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Knowledge Without Borders by Rashid Mohamed

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Knowledge without Borders

by Rashid Mohamed

I’m excited to be on a plane again. That feeling of not knowing what to expect of a new place is a sensation I share with all the great explorers, from Magellan to Vasco da Gama, as they traversed the seven seas in search of new adventure. A new millennium is upon us and I am Sinbad the sailor on my second voyage to the Americas.

When I graduated from high school in Vienna six years earlier, I had big plans of studying medicine at one of Canada’s premier academic institutions: the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. I applied to many Universities both in Canada and in the US, but receiving the acceptance letter from Western is indelibly engraved in my memory as one of my fondest.

Most of my classmates had been accepted to their school of choice, so we leisurely enjoyed our graduation trip to the Canary Island – a Spanish archipelago just off the west coast of Africa. Knowing we wouldn’t see each other for a semester or two, we made the most of our trip; hurtling across desert dunes on our cheaply rented motor-cross bikes during the day, then getting down at the ‘Chica Boom Room’ into the wee hours of the morning. Forty rambunctious graduates with no parent or teachers to reign us in; living on staples like baked beans, scrambled eggs, and a liquid diet of tequila and Heineken. I lost 20 pounds in two weeks – but it was worth it.

A month before College would begin, I sought out the Canadian Embassy in Vienna to apply for a student visa. Posted a hop and a skip away from the American Embassy, I strode into my interview confident — answering all questions honestly and to the best of my ability.

Two weeks later I was notified by letter that my application for a student visa was denied on the grounds of my nationality.  I was gutted.

At the time, I held a Somali passport.

Still caught in the throes of civil war, Somalia often conjured unpleasant memories of ‘Operation Restore Hope‘ and frightened special-operations pilot Michael Durant, who was captured after his Black-hawk crashed onto the streets of Mogadishu. While thousands of Somalis sought refuge across the globe, many headed to the immigrant-friendly cities of Canada, until that country had its fill.

Furious that I could be considered a potential refugee, my father arranged for a meeting with the Canadian Ambassador in Vienna. As a senior ranking diplomatic officer, he didn’t need the Canadian government to worry I’d become a financial burden on them. Yet, however much the apologetic Ambassador expounded, his hands were ultimately tied on the matter–the issue had become national policy. So, upon leaving the Embassy, my pragmatic father turned to me and said, “Never mind son; choose a US college instead.”

In the end, I became a proud Bobcat at Ohio University, graduating with a Political Science degree.

And as a restless young man, America provided me with the conditions I needed to find myself; for that, I will always be indebted to her. Later on, I never gave much thought to the ‘Canada incident’ again, except for when I would cross the Detroit- Windsor border in a Greyhound bus to visit my aunt in Ottawa.

Crossing the vast Atlantic again, I try to envision my life in Florida, the Sunshine State. Will I be able to concentrate on my studies with the sun and the beach beckoning right next door?  On the cover of the Time Magazine, sprawled face down across my lap, is a portrait painting of Bush II–and the caption reads ‘American Revolutionary.’  I remember that a colleague and good friend of my late father owns a house not too far from Tampa.

My eyes try to spot waves on the blurry ocean below as my mind wonders to the countless bodies that lay, at one time or another, on the ocean ground.  Bodies that were tossed aboard by slave merchants, when they miscalculated food rations or when slaves became sick and died. They say one-third never made the perilous voyage across the middle passage, that corridor of hell from Africa to the Americas.

I think of my father with whom I hatched out this plan, who passed away just weeks before my intended travel. Naturally, I postponed my trip by a semester. I remind myself that I’m doing this for the both of us.

My stomach clenches at the thought of my mother recuperating from a heart condition and who refused to let me reschedule my trip once more. Lyrics from Tupac’s “Dear Mama” burrowed their way into my subconscious:

… and there’s no way I can pay you back,
But the plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated.

The first rays of the east sun soon pierce through half open window shutters and flight attendants start handing out customs and declaration forms.

We arrive at Newark Airport on a muggy weekend morning in July.  Weary passengers try to form orderly lines in the arrivals section, according to their status: US Citizens, EU citizens, and the rest of the world.  After the Canada incident a few years back, my passport now reads European Union, Republic of Austria. I’m good. . . so I think.

Why is it that immigration officers are the same wherever you go?

