The following books have been published recently by Hamilton alumni and members of the faculty. We welcome other new or recent books for annotation in future issues. Please email bibliographic information to email@example.com or, preferably, send a copy of the book to Hamilton Alumni Review, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323.
Stephanie Feuer K’77, Drawing Amanda (Hipso Media, 2104). Budding 14-year-old artist Inky Kahn thinks he’s caught his big break when he connects with an online video game developer. But what he really may be doing is putting a fellow student in jeopardy. In her debut novel, the author explores the potential dangers of the Internet through relatable teenage characters in the midst of figuring out their place in the complex social scene. Feuer’s articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Herald, on bettyconfidential.com and in numerous anthologies and literary magazines.
Harry Groome ’60, Thirty Below (Baton Rouge, La.: The Connolly Press, 2012). This “can’t-put-down page-turner” tells the story of a young woman from southern California who, feeling her life is at a standstill, decides to spend a winter in the remote wilderness of Alaska alone with a man who may, or may not, be the love of her life. The book is packed with action and adventure as she embarks on an exhilarating, and often dangerous, path to self-discovery. The author of two previous novels, Groome’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies.
Henry Harlan ’53, words on words (Self-published, 2013). This collection of 40 clever poems is “about metaphors, puns, palindromes, anagrams, double homonyms, interesting names, amusing misunderstandings and certain words’ shapes and sounds,” according to Harlan, a retired teacher and author.
Court Haslett ’91, Tenderloin (The Rogue Reader, 2013). The first in the Sleeper Hayes mystery series, this book was described by one reviewer as “a gripping thriller set in San Francisco [in the skid row neighborhood known as Tenderloin] during the late 1970s, the era of punk, disco and the suicide Jonestown cult. Haslett cannily evokes the time and the place, and he and his protagonist, Sleeper Hayes, perfectly hit the notes of classic noir.”
Stuart Kestenbaum ’73, Only Now (Cumberland, Maine: Deerbrook Editions, 2014). In this slim volume of poems, the author “takes on the fragility of the work and our own mortality, and does so with unflinching directness and, most impressively, with wit and a sincere prayerfulness,” wrote one reviewer. Kestenbaum, who since 1988 has been director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, previously authored three collections of poetry and one of brief essays.
Chaise LaDousa, associate professor of anthropology, Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky: Education, Language and Social Class in Contemporary India (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014). Based on 18 years of research on the role that language plays in education in the Hindi-speaking area of North India, in particular, the author explores how language-medium schooling — Hindi-based or English-based — has been constructed differently by policymakers, scholars and students. As one reviewer noted, “This book conveys a highly nuanced and sophisticated analysis of the relationships among language, language ideology, schooling and globalization in India … The author draws creatively on fieldwork experiences that stretch across considerable time and space.”
Doran Larson, professor of English and creative writing, (editor), Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America (East Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State University Press, 2014). This book contains more than 70 essays by incarcerated Americans who chronicle their experiences inside prison walls. Larson solicited the essays through prison education programs, support groups and support newsletters. “Each had to be accessible in voice and composition, and illuminate some dimension of prison life, politics or culture,” Larson said, “and I sought the broadest sampling possible of regions, races, religions and sexual preferences.” The book’s title references the fact that, at 2.26 million, incarcerated Americans outnumber the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Kathryn Livingston K’75, Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace (New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 2014). This memoir chronicles a transformational two years in the author’s life, “a time in which she learned to trust herself and the universe, even while facing such issues as the death of her parents, her children leaving home for college, panic and anxiety issues, and breast cancer.” Livingston has spent 25 years writing about parenting issues with articles appearing in such publications as Parenting, Publishers Weekly, American Photographer, Edutopia, Country Living, Redbook and Working Mother.
Sarah Maas ’08, Heir of Fire (New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2014). In the third novel in the young adult fantasy series “Throne of Glass,” heroine Celaena Sardothien meets several new characters as she embarks on an adventure that takes her to a new land where she uncovers secrets about her true heritage that could change her life forever. Maas’ latest book, which follows the best-selling Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, ends with a twist that will leave fans eagerly awaiting the fourth installment.
Lauren Magaziner ’12, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches (New York: Dial/Penguin Books, 2014). In her debut novel, the author casts a spell on young readers with the tale of Rupert Campbell, a fifth-grader who has to deal with a dreadful teacher (appropriately named Mrs. Frabbleknacker) and a mother who denies him access to the one thing that fascinates him most — witches. However, after Rupert discovers a help-wanted ad for a witch’s apprentice, both a friendship and hijinks ensue. One reviewer noted, “The jokes are goofy, the characters are silly, and it’s an exquisite story for all of us children at heart.” Magaziner is an assistant editor at Scholastic Inc.’s StoryWorks magazine.
Beth Scagnelli Morey ’04, The Light Between Us (Amazon Digital Services, 2014). Described as “part love story, part comedy of errors, part coming of age tale,” Morey’s novel tells the story of Derek and Ruth, two very different 20-somethings who prove that romance can happen when we least expect it. The author also has written the creative healing workbook Life After Eating Disorder and is the owner of Epiphany Art Studio.
