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Cultural Heritage

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  1. 12.2 hrs • 8/23/2016 • Unabridged

    For fans of Americanah and The Lowland comes a debut novel about an immigrant couple striving to get ahead as the Great Recession hits home. Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at their summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ facades. Then the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Desperate to keep Jende’s job, which grows more tenuous by the day, the Jongas try to protect the Edwardses from certain truths, even as their own marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice. With profound empathy, keen insight, and sly wit, Imbolo Mbue has written a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.

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    Behold the Dreamers

    12.2 hrs • 8/23/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 15.7 hrs • 8/16/2016 • Unabridged

    A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting story of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture, from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. Awaiting trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: eighteen-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an “honor killing”; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, a teen runaway who stays because it is safe shelter; twenty-year-old Mezghan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for a court order to force her lover’s hand. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, like them, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment; removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood. Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his homeland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines. A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, The House with No Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.

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    A House without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

    A House without Windows

    15.7 hrs • 8/16/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 2.7 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years. Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion. Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.

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    Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

    Another Brooklyn

    2.7 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 12.4 hrs • 7/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The New York City Gracie Book Club’s inauguarl pick, this vibrant debut novel set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh follows three young women and a family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past. For as long as she can remember, Ella has longed to feel at home. Orphaned as a child after her parents’ murder and afflicted with hallucinations at dusk, she has always felt more at ease in nature than with people. She traveled from Bangladesh to Brooklyn to live with the Saleems: her uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi, and their beautiful daughter, Charu, her complete opposite. One summer, when Ella returns home from college, she discovers Charu’s friend Maya—an Islamic cleric’s runaway daughter—asleep in her bedroom. As the girls have a summer of clandestine adventure and sexual awakenings, Anwar, the owner of a popular botanical apothecary, has his own secrets, threatening his thirty-year marriage. But when tragedy strikes, the Saleems find themselves blamed. To keep his family from unraveling, Anwar takes them on a fated trip to Bangladesh to reckon with the past, their extended family, and each other.

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    Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

    Bright Lines

    12.4 hrs • 7/26/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 11.3 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    A brilliant and utterly engaging novel—Emma set in modern Asia—about a young woman’s rise in the glitzy, moneyed city of Singapore, where old traditions clash with heady modern materialism On the edge of twenty-seven, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends: Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh—Western expat—husbands, with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow. Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn’t lose. As she fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, this bombastic yet tenderly vulnerable gold digger reveals the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore’s glamorous nightclubs and busy streets, its grubby wet markets and seedy hawker centers. Moving through her colorful, stratified world, she realizes she cannot ignore the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes which threaten to crush her dreams. Desperate to move up in Asia’s financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed? Vividly told in Singlish—colorful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang—Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of this young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.

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    Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

    Sarong Party Girls

    11.3 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 2.4 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    New York Times bestselling author and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar examines some of the leading political and cultural figures of the Harlem Renaissance—including Marcus Garvey,W.E.B. Du Bois, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Langston Hughes, and many more.

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    On the Shoulders of Giants, Vol. 2

    2.4 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 11.0 hrs • 7/5/2016 • Unabridged
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    Jakob's Colors

    11.0 hrs • 7/5/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 11.8 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    An emotionally gripping portrait of postwar Japan, where a newly repatriated girl must help a classmate find her missing sister Born and raised in Vancouver, thirteen-year-old Aya Shimamura is released from a Canadian internment camp only to be repatriated to Japan with her father, who was faced with an unsettling choice: move east of the Rocky Mountains or go back to Japan. With no hope of restitution and grieving the loss of Aya’s mother during internment, her father feels there’s nothing left for them in Canada and signs a form that enables the government to deport him. But life in Tokyo is not much better. Aya’s father struggles to find work, compromising his morals and toiling long hours. Aya, meanwhile, is something of a pariah at her school, bullied for being foreign and paralyzed when asked to communicate in Japanese. Aya’s alienation is eventually mitigated by one of her principal tormentors, a willful girl named Fumi Tanaka, whose older sister has mysteriously disappeared. When a rumor surfaces that Douglas MacArthur, who is overseeing the Allied occupation of Japan, sometimes helps citizens in need, Fumi enlists Aya to compose a letter asking the general to find her beloved sister. The letter is delivered into the reluctant hands of Corporal Matt Matsumoto, a Japanese American serving with the Allied forces, whose endless job is translating the thousands of letters MacArthur receives each week. Matt feels an affinity toward Fumi but is largely powerless, and the girls decide to take matters into their own hands, venturing into the dark and dangerous world of Tokyo’s red-light district. Told through rich, interlocking storylines, The Translation of Love mines a turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of the conquered—and yet the novel also allows for a poignant spark of resilience, friendship, and love that translates across cultures and borders to stunning effect.

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    The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

    The Translation of Love

    11.8 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 16.9 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    From the author of the “thrilling” (Christian Science Monitor) novel The Other Typist, a surprising and involving novel that explores the consequences of ambition, success, and secrecy in 1950s New York publishing In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convinced he’s the next Kerouac, if only his father would notice. Eden Katz dreams of being an editor but is shocked when she encounters roadblocks to that ambition. And Miles Tillman, a talented black writer from Harlem, seeks to learn the truth about his father’s past, finding love in the process. Though different from one another, all three share a common goal: to succeed in the competitive and uncompromising world of book publishing. As they reach for what they want, they come to understand what they must sacrifice, conceal, and betray to achieve their goals, learning they must live with the consequences of their choices. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell has written both a page-turning morality tale and a captivating look at a stylish, demanding era—and a world steeped in tradition that’s poised for great upheaval.

