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from_the_fingerlakesFrom the Finger Lakes: A Prose Anthology
Various Authors

Forty-four writers from the Finger Lakes region—including numerous Cornellians—contributed to this compilation of memoirs, short stories, essays, and journalism articles. “We may live in the Finger Lakes,” the introduction notes, “but our imaginations wander far.”

The volume includes a short story by English professor emerita and Pulitzer Prize winner Alison Lurie about a powerful—perhaps even cursed—blue slip loaned to a bride on her wedding day. In an excerpt from her book Cultivating Delight, Diane Ackerman, MFA ’73, PhD ’79, describes the relationship between humans and nature. Former CAM associate editor Paul Cody, MFA ’87, offers a memoir about a disorienting stint in rehab, while English professor emeritus James McConkey ponders the essential nature of nostalgia. “I like that everyone in Ithaca has a secret enthusiasm—and one in which they are often more proficient than in their proverbial day work,” English professor emeritus Kenneth McClane ’73, MA ’74, MFA ’76, writes in an essay entitled “Hopes and Dreams.” “There are sociologists who are world-renowned photographers and Nobel prize-winning scientists who are superb poets. Still, it is a small city. For those of us who came of age in a large urban area, Ithaca seems a metropolis in training.”

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Fast Forward
Kim Azzarelli ’93

Through interviews with more than seventy influential women, Azzarelli and her co-author detail how women can harness their growing economic power to achieve success. “Women are critical agents in creating economic growth and social progress,” they write. “Yet in the circles in which we traveled, it often felt as if few others saw that potential in women.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote the foreword for the book, which Kirkus calls “a durable contribution to the continued efforts to effect change for women.”

cheddar

Cheddar
Gordon Edgar ’89

From the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge comes this narrative about the history of cheddar in the United States. Edgar is a longtime cheese buyer for San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative and a frequent judge at national cheese competitions. “Cheddar spans the regional and class differences in the United States,” he writes, “encompassing everything from traditionally made cheese crafted by hand and covered lovingly in lard . . . to Kraft processed singles that are extruded by machines absent the human touch beyond the push of a button. Any cheese that appeals to that many people has a story to tell.”

violent_outbursts

Violent Outbursts
Thaddeus Rutkowski ’76

A past finalist for the Asian American Literary Award, Rutkowski won the Members’ Choice Award from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop for his novel Haywire. This literary collection of more than eighty ultra-short essays touches on subjects ranging from bird-watching to UFOs to hula lessons to—in a meta touch—writer’s block. “I didn’t like the pen I had been using—it contained a cylinder you had to twist to expose the ball point,” he writes in the latter piece. “I had spent most of my day twisting the cylinder back and forth, extruding and retracting the point, rotating and rolling the barrel, but not writing anything.”

a_remarkable_kindness

A Remarkable Kindness
Diana Bletter ’78

Bletter’s latest novel centers around four women who each move to a seaside village in Israel for different reasons: marriage, a new beginning on the heels of a divorce, escape from a public affair, and adventure after college. They form a strong friendship when they join a traditional burial circle, preparing the dead for interment. “Death was quiet. So calm and unruffled,” the book’s narrator observes. “It was almost as if the mystery of life could be found within that silence.” Bletter, herself an American-born Israel resident and volunteer in a burial circle, was shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award for The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women.

mad_men_unzipped

Mad Men Unzipped
Cynthia Vinney ’01

Co-authored with three other psychologists—all devoted fans of “Mad Men”—Vinney’s book explores the complex relationship between the popular drama and its followers. They examine fan fiction, cocktail mixology, vintage furniture collecting, and perspectives from modern-day advertising professionals to determine how fans incorporate the show into their lives. “When ‘Mad Men’ hit the airwaves in the fall of 2007, the bold, brash outrageousness of the show started a buzz,” notes the introduction. “Who were these chain-smoking, three-martini-lunching hipstersfrom a bygone era? More importantly, what could they tell us about ourselves?”

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