Alumni and faculty members who would like to have their books considered for this listing should contact Stacey Himmelberger, editor of Hamilton magazine. This list, which dates back to 2018, is updated periodically with books appearing alphabetically on the date of entry.
(Seattle: Wave Books, 2023).
In this, the author’s fifth book of poetry, his work illustrates how “writing is a physical act where writing and lived experience support one another in bodies — animal, plant, mineral, and word bodies — that are injured and heal, that die and continue in new forms, playing new roles.” Sylee Gore, in a review on the Poetry Foundation website, writes: “The five long poems in Richard Meier’s A Duration follow a similar form: a prose stanza breaks off midsentence, leaving a charged empty space. That broken sentence is syntactically ‘completed’ in the next stanza, but though the grammar jives, the reader is sometimes jerked into a world subtly or radically altered, with the poem’s subject, setting, or other details changed. ... The effect is momentary confusion — and delight. Repeated across a book, this device kindles a sense of dream logic, or of daydreaming while ambling with a friend." Meier is professor of English and writer-in-residence at Carthage College.
(Seattle: Marrowstone Press, 2023).
In these his most recent — and perhaps final — books of poetry, the author offers works in two parts. According to the publisher, “… both books are about trekking into what Keats called ‘the old oak Forest’ while recalling earlier and similar journeys, real and imaginary, the poet has made before. In both books, Peter Weltner continues to explore how images from the past, of place, and of passion, recurrently rhyme with the present.”
(Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2023).
In the second half of the 20th century, Reiki went from an obscure therapy known to a few thousand Japanese and Japanese Americans to a global phenomenon. Practitioners channel a cosmic energy - known as Reiki - to heal body, mind, and spirit. Credited with spearheading the international rise and development of Reiki is Hawayo Takata (1900–80), a Hawai‘i-born Japanese American woman who adapted it for thousands of students in Hawai‘i and North America. According to the publisher, this book “analyzes how, from her training in Japan in the mid-1930s to her death in Iowa in 1980, Takata built a vast trans-Pacific network that connected Japanese American laborers on plantations in Hawai‘i to social elites in Tokyo, Hollywood, and New York; middle-class housewives in American suburbs; and off-the-grid tree planters in the mountains of British Columbia. Using recently uncovered archival materials and original oral histories, Justin B. Stein examines how these relationships between healer and patient, master and disciple, became deeply infused with values of their time and place and how they interplayed with Reiki’s circulation, performance, and meanings along with broader cultural shifts in the 20th-century North Pacific.” The author is chair of Asian studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia.
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023).
The authors, both Wall Street Journal reporters, tell how an amateur gun designer pursuing a hobby in his garage would invent a rifle that has become what they call the “fulcrum of America’s great gun divide.” In the 1950s, Eugene Stoner aimed to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon for American soldiers and their allies during the Cold War. The Marine veteran achieved his goal with the AR-15 rifle. But how did the same gun, which under the name M16 would become standard equipment in Vietnam, evolve into the weapon of choice for troubled individuals intent on killing fellow American schoolchildren, concertgoers, and grocery shoppers? “[Written] in calm, precise language that allows the authors’ exhaustive research to shine through, ... you can feel the tension building one cold, catastrophic fact at a time,” notes The New York Times Book Review. “Among the authors’ feats of reportage was getting gun company executives and entrepreneurs to speak candidly on the record, a virtually unprecedented achievement.” In what is both a biography of the inventor and his invention, American Gun takes a deep dive into the U.S. gun culture, revealing the appeal of the AR-15, the havoc it wreaks, and the politics of reducing its toll.
(New York: Random House, 2023).
From the author of award-winning nonfiction entrepreneurship biographies for kids comes this picture book that tells the story of 11-year-old Kathleen King, who sets out to make the perfect chocolate-chip cookie. Little did she know that her mission would serve as the inspiration behind the world-renowned Tate’s Bake Shop cookie. “This [book] is extra special because I co-authored it with Kathleen. It’s illustrated by the amazingly talented New York Times bestselling illustrator Ramona Kaulitzki,” Sichol says. “Also included in the back of the book is a special cookie recipe from Kathleen — one that she made as a young girl with her beloved father, Tate!”