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    Three-Martini Lunch

    16.9 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 2.9 hrs • 3/24/2016 • Unabridged

    Horrorizado, el discIpulo comprende la magnitud de la empresa: cOmo antologar a un autor, Juan JosE Arreola, cuya obra es tan selecta que en sI misma ya es una antologIa. Se consuela un poco con la idea de que el maestro cumple ochenta aNos y puede ser bueno presentar un libro que sirva de puerta para que otros entren fAcilmente en el deleitante y a la vez abismal mundo de Arreola. " AdemAs, la literatura del maestro es escasa porque sus breves textos aspiran a la perfecciOn, a una expresiOn exacta y por lo mismo bella, inteligente y profunda. En sus escritos por lo general se logra una de las mAximas aspiraciones del arte literario: la palabra justa. " Lo primero que el discIpulo hace es releer. DespuEs de mAs de veinte aNos, volver a sumergirse en los cinco libros resulta no sOlo provechoso sino pasmante. SabIa que la literatura de Arreola era impecable, pero no recordaba hasta quE punto. Le fascina la malicia, los temas, la perfecciOn de muchos textos brevIsimos. Corrobora que Arreola es uno de los mAs grandes innovadores de la literatura.

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    Antologia

    2.9 hrs • 3/24/16 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.9 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    The author of the critically admired, award-winning A Replacement Life turns to a different kind of story—an evocative, nuanced portrait of marriage and family, a woman reckoning with what she’s given up to make both work, and the universal question of how we reconcile who we are and whom the world wants us to be. Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with “a devil in [her] head” about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life. Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex is his father’s second in the family business. The great dislocation of their lives is their eight-year-old son Max, adopted from two teenagers in Montana. Max, whose biological mother left the child with the cryptic exhortation “don’t let my baby do rodeo,” is at once a salvation and a mystery to his parents. Searching for answers, Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max’s birth parents. But it’s Maya who’s illuminated by the journey, her own erstwhile wildness summoned for a reckoning by the unsparing landscape, with seismic consequences for herself and her family. Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo is a novel about the mystery of inheritance and what exactly it means to belong.

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    Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo

    11.9 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.4 hrs • 2/16/2016 • Unabridged

    An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumors of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit. In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for. And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate and complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.

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    And After Many Days

    7.4 hrs • 2/16/16 • Unabridged
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  13. 11.8 hrs • 2/16/2016 • Unabridged

    From the author of the highly acclaimed The Story of Land and Sea comes a captivating novel, set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions—an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian—who are being tracked down for murder. In 1788, three men converge in the southern woods of what is now Alabama. Cat, an emotionally scarred white man from South Carolina, is on the run after abandoning his home. Bob is a talkative black man fleeing slavery on a Pensacola sugar plantation, Istillicha, edged out of his Creek town’s leadership, is bound by honor to seek retribution. In the few days they spend together, the makeshift trio commits a shocking murder that soon has the forces of the law bearing down upon them. Sent to pick up their trail, a probing French tracker named Le Clerc must decide which has a greater claim: swift justice, or his own curiosity about how three such disparate, desperate men could act in unison. Katy Simpson Smith skillfully brings into focus men whose lives are both catastrophic and full of hope—and illuminates the lives of the women they left behind. Far from being anomalies, Cat, Bob, and Istillicha are the beating heart of the new America that Le Clerc struggles to comprehend. In these territories caught between European, American, and Native nations, a wilderness exists where four men grapple with the importance of family, the stain of guilt, and the competing forces of power, love, race, and freedom—questions that continue to haunt us today.

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    Free Men

    11.8 hrs • 2/16/16 • Unabridged
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  14. 5.2 hrs • 2/2/2016 • Unabridged

    A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul. Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether. A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

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    The Vegetarian

    Translated by Deborah Smith
    5.2 hrs • 2/2/16 • Unabridged
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  15. 14.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts. The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities. Back in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever. Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.

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    The Golden Son

    14.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  16. 10.4 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The setting: New York, the early 1940s, with the spectre of a red-hot Europe at war At the center of Kathleen Spivack’s Unspeakable Things: Anna (known as the Rat), an exotic Hungarian countess with the face of an angel, beautiful eyes, and a seraphic smile, with a passionate intelligence, an exquisite ugliness, and the power to enchant; her second cousin Herbert, a former minor Austrian civil servant who believes in Esperanto and the international rights of man, a wheeler-dealer in New York, powerful in the social sphere, yet under the thumb of his wife, Adeline; Michael, their missing homosexual son; Felix, a German pediatrician who dabbles in genetic engineering; and the Tolstoi String Quartet—four men and their instruments, who for twenty years lived as one, playing the great concert halls of Europe, for whom music is their life—escaping to New York from Bremerhaven, smuggled out on a German submarine, their money sewn into the red silk linings of their instrument cases … And watching them all, Herbert’s eight-year-old granddaughter, Maria, witnessing the family’s strange comings and goings, being regaled at night when most are asleep with the intoxicating, thrilling stories of their secret pasts, of lives lived in St. Petersburg, of husbands being sent to the front, of dangerous debts owed to the tsar of imperial Russia, and of a strange pact made in desperation between the Rat and the mystic faith healer Grigori Rasputin, their meeting night after night in Rasputin’s apartments, and the spell-binding, unspeakable things done there in the name of penance and pleasure …

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    Unspeakable Things

    10.4 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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