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** More resources and information about events are forthcoming as planning begins for the 2021-2022 First Pages Program.
Transcendent Kingdom is a powerful story about identity, family, the human mind, and the shared effort by religion and science to explain experience of human life. Gifty’s scientific endeavors, familial life, and examination of faith reveals numerous issues and events that touch upon our own lives and the communities that surround us.
To empower Northeastern students to learn more about these issues and prepare to take action, the University Honors Program invites all Northeastern students to take part in a full semester of Next Pages programming inspired by Transcendent Kingdom. Event descriptions and links to register will be available in Summer 2021.
- Readers Guide by Penguin Random House
- The questions, discussion topics, and other material that follow are intended to enhance your group’s conversation of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, a powerful coming-of-age story of a young woman on a quest for approval and forgiveness in the wake of the devastating loss of her brother to drug overdose—and for a sense of belonging in a world of unknowns.
Related Guides on issues of Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Beautiful Boy by What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family?What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff's journey through his son Nics addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets.David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs.His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic. Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.
Publication Date: 2008-02-26
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you. The Butler family has had their share of trials-as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest-but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with, and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from being one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister's teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as gripping as it is important.
Publication Date: 2020-01-14
Homegoing by Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize A New York Times 2016 Notable Book One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016 NPR's Debut Novel of the Year One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016 One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016 "Homegoing is an inspiration." --Ta-Nehisi Coates
The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day. Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Publication Date: 2016-06-07
Red at the Bone by A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A spectacular novel that only this legend can pull off." -Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of ; HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, in The Atlantic "An exquisite tale of family legacy....The power and poetry of Woodson's writing conjures up Toni Morrison." - People "In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss....With Red at the Bone,& Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen -- even further into the ranks of great literature." - NPR "This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters." -Tayari Jones, bestselling author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, in O Magazine An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming. Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child. As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place. Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Publication Date: 2019-09-17
Reviews & Interviews
- A Scientist Feels the Pull of Faith In 'Transcendent Kingdom' interview by Simon Scott on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, August 29,2020
- Author Yaa Gyasi says Writing Can Be 'An Act of Love and Justice' interview by Terry Gross on NPR Fresh Air, September 9, 2020
- Yaa Gyasi on the Mysteries of Faith and Reason interview by Oliver Munday, The Atlantic, August 14, 2020
- Yaa Gyasi, "Transcendent Kingdom" with Brit Bennett Politics and Prose
- Yaa Gyasi Worked with a Neuroscientist for Her New Book, Transcendent Kingdom with Seth Meyers, Late Night with Seth Meyers
Oct 9, 2020
Campus Resources & Interest Groups
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