Somewhere, far in the Siberian outback, behind the Ural Mountains, must be a special academy that teaches immigration officers — regardless of their nationality, gender or race — to be the most unfriendly souls imaginable.  A place where they’re made to complete a course that’s administered during six months of soul-hardening winter.

The young, stern-looking immigration officer wears her hair tied back so that the tip barely touched the collar of her crisp white uniform.

“Passport.”

I hand over my travel documents.

“What is the nature of your travel?”

“I’m here to attend graduate school.”

“University documents.”

I hand her my I-20 Form — a document verifying an international student’s acceptance — with my eyes glued to her pigtail, which bobs up and down as she glances from the I-20 to her computer screen. Behind her, I watch relieved passengers who’ve successfully passed purgatory pick up their luggage.

“Where’s the stamp from the school?” she asks, her eyes meeting mine for the first time. I look down at my document and see next to the signature in small print the words: ‘School stamp here.’ But there is no stamp. There is a nice big signature that makes it look official, but there’s no stamp from the school.

“The stamp is missing,” she reiterates in a tone that almost sounds final and before I can summon a response, she hails an officer standing at the back and hands him my passport and documents.

“Follow him.”  Her last words.

“Follow him where? I got a connecting flight to Tampa in less than an hour.”  The agitation in my voice was clear, even to me.

“Sir, please come this way,” says the new immigration officer curtly.

My legs still wobbly from the nine-hour flight, I try hard to keep up with his long strides that eventually bring us to the Immigration and Naturalization office. Seated on uncomfortable chairs, all donning long faces, I find half a dozen other passengers awaiting their fate in limbo. The quick-footed officer hands my documents to the officer behind the counter, before telling me to have a seat and wait until I’m called up. A cold blanket of powerlessness drapes over me as he disappears and the minute hand on my Swatch ticks nearer and nearer to my flight’s departure time.

“I’ve got a connecting flight here in less than thirty minutes. How long will this take?”

“Sir, just take a seat. Doesn’t look like you’ll be on that flight.”

Indignant at his tone, I plead my case further.

“Look, classes begin on Monday; I’ve got to be on this flight.”

The lanky immigration officer’s thick mustache begins to twitch. I watch him rise up to his full six and a half feet — a golden crucifix caught in the collar of his white undershirt.

“Don’t you know, we are at war with you!” he bellows, strong Latin accent betraying his own story of immigration.

The weight of his words feels like a noose tightening around my throat.

Anger effervesces inside, as his accusatory gaze made me soon realize that this time the issue isn’t my nationality, but my religion.

Another officer, more senior and adept at handling the volatile situation, steps up to the counter and attempts a more diplomatic approach.

“It looks like you’re missing an integral part of your document, without which we cannot let you enter the country. You must know, we now have a zero-tolerance policy after 9/11.”

“But the rest of my documents are in order, as you can see – signature, visa, etc. Surely, it must be possible for me to have the school stamp the I-20 upon my arrival. I assure you, I’ll fax it over. This isn’t my first time in the US.”

“No, that might have been possible in the past, but we now have a zero-tolerance policy after September 11.”

With the familiar tone of finality resonating in his repeated words, I take the last opportunity to contact the University in Florida.  But it’s Saturday and I only get the Admission’s office mailbox. Walking back over to his side of the counter, the officer gathers my documents and explains, “You’ll just have to go back and get your paperwork in order.”

Within the hour, I’m fingerprinted, documented and put on the same airplane — which had been refueling during my ordeal — back across the waves again. A film of grime and shame sticks to me like saran-wrap.

The flight is full again and I find myself next to Father Christmas. A short, round man with curly white locks that jut out from above his ears and a thick white beard to match. His rosy cheeks and the thin spectacles balancing on his nose as he reads from a pocket-size Bible adds to the authenticity.

“Are you alright?” he asks, setting down his Bible.

A million thoughts whirling around in my mind are manifested through my restless leg and the half-eaten Hot Pocket on my lunch tray. The words ‘stamp’ and ‘at war with you’ ricochet between my temples like cannon balls on a battlefield.

One glance at the old man is all it takes for me to unburden my soul. He listens intently — as only a man of the cloth could — while I tell him my story, from beginning to end.

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” he finally says.

