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Intolerable

Intolerable

Author: Kamal Al-Solaylee
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 1443401846
Pages: 224
Year: 2012-05-15
In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee’s father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world. As a gay man living in an intolerant country, Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada, where he became a prominent journalist and academic. While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West, his once-liberal family slowly fell into the hard-line interpretations of Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab-Muslim world in the 1980s and 1990s. The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and the civil war in Yemen. Intolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about.
Intolerable

Intolerable

Author: Kamal Al-Solaylee
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 1554688876
Pages: 224
Year: 2013-05-14
In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee’s father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world. As a gay man living in an intolerant country, Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada, where he became a prominent journalist and academic. While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West, his once-liberal family slowly fell into the hard-line interpretations of Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab-Muslim world in the 1980s and 1990s. The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and the civil war in Yemen. Intolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about.
Intolerable

Intolerable

Author: Kamal Al-Solaylee
Publisher: Harperwave
ISBN: 0062294849
Pages: 204
Year: 2013-05-28
In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee's father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world.As a gay man living in an intolerant country, Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada, where he became a prominent journalist and academic. While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West, his once-liberal family slowly fell into the hard-line interpretations of Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab-Muslim world in the 1980s and 1990s. The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and the civil war in Yemen.
Brown

Brown

Author: Kamal Al-Solaylee
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 1443441457
Pages: 336
Year: 2016-05-10
By the author of the Canada Reads finalist and bestselling Intolerable comes a stunning new book about the meaning of being brown Finalist for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction Brown is not white. Brown is not black. Brown is an experience, a state of mind. Historically speaking, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world. In this new book by Kamal Al-Solaylee¸ whose bestselling Intolerable was a finalist for Canada Reads and for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and won the Toronto Book Award, fills in the narrative gap by taking a global look at the many social, political, economic and personal implications of being a brown-skinned person in the world now. Brown people have emerged as the source of global cheap labour (Hispanics or South Asians) while also coming under scrutiny and suspicion for their culture and faith (Arabs and Muslims). To be brown is to be on the cusp of whiteness and on the edge of blackness. Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in 10 countries from four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories from destinations as far apart as the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Britain, Trinidad, France, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United States, and Canada. It contains striking research about immigration, workers’ lives and conditions, and the pursuit of a lighter shade of brown as a global status symbol. It is also a personal book, as the author studies the significance of brown skin for those whose countries of origin include North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico and Central America, and South and East Asia, he also reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person (in his case from Yemen) who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire.
Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter

Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter

Author: Alison Wearing
Publisher: Knopf Canada
ISBN: 034580757X
Pages: 292
Year: 2013
NATIONAL BESTSELLER (The Globe and Mail) Finalist for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction [2014] Longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize [2014] A moving memoir about growing up with a gay father in the 1980s, and a tribute to the power of truth, humour, acceptance and familial love. Alison Wearing led a largely carefree childhood until she learned, at the age of 12, that her family was a little more complex than she had realized. Sure her father had always been unusual compared to the other dads in the neighbourhood: he loved to bake croissants, wear silk pyjamas around the house, and skip down the street singing songs from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. But when he came out of the closet in the 1970s, when homosexuality was still a cardinal taboo, it was a shock to everyone in the quiet community of Peterborough, Ontario--especially to his wife and three children. Alison's father was a professor of political science and amateur choral conductor, her mother was an accomplished pianist and marathon runner, and together they had fed the family a steady diet of arts, adventures, mishaps, normal frustrations and inexhaustible laughter. Yet despite these agreeable circumstances, Joe's internal life was haunted by conflicting desires. As he began to explore and understand the truth about himself, he became determined to find a way to live both as a gay man and also a devoted father, something almost unheard of at the time. Through extraordinary excerpts from his own letters and journals from the years of his coming out, we read of Joe's private struggle to make sense and beauty of his life, to take inspiration from an evolving society and become part of the vanguard of the gay revolution in Canada. Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter is also the story of "coming out" as the daughter of a gay father. Already wrestling with an adolescent's search for identity when her father came out of the closet, Alison promptly "went in," concealing his sexual orientation from her friends and spinning extravagant stories about all of the "great straight things" they did together. Over time, Alison came to see that life with her father was surprisingly interesting and entertaining, even oddly inspiring, and in fact, there was nothing to hide. Balancing intimacy, history and downright hilarity, Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter is a captivating tale of family life: deliciously imperfect, riotously challenging, and full of life's great lessons in love. Alison brings her story to life with a skillfully light touch in this warm, heartfelt and revelatory memoir.
Skeletons on the Zahara

Skeletons on the Zahara

Author: Dean King
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0759509697
Pages: 368
Year: 2004-02-16
A masterpiece of historical adventure, Skeletons on the Zahara chronicles the true story of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the perilous heart of the Sahara. The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub--and its barren and ever-changing coastline has baffled sailors for centuries. In August 1815, the US brig Commerce was dashed against Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival in the face of human hostility, starvation, dehydration, death and despair. Captured, robbed and enslaved, the sailors were dragged and driven through the desert by their new owners, who neither spoke their language nor cared for their plight. Reduced to drinking urine, flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand and losing over half of their body weights, the sailors struggled to hold onto both their humanity and their sanity. To reach safety, they would have to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity. From the cold waters of the Atlantic to the searing Saharan sands, from the heart of the desert to the heart of man, Skeletons on the Zahara is a spectacular odyssey through the extremes and a gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.
A Thousand Farewells

