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Global Literature Book List  

Suggested titles for independent reading. Most books are available at the MMU Library. If the link does not connect you to the catalog, check with Jen Poutre to see if the book is available through interlibrary loan.
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Suggested Titles (available at MMU)

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Stolen Lives - Malika Oufkir; Michèle Fitoussi; Ros Schwartz (Translator)
Call Number: 92 Oufkir
ISBN: 0786886307
Publication Date: 2002-05-01
The memoir of Malika Oufkir, the daughter of the king of Morocco's aide, who until 1972 lived a life of extreme privilege. When her father attempts to assassinate the king, she and her family were imprisoned for twenty years.

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Burned Alive - Souad; Marie-Therese Cuny (Contribution by)
Call Number: 92 Souad
ISBN: 0446533467
Publication Date: 2004-05-11
The author provides an account of her experiences as the victim of an honor crime, telling how her brother-in-law, tried to kill her for having sex before marriage by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire, and sharing the story of how she survived with the help of the women of her West Bank village, and the intervention of a European aid worker.

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Princess Peacock - Haiwang Yuan; Zheng Chunde
Call Number: 951 Yuan
ISBN: 1591584167
Publication Date: 2008-08-30
Presents over fifty representative folktales, including stories about animals, morality, love, magic, creation, and ethnic origins from China's 56 officially recognized minorities, such as Tibetans, Mongolians, Manchus, Zhuangs, and Dais, with information on each ethnic group's culture,homes, clothing, religions, customs, festivals, entertainment, literature, language, food, games, crafts, and more.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced - Delphine Minoui; Nujood Ali
Call Number: 953.3 Ali
ISBN: 0307589676
Publication Date: 2010-03-02
Ali Nujood, the first child bride in Yemen to win a divorce, tells the story of her experiences after her father arranged for her to be married in 2008 at the age of ten to a man three times her age, describes what happened when she sought out a judge in order to get a divorce, and discusses the impact of her actions on traditional Yemen culture and society.

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Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi (Illustrator)
Call Number: 955.05 Satrapi
ISBN: 0375422307
Publication Date: 2003-04-29
The autobiographical graphic novel story of Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

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Thura's Diary - Thura Al-Windawi
Call Number: 956.7044 Al-Windawi
ISBN: 0670058866
Publication Date: 2004-03-08
Presents an English translation of the diary entries of nineteen-year-old Thura Al-Windawi, the oldest daughter in a middle-class Shia Muslim family living in Baghdad, in which she shares her thoughts, emotions, and experiences throughout the war in Iraq, from March 15 through June 2003.

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When I Was a Soldier - Valerie Zenatti; Adriana Hunter (Translator)
Call Number: 956.94 Zenatti
ISBN: 1599900599
Publication Date: 2007-01-23
The story of one girl's experience in the Israeli national army where strict routines, grueling marches, poor food, and lack of sleep are the norm, but service has its rewards as well.

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The Bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad; Ingrid Christophersen (Translator)
Call Number: 958.1 Seierstad
ISBN: 0316159417
Publication Date: 2004-10-26
Asne Seierstand, a Norwegian journalist, tells of her experiences while staying with a bookseller named Sultan Khan and his family in Afghanistan just after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. During the three months of her stay, she describes what it was like for families in the country to adjust to a new way of life and a new government. She also describes the daily lives of the women in a household ruled by domineering men.

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Havana Real - M. J. Porter (Translator); Yoani Sanchez
Call Number: 972.91 Sánchez
ISBN: 1935554255
Publication Date: 2011-04-26
Collects Generación Y blog entries in which Yoani Sanchez shares what daily life is like in Cuba, discussing health care, hunger, the media, and other topics.

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Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe; Anthony Appiah (Introduction by)
Call Number: Fic Achebe
ISBN: 0679446230
Publication Date: 1995-10-17
Set in an Ibo village in Nigeria, the novel recreates pre-Christian tribal life and shows how the coming of the white man led to the breaking up of the old ways.

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Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Call Number: Fic Adichie
ISBN: 1565123875
Publication Date: 2003-10-30
A teenaged Nigerian girl and her older brother struggle to cope with life in their tense, stifling household--caused by their father's demands for perfection--after getting a taste of freedom during a visit to their aunt's home.

