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We receive news about many more publications, media, and merchandise than we can print in the Cornell Alumni Magazine. Please browse our Cornell Authors page for even more Big Red creativity.


Shakespeare requirement book cover

The Shakespeare Requirement
Julie Schumacher, MFA ’86

The sequel to Schumacher’s Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members continues the adventures of hapless professor Jason Fitger as he suffers the slings and arrows of academic politics, romantic frustration, and dental distress. With much of his building newly renovated into a luxe home for the well-heeled economics department (and his own squeezed into meager lodgings), Fitger—now the deeply unenthusiastic chair of English—copes with a variety of dramas including lingering feelings for his ex-wife and a scholarly stand-off over a veteran professor’s crusade to retain a requirement that English majors study the Bard. Says Publishers Weekly: “Schumacher’s satisfying and fun novel is bolstered by its memorable campus
setting and its quirky cast.”

 Not so Normal Norbert book cover

Not So Normal Norbert
Joey Green ’80

In a novel for middle-grade readers that Green (who founded the Cornell Lunatic humor magazine on the Hill) co-authored with mega-selling thriller writer James Patterson, a boy named Norbert Riddle lives in the United States of Earth, where conformity reigns. When he’s caught doing an impression of the planet’s dictator, he’s convicted of being “different and dangerous, creative and crazy, imaginative and insane”—and banished to a camp in a faraway nebula where rule-breaking kids roam free. Can he make it back to Earth and reunite with his family? And does he even want to return to a world where everyone is the same? “The authors balance the inanity with real-life, affecting emotion,” says Publishers Weekly, “convincingly depicting Norbert’s fright as well as his yearning for his parents.”

Godless citizens book cover

Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic
R. Laurence Moore & Isaac Kramnick

The authors, both emeritus professors of government, explore why—given that the First Amendment protects religious liberty—atheists in America have long been stigmatized as second-class citizens. In a book that Kirkus calls “an impassioned review of the demands of a little-considered minority,” they discuss relevant Supreme Court cases, state and federal laws—including the fact that eight state constitutions still require a belief in God to hold public office—and moments in history, such as the Cold War, when atheism was equated with being unpatriotic. “To the ears of many Americans, the word ‘atheist’ has a hard, unpleasant ring to it,” they write in the prologue. “Describing oneself with that label has never been a recommended way to court popularity.”

 

 Eavesdropping Elephants book cover

Eavesdropping on Elephants
Patricia Newman ’81

Newman is the author of several kids’ books with an ecological bent, including Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem and Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Here, she describes Cornell’s own Elephant Listening Project, a longtime effort founded by Katy Boynton Payne ’59, a now-retired bioacoustics researcher at the Lab of Ornithology. The book, which Kirkus calls “fascinating for earnest conservationists,” includes numerous color photos as it chronicles the efforts of Payne and her colleagues to understand how the pachyderms communicate. Geared toward middle-grade readers, the book includes descriptions of research techniques, conservation issues, and the threats facing the animals, including poachers and human encroachment on their habitat.

 

Long Players book cover

Long Players
Peter Coviello, PhD ’98

In what Kirkus calls “a heartfelt and hyper-literate take on love as a mixtape,” Coviello describes his marriage, a sudden divorce following his wife’s infidelity, his struggle to retain a role in the lives of his two former stepdaughters, and his tentative steps toward new romance. “For a long time after its swift, startling implosion, people would ask me about what my marriage had been,” Coviello writes, “that I would grieve it so implacably, and so long.” The book is subtitled, “A love story in eighteen songs,” and throughout it he cites tunes that evoke memories of the relationship. “With its convoluted syntax and attenuated musings about love and the inner life, Coviello’s style imitates his heroes Henry James and George Eliot,” Kirkus observes, “and reading his book feels a bit like finding a cache of letters from one close friend to another, with the writer casually unraveling on the page.”

Completionist book cover

The Completionist
Siobhan Adcock ’95, MFA ’04

Adcock’s dystopian novel is set in what Publishers Weekly describes as “a captivating, if grim, future”—an America where there’s no naturally occurring water, fertility levels have dropped alarmingly, and surveillance technology is omnipresent. The hero is a troubled Marine veteran who returns home to find that one of his sisters has vanished and that the other has miraculously become pregnant without medical intervention—a condition that puts her dangerously in the government’s crosshairs. “She didn’t disappear all of a sudden,” the narrator says of his missing sister. “It was more like she evaporated, over the course of a year, while I was at the Wars. I got messages from her over there, and then the messages got slower and weirder, and then I didn’t hear from her again.”

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