“You see, I’m traveling with my wife,” he points towards a row of seats ahead of us. “She’s sitting up there somewhere. They gave us separate seats at the airline counter, for some reason. I thought it was a mistake, but I know, God doesn’t make mistakes.”

The situation was truly more than serendipitous.

“There’s a reason why you’re going through this hardship, and there’s a reason why we met.  Relief will come soon, my son; let us pray together.”

Drowning out the snoring passengers, this pastor from Gary, Indiana, on his way to a convention in Rome, soothes my tormented soul by reading verses from his Bible — condensing the nine-hour flight to what felt shorter than the blink of an angel. Feeling light and purified, like white foam on ocean waves, we part ways at Charles de Gaulle airport; he and his wife off to Rome, and I to find a payphone.

“Mom,”
“Yes?”
“Small setback. . . I’m coming home.”
“Oh, thank God.”

Those three unexpected words — from my mother’s still fragile voice, knowing she still needs me there — shower me with relief and reassurance:
God doesn’t make mistakes.

Education and true knowledge aren’t bound by borders.  As public goods, they will not diminish through dissemination, but more rather will enrich the lives of all those who bask in it.

“Seek knowledge, even as far as in China.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

 

Rashid Mohamed is a writer of all sorts who loves to discover new ways of telling stories that engage readers. He’s worked for the United Nations as a Peacekeeping officer in Darfur, Sudan, and has served as a court interpreter for asylum seekers in Vienna, Austria. He currently lives in Denver, and recently completed an AAS in Contemporary Journalism. Global politics play a big role in his life. Rashid loves to stay abreast of current issues and analyze their impact on society through his writing.

 

Leah Rogin-Roper tells us why she stopped reading white dudes for a year, and why you should too

Five Things People Said To Me about Not Reading White Dudes This Year… plus two confessions and one tangent

Or

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Canon

by Leah Rogin-Roper

 

1. “So you’re reading a lot of Toni Morrison? 

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about Toni Morrison, but I also love the way Tiphanie Yanique gets both magical realism and historical fiction into her Caribbean setting in Land of Love and Drowning and Roxanne Gay’s tough-vulnerable writing, like starting Ayiti, her loveletter to Haiti, with a brutal 500-word story called “Motherfuckers.” I love the way Tayari Jones treats all of her characters with such tenderness on the page, even, and maybe especially, the assholes in An American Marriage.  Those are only a few of the amazing books by black women that came out in the last year.

The way Tommy Orange kept 12 narrators distinct and interconnected in There, There. How Theresa Mailhot broke my heart in Heartberries and then told us despair is for the privileged.  Those are just two American Indian writers who published incredible books last summer.

I’ve spent the past six months just trying to read all of the writers from the Caribbean I somehow missed out on. I’ve spent my year reading Korean writers and Japanese writers and indigenous writers from around the world. I’ve read plays from Mexico, short story collections from Africa, and poetry from Peru. There is no scarcity here.

 “Sunk in the grass of an empty lot on a spring Saturday, I split the stems of milkweed and thought about ants and peach pits and death and where the world went when I closed my eyes.” 
― 
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

 

2. “But what about Hemingway (or Edward Abbey or Bukowski or Hunter S. or insert the name of some must-read, hyper masculine white dude here)? And what about Shakespeare?”

First of all, I already read that shit.  Why would I need to keep reading it?

Second of all, Fuck Shakespeare.  I know, lit professors can’t say that. But what if you took a bunch of Shakespeare scholars to an Outkast concert and asked them to write essays about it, in the form of hip-hop songs?  Shakespeare is just one thing, he’s not everything.

When people get all upset about Shakespeare it makes me want to talk about Longfellow. At one point, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the most anthologized, beloved, canonized of all American writers.  When his poetry fell by the wayside as the age of modernism made his writing look like silly romantic drivel, people probably mourned.

But the beauty of the canon is that it is a shifting squirming metamorphosis of understanding that dies and is reborn every time we question it.

I have obsessed about the canon for my entire adult life (these are the things that keep a lit professor up at night), and right now it is exploding in a way that will shift our understanding of literature for the next 100 years.  Watch it while it changes.  There is no better time to be a reader.

“Baby boy you only funky as your last cut / You focus on the past /  your ass’ll be a has what — Andre 3000, “Rosa Parks”

 

3. “Don’t you miss good writing? Or it’s not my fault this anthology is all white people, there’s just no good writing out there by people of color [especially in this genre].”

