Author Archives: Katherine Greenwood

Tiger of the Week: Amy Madden ’75

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Amy Madden ’75 (Photo: Courtesy Amy Madden)
Amy Madden ’75 always has loved music. She played flute, guitar, and sang in bands. One day when a friend handed her a bass for the first time, she felt a strong connection. “I just felt like I was in love. It’s like I was home — I can’t even explain it,” says Madden.
 
About 30 at the time, she had put music on the back burner for about 10 years — during which time she had worked in the art world and done other things. But the instrument drew her in. She didn’t want to put it down. She taught herself, practiced, and auditioned for a band. “I was so bad,” she says, but she got the gig.
 
Since then she’s played in many different kinds of bands — from blues and rock to alternative indie and performed with artists including John Lee Hooker and Johnny Winter. For her work in the blues world, she was inducted into the New York City Blues Hall of Fame August 19.
 
A blues and rock bassist and songwriter, Madden says she was more of a “rock girl” when she started in the ’80s – and played at CBGB in New York. She headed to England for a while and recorded her EP Minor Disturbances. Eventually, she returned to New York. Today she regularly plays in a blues band with Jon Paris at B.B. King Blues Club. She also performs with Alan Merrill’s electric trio and other bands.
 

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Bogle ’51 on long-term investing vs. short-term speculation

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John Bogle ’51 (Photo: Ricardo Barros)

New book: The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation, By John C. Bogle ’51 (Wiley)

 
The author: The founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group of mutual funds and creator of the first index mutual fund, Bogle is president of Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. In 1999 Fortune magazine named him one of the four “investment giants” of the 20th century, and in 2004 Time magazine named him one of “the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people.”
 
The book: After 60 years in the financial field, the author sounds an alarm on what he sees as the change in culture from a focus on long-term investment in financial markets to a culture of short-term speculation — which, he argues, benefits financial sector insiders at the expense of their clients. He looks at the mutual fund industry, proposes the establishment of a “federal standard of fiduciary duty that places the interests of fund shareholders first,” and recommends fixes to America’s retirement system. Bogle concludes his book with 10 rules for successful investing.
 

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Penick ’67 explores the 15th-century Chinese court

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Douglas Penick ’67 (Photo: Bill Oliver)

New book: Journey of the North Star, by Douglas Penick ’67 (Publerati)

 
The author: Penick has had a wide-ranging career. He’s been a research associate at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a chef, and has taught on Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian religion, history, and culture. In addition, he’s written libretti for two operas; short fiction, essays, and poetry; and three books deriving from the epic cycle on the life of the central Asian warrior hero, King Gesar of Ling: Crossings on a Bridge of Light, Warrior Song of King Gesar, and The Brilliance of Naked Mind.
 
The book: In this historical novel set 700 years ago, the Chinese emperor’s eunuch slave, Ma Yun, records the reign of the emperor, Yong Le, who helped return China to world power after years of decay. Narrated by the slave, the novel also is the story of two men in different positions in life who come to share a single goal. (The book is available in e-book format.)
 

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Durst ’96 writes epic romantic adventure for teens

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Sarah Beth Durst ’96 (Photo: Courtesy Sarah Beth Durst ’96)

New book: Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst ’96 (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books)

 
The author: Durst, who writes fantasy novels for teens, called her latest book a sweeping, romantic epic adventure. “As a kid, I used to routinely check my closet for an entrance to Narnia. Vessel is my plunging into that closet and bursting out the other side into a land of sun and sand,” she wrote on her blog. Durst also is the author of Enchanted Ivy, which is set at Princeton during Reunions, Ice, Into the Wild, Out of the Wild, and Drink, Slay, Love — about a vampire girl gone good.
 
The book: Liyana’s destiny is to sacrifice herself so that a goddess can inhabit her body. But when the goddess never comes, she is ostracized by her people. In the desert, she meets a god of another clan and together they search for other “vessels” whose gods never came to inhabit them.
 

