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January / February 2012
Authors
Brave New World
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Above World by Jenn Reese '92 (Candlewick)

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In a future where the human race has split into biologically separate subspecies in the aftermath of a worldwide ecological disaster, young Aluna lives in a hidden undersea city with her people, the Coral Kampii. When the Kampii's underwater breathing technology begins to fail, Aluna abandons her coming-of-age ceremony and, along with her friend Hoku, makes a dangerous journey to dry land to seek answers. They make allies among the bird people and horse people and confront grotesque machine-human hybrids before they discover the means to save their city.

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The Odds by Stewart O'Nan, MFA '92 (Viking). The author of Snow Angels and Last Night at the Lobster tells the story of Art and Marion Fowler, a couple facing unemployment, looming foreclosure, infidelity, and divorce, who decide to spend their last weekend together as they'd spent the first days of their marriage, in Niagara Falls. Hoping to rekindle their love, Art books the bridal suite at an expensive casino for a second honeymoon; Marion just hopes to endure the weekend. Not only does Art gamble on their marriage, he plans to place one desperate bet in the casino with the last of their money.

The Mirage by Matt Ruff '87 (Harper). In the alternate universe of Ruff's fifth novel, the United Arab States are the dominant power and the Baghdad towers have been brought down by American terrorists on 11/9. In this world, Israel is a European nation, America is a divided country, Osama bin Laden is a powerful senator, and Saddam Hussein is a gangster. A team of intelligence agents must discover why captured terrorists insist that in the real world a powerful America was attacked on 9/11, while trying to thwart bin Laden's intrigues and Hussein's megalo-maniac ambitions.

Lions of the West by Robert Morgan (Algonquin). Novelist, poet, and biographer Robert Morgan, the Kappa Alpha Professor of English, focuses on the lives of ten representative men who, for good or ill—and often both—were key figures in America's westward expansion. These short biographies of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Davey Crockett, Sam Houston, Kit Carson, John Quincy Adams, and others illuminate the connections between the visionaries and pragmatists who brought about Jefferson's dream of a continental nation. "The celebrated or reviled leaders," writes Morgan, "are partly figureheads that help us give shape to the messy narrative of this history."

Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac '64 (Tu Books). Lucas King is a high school loner who wants to lead a normal life, or as close to normal as possible after his mother dies and his father loses himself in alcohol. He has unusual abilities, too—not just the martial arts he learned from his father, a special ops infiltrator. When his father is kidnapped, Lucas's newfound ability as a shape-shifter may be the only way to rescue him. Bruchac brings together Abenaki Indian legends, a top-secret laboratory, and a mysterious group of Russians called the Sunglass Mafia in this paranormal thriller.

 

Children's

Where We Once Gathered by Andrea Strong-water, BFA '70 (Eifrig). In a collection of paintings of synagogues that were destroyed before and during World War II, the artist depicts the history of pre-Holocaust Jewish communities in Europe.

Billions of Years, Amazing Changes by Laurence Pringle '58, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Boyds Mills). An award-winning nature writer summarizes the evidence and explains the science of evolution for young readers.

Non-Fiction

The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell, PhD '96 (Viking). "Can the whole forest be seen through a small contemplative window of leaves, rocks, and water?" asks a professor of biology at the University of the South. He conducts the search for the universal within the infinitesimally small by recording his observations of a small patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee over the course of a year.

The Unquiet American edited by Derek Chollet '93 and Samantha Power (PublicAf-fairs). Richard Holbrooke was one of America's most influential diplomats. He helped broker the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the conflict in Bosnia, served as ambassador to Germany and the United Nations, and was a special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan to President Obama. In this collection of essays, twelve writers look back at Holbrooke's career and the history he shaped.

English After the Fall by Robert Scholes, PhD '59 (Iowa). A professor of English at Brown University traces the different meanings attached to the word "literature" since the Renaissance. He argues that English departments define literature too narrowly and need to expand the range of what we read beyond the approved canon to include both popular and sacred works.

Witches, Wife Beaters, and Whores by Elaine Forman Crane '61 (Cornell). A professor of history at Fordham University examines early American cases of murder, witchcraft, and domestic violence to illuminate the ways in which ordinary people shaped legal culture in the colonies.

The Happiness of Pursuit by Shimon Edelman (Basic). "Understanding the brain offers for the first time a real chance for understanding how and why happiness happens," writes Edelman, a Cornell professor of psychology and expert on cognition, "and perhaps for developing some recipes—algorithms—for pursuing it more effectively."

Translating Empire by Sophus A. Reinert '03 (Harvard). An assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School examines how the conflicted roots of eighteenth-century political economy grew out of the imperial rivalries among European powers.

For Better or For Work by Meg Cadoux Hirsh berg, MPS '84 (Inc. Original). The wife of the founder of Stonyfield Yogurt offers a practical guide to surviving the emotional and logistical ups and downs of building a business while trying to live a fulfilling family life.

Luxembourg as an Immigration Success Story by Joel S. Fetzer '88 (Lexington). Drawing on interviews with government officials, human rights activists, scholars, and immigrants, a professor of political science at Pepperdine University analyzes why Luxembourg's immigration policies work, while the policies of other European Union countries falter.

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