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The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
Call Number: Fic Adiga
ISBN: 1416562591
Publication Date: 2008-04-22
Balram Halwai is educated in the art of corruption when he is hired as the driver for the wealthiest man in his village in India, and witnesses his employers bribe and barter through his rear view mirror.

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Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan
Call Number: Fic Akpan
ISBN: 0316086363
Publication Date: 2009-09-18
A collection of short stories by Uwem Akpan that celebrate the resilience and wisdom of children in third world countries. Includes stories from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Liberia.

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In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez
Call Number: Fic Alvarez
ISBN: 1565120388
Publication Date: 1994-01-09
Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republica in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands. Each of the sisters speaks in her own voice; beginning as young girls in the 1940s, their stories vary from hair ribbons to gun-running to prison torture. Their story is framed by their surviving sister who tells her own tale of suffering and dedication to the memory of Las Mariposas.

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The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Call Number: Fic Atwood
ISBN: 0385475721
Publication Date: 2000-09-05
A Canadian science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in a dingy backstreet room. Set in a multi-layered story of the death of a woman's sister and husband in the 1940's, with a novel-within-a novel as a background.

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery; Alison Anderson (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Barbery
ISBN: 1933372605
Publication Date: 2008-09-02
Renée, a secretly cultured concierge at an elegant apartment building in the middle of Paris, meets Paloma, an intelligent twelve-year-old who behaves like a mediocre pre-teen until a wealthy Japanese man arrives at the building, causing Paloma and Renée to recognize each other's secrets.

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A Time of Miracles - Y. Maudet (Translator); Anne-Laure Bondoux
Call Number: Fic Bondoux
ISBN: 0385739222
Publication Date: 2010-11-09
In the early 1990s, a boy with a mysterious past and the woman who cares for him endure a five-year journey across the war-torn Caucasus and Europe, weathering hardships and welcoming unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life.

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Born under a Million Shadows - Andrea Busfield
Call Number: Fic Busfield
ISBN: 0805090614
Publication Date: 2010-02-02
Fawad, an optimistic Afghan boy living in Kabul, loses his father, brother, and sister to the Taliban regime, but when his mother is hired as a housekeeper for a charismatic Western woman, Fawad is exposed to endless curiosities, though another calamity may cost Fawad his faith in his country.

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Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused - Howard Goldblatt (Editor)
Call Number: Fic Chairman
ISBN: 0802134491
Publication Date: 1996-02-15
A collection of twenty-one short fiction stories of love, sex, murder, honor, and superstition, written by a variety of contemporary Chinese authors from the post-Mao era.

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Broken Memory - Elisabeth Combres; Shelley Tanaka
Call Number: Fic Combres
ISBN: 0888998937
Publication Date: 2011-04-01
Five-year-old Emma witnesses the brutal murder of her mother during the 1994 genocide massacres in Rwanda and seeks shelter with an aging Hutu woman; but years later when war ends, Emma's fears continue to haunt her as she finds the courage to begin her healing.

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Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party - Ying Chang Compestine
Call Number: Fic Compestine
ISBN: 0805082077
Publication Date: 2007-08-21
Starting in 1972 in China when she is nine years old, Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the communists' Cultural Revolution, which empties stores of food, homes of appliances deemed "bourgeois," and people of laughter.

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Sijie Dai; Ina Rilke (Translator); Dai Sijie
Call Number: Fic Dai
ISBN: 037541309X
Publication Date: 2001-09-11
Two boys, moved to the country for "re-education" as part of Mao's Cultural Revolution, find little to amuse them, but things change when they discover a stash of Western classics in Chinese translation and use the stories of Balzac to capture the attention of the beautiful daughter of the local tailor.

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Equatoria - Tom Dreyer; Michiel Heyns (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Dreyer
ISBN: 1906300011
Publication Date: 2008-10-01
In 1912, Two English adventurers journey through the jungles of central Africa to capture the mysterious and reclusive okapi for the Antwerp zoo.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Call Number: Fic Garcia
ISBN: 0060929790
Publication Date: 1998-11-01
The internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel offers a rich and brilliant chronicle celebrating the endless variety of life in the mythical Latin America town of Macondo.

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Waiting - Ha Jin
Call Number: Fic Jin
ISBN: 0375406530
Publication Date: 1999-09-21
Chinese Lin Kong struggles to balance his life between the two women he loves and the country that is trying to rule his life.

