Books, Music & Film

Autumn 2017

Information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.

Cover of the book Funeral Platter

Funeral Platter

Greg Ames, associate professor of English
(Arcade Publishing)

In this collection of darkly humorous short stories, a young girl uses a burnt log for her ventriloquist act; Franz Kafka and an unnamed narrator cruise a dive bar for women; a grieving couple stage and execute their own funeral; and a son brings hot chowder to his caged parents. Packed with moments of violence and tenderness, Funeral Platter explores the humor and unease of modern life. Professor Greg Ames is also the author of the award-winning novel Buffalo Lockjaw.

Cover of the book In the Shadow of the Moon

In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses

Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology and Native American studies emeritus
(Yale University Press)

This year’s solar eclipse elicited gasps across North America — and we are already eagerly anticipating the next event in 2024. In his new book, Anthony Aveni discusses the scientific and cultural significance of this cosmic display. He delves into the history and culture surrounding solar eclipses, from prehistoric Stonehenge to Babylonian creation myths to the ways that people continue to look up at the sky with wonder today. Aveni’s account of the astronomical phenomenon is driven, too, by his own experiences: he has witnessed eight solar eclipses in his life.

Cover of the book The Most Bold and Daring Act of the Age

The Most Bold and Daring Act of the Age: A Henry Doyle Novel

E. Thomas Behr ’62

At age 55, Henry Doyle has it all: wealth, happiness, a loving wife, a young son, and most important, his life — after a violent yet successful 35-year career as a spy. When Napoleon escapes from Elba in 1815 to return as emperor, Henry comes out of retirement, risking it all to stop him, but fails, winding up in an Algerian dungeon. His half-brother, Peter Kirkpatrick, a privateer captain, sets sail on a daring, but utterly foolhardy rescue attempt. Henry’s wife, Dihya, knowing nothing of Peter’s plan, determines to free her husband by becoming an odalisque in his captor’s harem. In The Most Bold and Daring Act of the Age, Behr weaves together Peter’s and Dihya’s rescue attempts with Henry’s spiritual torment.

Cover of the book Haunted City

Haunted City: Three Centuries of Racial Impersonation in Philadelphia

Christian DuComb, assistant theater professor
(University of Michigan Press)

From 18th-century minstrel shows to the ban of blackface at the annual Mummers Parade in the ’60s, Philadelphia has long been a stage for racial and cultural impersonation. Professor Christian DuComb draws on theater history, critical race theory, art history, and his own experiences performing in the Mummers Parade to create an interdisciplinary account of Philadelphia’s haunted past and fraught present.

Cover of the book Make it Happen

Make It Happen

Bob Duffy ’62
(Robert J. Duffy)

Throughout his life, some doubted Bob Duffy’s ability to make his dreams happen. Many thought he wouldn’t be able to succeed in professional basketball or get a college education. Duffy, however, proved everyone wrong. In this book, Duffy reveals his manifesto for achievement and how he was able to overcome the obstacles that life put in his way. With determination and resilience, Duffy was able to realize his childhood dreams.

Cover of the book Jefferson's America

Jefferson’s America: The President, the Purchase, and the Explorers WhoTransformed a Nation

Julie M. Fenster ’79

At the dawn of the 19th century, Britain, France, Spain, and the United States all jockeyed for control of the vast expanses west of the Mississippi River. President Thomas Jefferson was responsible for orchestrating the American push into the continent. He most famously recruited Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the largely unknown region, but there were other teams that did similar work: William Dunbar, George Hunter, Thomas Freeman, Peter Custis, and Zebulon Pike all were dispatched to map the frontier and send back their findings. Tensions within these teams, though, threatened to undermine Jefferson’s goals for the country and its footholds in the West. Through in-depth research and inspiring storytelling, Fenster rediscovers the robust, harrowing expeditions that promised the president’s vision for a continental America.

Cover of the book The Athlete CEO

The Athlete CEO

Adonal Foyle ’99
(Realization Press)

In The Athlete CEO, Adonal Foyle presents seven matrices of an athlete’s life: personal, professional sports, family, financial, public, charity, and post-career. By managing the many aspects of their lives, athletes act as their own small businesses and already do the work of an “athlete CEO.” Foyle explains that, like owners of small businesses, athlete CEOs must be willing to develop themselves and adapt to changing circumstances. Although they’re in a constant state of evolution, Foyle says, athletes should appreciate what they already do on a day-to-day basis.

Cover of the book Social Entrepreneurship in China

Social Entrepreneurship and Citizenship in China

Carolyn Hsu, associate sociology professor

Throughout the past 30 years, entrepreneurship has grown significantly in the People’s Republic of China. There are hundreds of thousands of legally registered nongovernmental organizations, and millions more unregistered, working in the areas of the environment, education, women’s issues, disability services, community development, LGBTQ rights, and health care. Professor Carolyn Hsu draws on the personal stories of social entrepreneurs in China, as well as their supporters and beneficiaries, to examine what the rapid growth of social entrepreneurship reveals about China’s complex and dynamic society.

Cover of the book Smell Detectives

Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America

Melanie A. Kiechle ’03
(University of Washington Press)

In a time when bad smells were thought to cause disease, malodorous cities were a hotbed for public-health concerns. Historian Melanie A. Kiechle explores how citizens, scientists, and government officials followed their noses to make sense of urban environmental change in 19th-century America. The conflict between advancing medical science and olfactory “common sense,” which Kiechle maps in Smell Detectives, shaped how American city dwellers understand their health and environment today. (For more on Kiechle, see Making scents of the past.)

Cover of the book Remember to Forget Me

Remember to Forget Me

Kerry Neville ’94
(Alleyway Books)

In her new collection of short stories, Kerry Neville explores the universal struggle with trying to lead a life of purpose and dignity. Readers enter the lives and minds of a diverse cast of characters who are facing love, loss, adversity, and human endurance. In “Zorya,” a former Ukrainian sex worker embarks on a new path with the dream of supporting her son and aging mother. “Lionman” is about a circus freak whose chance to satisfy his hunger for human connection leads to a nearly inconceivable revelation. And in the title story, a devoted husband is heartbroken as he consents to have his beloved wife institutionalized for dementia. Remember to Forget Me follows up on Neville’s award-winning debut, Necessary Lies.

Cover of the book Next Gen PhD

Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science

Melanie V. Sinche ’92
(Harvard University Press)

For students earning PhDs in the sciences, a tenure-track professorship was once Plan A, but as the academic job market stagnates, a nonfaculty career isn’t just Plan B anymore. Melanie V. Sinche is a certified career counselor with extensive experience working with graduate students and postdocs, and her comprehensive book offers PhD-holding scientists guidance as they navigate their careers.