Audie Cornish

The phrase "identity politics" has come to be used as a political insult. It's now shorthand for pandering to voters according to demographics.

But political scientist Francis Fukuyama says that everyone is playing at identity politics now — that nationalism, radical Islam and other movements are fueled by people wrestling with identity in an economic world order that's letting them down.

The election of Donald Trump has ridden on the back of such identity issues, he says.

When you open the new novel Housegirl, you'll find a glossary on the first pages — dozens of words and phrases in Twi, a Ghanaian dialect. Author Michael Donkor was born in London to Ghanaian parents and the glossary hints at the push and pull between two worlds.

Take, for example, the term for second-hand clothes: "Oburoni wawu literally means 'the white man is dead,' " Donkor explains. "The idea is that when the white man dies, his family sends over his second-hand clothes to Africa, to be sold in the market."

There was a time when journalist April Ryan was just another face in the crowd of the White House press briefing room.

She started covering the White House for American Urban Radio Networks more than 20 years ago. In an interview with NPR, she looks back at how nervous she was the first time she raised her hand to ask a question.

As a child, author Minh Lê had a deep and loving relationship with his grandparents, but he also remembers a lot of "awkward silence."

"There were those moments where we just didn't know what to say to each other," he says.

Lê was born in the U.S. and grew up in Connecticut. His grandparents were from Vietnam. His new picture book — a collaboration with Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat — explores how a young boy and his Thai grandfather learn to bridge barriers of language, culture and age.

A chat room for bird lovers. A summit on genocide. A superstore where someone's abandoned a baby. These are the settings for just a few of the short stories in A.M.Homes' new collection, Days of Awe — her first in more than 15 years. "I think there's a compression to short stories, and a kind of sense that there's something already happening by the time you get there," she says. "I describe it as, the train has already left the station, and the reader comes in, say, in Chicago.

André Leon Talley is best known for his time as a fashion editor for Vogue — and for what he wears on his large 6'6" frame.

"I'm wearing a caftan and a shirt from Marrakech," he says, "and I'm wearing a vintage scarf made out of two vintage saris ... The colors are red, burgundy, gray, and light pink. And that is my signature look for the day."

Talley — and his signature look — is the subject of a new documentary, The Gospel According to André.

Dylan Marron has a lot of haters. The actor and activist makes online videos about social justice — and the comments that appear on those videos can be harsh, to say the least.

Plenty of people would just ignore all that negativity, but not Marron. He decided to reach out to his harshest critics to ask about what set them off, and why. The first season of his podcast, Conversations with People Who Hate Me, featured Skype calls between Marron and his detractors.

These days, it's not uncommon to open up the paper and read about a dying town that lost its factory. Or about families struggling economically. Or about a political battle tearing a community apart.

In his latest book, Dave Eggers folds those elements into a supernatural story for kids. The Lifters is about a young boy who discovers that a dangerous force is literally feeding on the despair in his community — and even threatening his family.

Back in 2015, Rachel Dolezal became a walking Rorschach test for America's racial dysfunction. She was the president of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP chapter, and she was outed as white after spending years claiming she was black.

The public backlash, and fascination, was intense.

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