most powerful man in the country has systematically targeted our nation’s most vulnerable members, including women, ethnic and racial minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and more. But those of us that make up those groups will not be silenced. We will create art and write books and share our voices until the hatred stops. In order to express our deepest support for all people, especially the marginalized members of society, Strand has curated an incredible list of books by individuals existing in disenfranchised groups.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay has caught just about everyone’s attention with her unapologetic and insightful literary creations. This collection of diverse short stories on authentic (and difficult) women showcases individuals from all walks of life navigating the world around them. Using striking humor and sweeping visual depictions of life, Gay leaves a powerful and lasting impression on the reader.
See Roxane at Strand with Ben Arthur on Saturday, November 4th.
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luisell
A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and oft likened to the work of Borges, The Story of My Teeth is both unusual and eccentrically funny. Gustavo Sánchez has a mouth full of teeth like anyone else, except his are of very poor quality. This leads him on a fanciful journey that separates his story from contemporary fiction as he becomes an auctioneer, selling his possessions to find the perfect set of teeth.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Part humorous, part somber, this memoir follows author Esmeralda Santiago’s childhood growing up in poverty in rural Puerto Rico with her mother and many siblings. Eventually, her mother decides uproot their lives and move to New York, which takes Santiago across an entirely new landscape and creates new challenges for her in terms of her identity, her home life, and her life as a student.
God: A Human History by Reza Aslan
Insightful and controversial, God takes information from different disciplines and combines it with a vast historical analysis of humans and their relationship to God. Mixing in insight from his personal journey, Muslim author Reza Aslan challenges readers to embrace a deeper and broader understanding of God.
See Reza at Symphony Space Monday, November 6th.
Immigrants & Refugees
Six Words Fresh Off the Boat by Larry Smith
From regular folks to celebrities, this little book showcases hundreds of perspectives on the experience of immigrants in the United States. Featured authors include Aziz Ansari, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, George Takei, and Neil Gaiman among many others. Those featured are only given six words to describe their struggles and triumphs, which means every sentence packs a punch. Some will shock you, and most will touch your heart.
The Disabled Community
This is one of those poignant memoirs you won’t want to put down. Praised by Malala Yousafzai among others, Nujeen Mustafa shares her experience with her family in war-torn Syria and then as a refugee in a foreign country. One detail that makes her story even more unique is that she grew up confined to her family’s fifth-floor apartment in Aleppo due to her debilitating cerebral palsy, meaning she had to make the 3500-mile journey to Germany entirely in a wheelchair. The story sheds light on tragedies in Syria while also showing how the narrator overcame massive obstacles.
The LGBTQIA+ Community
Trans by Juliet Jacques
At age 30, Juliet Jacques finally decides to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. With a dose of humor and some brutal honesty, her personal narrative takes us through the emotional, physical, and societal challenges of a woman in her position. Living in the UK, Jacques must face psychiatrists and doctors that question her very identity, but she finds a way to reclaim her gender despite excessive and brutal discrimination.
The NFL Protesting Racism
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
This brilliant book addresses questions that have been plaguing activists seeking social change, such as, how can we dismantle structural inequality with the momentum from existing movements? Taylor’s incisive research depicts historical discrimination and violence perpetuated against people of color, persisting in contemporary society in the forms of mass incarceration, police violence, poverty, and unemployment. Taylor discusses the possibility of Black liberation with solidarity starting with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert
For over two decades, investigative journalist David Neiwart has been tracking the growth of right-wing extremists in American society. After the attacks on 9/11, racist and xenophobic extremists began to reappear in larger numbers. When Obama became president, they gained even more of a footing in contemporary culture, offering validation and a platform for disgruntled bigots. These disturbing journalistic findings explain how Trump rose to power, channeling the hatred and fear within the existing alt-right.
See David in conversation with Joe Conason at Strand on Thursday, November 2nd.
Health Care & Women’s Services
Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker
Dr. Willie Parker is different than a lot of other Christians, namely because he supports a woman’s right to choose, is outspoken about it, and even helps women by providing abortion services. This unlikely reproductive justice advocate, who grew up in the Deep South, provides a moral pro-choice argument from a professional physician’s perspective in order to inform skeptics and encourage those on the fence to see the intersections of reproduction, class, and gender.
See Dr. Parker’s discussion at Strand on April 5th, 2017.
Redeployment by Phil Klay
This gripping collection of historically accurate, fictionalized short stories deserves its National Book Award for a number of reasons. Phil Klay, author and former Marine in Iraq, gives a realistic voice to numerous soldiers who share their experiences on the front lines. The reader gets varied and nuanced first-person accounts of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during and after deployment, where the protagonists confront themes of faith, loss, fear, guilt, and more under the extreme conditions of war.