A Thousand Farewells

Author: Nahlah Ayed
Publisher: Penguin Canada
ISBN: 0143184032
Pages: 304
Year: 2012-04-10
A uniquely personal insight into the Middle East from one of Canada's most respected foreign correspondents In 1976, Nahlah Ayed's family gave up their comfortable life in Winnipeg for the squalor of a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. The transition was jarring, but it was from this uncomfortable situation that Ayed first observed the people whose heritage she shared. The family returned to Canada when she was thirteen, and Ayed ignored the Middle East for many years. But the First Gulf War and the events of 9/11 reignited her interest. Soon she was reporting from the region full-time, trying to make sense of the wars and upheavals that have affected its people and sent so many of them seeking a better life elsewhere. In A Thousand Farewells, Ayed describes with sympathy and insight the myriad ways in which the Arab people have fought against oppression and loss as seen from her own early days witnessing protests in Amman, and the wars, crackdowns, and uprisings she has reported on in countries across the region. This is the heartfelt and personal chronicle of a journalist who has devoted much of her career to covering one of the world's most vexing regions.
Funny Boy

Funny Boy

Author: Shyam Selvadurai
Publisher: Emblem Editions
ISBN: 1551997193
Pages: 336
Year: 2013-01-29
In this remarkable debut novel, a boy’s bittersweet passage to maturity and sexual awakening is set against escalating political tensions in Sri Lanka, during the seven years leading up to the 1983 riots. Arjie Chelvaratnam is a Tamil boy growing up in an extended family in Colombo. It is through his eyes that the story unfolds and we meet a delightful, sometimes eccentric cast of characters. Arjie’s journey from the luminous simplicity of childhood days into the more intricately shaded world of adults – with its secrets, its injustices, and its capacity for violence – is a memorable one, as time and time again the true longings of the human heart are held against the way things are.
The City of Falling Angels

The City of Falling Angels

Author: John Berendt
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143036939
Pages: 414
Year: 2006
Traces the aftermath of the 1996 Venice opera house fire, an event that devastated Venetian society and was investigated by the author, who through interviews with local figures learned about the region's rich cultural history.
And the Birds Rained Down

And the Birds Rained Down

Author: Jocelyne Saucier
Publisher: Coach House Books
ISBN: 1770563334
Pages: 176
Year: 2013-03-22
Finalist for the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English Translation Deep in a Northern Ontario forest live Tom and Charlie, two octogenarians determined to live out the rest of their lives on their own terms: free of all ties and responsibilities, their only connection to civilization two pot farmers who bring them whatever they can't eke out for themselves. But their solitude is disrupted by the arrival of two women. The first is a photographer searching for survivors of a series of catastrophic fires nearly a century earlier; the second is an elderly escapee from a psychiatric institution. The little hideaway in the woods will never be the same. Originally published in French, And the Birds Rained Down, the recipient of several prestigious prizes, including the Prix de Cinq Continents de la Francophonie, is a haunting meditation on aging and self-determination.
Something Fierce

Something Fierce

Author: Carmen Aguirre
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0345813820
Pages: 287
Year: 2014-03-25
Looks at the experiences of Carmen Aguirre, who fled to Canada with her family after General Augusto Pinochet's coup in Chile in 1973 and then returned five years later to become a militant in the Chilean resistance.
A Shining Affliction

A Shining Affliction

Author: Annie G. Rogers
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0140240128
Pages: 322
Year: 1996
In the midst of her work with Ben, a severely disturbed five-year-old, Annie is hospitalized with her own breakdown and must finally uncover where her history of childhood terror overlaps with Ben's and learn how her work in the field of psychotherapy involves great risks and great gifts.
Girlvert

Girlvert

Author: Oriana Small
Publisher: Abarnaclebook
ISBN: 0982505639
Pages: 308
Year: 2011
An explicit look into the world of porn, from a woman who was a superstar in the industry. Small, aka Ashley Blue, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically.
Trans/Portraits

Trans/Portraits

Author: Jackson Wright Shultz
Publisher: Dartmouth College Press
ISBN: 1611688086
Pages: 232
Year: 2015-09-22
Although transgender people are increasingly represented in academic studies and popular culture, they rarely have the opportunity to add their own voices to the conversation. In this remarkable book, Jackson Shultz records the stories of more than thirty Americans who identify as transgender. They range in age from fifteen to seventy-two; come from twenty-five different states and a wide array of racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds; and identify across a vast spectrum of genders and sexualities. Giving voice to a diverse group of individuals, the book raises questions about gender, acceptance, and unconditional love. From historical descriptions of activism to personal stories of discrimination, love, and community, these touching accounts of gender transition shed light on the uncharted territories that lie beyond the gender binary. Despite encounters with familial rejection, drug addiction, and medical malpractice, each account is imbued with optimism and humor, providing a thoughtful look at the daily joys and struggles of transgender life. With an introduction and explanations from the author, this work will appeal to transgender individuals, their significant others, friends, family, and allies; health-care providers, educators, and legal professionals; and anyone questioning their own gender, considering transition, or setting out on their own transition journey.
The Atheist Muslim

The Atheist Muslim

Author: Ali A. Rizvi
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250094453
Pages: 256
Year: 2016-11-22
In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned, or even sentenced to death by their governments. Struggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media—the Atheist Muslim. In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam—as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas—without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.