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Mostly Straight book cover

Mostly Straight
RITCH SAVIN-WILLIAMS

A professor emeritus of human development and a psychologist in private practice, Savin-Williams specializes in adolescent development, particularly issues relating to sexuality and sexual orientation. He has authored more than a half-dozen books including Becoming Who I Am: Young Men on Being Gay and Mom, Dad, I’m Gay: How Families Negotiate Coming Out. His latest—part academic work, part self-help guide—explores the lives of young men who consider themselves to be primarily heterosexual or sexually fluid. Drawing on interviews with forty Millennials, Savin-Williams delves into the factors, both biological and psychological, that have helped shape their sexuality, as well as the cultural shifts that have allowed them to be more open about their identity. He notes that in survey results published in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 6 percent of males aged eighteen to twenty-four reported their sexual attractions as “mostly opposite sex”; he also cites several celebrities who’ve identified as mostly straight or sexually fluid, including actors Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) and Ezra Miller (Justice League). “A mostly straight young person can feel alone or weird, and hearing from other mostly straight young men may help him lead his own distinctive, self-fulfilling life,” Savin-Williams writes in his preface. “If you are not mostly straight, then my intention is to help you understand and, I hope, celebrate these young men as they navigate their sexual and romantic lives in an increasingly complicated world.”

Beauty and the Beak book cover

Beauty and the Beak
DEBORAH LEE ROSE ’77

In a large-format volume that was named best children’s science picture book by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Rose and her co-author (a raptor biologist and rehabilitator) describe how the life of an injured bald eagle was saved through the creation of a custom-made, 3D-printed beak. The book—which School Library Journal calls “highly valuable for elementary schoolers as a lesson in empathy”—includes numerous photos, information about the field of prosthetics, facts about bald eagles, and more. Rose is the author of more than a dozen children’s books, including other animal-related titles like Jimmy the JoeyOcean Babies, and Birthday Zoo.

The Hidden light of northern fires book cover

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
DAREN WANG ’88, BS ’89

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in its laudatory review: “The solemn and provocative historical novel attempts to answer a question that has vexed the author since childhood: Why did his hometown of Town Line, New York, vote in 1861 to secede from the United States?” Wang sets his debut novel in Town Line, a hamlet outside Buffalo that, according to local lore, was the only place north of the Mason-Dixon Line whose residents voted to leave the Union at the outbreak of the Civil War. (It didn’t officially rejoin until a symbolic vote in 1946, shortly after two Southern communities did so; as one local leader told the New York Times that year, “If Georgia and Mississippi feel the war is over, so do we.”) Wang’s protagonist is a real-life character: Mary Willis, a college-educated young woman from a land-owning family who aided runaway slaves through the Underground Railroad.

Native American literature book cover

Native American Literature
SEAN TEUTON, PHD ’02

This slim volume is part of Oxford University Press’s “Very Short Introduction” series, which comprises dozens of small-print paperbacks offering primers on a wide variety of subjects. Teuton, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is a professor of English and director of indigenous studies at the University of Arkansas. His book is a concise survey of Native American history and culture, including the role of oral histories, the emergence of literature in English, and the contributions of modern novelists such as Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich. “Whether through an ancient epic on diplomacy, an antebellum public address on Native rights, or a contemporary novel about human interaction with animals,” Teuton writes, “Native literature displays a dynamic world inextricably connected to and even fascinated with other worlds.”

Who do you think you are, book cover

Who Do You Think You Are?
STEPHEN SMITH ’91, MBA ’95 & 
 
SHAUN FANNING ’94

Smith and Fanning are cofounders of Naviance, a company that makes software to facilitate college searches and career planning, and are executives at the education tech firm Intellispark. This self-help book—subtitled Three Crucial Conversations for Coaching Teens to College and Career Success—offers advice for parents on topics like helping their kids make the best education choices, designing an action plan to lead to a rewarding career, and connecting what students are learning in school to their goals in life. “It’s an age-old debate: Should you pick a course of study based on what you love, or should you pick a course of study based on what you think will improve your career prospects?” they write. “A quick online search will turn up more than 1 million articles and more than a few books that support one or the other view. But let’s be honest: if there were a simple answer, the debate would have been over long ago.”

To purchase these books and others by Cornellians, or to submit your book for possible mention in Cornell Alumni Magazine, go to cornellalumnimagazine.com/authors.

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