Books, Music & Film

Spring 2017

Information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.

How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide

John Abraham ’69
(Upper Access, Inc.)

Cover of How to Get the Death You WantBased on John Abraham’s 45 years as an Episcopal minister and thanatologist, How to Get the Death You Want is a comprehensive, advice-filled guide for both those approaching death themselves and those who care for them. With detailed descriptions of the nature of death, the legal documents needed to clarify one’s wishes, working with doctors, and much more, this book examines death from every angle.


What I Lost

Alexandra (Cann) Ballard ’96
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Cover of What I LostThis debut novel follows 16-year-old Elizabeth, who has lost: 40 pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her — girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again. She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick? Readers accompany Elizabeth as she takes this journey to recovery, hoping to get back all that she’s lost.


Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics

David Haven Blake ’85
(Oxford University Press)

Cover of Liking IkeAlthough many people credit John F. Kennedy as the first president to harness the power of television, David Blake mines the Eisenhower Presidential Library and some of the country’s top advertising agencies to argue that Eisenhower was the first presidential candidate to fully embrace Hollywood and the media. He was spotted with celebrities so often that critics from both the left and the right accused him of being merely a glamour candidate. Meanwhile, Madison Avenue executives designed TV programs and slogans that brought them into the political fold. Liking Ike explores how the rise of television and mass advertising in the 1950s changed the way Americans saw politics, paving the way for media-managed, celebrity-studded campaigns from then on. For more on Blake, read a profile of him in this issue.


Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices

Edited by Jeanine M. Canty ’92

Cover of Ecological and Social HealingThis collection of essays by 14 women — prominent academics, writers, and leaders from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds — considers the myriad ways that the relationship between the ecological and social has informed their work and their experiences and led to identifying new forms of teaching, healing, and positive change. Rooted in academic theory as well as personal and professional experience, the collection highlights emerging models and insights. Jeanine Canty is a professor and chair of the environmental studies department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo.


Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City

Derek S. Hyra ’96
(The University of Chicago Press)

Cover of Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino CityDerek Hyra chronicles the changes of a single neighborhood in Washington, D.C., as it goes through rapid gentrification. With in-depth descriptions and analysis, Hyra tells of how the neighborhood’s open-air markets and soul food establishments have been replaced with expensive foie gras burgers and third-wave coffee shops. Along with this has come an influx of young, white, wealthy professionals who are mixing with and then pushing out predominantly black, longtime residents as the neighborhood becomes more upscale — and more expensive — each year.


Backstrap: A Novel

Johnnie Dun, pen name for Chris Jones ’87
(Pearly Baker Press)

Cover of BackstrapCan you redeem your life in a corrupt world? That’s the question for Callie Byrne, a street-savvy Iraq vet recently out of drug rehab for heroin addiction, trying to reclaim her life and regain custody of her son. When a friend gets entangled with her ex-dealer, Callie must navigate the underground world of drug and sex trafficking between the jungles of Guatemala and a shady Manhattan leather import business. She then meets Ixchel, a young Mayan woman who wants to be smuggled to the United States, and she’s faced with yet another dilemma. Backstrap is a morally complex tale of the harrowing decisions that define the lives of two young women connected across borders and struggling with their own guilty pasts, dreams of a new life, and the acts of sacrifice required of them.


The Park Bench

Feature film written and directed by Ann LeSchander Raziel ’87
(Cake and Ice Cream Productions)

Cover of The Park BenchA mix of live action and vivid animation, The Park Bench shows how deeply books shape our lives by telling the story of two people who get to know each other through what they read. The story begins when Emily, a librarian-to-be, is assigned to tutor an undergrad named Mateo in American literature, but as with any classic story, things get more complicated when they share more than just books. With Walter Perez (The Avengers, Friday Night Lights) and Nicole Hayden (Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother) as the leads, this award-winning film is now available online.


Seeing the Myth in Human Rights

Jenna Reinbold
(University of Pennsylvania Press)

Cover of Seeing the Myth in Human RightsColgate religion professor Jenna Reinbold looks at the role of mythmaking in the creation and dissemination of the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite being a nonbinding document with no legal authority or means of enforcement, the declaration is still considered one of the most powerful documents in history, and violating it can set off a major chain reaction. Drawing on religious scholarship, Reinbold goes beyond the conventional idea of myth and instead portrays it as a way that humans generate meaning, solidarity, and order. She then explores how this document’s rhetorical power and influence have made it the foundational myth of human rights and develops a new understanding of this unique document.


Right Brain Red: 7 Ideas for Creative Success

Coauthored by Tim Walsh ’87 and Reyn Guyer
(River Grove Books)

Cover of Right Brain RedIn Right Brain Red, Tim Walsh covers creativity with Reyn Guyer, a toy inventor who also won a Grammy and two CMA Song of the Year awards, plus put 46 singles on the country and pop music charts. Guyer also formed a learning company credited with giving the gift of literacy to more than a half-million students all over the world. Guyer shares ideas that have worked for him across multiple fields to create and recognize opportunity, inspiring readers who want to make their own ideas a reality.


Also of note:

In The Haywire Heart: How too much exercise can kill you and what you can do to protect your heart (Velopress) by Chris Case ’99, Dr. John Mandrola and cyclist Lennard Zinn offer athletes tips on how to enjoy sports for the rest of their lives.

It’s been said that we each lose more than $2,000 of socks in a lifetime. Two children are about to find out firsthand who is responsible for their missing socks in Where Do They Go? Part 1 (Tellwell Talent) by B.D Donaldson ’03.

With 19 collections of poetry and 8 Pushcart Prize nominations under his belt, George Held ’57 goes to the moon in the poetry collection Phased II (Poets Wear Prada).

Neoliberalism and Environmental Education (Routledge), co-edited by Joseph Henderson ’03, invites readers to reexamine how economic policy and politics shape the cultural enactment of environmental education.


In the media

“Humility is critical … because it will come in handy in life when you, as we all do, get kicked in the teeth.”
— Gregory J. Fleming ’85, former president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Investment Management, in the blog The Life Advice Guide: Insights for Young Adults from Stars of Business and Beyond

“You have a lot of people telling the pollsters nowadays, ‘Politicians don’t care about people like me’… That’s pretty serious business in a representative democracy.”
Michael Johnston, professor of political science emeritus, on corruption, in Government Technology

“Growing up, my mother always told me that she wanted me to get my education, and I felt it was important because it was something she’d worked so hard to give me.”
— Rose Gilroy ’16, on following in the footsteps of her mother, actress and former model Rene Russo, in Vogue

“I would have a nonviolent foreign policy based on feeding, housing, clothing, educating, and employing — that’s the key — the Third World. That would reduce war and what is called terrorism dramatically.”
— Ed O’Donnell ’70, who has declared he will be running for president in 2020 for the 10th time, on

“Embrace all you can, try to understand what you cannot fully embrace, and continue to dialogue and listen if you feel that your core values are being challenged.”
Mahadevi Ramakrishnan, senior lecturer in French, on the importance of forming interfaith coalitions, in the Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch

“Anything to chase away the evil spirits.”
Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies, on the origins of popular New Year’s traditions such as fireworks and noisemakers, in LiveScience

“A lot of schools focus on the study of entrepreneurship. And that’s all well and good, but there is really no replacement for rolling up your sleeves, getting out the door, and making stuff happen.”
— Wills Hapworth ’07, executive director of Colgate’s Thought Into Action entrepreneurship program, in EdSurge News