What if the things we think we know about the aesthetics of literature was taught to us by white men?

What if white men owned the publication industry and over the historical span of publication spent 99% of their resources only publishing other wealthy white men?

What if you had to look just a little harder to see how much diversity of writing there is under the white men, who tend to float to the surface?

What if there are other ways to tell a narrative than by using the pattern of male orgasm (come on, it’s not that much of a stretch, with the “climax” of the story shaped by tension and release)?

What if one of the reasons we’ve been seeing so many fractured, multiple narratives is because people are sick of one white guy’s version of things?

What if we were taught to read white men, by white men, in books edited and published by white men? And then those works were later anthologized by white men, who then sold them to white men who taught other white men to teach white men?

What if everything we think we know about literature is shaped by that?

“There should be a word for this, the way it feels to steal something that’s already yours.” ― Tayari Jones, An American Marriage.

 

4. “Well, I wouldn’t want a professor who just changed what we read based on her personal feelings about other writers.”

Every time a teacher chooses to teach one writer, they choose to not teach the other writers.

Every time you choose to read a book to your kid, you choose not to read all the other books.

That’s the canon.

Where the books get shelved.  How readers spend their money. Who gets called “literature.”  What books receive reviews in which publications.

Every active decision you make about what you read and every decision you passively don’t make about what to read is the canon.

I teach Intro to Literature to community college students. Many, even most of my students have zero investment in literature coming into my class. This may be the most reading they do in their entire adult lives.  I spend a lot of time thinking about that. I lay in bed, wondering how many writers I can reasonably expose students to in 15 weeks.

The truth is there are only so many days in a semester, only so many pages in an anthology, only so many minutes to sit with your child in your lap, reading them the books that shape their neural pathways.

“And he found something sticking out of the snow that made a new track.” ―Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day.

 

5. “I would read women, but I just can’t engage.”

Here are just a few of the terms used over the centuries to denigrate women’s writing: regional, domestic, mommy poetry, local color, little, hysterical, angry, romance, chick-lit, confessional, sentimental, family dramas. Note that novella is in the feminine form, meaning a small novel.

When people say they can’t engage with female writers, it’s because they don’t care about women.  This is probably a bigger issue than one’s reading list, but it’s not a bad place to start.

“Books are often far more than just books.” ― Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays

 

Two confessions:  (Remember, women write confessions, men write literature.)

My first confession: 2018 is actually my second consecutive year of not reading white dudes.  In 2017, I used it more as a guideline and didn’t talk about it much.

In 2018, I took it seriously and I talked about it a lot.  Because people’s reactions became interesting to me.  Some would uncomfortably giggle, some would say nothing and shrug, many were so far ahead of me that they were like, “duh.  I haven’t read a white dude since my high school teacher crammed Catcher in the Rye down my throat a decade ago.”

But there was another reaction, an almost exclusively white male “all books matter” kind of angry entitlement that caused some men to scream at me in bars, or to loudly explain to me all the things I didn’t understand about literature.

Two years in, I’ll admit there are a few white dudes I’ve been missing, compassionate unique voices like George Saunders. Writer friends came out with books this year that I had to buy and will probably read, poets handed me random books in coffee houses and I cracked them open. I read articles, and essays, and short stories online in the freeform way the interwebs took me, but mostly I was pretty strict about not reading books by nor spending money on white dudes.  Which leads me to…

Confession #2:  I only seriously cheated once, and I re-read Game of Thrones. I didn’t purchase it because I already owned it, but it was still cheating.  I was addicted.  Waiting, waiting for it to come back on HBO, I broke.

What shocked me on the reread is everything I didn’t see the first time I read it, when I was so saturated with white male narratives that I never noticed how rapey and racist GOT is on almost every single page.

“But strong female characters” the GOT fans are internally shouting.  It doesn’t change the way male gaze runs the book and the way women, even the most powerful ones, are threatened with rape as conquest, rape as punishment, rape as jest.

The ingrained racism in the writing is even worse. White is the default color so all characters are white unless specifically described otherwise and those descriptions are painful to read.

Black characters are mostly slaves or pirates or barbarians who, and I shit you not, this is the actual plot line, they love white, white, so-white-even-her-hair-is-white savior queen Daenerys so much that even after she frees them from slavery they are happy to stick around and serve her and call her “Mother.”

