Books, Music & Film

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Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid: One Couple’s Mission to Save the World

Book cover: Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid: One Couple’s Mission to Save the World
Thomas Brackett (Self-published)
In 1992, nearing retirement and grateful for the life they had enjoyed in America, Liz and Tom Brackett set out to see if they could give back. Traveling to Thailand, they found a noble people in the Karen, who, despite their terrible suffering as refugees from Burma (Myanmar) in the world’s longest continuous civil war, accepted Liz and Tom into their lives with respect and gracious hospitality. In a deeply emotional and spiritual journey surpassing anything they could have imagined, Liz and Tom heard tales of tragedy and courage, and experienced moments of magic. Their lives changed forever. The Bracketts built a foundation to help refugees receive an education and returned every year for the next 22 years to work with the people they had come to know and love. This is the story of that journey, their work, and the lessons they learned.

At commencement this year, Liz and Tom, emeritus Colgate computer science professors, received honorary degrees for their humanitarian work.

Death at Beggar’s Knob and Other Adventures

Book cover: Death at Beggars Knob
Owen Magruder (Cozy Cat Press)

Individuals vanishing from within fairy circles near Loch Ness. The origins of the worldwide phenomenon known as “the hum,” a strange low-frequency sound few people can hear. An artist who seemingly sucks the life out of his subjects as he transfers their images to canvas. Murders in Edinburgh and in a small American college town. In Death at Beggar’s Knob, John Braemhor, a Scottish retired investigator, and his wife, Mary, tackle six different but related mystical adventures woven with legends of folklore and true historical events.

Hamilton, N.Y., resident and retired Colgate professor William Edmonston publishes his novels under the pen name Owen Magruder.

House of Echoes

Book cover: House of Echoes
Brendan Duffy ’01 (Ballantine Books)

In this thriller, Brendan Duffy ’01 tells the tale of a family’s escape to their dream house in a bucolic small town, only to find themselves trapped by its dark legends. The protagonist, Ben Tierney, inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York. The Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore the sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and his 8-year-old son, Charlie, ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed, and that the village’s haunted saga is far from over.

Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Athletes

Book Cover: Winning the Money Game
Adonal Foyle ’98 (Amistad)

Over his 16-year career, former NBA center Adonal Foyle ’98 has watched other professional athletes burn through their salaries as well as money from endorsements and merchandising, creating serious financial and legal hardships. Although top pros make millions, many have little in their bank accounts soon after hanging up their jerseys. Winning the Money Game offers advice and insight to help these players — and a general readership — manage their money better. Drawing on experiences from his career, as well as interviews with current and retired athletes and financial professionals, Foyle compiles a comprehensive list of money pitfalls as well as practical approaches to avoid them.


Book cover: Warrior
Olivier Lafont ’01 (Penguin India)

When Mumbai is driven to its knees by a merciless blizzard, Saam the watch mender is cornered into a difficult position. As Shiva’s only earthly demigod child, it falls upon him to stop his indomitable father. Bred for war, the son of destruction, Saam rides with six extraordinary companions into the horror of a crumbling world to face Shiva. He is forced to join hands with Ara, the half-brother he can never fully trust, and take with him his own mortal beloved, Maya, in this desperate attempt to stop the End of Days. But his path is littered with death, danger, and betrayal. Warrior weaves together Indian mythology, epic adventure, and heroism.

August Wilson’s Twentieth-Century Cycle Plays: A Reader’s Companion

Book cover: August Wilson’s Twentieth-Century Cycle Plays: A Reader’s Companion
Sanford Sternlicht MA’55 (Texas Tech University Press)

This literary guide explores the work of one of America’s great 20th-century playwrights. Beginning with an account of Wilson’s life, from his impoverished childhood in the Hill District of Pittsburgh to achieving national acclaim, the book introduces his “Century Cycle” plays. The series of 10 plays (one for each decade of the 20th century) depicts African-American life during that time in Pittsburgh, illustrating the hardships, suffering, small victories, and the ultimate triumph of the community. Sternlicht is a professor emeritus of English at Syracuse University.



Where the River Burned

Book cover: Where the River Burned
David Stradling ’88 and Richard Stradling (Cornell University Press)

In Where the River Burned, David and Richard Stradling describe Cleveland’s nascent transition from polluted industrial city to a viable service city. When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in the summer of 1969, Cleveland was polluted and impoverished, struggling to set a new course. Carl Stokes, the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city, had come into office a year earlier with energy and ideas. Stokes adopted ecological thinking that emphasized the connectedness of social and environmental problems and the need for regional solutions. Although he was acutely aware of the persistent racial and political barriers that held back his city, Stokes was ahead of his time in his vision for Cleveland and a more livable urban America.



The Last Moriarty: A Sherlock Holmes Thriller

Book cover: The Last Moriarty
Charles Veley ’65 (Thomas & Mercer)

A young American actress goes to 221B Baker Street on a cold November morning, desperate for Sherlock Holmes to protect her from the threats of a mysterious, menacing man who has recently appeared in her life. Holmes agrees to help, even though he has just promised the prime minister that he will solve the murder of John D. Rockefeller’s security agent before the incident can derail an upcoming British-American summit. To find the agent’s killer — and help the young actress — Holmes will need all his talents for deduction and deception. For Holmes and Watson, this is the case that will change everything.



Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman’s Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong

Book Cover: Year of Fire Dragons
Shannon Young ’09 (Blacksmith Books)

When 22-year-old Shannon Young ’09 followed her Eurasian boyfriend to his hometown of Hong Kong, she thought she was bringing their long distance romance face to face. But a month later, his company sent him to London. Shannon embarked on a wide-eyed newcomer’s journey through Hong Kong — alone. The city enchanted her, forcing her to question her plans and face a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.




Also of note:

Three Yards and a Plate of Mullet (CreateSpace) by Adam Sachs ’85 is a flashback to 1980s Florida. The book unites the worlds of high-stakes high school football with newsroom drama and eccentric characters.

Tyrannosaurus Sex (Cedar Forge Press) by Kevin Glynn ’76 is a comic coming-of-age novel that takes readers back to the heady days of the sexual revolution.

A Penny for Piggy: The Tale of Save, Spend, and Share (Doodlebugz Publishing House) by Trish Lisa Wilson ’00 assists adults in teaching young children how to handle money and understand fiscal and social responsibilities.


Not long after its initial release as an e-book, Philip Beard II ’85 has republished his baseball novel Swing in paperback. Swing received high praise from other authors and news sources, including a great review in the Post-Gazette. The Post applauded Beard’s writing style, character development, and storytelling, in addition to his “careful blending of baseball nostalgia and muscular literature.”