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Real World - Natsuo Kirino; Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Kirino
ISBN: 0307267571
Publication Date: 2008-07-15
Four teenage girls living in the suburbs of Tokyo, Toshi, Terauchi, Yuzan, and Kirarin, are doing their best to focus on summer school classes, in preparation for college, but when Toshi's neighbor is found murdered the girls suspect his son, a high school classmate they nicknamed "Worm."

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The Vagrants - Yiyun Li
Call Number: Fic Li
ISBN: 9781400063130
Publication Date: 2009-02-03
The story of the lives of a group of people, including the rebellious Gu Shan now a political prisoner, her desperate mother, a serious seven-year-old boy called Tong, a crippled girl called Nini, the sinister idler Bashi, and Kai, a beautiful radio announcer, who all live in a small provincial town in China during the late 1970s. Set against the conflict between a country that lives in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution and internal forces like the anti-Communist Democratic Wall Movement who are trying to push open its doors to the rest of the world.

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Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz
Call Number: Fic Mahfouz
ISBN: 0385264666
Publication Date: 1990-12-01
Al-Sayyid Ahmad tries to keep his wife and children in line as a good Egyptian patriarch should, but his own need for sexual and alcoholic diversions and his sons' growing independence interfere.

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1Q84 - Haruki Murakami; Jay Rubin (Translator); Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Murakami
ISBN: 0307593312
Publication Date: 2011-10-25
An ode to George Orwell's "1984" told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.

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The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg - Sibusiso Nyembezi; Sandile Ngidi (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Nyembezi
ISBN: 0955233992
Publication Date: 2008-04-01
While the farming village of Nyanyadu faces the ramifications of the approaching apartheid, Mkhwanazi receives a mysterious correspondence from a man in Pietermarizburg, and later meets a man who promises untold riches for the community.

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The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón; Lucia Graves (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Ruiz Zafon
ISBN: 1594200106
Publication Date: 2004-04-12
In 1945 Spain, the young son of an antique-book dealer searches for more books by Julin Carax, an author he has recently discovered, and finds that everything Carax has ever written has been destroyed--and that his search has put his friends and family in danger.

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The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
Call Number: Fic Rushdie
ISBN: 0670825379
Publication Date: 1989-02-22
When their hijacked jet blows apart, two men miraculously survive. It's a miracle but then Gibreel acquires a halo, and Saladin's feet turn into hooves and he grows horns. They have been chosen (by whom?) as opponents in an eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil. But which is which? Can demons be angelic? Can angels be devils in disguise?

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Snow - Orhan Pamuk; Maureen Freely (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Pamuk
ISBN: 0375406972
Publication Date: 2004-08-17
After years of political exile in Western Europe, poet Ka returns to a remote city in Istanbul in the middle of a snowstorm and loses his bearings while investigating a string of suicides among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves.

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Three Bags Full - Leonie Swann; Anthea Bell (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Swann
ISBN: 0385521111
Publication Date: 2007-06-05
A flock of sheep living on a hillside near the Irish village of Glennkill, regularly exposed to literature by their shepherd George, feel well-equipped to investigate murder after they find George dead--pinned to the ground with a spade.

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Nothing - Janne Teller; Martin Aitken (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Teller
ISBN: 1416985794
Publication Date: 2010-02-09
When thirteen-year-old Pierre Anthon gives up on life, leaves school and climbs into a plum tree and stays there, his seventh grade classmates set out on a desperate quest to save him by proving that there is a meaning to life.

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HomeSpun - Nilita Vachani
Call Number: Fic Vachani
ISBN: 1590512855
Publication Date: 2008-05-13
Sweta reflects on her family's history and modern India in general, discussing the unhappy marriage between her grandfather, an Indian independence fighter who is committed to his principles, and her grandmother, who only cares about fashion, and her father's childhood as a film star.

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Dreams in a Time of War - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Call Number: 92 Ngugi wa
ISBN: 0307378837
Publication Date: 2010-03-09
Twentieth-century Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʾo describes his life, detailing his childhood in rural Kenya as the fifth child of his father's third wife, and discussing social and political conditions in Africa under British colonial rule.


Suggested Titles (some of these may not be available at MMU)

Some of these books may be available through interlibrary loan.  Please see Jen Poutre to order one.

