Up With the Sun by Thomas Mallon ’73 (Knopf)
In his eleventh novel, Mallon throws a spotlight on the faintly known show-biz world of Dick Kallman, a real-life, hustling Broadway and television actor, whose career seemed set to sparkle in the 1950s and 1960s—but by the time of his murder in 1980 he was selling antiques from his Manhattan apartment. Told partly through the eyes of fictional Broadway pianist Matt Liannetto, Mallon details Kallman’s debilitating, long-term unrequited love for another actor, his many self-imposed blunders, his rising vindictiveness, and eventual slow flame-out. This vivid, era-capturing read comes with a crime story, at least one actual love story, and more than a few famous cameos—from Lucille Ball to Johnny Carson.
Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream by Alissa Quart ’94 (Ecco)
Nobody actually pulls themselves up by the bootstraps. That’s the premise of Quart’s persuasively reported new book, one that works to unravel the myth of self-reliance woven into American culture for centuries. Quart (Squeezed) is a journalist, poet, and executive director of the Economic Hardship Project, and here she takes on the myth’s origins, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Horatio Alger Jr. , pointing out that many of the “self-made”—from Elon Musk to Donald Trump—actually began with vast advantages. Instead, she argues, we need to finally recognize that lives are intertwined, access is not equal, parents and teachers are huge influences, and, instead of more gig-capitalism, the country needs a far more communitarian and durable safety net.
Drinking Games: A Memoir by Sarah Levy ’12 (St. Martin’s Press)
Her first blackout came at a house party near her home in New Jersey when she was 16. For years afterward, through Brown and a move to Brooklyn, the blackouts became more frequent and the drinking began to feel impossible to stop. Then a week after her 28th birthday Levy woke up in bed next to her boss’s best friend with no memory of how she landed there. Prior to that she had convinced herself that all was well—a solid job at a start-up, a vibrant social life—but that morning she realized there really was a problem. This candid memoir-in-essays details Levy’s slow route to sobriety and what life now feels like on the other side.
The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman ’11 (Tin House)
I Meant It Once by Kate Doyle ’12 (Algonquin)
The Daughter Ship by Boo Trundle ’90 (Pantheon)
Uncharted: How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias by Skylar Bayer ’98 (Columbia Univ.)
Voice Machines: The Castrato, the Cat Piano, and Other Strange Sounds by Bonnie Gordon ’90 (Univ. of Chicago)
Finding a Way: Taking the Impossible and Making it Possible by Siri Lindley ’91 (Post Hill Press)
Speak Up: Breaking the Glass Ceiling at CBS News by Linda S. Mason ’64 (Rowan & Littlefield)
Investment Crowdfunding by Andrew Schwartz ’98 (Oxford Univ.)
Our Little Mushroom: A Story of Franz Schubert and His Friends by Emily Arnold McCully ’61 (Margaret K McElderry Books)
At the Seams by Pamela Gwyn Kripke ’82 (Open Books)
Dark Voyage: An American Privateer's War on Britain’s African Slave Trade by Christine McBurney ’81 (Westholme)
The Great Clam Cake and Fritter Guide by Carolyn Wyman ’78 (Globe Pequot)