Alum Authors 2023

 

The 2023 Alum Authors Celebration took place during Reunion Weekend on Saturday, May 27.  Alums from reunion classes who've published new books within the past five years, pictured above, spoke about their work.

 

Tales of the Romanov Empire

Tales of the Romanov Empire
$12.75

by Tamar Anolic '03


 

Tales of the Romanov Empire was short listed for the Goethe Book Awards for Late Historical Fiction! It was also Long listed for the Historical Fiction Company's Book of the Year Awards.

"Tales of the Romanov Empire is an impressive historical epic novel that chronicles slightly over 300 years of Russian history in short vignette chapters... Anolic's prose is polished, elaborate, and gorgeously descriptive overall.... Tales of the Romanov Empire is a bold, innovative project that compellingly overviews more obscure history, like manipulative bride shows, alongside more well-known material like Russia's dealings with Napoleon. Anolic also has a real knack for imaginative reveals and inserting surprisingly timely elements into the narrative." -The BookLife Prize

"Each tale, or vignette, is done in a clever way, with rich, enticing prose which sweeps a reader into the effluent and sometimes turbulent world of Russian nobility... This book is very educational, giving slices of the Romanov's lives and leading a reader by the hand through time without the passage of time feeling jarring or unsatisfying as each story closes and a new one begins. Rather, you are intrigued to do a little research on your own to look further into the different episodes, and Ms Anolic's skill as a researcher shines forth in the way she combines the history with the storytelling with such ease. Along with some wonderful scene setting... for this enjoyable read, Ms. Anolic's book takes us on a wintry journey into the Russian past and soul." -The Historical Fiction Book Company's review

Stories you've never heard about the Romanovs....

Tales of the Romanov Empire is a novel in short stories that examines one of history's most successful dynasties. The Romanovs were Russia's absolute monarchs from 1613 until 1917. Yet, beyond the glittering wealth and tragic love story of Nicholas and Alexandra, much of the dynasty remains shrouded in mystery.

Tales of The Romanov Empire sheds light on the Romanovs' unknown figures, from the election of Mikhail Feodorovich, the first Romanov tsar, to the bride shows that were staged to help Tsar Alexei find a wife. Grand Duke Konstantin, the Romanovs' famous poet, comes to life as he and his favorite cousin, Grand Duke Sergei, examine their ideals and their sexuality in a world that is hostile to them. All the while, as the empire's Jews struggle amidst the Romanovs' pogroms, many make the decision to flee to the freedom of the United States- these stories in particular are based on the author's own family history.

This novel contains stories of war, stories of personal gifts and choices bent to an autocratic ideal. In their telling, the vast human cost of absolute power- on both the oppressors and on the oppressed- becomes clear.

ISBN/SKU: 
9798779580656
Publication Date: 
January 21, 2022
Author: 

Two Sisters of Fayetteville

Two Sisters of Fayetteville
$11.38

by Tamar Anolic '03


 

A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Two Sisters of Fayetteville has been short listed for the 2023 Dante Rossetti Awards for YA Fiction. It also won Honorable Mention for Young Adult Fiction in the Firebird Book Awards for Fourth Quarter, 2022.

Seventeen-year-old Joanna Upshaw and her sister, sixteen-year-old Hannah, are two of twelve siblings in an insular, conservative, and evangelical Christian family- same as the Duggars, whose reality show they watch on TV. Joanna in particular is exhausted by the demands of helping her mother with the housework and childcare attendant in such a large family. She is also beginning to realize that she doesn't measure up to her parents' vision of a perfect Christian woman- or to any of their strict rules.

Hannah is the sister that Joanna is closest to, the one that shares her fatigue and anxiety. Both of them have spent their whole lives learning that their highest calling is to marry and have as many children as possible. However, as Joanna watches Hannah and two of their brothers court with the intention of marrying, she questions whether she is capable of doing the same, especially as her parents shoo her marriage prospects away one at a time. Afraid of becoming the old maid that never amounts to anything, Joanna finally makes plans to get away from her parents forever.

Fans of Jennifer Mathieu's Devoted and Julia Watts' Quiver will like this book.

ISBN/SKU: 
9798849876559
Publication Date: 
September 30, 2022
Author: 

Can College Level the Playing Field?

Can College Level the Playing Field?
$29.95

by Sandy Baum BMC '72

Why higher education is not a silver bullet for eradicating economic inequality and social injustice

We often think that a college degree will open doors to opportunity regardless of one's background or upbringing. In this eye-opening book, two of today's leading economists argue that higher education alone cannot overcome the lasting effects of inequality that continue to plague us, and offer sensible solutions for building a more just and equitable society.

Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson document the starkly different educational and social environments in which children of different races and economic backgrounds grow up, and explain why social equity requires sustained efforts to provide the broadest possible access to high-quality early childhood and K-12 education. They dismiss panaceas like eliminating college tuition and replacing the classroom experience with online education, revealing why they fail to provide better education for those who need it most, and discuss how wages in our dysfunctional labor market are sharply skewed toward the highly educated. Baum and McPherson argue that greater investment in the postsecondary institutions that educate most low-income and marginalized students will have a bigger impact than just getting more students from these backgrounds into the most prestigious colleges and universities.

While the need for reform extends far beyond our colleges and universities, there is much that both academic and government leaders can do to mitigate the worst consequences of America's deeply seated inequalities. This book shows how we can address the root causes of social injustice and level the playing field for students and families before, during, and after college.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780691171807
Publication Date: 
May 17, 2022

Recognize and Give Thanks

$17.95

by Marcia Cantarella '68

 


My grandkids - - on both sides of my family both Black and White - - are the fifth generation to go to college. That makes them essentially unicorns.

I come from a long line of educators, disruptors and change agents.Beginning with my grandfather Whitney Young Sr. who ran a school with a secret college prep curriculum from the 1920s to the 1950s, to his son Whitney Young Jr., my father, who was the architect of the War on Poverty with LBJ, or his sister Arnita who flew planes for the Red Cross during WWII we have been engaged in making change. I have known powerful leaders, black and white who have been change agents and many have been part of our family legacy, and many continue that legacy today. We have had friends and allies from the white community whether serving with the National Urban League for my father or being life partners like my late husband Fancesco Cantarella, a leader in corporate responsibility.
I have had the chance to engage with college students, especially students of color to see them now in key leadership roles themselves. There have been the friends, classmates and allies with whom I have worked and played and who are change agents themselves yet unsung. There are so many that I know, and love and value who have been part of the battle for social good and equity. Yet so many are not recognized, let alone fully thanked for all they do or have done. This is my chance to do that through telling the story of how these people have been an amazing gift in my own life

ISBN/SKU: 
9781597152310

Estate Grown

Estate Grown
$18.49

by Mara Feeney '73


My book is a collection of short stories about how a couple of urban professionals (both BMC alumnae) purchase country land and figure out (on a very steep learning curve) how to engage in agricultural pursuits. With the help of neighbors (and despite the antics of others) they succeed in creating an organic paradise, growing their own olives, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and wine grapes. Over the course of three decades they secure a firm footing in the complex rural community and win a prestigious award for their estate-grown Zinfandel.

This feast for the senses is just the ticket for anyone who has driven through the country and wondered "Gee, what would it be like to leave the city behind, move to a place full of meadows, vineyards, orchards and forests and start growing my own food." The author's innocence optimism and perseverance invite readers to imagine themselves undertaking such an adventure and make it all seem doable. The Fiddletown Stories is escapist literature at its very finest, filled with descriptions of the unique foothills environment and the colorful characters who inhabit it.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780981931968
Publication Date: 
May 2, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

Strip Tees

Strip Tees
$27.99

by Kate Flannery '03


 

Strip Tees is a fever dream of a memoir--Hunter S. Thompson meets Gloria Steinem--about a recent college graduate and what happens when her feminist ideals meet the real world.

At the turn of the new millennium, LA is the place to be. "Hipster" is a new word on the scene. Lauren Conrad is living her Cinderella story in the "Hills" on millions of television sets across the country. Paris Hilton tells us "That's hot" from behind the biggest sunglasses imaginable, while beautiful teenagers fight and fall in love on The O.C.

Into this most glittering of supposed utopias, Kate Flannery arrives with a Seven Sisters diploma in hand and a new job at an upstart clothing company called American Apparel. Kate throws herself into the work, determined to climb the corporate fashion ladder. Having a job at American Apparel also means being a part of the advertising campaigns themselves, stripping down in the name of feminism.
She slowly begins to lose herself in a landscape of rowdy sex-positivity, racy photo shoots, and a cultlike devotion to the unorthodox CEO and founder of the brand. The line between sexual liberation and exploitation quickly grows hazy, leading Kate to question the company's ethics and wrestle with her own.

