New books by alumni and faculty.Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer ’81 (Dutton Books for Young Readers). In Wolitzer’s first YA novel, Jamaica Gallahue comes unraveled following the death of her boyfriend. After her parents pack her off to a Vermont school for “emotionally fragile” teens, Jam finds herself in Mrs. Quenell’s “Special Topics in English” class, where she meets four equally troubled classmates who for one semester read only the work of Sylvia Plath. The twist is that they must also write in special red leather journals that have the power to briefly transport them back to a time before tragedy interrupted their lives.
The Risk of Reading: How Literature Helps Us to Understand Ourselves and the World by Robert P. Waxler ’66 (Bloomsbury). Waxler argues that in these speedy, image-saturated digital times we risk losing the habit of reading deeply. With chapters that act as companions to an array of novels, including Frankenstein, The Catcher in the Rye, and Fight Club, Waxler, a UMass Dartmouth English professor, argues that deep reading forces us to slow down and that losing ourselves in literature allows us to return to regular life with fresh eyes.
The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy ’01 (Grand Central). This grisly, inventive thriller is a post-apocalyptic reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s 1804 expedition to the Pacific. Set 150 years into the future, it takes us to a world ravaged by a deadly flu-like virus and then nuclear war. The few survivors are huddled in the Sanctuary, a walled city built on the remains of St. Louis. A restless band, led by Mina Clark and Lewis Meriwether, escapes and treks through the desert-like Dead Lands, which teem with huge spiders and giant-clawed cats, to a land beyond the Cascades, where, if rumors are correct, civilization still exists.
The Family: Badin High Girls Soccer by Dirk Q. Allen ’77 (Dog Ear Publishing).
Changing Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah by Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen ’96 (Congregation Beit Simchat Torah).
The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition by Roberta Rosenthal Kwall ’77 (Oxford).
Curing Medicare: One Doctor’s View of How Our Health Care System Is Failing the Elderly and How to Fix It by Andy Lazris ’86 (CreateSpace).
Constitutionalism and the Politics of Accommodation in Multinational Democracies edited by Jaime Lluch ’84 (Palgrave Macmillan).
Visions of Sovereignty: Nationalism and Accommodation in Multinational Democracies by Jaime Lluch ’84 (Pennsylvania).
Coercing Compliance: State-Initiated Brute Force in Today’s World by Robert Mandel ’72 (Stanford).
The Power at the End of the Economy by Brian Massumi ’78 (Duke).
Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family by Susan Katz Miller ’83 (Beacon).
I Love You Dad by David McCain ’83, with contributions from Russell and Thomas McCain (CreateSpace).
Four Faces of Truth by Harriette Rinaldi ’68 MAT (Fireship Press).
Freedom as Marronage by Neil Roberts ’98 (Chicago).
Pleasure and Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins by Robert W. Shippee ’70 (Whitman Publishing).
The Final Pagan Generation by Edward J. Watts ’97 (California).
Planet Beethoven: Classical Music at the Turn of the Millenium by Mina Yang ’89 (Wesleyan).
After God??: A New Approach for Secular Humanism by Alan V. Gordon (Xlibris).
Colonel House: A Biography of Woodrow Wilson’s Silent Partner by Charles E. Neu (Oxford).
The Highland Dragon’s Lady by Isabel Cooper ’05 (Sourcebooks Casablanca).
The Looking Glass Summer by Candice Kramer ’68 (Candice Kramer).
Collected Poems and Limericks by Frank Feldman ’77 (CreateSpace).
Disposable Epics by Thibault Raoult ’08 MFA (Caketrain Journal and Press).