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Opium and Identity: 19th Century Woman Battles Crime

in Thrillers by

Port Townsend, Washington, 1887. An ex-Pinkerton agent named Alma Rosales is hunting for opium stolen from her employer, criminal boss Delphine Beaumond, one of the most dangerous women in the Northwest. Also on the hunt is a dockworker named Jack Camp, a rough brawler with his own plans for the opium. Neither knows for sure whom to trust, for each knows all too well that in Port Townsend, nobody is who he or she seems to be. One peculiarity, for instance, is that Alma Rosales and Jack Camp are the same person. The Best Bad Things  (MCD) is a terrific historical crime novel, filled with action, atmosphere, twists, and glorious writing, but it is also a direct challenge to the…

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TED Talk: Safwat Saleem Urges You to Find Your Voice — Plus, a Helpful Book List

in Nonfiction by

Finding a voice to fit your identity is never easy. However, artist, designer and animator Safwat Saleem, had a particularly difficult time, struggling with anxiety about his childhood stutter. In this thought-provoking, heartfelt and adorably animated talk from TED 2016, Saleem describes how he overcame his struggle to incorporate his voice into his artwork, not only through childhood, but in the face of rude YouTube commenters who ridiculed his Pakistani accent as an adult. Instead of letting ill-mannered commenters keep him from using his own voice in his work, Saleem rather unpacks the reasons behind those comments: differing definitions of “normality” that lead to preconceived notions. Saleem resolves to use his art to challenge those preconceived notions, which is about…

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