What I’m saying is, I read the whole series before and mostly enjoyed it. At least the issues I had with it the first read had more to do with repetitive sentence structures than the way women and people of color were written on the page.  I should have noticed that stuff, but I didn’t see it.  Because dragons.  Because patriarchy.

But not reading white dudes for 2 years reset my brain so that I can no longer enjoy writing that celebrates colonialism and dicks.

A tangent: What I realized when I gave up white dudes is how much white culture has dominated my experience.  I find myself asking questions like, “is rock n roll mostly just white dudes who weren’t funky enough for Motown?”

And, wait, “Is Dr. Seuss racist?” I had to stop reading Green Eggs and Ham because that book is rapey as hell.  Re-read it and think about #metoo and permission and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Then I started looking more closely at my kid’s bookshelf and, yes a lot of those characters are animals or weird Seussian creatures, but somehow they are all male and they are all white as hell too.

Sex in the City: four white ladies fuck white guys almost exclusively in a nearly white version of NYC. Lena Dunham’s Girls updates this model, but keeps the almost exclusive whiteness. I’ve been to NYC so I know it’s not all white, but I look around and my own neighborhood is extra white, and I’m not quite sure how that happened.

This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. This isn’t the way I see myself. But I like rock-n-roll, and I like Dr. Seuss and God Help Me, I have liked Girls and Sex in the City and going to museums with stolen art that definitely should never hang on white walls.

That’s why I don’t think I’ll read white dudes next year either, at least not as the rule.  White dudes as the exception, from here on out, I think.

I’ve read enough of the mono-narratives of white men grappling with their existential angst while fondling something phallic like a fishing pole or a gun.

If you’re, white, I bet you have too.

 

Leah Rogin-Roper’s favorite things are all made out of water.  Her work is featured in or forthcoming from Cliterature, The Rumpus, and Deep South Review. Her chapbook Two Truths and a Lie was published by Horseless Press in 2016. She lives in the mountains west of Denver and teaches writing at Red Rocks Community College.

108 Books You Should Read Before You Read Another White Dude

Every year, a grip of publications post a new books-you-should-be-reading list. We at Literary Citizen believe that most of these lists think way too small. That is why we’re starting our blog by spreading this particular list compiled by Denver writers Tameca L ColemanSteven Dunn,  Leah Rogin-Roper, and Carolyn Zaikowski with some additional contributions from the Facebook Hive. *

We propose readers read a whole heck of a lot more than what’s in the typical “canon.” And if anyone feels that this list is racist or sexist, we’ll counter with the following: Read the 108 books in this list, or even half of them, and then come back at us (and if you have more suggestions, leave them in the comments). Please also read Leah Rogin-Roper’s essay about spending a year not reading white dudes as a rule.

Without further ado, the list:

