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Born on the Links book cover

Born on the Links
John Williamson, LLB ’65

Beginning with golf’s origins on the grasslands of fifteenth-century Scotland, Williamson recounts the game’s 600-year history with a devotee’s attention to detail. He chronicles its early development, its spread to the U.S., its rise in popularity brought on by televised tournaments, the careers of iconic players—such as Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, and Tiger Woods—and the struggles and triumphs of female and minority golfers who have fought for inclusion. Williamson also offers a timeline of the sport’s history and a winners’ list for every major amateur and pro tournament since 1860. Throughout the book, he emphasizes the ways golf has been shaped by the cumulative influence of everyday players. “Most of the changes to the imported game were made incrementally over time,” he writes, “by persons whom history has neither recorded nor recognized.”

Come with me book cover

Come With Me
Helen Schulman ’83

In her sixth novel, Schulman examines the unnerving effect technology can have on day-to-day life—chronicling a Silicon Valley family whose connections are strained by a virtual reality program that can calculate a person’s alternate realities by aggregating data from the Cloud. “Schulman gets both her cultural moment and the psychological particulars of a disintegrating marriage exactly right,” says the New Yorker, “and her writing is distractingly, almost brazenly beautiful.” Schulman is a professor at the New School, where she is fiction chair of the creative writing program. Her previous novel, This Beautiful Life, was one of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2011.

Modern House Bus book cover

The Modern House Bus
Kimberley Mok ’04

A growing trend since the Aughts, “tiny houses” are efficient homes—often measuring less than 200 square feet—built by people looking to radically reduce their costs, consumption, and ecological footprint. But some nomadic DIY fans have taken the idea a step further; in this photographic tour, Mok explores twelve buses that have been gutted and re-designed as functional, itinerant homes. She interviews owners about design choices that maximize space and comfort, and offers a detailed guide to choosing and remodeling one’s own house bus. Says Vogue: “Mok has practical advice galore . . . and an infectious enthusiasm for redefining the good life.”

Norse Mythology book cover

A Child’s Introduction to Norse Mythology
Heather Alexander ’89

Alexander’s fourth contribution to the “Child’s Introduction” series puts such characters as Odin, Thor, and Loki into historical and cultural context. Watercolor illustrations accompany the tale of how Odin lost his eye, the forging of Thor’s hammer, the legendary apocalypse of Ragnarok, and more. The book includes descriptions of the various gods, goddesses, giants, and monsters of Norse myth, as well as a pronunciation guide and a fold-out family tree. Alexander’s previous entries in the series covered art, natural history, and Greek mythology.

Wounds of War book cover

Wounds of War
Suzanne Gordon ’67

To research this examination of the Veteran’s Health Administration, Gordon spent five years interviewing clients, sitting in on medical appointments, watching doctors at work, and following patients through their treatment. While acknowledging the agency’s problems—which have included long wait times and chronic understaffing—the longtime medical reporter argues that its overall quality of care has been unfairly maligned by a small number of high-profile failures. “The VA is, without a doubt, a big government bureaucracy, more top-heavy than it should be,” she writes. “But the very fact that it is a public institution, with an exceedingly well-organized, vocal, and politically connected patient population . . . ensures a degree of transparency and responsiveness I have never encountered before.”

Magic of Melwick Orchard

The Magic of Melwick Orchard
Rebecca Caprara ’07

This novel for middle-grade readers follows twelve-year-old Isa, whose family has moved more times than she can count. Things begin to look up when they finally settle into a real home; there are even rumors that a nearby orchard is magical. Then her younger sister is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease—and Isa decides that “there was no place for magic in a world where a six-year-old gets cancer.” But when an enchanted tree sprouts a gift for her, Isa wonders if she can use the orchard to help her family. “Caprara pens an emotional first novel about the fear that accompanies hope,” says Publishers Weekly. “The fragile relationship between the sisters is well drawn, and though the family’s life seems on the brink of blowing apart, Caprara skillfully shows that good things are quietly blossoming.”

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