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Hamilton Alumni Review
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Alumni Review — Fall - Winter 2012

Bookshelf

The following books by Hamilton alumni have been added to the Burke Library ­collection. We welcome other new or recent books for annotation in the Alumni Review. Bibliographic information for ordering purposes may be sent to florenz@hamilton.edu, or, preferably, copies of books to ­Bookshelf Editor, Alumni Review.

Anthony Bernini ’71, Immediate Worlds: Poems (Troy, N.Y.: Troy Book Makers, 2011). With a preface written by Selma R. Burkom, who taught English and American literature at Kirkland College in its early days when Anthony Bernini was one of her students, this book of poetry, in her words, “transports us to a realm where apparent opposites are miraculously reconciled.” He is now a lawyer by profession who composes finely crafted poems on the side. This is his second volume of collected verse (the first was Distant Kinships, published in 2002), and the epigrammatic poems it contains are beautifully evocative. Many recall, with hints of nostalgia, his native New York City, and all reflect great sensibility and depth of insight.

Janelle A. Schwartz ’97, Worm Work: Recasting Romanticism (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Pr., 2012). What is the connection between the lowly worm and Romantic culture? In this highly specialized and meticulously researched and developed monograph, Janelle Schwartz explores the influence of natural history studies on 18th and early 19th century European romantic thought, especially as reflected in literature. ­Professor Schwartz has taught at Loyola University in New Orleans as well as at Hamilton, where she is currently a visiting assistant professor of comparative literature.

Michael W. Sherer ’74, Night Blind (Las Vegas: Thomas & Mercer, 2012). This “pulse-pounding tale of an innocent man’s fight to not only clear his name, but save his own life” is the first of a new mystery series featuring Blake Sanders, a man definitely down on his luck. To compound his troubles, he is accused of a brutal murder and is on the run. It is a thriller with many surprising twists and turns by the author of the six-volume Emerson Ward series. He lives and writes in the Seattle area, the setting for this, his latest flight into fiction.

Mark Sullivan ’80, Rogue (New York: Minotaur Bks., 2012). It has been our pleasure to review Mark Sullivan’s thrillers since the first one, The Fall Line, was published in 1995. This latest is his eighth, and if you like your adrenaline stimulated and free-flowing, it is the book for you. Its central character is Robin Monarch, a former CIA operative who has gone rogue as a latter-day Robin Hood stealing from the super-rich to give to the poor. International capers follow, and there is plenty of propulsive action. Sullivan, who resides with his family in Montana, is a onetime Peace Corps volunteer in Niger who became an investigative reporter before turning his talents to fiction. He is the co-author, with James Patterson, of Private Games, which led The New York Times best-seller list earlier this year.

Charles Thacher ’63, Angling Books: A Guide for Collectors (Far Hills, N.J.: Meadow Run Pr., 2006). Although published several years ago, this impressive bibliographic work was only recently brought to our attention. Handsomely bound and containing physical descriptions, with estimated values, of some 15,000 books, both fiction and nonfiction, related to recreational fishing, it also provides information on availability. After his consulting business was sold in 1999, Charles Thacher, an enthusiastic angler, became hooked on collecting books on the subject, which in turn led to this 600-page bibliography, the product of much painstaking research. Specialized bibliographies may have a limited readership, but their ultimate value is beyond estimate.

Sarah J. Maas ’08 and Meagan “Meg” Spooner ’07 first met at Hamilton when both took a creative writing course focused on fiction in the spring of 2007. Maas was majoring in creative writing with a minor in religious studies, and Spooner concentrated in theatre with an emphasis on playwriting. They became fast friends, and their friendship has survived and flourished through their postgraduate years despite geographical distance: Maas is now in Southern California and Spooner is in Northern Virginia.

The two have something else in common besides mutual friendship, for both are the authors of young adult fantasy novels that were published this year. In addition, both of their debut efforts have been exceedingly well received and have generated quite a fan following.

Maas’ Throne of Glass (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012) has been hailed as “an epic tale with all the romance of your favorite fairy tale,” with a little bit of magic and lots of plot twists thrown in. Its central character, the compellingly delineated heroine Celaena, is an 18-year-old, trained as an assassin. She inhabits an ingeniously ­created fantasy world that, in the words of Kirkus Review, “evokes a rich alternate universe with a spitfire young woman as its brightest star.”
New York native Maas first conceived of the idea for the story that eventuated in Throne of Glass when she was 16. Early versions of it, published online, resulted in a host of fans. Now that the finished ­version is in print, her fans no doubt look forward to more from her remarkably imaginative pen.

In the meantime, Spooner’s Skylark ­(Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Lab, 2012) was on its way to press and publication in October. Like Throne of Glass, it is a ­fantasy novel with an intrepid heroine, Lark Ainsley, but the world she inhabits is more dystopian, filled with fear and foreboding. In well-crafted prose, it transports the reader into a scary future world of “magic and danger,” which has been described by one reader as “multi-layered and darkly fascinating.”

Spooner, who has ­traveled around the globe with her family and even spent a few years living in Australia, has now settled down in Virginia, where she continues to write. She, too, has developed quite a following, as reflected in rave reviews on the Internet.

 

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