Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress ’13 (Random House)
It’s 2011, the recession is hanging on, and both Occupy Wall Street and much intrigue are boiling at the fictional Wrynn College of Art, somewhere in New England. Louisa Arceneaux has just transferred from Louisiana on a scholarship and is drawn to her roommate Karina Piontek, the daughter of wealthy but unhappy art collectors. You’ll also meet Preston Utley, a senior prone to wondering whether art school is at all useful, and Robert Berger, a 45-year-old painter-in-residence, who is watching his once-charged career dwindle. The narrative in this vivid, nuanced debut novel deftly slips between all four points of view as these brightly drawn characters grapple with questions of art, ambition, money, and relevance.
Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong ’10 (Catapult)
Reed, a 21-year-old Columbia student, is getting picked up at LAX by his irreverent mom before heading off to visit his Korean grandmother in the hospital. Reed is on academic probation and plans to drop out to become a Black Lives Matter activist. His painfully earnest conversations hop from one easy cultural critique to the next and his liberal parents, he’s decided, are far too complacent about everything. But they’re also former activists—his Chinese father was a union organizer and his Korean mother helped found a Black-Korean coalition. Slowly, through a series of debates with his mom while driving around Los Angeles, Reed gathers a deeper sense of what grassroots organizing really means. An often witty debut bildungsroman that will inspire further questions.
Lifelines: The Traffic of Trauma by Harris Solomon ’07 AM, ’11 PhD (Duke Univ. Press)
Solomon, a professor of cultural anthropology and global health at Duke, spent time in one of Mumbai’s major public hospitals tracking the range of outcomes after someone was involved in a traumatic traffic or train accident. In part the book is an intriguing if academic look at the idea of “traffic” in medicine. Solomon argues that even as patients arrive at the hospital they are still in motion and exactly how a patient moves through the health care universe, from ER to surgery to recovery and hopefully home again, needs to be a crucial consideration.
the book of webs by Jesse Kohn ’18 MFA (UMass Press)
Your Plantation Prom is Not Okay, by Kelly McWilliams ’11 (Little, Brown Young Readers)
Everything That Rises: A Climate Change Memoir by Brianna Craft ’13 AM (Chicago Press)
Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood by Jessica Grose ’04 (Mariner Books)
The Cult of Creativity: A Surprisingly Recent History by Samuel W. Franklin ’99 (Univ. of Chicago)
After Violence: Russia’s Beslan School Massacre and the Peace That Followed by Debra Javeline ’89 (Oxford Univ. Press)
Struggle and Solidarity: Seven Stories of How Americans Fought for Their Mental Health Through Federal Legislation by Marc Manseau ’02, ’05 MPH (American Psychiatric Publishing)
Truth or Consequences: Improbable Adventures, a Near-Death Experience, and Unexpected Redemption in the New Mexico Desert by Daniel Asa Rose ’71 (High Road Books)
Enduring Polygamy: Plural Marriage and Social Change in an African Metropolis by Bruce Whitehouse ’03 AM, ’07 PhD (Rutgers Univ. Press)
Alumni Children’s Books
Dad and Daddy’s Big Big Family by Seamus Kirst ’13 (Magination Press)
Taking Off: Airborne with Mary Wilkins Ellis by Emily Arnold McCully ’61 (Margaret Ferguson Books)
Spanish Connections: My Diplomatic Journey from Venezuela to Equatorial Guinea by Mark Asquino ’71
Static Palace by Leora Fridman ’07
Noah’s Rejects: A Cautionary Tale About Life on an Island Paradise by Rob Kagan ’89
The Observations, Rare Occurrences, and Interventions by Death by Lester Stone II ’10
A History of Letters: Memorable Quotes from a Moribund Art by Melvin B. Yoken ’61 MAT