  1. Abdul, Ali. Trouble Sleeping
  2. Adichie ,Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah
  3. Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black
  4. Aidoo, Ama Ata. Our Sister Killjoy
  5. Ali, Agha Shahid. The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems
  6. Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  7. Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (also, This Bridge Called My Back edited by Anzaldúa and Cherríe L. Moraga)
  8. Apache, Crisosto. Genesis
  9. Austin, Ron A. Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar
  10. Baldwin, James. Go Tell it On the Mountain  &  The Fire Next Time
  11. Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Familuy Tragicomic
  12. Beilin, Caren. The University of Pennsylvania  &  Spain.
  13. Brand, Dionne. A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging
  14. Bridgeforth, Sharon. The Bull-Jean Stories
  15. Brooks, R. Alan. The Burning Metronome
  16. Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me (Bonus, read the new Black Panther series written by Coates. Bonus-bonus: Captain America)
  17. Case, Mairead. See You in the Morning
  18. Castillo, Ana. The Mixquiahuala Letters
  19. Chao, Geneve. Émigré
  20. Chassot, Joanne. Ghosts of the African Diaspora: Re-Visioning History, Memory, and Identity
  21. Cisneros, Sandra. House on Mango Street
  22. Clemmons, Zinzi. What We Lose
  23. Cole, Teju. Every Day is for the Thief
  24. Darznik, Jasmin. Song of a Captive Bird
  25. Davis, Angela. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.
  26. Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak!
  27. Dawson, Erica. When Rap Spoke Straight to God
  28. DeConnick, Kelly Sue. Pretty Deadly  &  Bitch Planet
  29. Dennis-Benn, Nicole Y. Here Comes the Sun
  30. Derricotte, Toi. The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
  31. Edugyan, Esi. Washington Black
  32. Emezi, Awkwaeke. Freshwater
  33. Erdrich, Louise. Round House  &  Love Medicine
  34. Farrokhzad, Forough. Sin: Selected Poems
  35. Farrokhzad, Athena. White Blight
  36. Gaudry, Molly. We Take Me Apart
  37. Florian, Sandy. On Wonderland & Waste
  38. Gay, Roxane. Ayiti  &  Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
  39. Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness
  40. Kang, Han. The Vegetarian
  41. Kelly, Donika. Bestiary: Poems
  42. Kilanko, Yejide. Daughters Who Walk This Path
  43. Hagedorn, Jessica. Dogeaters
  44. Hammad, Suheir. Born Palestinian, Born Black
  45. Hernández, Jaime. Love Bunglers
  46. Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage
  47. Kapil, Bhanu. Incubation: A Space for Monsters
  48. Khong, Sister Chan. Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War
  49. Kim, Myung Mi. Commons
  50. Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place
  51. King, Ruth. Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm.
  52. King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter from the Birmingham Jail
  53. King, Nia. Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of our Lives
  54. Kunzru, Hari. White Tears
  55. Marquez, García Márquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  56. Laymon, Kiese. Heavy: An American Memoir
  57. Lamb, Meghan. Silk Flowers
  58. Lanay, Sade. Härte
  59. Lispector, Clarice. The Passion According to G.H.
  60. Lewis, Erica. Daryl Hall is My Boyfriend  &  Mary Wants to Be a Superwoman
  61. Longpre, Ella. How to Keep You Alive
  62. Long Solider, Layli. Whereas
  63. López, Julián. A Beautiful Young Woman
  64. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
  65. McCrae, Shane. Blood  &  Mule
  66. Martinez, J. Michael. Heredities: Poems
  67. Morrison, Toni. The Origin of Others (also everything)
  68. Mukasonga, Scholastique. Our Lady of the Nile
  69. Murakami, Haruki. Sputnik Sweetheart
  70. Myint, Thirii Myo Kyaw. The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven
  71. Nguyen, Diana Khoi. Ghost Of
  72. Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
  73. Olivares, Christina. No Map of the Earth Includes Stars
  74. Oliver, Akilah. A Toast in the House of Friends (and anything else you can find).
  75. Orange, Tommy. There, There
  76. Ostlund, Lori. After the Parade
  77. Owens, Lama Rod and Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams. Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation
  78. Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats
  79. Park, Samuel. This Burns My Heart
  80. Paull, Laline. The Bees
  81. Potter, Sally. Yes: Screenplay and Notes
  82. Queen, Khadijah. I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On
  83. Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric
  84. Rexilius, Andrea. To Be Human Is To Be A Conversation
  85. Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things
  86. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis (The Story of Childhood, The Story of Return  Volumes 3 & 4)
  87. Saterstrom, Selah. Slab.
  88. Scott, Gail. The Obituary
  89. Shanahan, Charif. Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing
  90. Shinkle, Katie Jean. Ruination
  91. Shōnagon, Sei. The Pillow Book
  92. Spalding, Amy. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles
  93. Tamirat, Nafkote. The Parking Lot Attendant
  94. Thien, Madeleine. Do Not Say We Have Nothing
  95. Thummel, Jessica. The Cure for Lonely
  96. Toomer, Jean. Cane
  97. Zadok, Rachel & Nick Mulgrew. Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa: An Anthology from Short Story Africa  &  (Bonus: check out the whole Short Story Day Africa collection.)
  98. Wallschlaeger, Nikki. Houses  &  Crawlspace
  99. Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing
  100. Webster, Chaun. GeNtry!fication: Or the Scene of the Crime
  101. Wedge, M.B.F. Knickpoint
  102. Winterson, Jeanette. The Passion
  103. Wicker, Marcus. Silencer
  104. Wurth, Erika T. Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend   You Who Enter Here
  105. Yanique, Tipahnie. How to Escape from a Leper Colony
  106. Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective
  107. Yapa, Sunil. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
  108. Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen

*Initiated by Leah Rogin-Roper, and reposted with permission.