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Isleib ’75 releases second food critic mystery

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Roberta Isleib ’75 (Photo: Ruthanna Terrerri)

New book: Death in Four Courses, by Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib ’75) (Obsidian)

 
The author: A clinical psychologist turned murder-mystery writer, Roberta Isleib has written a golf mystery series — featuring a professional golfer and a sports psychologist — and an advice column mystery series — featuring an advice columnist and a psychologist. Working under the pen name Lucy Burdettte, Isleib launched a food-critic mystery series earlier this year with An Appetite for Murder and recently has come out with the second installment.
 
The book: Hayley Snow, a food critic for Key Zest, a style magazine in Key West, Fla., is assigned to write about a food-writing seminar. With her visiting mother in tow, she heads to the event. Soon after the keynote speaker, a well-known restaurant critic, delivers his speech, Hayley finds him dead in a reflecting pool. The police question Hayley, who sets out to find out what happened.
 

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Johnson ’75 pens legal thriller

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Todd Johnson ’75 (Photo: Courtesy Bethany House)

New book: The Deposit Slip, by Todd M. Johnson ’75 (Bethany House)

 
The author: A trial lawyer, Johnson has been an adjunct professor of international law and served as a U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong. His debut novel was inspired by a real case from the 1990s in which a deposit slip was discovered after a farmer in rural Minnesota died.
 
The book: As the main character, Erin Larson, cleans out her recently deceased father’s safe-deposit box, she finds photos and papers, including a deposit slip for $10.3 million dated about three years ago. The bank says it has no record of the funds. Eventually she hires lawyer Jared Neaton to help her get to the truth.
 

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Kitamura ’99 explores a family saga in a colonial time

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Katie Kitamura ’99 (Photo: Hari Kunzru)

New book: Gone to the Forest, by Katie Kitamura ’99 (Free Press)

 
The author: Katie Kitamura’s first novel, The Longshot, described the brutal world of mixed martial arts, known as “ultimate fighting,” and was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, and The Guardian. She is a regular contributor to Frieze.
 
The book: The story is set in the 20th century in an unnamed colonial country. Tom, whose mother has died, and his controlling father live on the family farm with servants. When Carine, a young woman, arrives, she is caught between father and son. The story explores family tension and the political situation of a country close to civil war. Kitamura said in a press release that she wanted to examine the legacy of colonialism and “the exclusion of women from a predominantly male world.”
 

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New book on the first U.S. Olympic team features Princeton athletes

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New book: Igniting the Flame: America’s First Olympic Team, by Jim Reisler (Lyons Press)

 
The book: Four of the 14 members of the first U.S. Olympic team were Princeton students: Robert Garrett 1897 won the discus and shot put, was runner-up in the long jump and third in the high jump; Albert Tyler 1897 was runner-up in the pole vault; Herbert Jamison 1897 was runner-up in the 400 meters; and Francis Lane 1897 competed in the 100 meters. William Sloane, a Princeton classics professor, was influential in establishing the team. Igniting the Flame tells the story of the Princetonians’ role in the inaugural modern Games in 1896. Another Princeton connection: Keith Wallman ’00, an editor at Lyons Press, acquired and edited this book.
 
From the book: “Equally remarkable was that the man most responsible for putting the team together — one William Mulligan Sloane — was noted more for scholarship than for athletics. And yet Sloane, the eminent Princeton University historian, had been a tour de force in building the U.S. team. As the American representative of an international committee appointed by the French nobleman Baron Pierre de Coubertin to revive the ancient Greek games, Sloane had worked for two years to assemble a U.S. Olympic team. Overlooked and belittled by U.S. amateur sports officials who showed no interest in the Olympics, Sloane had soldiered on, determined to find a way to get his small band of athletes to Athens.”
 
Review: “Reisler weaves a handful of narrative threads: the story of the resurrection of the Olympic Games, and of the men who accomplished it; the primitive means of travel and lodging; the stories of the individual American athletes and accounts of the events; and some whatever-happened-to-those-guys follow-up,” wrote Kirkus Reviews. Reisler “skillfully records the cries and struggles attending a nearly miraculous rebirth.”

