Biography & Autobiography

White Like Her | ,

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White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption. In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage. With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS's Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers..

Social Science

White Fragility | Robin DiAngelo

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The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively..

Fiction

The Vanishing Half | Brit Bennett

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * PEOPLE * TIME MAGAZINE* VANITY FAIR * GLAMOUR “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal “A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it's an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it's piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. 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. Many 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? 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..

Biography & Autobiography

When I Was White | Sarah Valentine

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The stunning and provocative coming-of-age memoir about Sarah Valentine's childhood as a white girl in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and her discovery that her father was a black man. At the age of 27, Sarah Valentine discovered that she was not, in fact, the white girl she had always believed herself to be. She learned the truth of her paternity: that her father was a black man. And she learned the truth about her own identity: mixed race. And so Sarah began the difficult and absorbing journey of changing her identity from white to black. In this memoir, Sarah details the story of the discovery of her identity, how she overcame depression to come to terms with this identity, and, perhaps most importantly, asks: why? Her entire family and community had conspired to maintain her white identity. The supreme discomfort her white family and community felt about addressing issues of race–her race–is a microcosm of race relationships in America. A black woman who lived her formative years identifying as white, Sarah's story is a kind of Rachel Dolezal in reverse, though her "passing" was less intentional than conspiracy. This memoir is an examination of the cost of being black in America, and how one woman threw off the racial identity she'd grown up with, in order to embrace a new one..

Fiction

White Ivy | Susie Yang

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**A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick** A young woman’s crush on a privileged former classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant experience, as it hurtles to its electrifying ending. Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates. Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate. Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build. Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost..

Fiction

Such a Fun Age | Kiley Reid

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A Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • NPR • Vogue • Elle • Real Simple • InStyle • Good Housekeeping • Parade • Slate • Vox • Kirkus Reviews • Library Journal • BookPage Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize An Instant New York Times Bestseller A Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick "The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly "I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. 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," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times..

Biography & Autobiography

Secret Daughter | June Cross

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June Cross was born in 1954 to Norma Booth, a glamorous, aspiring white actress, and James “Stump” Cross, a well-known black comedian. Sent by her mother to be raised by black friends when she was four years old and could no longer pass as white, June was plunged into the pain and confusion of a family divided by race. Secret Daughter tells her story of survival. It traces June’s astonishing discoveries about her mother and about her own fierce determination to thrive. This is an inspiring testimony to the endurance of love between mother and daughter, a child and her adoptive parents, and the power of community..

Biography & Autobiography

Mixed | Angela Nissel

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“Tell anyone who asks that you’re half-black and half-white, just like David Hasselhoff from Knight Rider.”–Angela’s mother “Love has no color,” insist Angela Nissel’ s parents, but does it have a clue? In this candid, funny, and poignant memoir, Angela recounts growing up biracial in Philadelphia–moving back and forth between black inner-city schools and white prep schools–where her racial ambiguity and doomed attempts to blend in dog her teen years. Once in college, Angela experiments with black activism (hoping to find clarity in extremism), capitalizes on her “exotic” look at a strip club, and ends up with a major case of the blues (aka, a racial identity problem). Yet Angela is never down for the count. After moving to Los Angeles, she discovers that being multiracial is anything but simple, especially in terms of dating and romance. By turns a comedy of errors and a moving coming-of-age chronicle, Mixed traces one woman’s unforgettable journey to self-acceptance and belonging. Praise for Mixed "Mixed is a hilarious must-read for anyone searching for the enchanting path to self-discovery. Angela Nissel's precise account of living the mixed race experience not only hit home with me, but the journey is deliciously enlightening and heart-rending at the same time. It's a journey well worth taking."­—Halle Berry “I love Angela Nissel's writing. Reading Mixed was like getting a letter from a best friend I forgot I had. How ironic that a book written by someone who felt like no one "got" her will surely be one of those rare books everyone gets- black, white, both, neither. Hilarious, sweet, and honest, Mixed is the perfect read if you've ever felt like the one standing on the outside­—and let's face it, who hasn't?"­—Jill Soloway, author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants "If David Sedaris was a straight biracial female, this is the book he'd write. This book is so funny I've already started telling people I helped Angela write it."­—Bill Lawrence, creator of Scrubs “Nissel is humorous, poignant, and proud yet also empathetic and generous as she recounts her constant struggle to answer the perennial question persons of mixed race seem required to ask of themselves in our society–where do I fit in?.... All readers stand to learn from her account.”—Booklist “Colorful anecdotes, marvelous dialogue and a thoughtful narrative make this memoir a delight.”­—Kirkus Reviews (starred review).

Social Science

In Full Color | Rachel Dolezal,Storms Reback

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A lot of people have made up their minds about Rachel Doležal. But none of them know her real story. In June 2015, the media "outed" Rachel Doležal as a white woman who had knowingly been "passing" as Black. When asked if she were African American during an interview about the hate crimes directed at her and her family, she hesitated before ending the interview and walking away. Some interpreted her reluctance to respond and hasty departure as dishonesty, while others assumed she lacked a reasonable explanation for the almost unprecedented way she identified herself. What determines your race? Is it your DNA? The community in which you were raised? The way others see you or the way you see yourself? With In Full Color, Rachel Doležal describes the path that led her from being a child of white evangelical parents to an NAACP chapter president and respected educator and activist who identifies as Black. Along the way, she recounts the deep emotional bond she formed with her four adopted Black siblings, the sense of belonging she felt while living in Black communities in Jackson, Mississippi, and Washington, DC, and the experiences that have shaped her along the way. Her story is nuanced and complex, and in the process of telling it, she forces us to consider race in an entirely new light—not as a biological imperative, but as a function of the experiences we have, the culture we embrace, and, ultimately, the identity we choose..