Robert W.T. Martin, professor of government, Government by Dissent: Protest, Resistance & Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic (New York & London: New York University Press, 2013). Described by University of Pennsylvania Professor of Political Science Rogers M. Smith as, “The most thorough examination we have of how early Americans wrestled with what types of political dissent should be permitted, even promoted, in the new republic they were forming,” Martin’s book explores the idea that the people most influential in a flourishing democracy are those who muster the courage to challenge the status quo.
Peter Meinke ’55, Lucky Bones (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014). In his latest collection featuring more than 60 new poems, the author “surveys his territory from the vantage point of old age,” capturing what he calls “a clear-eyed feeling of loss, but not despair.” He reflects on such topics as family, politics, love, war and peace, old age and death in ways that are surprising and warm-hearted. A prolific poet and professor of creative writing emeritus at Eckerd College, Meinke has earned numerous awards for his work.
Robert Pigott ’49, New York’s Legal Landmarks: A Guide to Legal Edifices, Institutions, Lore, History, and Curiosities on the City’s Streets (Self-published, 2014). Part history book and part travel guide, this volume, beautifully illustrated with mostly vintage photographs, takes readers on a tour of New York City’s legal life from courthouses, past and present, to offices of former and current influential lawyers. Pigott is general counsel at Phipps Houses, a nonprofit developer, owner and manager of affordable housing in New York City.
David Pratt ’80, Looking After Joey (Wilde City Press, 2014). This witty, fast-paced novel asks — and answers — the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if a character from a porn movie stepped right out of your TV, into your life?” That’s what happens to Calvin Hodge, a middle-aged New York City attorney still trying to fit into the gay scene. What follows is a journey, both hilarious and heartwarming, to self-discovery. Pratt’s first novel, Bob the Book, won the Lambda Literary Award. The author of numerous pieces of short fiction, he has directed and performed for the theatre in New York City.
Mary Rozell ’84, The Art Collector’s Handbook: A Guide to Collection Management and Care (United Kingdom: Lund Humphries, 2014). “Managing a personal art collection requires conscientious stewardship and a kaleidoscopic approach,” writes the author, an art historian and art lawyer, who offers in this professional handbook insights on collection management, as well as advice from top experts on such topics as acquisition, inventory control, insurance, security, storage and conservation. Director of art business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, Rozell specializes in private art collection management.
Kamila Shamsie ’94, A God in Every Stone (New York: Atavist Books, 2014). As in her past novels, the author links ordinary people to world-changing events — this time touching two great empires: the Persian of 500BC and the British of the 20th century. The story focuses on Vivian Rose Spencer, a young British archaeologist searching for the legendary circlet of Scylax. By chance, she encounters Qayyam Gul, a former soldier in the Indian army, and his younger brother, Najeeb, from which develops a powerful tale of friendship, betrayal and love. One reviewer noted: “I am amazed by the confidence of the storytelling and the lyricism of the prose — simply exquisite.” Shamsie was previously selected as a finalist for the Orange Prize and as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.
Jordan Smith ’76, Clare’s Empire: Poems (The Hydroelectric Press, 2014). This digital collection of poems is described as a “fantasia” on the life and work of British poet John Clare, whose biographer called him England’s “greatest labouring-class poet.” Smith notes: “Clare’s life, a series of almost impossible negotiations between ignorance and knowledge, gift and condescension, poetry and privilege, appetite and refinement, seemed to me to raise issues that have hardly gone away: class, liberty, ecological responsibility, the rights of imagination and the rights of property. The intent of the poems is to present moments from that life at a high pitch of tension and to consider how little has changed.” The author is the Edward E. Hale, Jr. Professor of English at Union College.
Julie Stackpole K’72, Dressing the New Republic: Authentic American Costume from 1775 to 1805 (Thomaston, Maine: The General Henry Knox Museum, 2014). Filled with beautiful illustrations created by the author, this book shows how the elite, middle and working classes dressed in the four decades from 1775 to 1805. A valuable resource for historians, costumers and re-enactors, the book also describes revolutionary uniforms, fabrics of the times, accessories and changes of style. Stackpole, an internationally known hand bookbinder, has been studying and creating period costumes for five decades.
H. Philip West, Jr. ’63, Secrets & Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986-2006 (Providence, R.I: Rhode Island Publications Society, 2014). As scandals revealed government corruption, coalitions pressured lawmakers to re-examine Rhode Island’s constitution, leading to what the author calls the nation’s strongest ethics commission. “No single leader, no political party, no organization could have converted betrayals of public trust into historic reforms,” he notes. “But when citizen coalitions worked with dedicated public officials to address systematic failures, government changed.” A former instructor of ethics in public administration at the University of Rhode Island, West served previously as executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island.
Jay G. Williams ’54, the Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Religion emeritus, Thomas Nast, America’s Greatest Political Cartoonist: A History of Pictorial Caricatures of 19th Century Society (Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen Press, 2014). Nineteenth-century cartoonist Thomas Nast is well known for his drawings of Santa Claus and political icons such as the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. But more than an artist, the author suggests that Nast is an iconographer. According to the publisher, “Williams presents Nast’s work in such a way as to bring together politics, religion and culture in the images themselves. While popularizing these images, Nast also sanctified them.” Williams, who retired from Hamilton in 2012, has been collecting and exhibiting original Nast prints for many years.