(Baton Rouge, La.: Connelly Press, 2022).
The author, an ex-TV reporter, spins this hilarious metaphysical detective story about immortality, lousy jobs, murder, and quantum physics. Set in Denison, a town in Upstate New York so ignored by the rest of the world it literally disappears, the plot unfolds as failed TV reporter and self-declared private investigator Padraig O’Toole hunts down the killer of his (maybe) murdered brother-in-law. Author James Patterson notes, “If the idea of a paranormal mystery tickles your funny bone then this is definitely your book. In spades. Hidden Variables is like nothing you’ve ever read (in a good way). It’s very, very funny.” Kirkus Reviews calls the novel: “funny, inventive, and engagingly mysterious. It’s a heady, absurd parable about the dying towns, media conglomerates, and dead-end freelance work that make up so much of the American landscape. A cerebral and amusing novel that revolves around a quantum mystery.”
(Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 2022).
This stunning book features more than 550 photos along with informative (and humorous) narration by the artist, revealing the evolution of Simpson’s evocative glass art over the past 50 years. The publisher notes, “In-depth looks at his several signature series and experimental works illustrate how Simpson has continually explored new ways to express — in glass — his fascination with outer space, the natural world, and the workings of the universe. Throughout, text and photo spreads narrate the story of Simpson’s less well-known works, details of his life and process, and his contributions within the craft world. Text by experts in the glass world, including William Warmus, Tina Oldknow, Nezka Pfeifer, and others, supplies additional views. Plus, strategically placed comments from numerous museum curators, along with insights from astrophysicists and space flight professionals, present a unique perspective on the meanings and broad appeal of Simpson’s glass.”
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2023).
The diplomat and historian George F. Kennan (1904–2005) is considered one of the most important figures in American foreign policy - and one of its most complex. According to the publisher, “Drawing on many previously untapped sources, Frank Costigliola’s authoritative biography offers a new picture of a man of extraordinary ability and ambition whose idea of containing the Soviet Union helped ignite the Cold War but who spent the next half century trying to extinguish it. Always prescient, Kennan in the 1990s warned that the eastward expansion of NATO would spur a new cold war with Russia.” The author, the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, has spent over three decades studying Kennan and draws from this expertise as well as careful examination of his diaries. One reviewer noted: “The Kennan who emerges from these pages is a man of riveting contradictions: an intuitive expert torn between propriety and philandering, authoritarianism and democracy, the containment policies he launched and the Russophilic longings that he could never satisfy. This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand how hot-blooded emotions shaped the seemingly cold-blooded realism that has guided grand strategy.”
(Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2023).
Called “[t]he first biography of a key and complex American religious figure of the 19th century, considered by many to be the ‘father of Shaker literature,’” this book focuses on Richard McNemar (1770–1839) and his influence on two opposing American religious traditions during the early 19th century. According to the publisher, “Beginning as a Presbyterian minister in the Midwest, he took his preaching and the practice of his congregation in a radically different, evangelical ‘free will’ direction during the Kentucky Revival. A cornerstone of his New Light church in Ohio was spontaneous physical movement and exhortations. After Shaker missionaries arrived, McNemar converted and soon played a prominent role in expanding and raising public awareness of their religion by founding Shaker communities in the Midwest, becoming the first Shaker published author and the most prolific composer of Shaker hymns.”Topic
(Philadelphia: Frayed Edge Press, 2023).
Nagle offers the first complete English-language translation of La Guzla, a literary hoax that dates back to the 19th century. Originally published in 1827, La Guzla purported to be a collection of folktales, ballad lyrics, and travel narratives compiled and translated into French by an anonymous traveler returning from the Balkans. However, it was soon revealed that both the stories and their “translator” were the fictional accounts of a young civil servant named Prosper Mérimée. Along with footnotes explaining the historical and sociological context of the author’s “discoveries,” this new translation includes Mérimée’s preface to the 1840 edition of the work, in which he confesses to the deception, as well as a translator’s note by Nagle, who discusses the work’s background and the challenges of translating it. Her translations of prose and poetry from French and Spanish also have appeared in such journals as AGNI, The Southern Review, ANMLY, and The Los Angeles Review.