On tour in Edinburgh

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Lily Gold ’14 and Izzy Kasdin ’14 (Photo Courtesy Izzy Kasdin ’14 and Lily Gold ’14)

A group of students from the student-run musical theater organization Princeton University Players is taking a show on the road – to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Izzy Kasdin ’14 and Lily Gold ’14 are co-directing Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s dark and witty musical Assassins Aug. 20-25. Assassins deals with nine individuals who either killed United States presidents or tried to and failed.

 
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe attracted some 21,000 performers last year who staged about 2,500 productions in and around the city. Kasdin and Gold will travel to Scotland with a cast of 10, plus musical director Luke Massa ’13 and technical director Ariceli Alfaro ’13.
 
It took the co-directors months to decide which show to take on tour. “It had to be something that would play well internationally and also would fit the fringe idea of being able to be performed anywhere,” said Gold.
 

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De Jonge ’77 pens another crime novel

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Peter de Jonge ’77 (Photo: Daina Zivarts)

New book: Buried on Avenue B, by Peter de Jonge ’77 (HarperCollins)

 
The author: A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and a former reporter for the Associated Press, de Jonge co-authored three books with bestselling author James Patterson, including Beach Road (2003) and The Beach House (2006). Three years ago, he made his solo novel debut with Shadows Still Remain, which was a Washington Post Book of the Year in 2009.
 
The book: The main character in his first solo novel, the feisty New York homicide detective Darlene O’Hara, takes center stage again. While following up on a tip that an Alzheimer’s patient has confessed to murdering his partner and burying the body 17 years ago, O’Hara convinces her boss to allow her to have the garden where the victim is supposedly buried excavated. But in doing so the NYPD stumbles on another corpse — that of a 10-year-old boy. The discovery leads O’Hara on a path to find the boy’s killer
 

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Goldsmith ’59 offers churches ideas on facing death

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Dale Goldsmith ’59 (Photo: Courtesy Brazos Press)

New book: Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church’s Voice in the Face of Death, by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith ’59, and Joy V. Goldsmith (Brazos Press)

 
The author: Dale Goldsmith, who majored in religion at Princeton, was a professor of philosophy and religion at McPherson College in Kansas and a professor of Biblical languages and literature at the Baptist Seminary of Mexico. A former pastor, he also wrote New Testament Ethics. Goldsmith decided to write this book after seeing how the death of his daughter Janet, a pastor, was handled in her congregation and determining that churches should talk more openly about dying.
 
The book: The coauthors, who examine how 10 congregations faced the deaths of their pastors, argue that churches are not adequately serving the dying and their families, while the church has “outsourced the management of dying to institutions other than itself.” The coauthors offer ideas on how “the church can help its members die well,” by drawing on theological resources and faith. And they discuss how to talk to a dying person.
 

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Weiner ’91 sets novel in the entertainment world

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Jennifer Weiner ’91 (Photo: Andrea Cipriani Mecchi)

New book: The Next Big Thing, by Jennifer Weiner ’91 (Atria)

 
The author: Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner has written Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a film, and Then Came You, among other novels. For her latest story, she drew on her experience as co-creator and co-executive producer of the ABC Family sitcom State of Georgia, which aired last summer.
 
The book: The main character, Ruth Saunders, is a single woman who heads to Los Angeles with her grandmother to realize her dream of becoming a screenwriter in Hollywood. The story follows Saunders, whose parents died in a car accident when she was 3, as she aims to see her sitcom, “The Next Big Thing,” become reality.
 

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Tigers of the Week: Aili McConnon ’02 and Andres McConnon ’05

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Andres ’05 and Aili McConnon ’ 02 (Photo: Helen Tansey)

The 99th Tour de France is under way, and Aili ’02 and Andres McConnon ’05 have a special interest in the race and in one two-time winner in particular. Ten years ago, Andres read about Gino Bartali, who had won in 1938 at age 24 and again 10 years later. The Italian sports legend piqued Andres’ interest and led the brother and sister to wonder what happened to Bartali in that intervening decade.