Young Adult Fiction

Into White | Randi Pink

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LaToya Williams lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. It seems as if her only friend is her older brother, Alex. Toya doesn’t know where she fits in, but after a run-in with another student, she wonders if life would be different if she were . . . different. And then a higher power answers her prayer: to be “anything but black.” Toya is suddenly white, blond, and popular. Now what? Randi Pink’s audacious fiction debut dares to explore a subject that will spark conversations about race, class, and gender..

Biography & Autobiography

Breathe | Imani Perry

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2020 Chautauqua Prize Finalist 2020 NAACP Image Award Nominee - Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction) Best-of Lists: Best Nonfiction Books of 2019 (Kirkus Reviews) · 25 Can't-Miss Books of 2019 (The Undefeated) Explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and what it means to parent our children in a persistently unjust world. Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love—finding beauty and possibility in life—and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition. Perry draws upon the ideas of figures such as James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ida B. Wells. She shares vulnerabilities and insight from her own life and from encounters in places as varied as the West Side of Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; and New England prep schools. With original art for the cover by Ekua Holmes, Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience..

Social Science

A Chosen Exile | Allyson Hobbs

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Countless African Americans have passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and communities. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile. This history of passing explores the possibilities, challenges, and losses that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions..

Fiction

Go Set a Watchman | Harper Lee

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A historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014. Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right..

Language Arts & Disciplines

You Talkin' To Me? | E.J. White

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From paddy wagon to rush hour, New York City has given us a number of our popular words and phrases, along the way fashioning a recognizable dialect all its own. Often imitated and just as often ridiculed, New York English has its own identity, imbued with the rich cultural history of (as New Yorkers tell it) the greatest city in the world. How did this unique language community develop, and how has it shaped the city as we know it today? In You Talkin' to Me?, E.J. White explores the hidden history of English in New York City -- a history that encompasses social class, immigration, culture, economics, and, of course, real estate. She tells entertaining stories of New York's most famous characters, streets, and cultural institutions, from Broadway to the newspaper office to the department store, illuminating a new dimension of the city's landscape. Full of little-known facts -- C-3PO was originally written to have a New York accent; West Side Story was originally going to be East Side Story, about Jewish and Christian New Yorkers; and "confidence man" started in reference to a specific New York City criminal --the book will delight lovers of language and history alike. The history of English in New York is deeply intertwined with the story of a famous city trying to develop its own identity. White's account engages issues of class and social difference; the invisible barriers that separate insiders from outsiders; the war between children who fit in and their parents who do not; and the struggle of being both an immigrant to the city and a New Yorker. Following language from The Bowery to The Bronx, You Talkin' to Me? offers a fascinating account of how language moves and changes-and a new way of understanding the language history, not only of New York, but of the United States..

Fiction

The Help | Kathryn Stockett

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The #1 New York Times bestselling novel and basis for the Academy Award-winning film—a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t—nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town....

Social Science

Biased | Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD

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"Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book Review "Groundbreaking."—Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time How do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Yet she also offers us tools to address it. Eberhardt shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip. Racial bias is a problem that we all have a role to play in solving..

Social Science

So You Want to Talk About Race | Ijeoma Oluo

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In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy -- from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans -- has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair -- and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life. "Oluo gives us -- both white people and people of color -- that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases." -- National Book Review "Generous and empathetic, yet usefully blunt . . . it's for anyone who wants to be smarter and more empathetic about matters of race and engage in more productive anti-racist action." -- Salon (Required Reading).

Biography & Autobiography

The Art of Her Deal | Mary Jordan

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This revelatory biography of Melania Trump from Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan “deftly, and without agenda, decodes Melania [Trump]” (NBC News) who is far more influential in the White House than most people realize. Based on interviews with more than one hundred people in five countries, The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump draws an unprecedented portrait of the first lady. While her public image is of an aloof woman floating above the political gamesmanship of Washington, behind the scenes Melania Trump is not only part of President Trump’s inner circle, but for some key decisions she has been his single most influential adviser. Throughout her public life, Melania Trump has purposefully worked to remain mysterious. With the help of key people speaking publicly for the first time and never-before-seen documents and tapes, The Art of Her Deal looks beyond the surface image to find a determined immigrant and the life she had before she met Donald Trump. Mary Jordan traces Melania’s journey from Slovenia, where her family stood out for their nonconformity, to her days as a fledgling model known for steering clear of the industry’s hard-partying scene, to a tiny living space in Manhattan she shared platonically with a male photographer, to the long, complicated dating dance that finally resulted in her marriage to Trump. Jordan documents Melania’s key role in Trump’s political life before and at the White House, and shows why he trusts her instincts above all. The picture of Melania Trump that emerges in The Art of Her Deal is one of a woman who is savvy, steely, ambitious, deliberate, and who plays the long game. And while it is her husband who became famous for the phrase “the art of the deal,” it is she who has consistently used her leverage to get exactly what she wants. This is the story of the art of her deal..

Business & Economics

The Wisdom of Crowds | James Surowiecki

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In this fascinating book, New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, military history, and politics to show how this simple idea offers important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, run our companies, and think about our world..

History

They Were Her Property | Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

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Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History“Compelling.”—Renee Graham, Boston Globe“Stunning.”—Rebecca Onion, Slate“Makes a vital contribution to our understanding of our past and present.”—Parul Sehgal, New York Times Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave‑owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South’s slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave‑owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave‑owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America..