Strip Tees captures a moment in our recent past that's already sepia toned in nostalgia, and also paints a timeless portrait of a young woman who must choose between what business demands and self-respect requires.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250827289
Publication Date: 
July 18, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

Breathing Technique

Breathing Technique
$15.00

Translated by Sibelan Forrester '83


 

One of Serbia's most important living writers, Marija Knezevic writes poems that often read as narratives, replete with characters, humor, pathos, and unexpected twists. Readers will meet a father and daughter frolicking on a Mediterranean beach during the continuing refugee crisis, or an Inca girl whose world will be destroyed by "milk-colored people," or a beloved worldly heiress who wears men's pajamas. Knezevic also writes more classical lyrics about love, relationships, writing (or the blocks to writing), and an ample range of other topics. Her work fearlessly and frequently addresses current events and social issues, both in urban Belgrade where she lives, and more global concerns.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781938890819
Publication Date: 
November 3, 2020
Author: 
Publisher: 

Everburning Pilot

Everburning Pilot
$20.00

Translated by Sibelan Forrester '83


 

A bilingual edition of Leonid Schwab's poetry with an introduction by Maria Stepanova.

Leonid Schwab is an integral figure for the understanding of Russian contemporary poetry; he's also one of its least conforming members. While remaining singularly unique, Schwab has had a liberating effect on a number of Russophone poets during the past two decades. In his strange poems, elimination of the lyric subject and heightened narrativity unite with masterfully measured lines to create worlds that remain perpetually beguiling.

The verses trace the contours of something along the lines of happiness, they delineate its momentary trajectories, indicate the direction--until a new shift exposes the next, still uninhabited tract of invisible territory. This strange, dazzling, twilit universe--inhabited by bison, electricians, and short circuits--is something like a promise that you cannot not believe: Schwab knows what he's talking about.--Maria Stepanova

Borges tells of imperial cartographers attempting to construct a map of the empire that was the size of the empire. Discolored tatters of the abandoned project still exist in the desert; beggars and animals live in them. He might have been talking about the poetry of Leonid Schwab. Schwab's astonishing semilegible living pictures, poetic tatters of imperial dreams, studies in slowed-down, polyphonic time, remnants of an unwritable, strangely male epic are among the most hauntingly beautiful poems written in Russian today. I love them but I could never set them to music, a composer friend says, 'they are music'--Eugene Ostashevsky

Leonid Schwab is a poet who creates worlds that oscillate between past and present, stillness and passage, mystery and nightmare. His poems travel far and wide, taking the reader on unexpected visits to Chkalov, Hebron, Chicago, Poland, Manchuria, and even the Moon. Schwab's poetry transcends rigid cultural frames and national allegiances by engaging in dynamic experiments with border-crossing, diasporic aesthetics, and homelessness.--Alex Moshkin

Poetry.

ISBN/SKU: 
9798985039603
Publication Date: 
February 20, 2022
Author: 
Publisher: 

Length of Days

Length of Days
$19.95

Translated by Sibelan Forrester '83


 

The Length of Days: An Urban Ballad is set mostly in the composite Donbas city of Z--an uncanny foretelling of what this letter has come to symbolize since February 24, 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Several embedded narratives attributed to an alcoholic chemist-turned-massage therapist give insight into the funny, ironic, or tragic lives of people who remained in the occupied Donbas after Russia's initial aggression in 2014.

With elements of magical realism, Volodymyr Rafeyenko's novel combines a wicked sense of humor with political analysis, philosophy, poetry, and moral interrogation. Witty references to popular culture--Ukrainian and European--underline the international and transnational aspects of Ukrainian literature. The novel ends on the hopeful note that even death cannot have the final word: the resilient inhabitants of Z grow in power through reincarnation.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780674291218
Publication Date: 
February 7, 2023

Times of Mobility

Times of Mobility
$100.00

Edited by Sibelan Forrester '83


 

In an era of increased mobility and globalisation, a fast growing body of writing originates from authors who live in-between languages and cultures. In response to this challenge, transnational perspective offers a new approach to the growing body of cultural texts with an emphasis on experiences of migration, transculturation, bilingualism and (cultural) translation. The introductory analysis and the fifteen essays in this collection critically interrogate complex relations between transnational and translation studies, bringing to this dialogue a much needed gender perspective. Divided into three parts (From Transnational to Translational; Reading Across Borders and Transnational in Translation), they address a range of issues relevant for this debate, from theoretical problems to practical questions of literary criticism and translation, understood as an act of cultural interpretation. The volume mostly deals with contemporary literary and cultural production, but also with classical texts and modernist literature. Its particular quality is a strong (although not exclusive) focus on Central and East European literatures, and more generally on women writers. Its interdisciplinary, transnational and intercultural perspective makes it relevant across disciplinary boundaries, from literary and translation studies to gender studies, cultural studies and migration studies.
ISBN/SKU: 
9789633863299
Publication Date: 
March 19, 2020