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Blindness - José Saramago; Giovanni Pontiero (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Saramago
ISBN: 9780151002511
Publication Date: 1998-09-01
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing.

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Devil on the Cross - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Call Number: Fic Ngugi
ISBN: 0435908448
Publication Date: 1987-10-23
Centers around Wariinga's tragedy and uses it to tell a story of contemporary Kenya faced with the "satan of capitalism."

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Journey from the Land of No - Roya Hakakian
Call Number: 955.05 Hakakian
ISBN: 0609810308
Publication Date: 2005-06-28
The author describes her childhood in Iran, forever changed by the revolution.

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In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar
Call Number: Fic Matar
ISBN: 9780385340434
Publication Date: 2008
Libya, 1979. Nine-year-old Suleiman’s days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood: outings to the ruins surrounding Tripoli, games with friends played under the burning sun, exotic gifts from his father’s constant business trips abroad. But his nights have come to revolve around his mother’s increasingly disturbing bedside stories full of old family bitterness. And then one day Suleiman sees his father across the square of a busy marketplace, his face wrapped in a pair of dark sunglasses. Wasn’t he supposed to be away on business yet again? Why is he going into that strange building with the green shutters? Why did he lie?

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They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky - Benjamin Ajak; Benson Deng; Alephonsion Deng; Judy Bernstein
Call Number: 962.4 Deng
ISBN: 1586483889
Publication Date: 2006-06-13
Between 1987 and 1989, across Sudan, tens of thousands of young boys fled from the massacres of Sudan's civil war. They became known as the Lost Boys. Here is the story of three of them.

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Gruesome Playground Injuries; Animals Out of Paper; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo - Rajiv Joseph
Call Number: 822 Josheph
ISBN: 1593762941
Gruesome Playground Injuries charts the intersection of two lives using scars, wounds, and calamity as the mile markers to explore why people hurt themselves to gain another’s love and the cumulative effect of such damage; Animals Out of Paper, a subtle, elegant, yet bracing examination of the artistic impulse and those in its thrall, which follows a world-famous origamist as she becomes the unwitting mentor to a troubled young prodigy, even as she must deal with her own loss of inspiration; and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a darkly comedic drama that looks on as the lives of two American soldiers, an Iraqi translator, and a tiger intersect on the streets of Baghdad.

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Literature from the Axis of Evil - Samantha Schnee (Editor)
Call Number: Fic Literature
ISBN: 9781595582058
Publication Date: 2007
In thirty-five works of fiction and poetry, writers from countries Americans have not been allowed to hear from—until the Treasury Department revised its regulations recently—offer an invaluable window on daily life in "enemy nations" and humanize the individuals living there. The book includes works from Syria, Lybia, the Sudan, Cuba, as well as from Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.

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Crossbones - Nuruddin Farah
Call Number: Fic Farah
ISBN: 1594488169
Publication Date: 2011-09-01
Jeebleh, a Somali-born Minnesota literature professor, travels to visit old friends in Mogadiscio, accompanied by his son-in-law Malik, a journalist who wants to investigate pirating in Somalia's coastal waters, and they are joined by Malik's brother Ahl, who is looking for his naive son, who has been recruited for jihad by an iman in Minnesota.

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The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cellphone - Shashi Tharoor
Call Number: 954.05 Tharoor
ISBN: 1611452910
Publication Date: 2011-09-01
Explores how India has begun to emerge as a new world power in recent years, and examines the country's diverse languages, customs, and cultures, as well as the changes that have defined the nation.

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The Famished Road - Ben Okri
Call Number: Fic Okri
ISBN: 0385425139
Publication Date: 1993-05-01
Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria exists between life and death. The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face. Nearly called back to the land of the dead, he is resurrected. But in their efforts to save their child, Azaro's loving parents are made destitute.

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Girls of Riyadh - Rajaa Alsanea
Call Number: Fic Sani
ISBN: 014311347X
When Rajaa Alsanea boldly chose to open up the hidden world of Saudi women—their private lives and their conflicts with the traditions of their culture—she caused a sensation across the Arab world. Now in English, Alsanea's tale of the personal struggles of four young upper-class women offers Westerners an unprecedented glimpse into a society often veiled from view. Living in restrictive Riyadh but traveling all over the globe, these modern Saudi women literally and figuratively shed traditional garb as they search for love, fulfillment, and their place somewhere in between Western society and their Islamic home.

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Haiti Noir - Edwidge Danticat (Editor)
Call Number: Fic Haiti
ISBN: 9781936070657
Publication Date: 2010-12-07
Eighteen authors who either live in Haiti or have connections to the country contribute stories of greed, love, lust, murder, and other traditional noir themes.

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Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Call Number: Fic Adichie
ISBN: 9781400095209
Publication Date: 2007-09-04
A novel set during Nigeria's struggle for independence in the 1960s involving five characters including thirteen-year-old Ugwu, a university professor, the professor's mistress, and a young Englishman named Richard.

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Into the Widening World - John Loughery
Call Number: Fic Into
ISBN: 0892552042
26 stories that explore universal rites of passage as well as culture-specific complexities of youth: Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel García Marquez, Bharati Mukherjee, BenOkri, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Nauguib Mahfouz, Margaret Drabble, Zoe Wicomb, B. Wongar, and more.

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Nervous Conditions - Tsitsi Dangarembga
Call Number: Fic Dangarembga
ISBN: 0954702336
Tambu, an adolescent girl living in colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s, tries to overcome her station in the patriarchal society of Zimbabwe and her allotted role as a woman by attending the missionary school run by her wealthy, British-educated uncle.

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A Night in the Cemetery - Anton Chekhov; Peter Sekirin (Translator)
Call Number: Coming soon to MMU Library
ISBN: 1605980595
A collection of forty-two stories by Russian writer Anton Chekhov, including "Curved Mirror," "Evildoer," and "A Crime: A Double Murder Case."

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Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe; E. Dale Saunders (Translator)
Call Number: Fic Abe
ISBN: 9780679733782
Publication Date: 1991-04-16
Niki Jumpei, an amateur entomologist, travels to a seaside, Japanese village to hunt insect specimens and is pressed into service with a mysterious young woman who spends every night shoveling away the encroaching sand that threatens to overtake the village.

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Words Without Borders - Alane Salierno Mason (Editor); Dedi Felman (Editor); Samantha Schnee (Editor)
Call Number: 808.83 Words
ISBN: 9781400079759
Publication Date: 2007-03-13
Featuring the work of more than 28 writers from upwards of 20 countries, Words Without Borders: The World through the Eyes of Writers transports us to the frontiers of the new literature for the twenty-first century. In these pages, some of the most accomplished writers in world literature–among them Edwidge Danticat, Ha Jin, Cynthia Ozick, Javier Marias, and Nobel laureates Wole Soyinka, Günter Grass, Czeslaw Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska, and Naguib Mahfouz–have stepped forward to introduce us to dazzling literary talents virtually unknown to readers of English. Most of their work–short stories, poems, essays, and excerpts from novels–appears here in English for the first time

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The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
Call Number: Fic Roy
ISBN: 9780812979657
Publication Date: 2008-12-16
On a December day in 1969 twins Rahel and Estha, born to a wealthy family living in the province of Kerala, India, find their lives changed after the death of their English cousin who was visiting for the holidays.

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Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Call Number: Fic Rushdie
ISBN: 0812976533
The story of Saleem Sinal, born precisely at midnight August 15, 1947, the moment India became independent, and whose life parallels the "tryst with destiny" of this new nation.

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Tablet and Pen - Reza Aslan (Editor)
Call Number: 808.8 Tablet
ISBN: 9780393065855
Publication Date: 2010-11-08
A collection of nearly two hundred short stories, novels, memoirs, essays, and poems from the Middle East, translated into English from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Turkish; arranged chronologically throughout the twentieth century.

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Lost Boy, Lost Girl - John Bul Dau; Martha Arual Akech
Call Number: 962.4 Dau
ISBN: 9781426307089
John Bul Dau and his wife, Martha, describe the hardships they experienced, including violence, famine, and war, while growing up in the Sudan and explain how they escaped the region to start a new life.

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Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution - Matthew Cassel (Editor); Layla Al-Zubaidi (Editor)
Call Number: 956 Diaries
ISBN: 014312515X
A collection of personal narratives that present firsthand accounts of the Arab Spring, by student activists, seasoned journalists and others affected by oppression and repression in their countries of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.


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