 
Aili found a short Italian news story online that described how Bartali had helped Jews in Italy during World War II. The McConnons learned that Bartali had been not only a sports underdog, but also a secret war hero who had sheltered a Jewish family and carried in the frame of his bicycle false identity documents for Jews in Italy.
 

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Aspire, Annual Giving break records

Princeton’s five-year Aspire campaign concluded June 30 after raising a record-breaking $1.88 billion and surpassing the goal of $1.75 billion. More than 65,000 donors contributed, including 77 percent of all undergraduate alumni.

 
The campaign was bolstered by contributions to Annual Giving in the final year, which also set a new record: $57.2 million contributed by more than 36,000 alumni. The Class of 1987 gave $11,001,987, an all-time high. Eight other classes raised more than $1 million: 1952, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1992, and 1997. Graduate alumni topped $1 million for the eighth consecutive year, and Princeton parents surpassed $3 million for the first time.
 
Contributions to Aspire helped fund several major projects, including the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the renovation of Butler College, and the construction of new athletic facilities and a bridge spanning Washington Road. They also support undergraduate financial aid, graduate fellowships, new professorships, and the bridge-year program for incoming freshmen.
 
President Tilghman said in a statement that the Aspire campaign “has reinforced our traditional strengths while allowing us to break new ground.”

Miller ’95 pens debut novel

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Emily Jeanne Miller ’95 (Photo: Eliza Truitt)

New book: Brand New Human Being, by Emily Jeanne Miller ’95 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

 
The author: A religion major at Princeton, Miller has taught creative writing and literature at George Washington University and National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. Her short fiction has been published in the North American Review and The Portland Review. A former journalist in California and the Rocky Mountains, she earned a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Florida.
 
The plot: In her debut novel, Miller explores marriage and family. The narrator of this story set in Montana is 36-year-old Logan Pyle, a stay-at-home dad. His wife, a lawyer, seems distracted and their four-year old son is “regressing” — using a bottle, sucking his thumb, and wanting to wear a diaper some days. At a party Pyle sees his wife kissing another man and decides to leave with his son. Eventually they end up at his late father’s cabin, where his father’s widow lives.
 

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Janney ’70 explores the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer

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Peter Janney ’70 (Photo: Courtesy Peter Janney ’70)

New book: Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, by Peter Janney ’70 (Skyhorse Publishing)

 
The author: A clinical psychologist and consultant in Massachusetts, Peter Janney grew up in Washington, D.C. His father, Wistar Janney ’41, was a senior career CIA official.  The Janneys regularly socialized with the Meyer family as well as a number of other Washington dignitaries. Peter Janney had been best friends with Michael Meyer, the son of Mary and Cord Meyer, when Michael was accidentally hit and killed by a car in 1956. Janney spent more than 30 years researching this story.
 
The book: In this controversial book that explores the life and death of Mary Pinchot Meyer — who had been romantically involved with President Kennedy — the author argues that the CIA masterminded Meyer’s death on Oct. 12, 1964, when she was murdered on the canal towpath adjacent to Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood. Meyer had researched what had taken place on Nov. 22, 1963, Janney writes, and concluded that the CIA had orchestrated Kennedy’s assassination. With the publication of the Warren Commission’s report in late September of 1964, he argues, Meyer realized that a second conspiracy involving a cover-up was taking place, and had decided to go public. Janney also writes that his own father, Wistar Janney ’41, participated in the conspiracy to murder Meyer.
 

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Briggs ’96 explains space to kids

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Amy Briggs ’96 (Photo: Kathleen Connerton)

New book: Angry Birds Space: A Furious Flight Into the Final Frontier, by Amy Briggs ’96, foreword by Peter Vesterbacka (National Geographic Society)

 
The author: An editor at the National Geographic Society, Amy Briggs specializes in books on space, animals, and weird facts about the world. An Angry Birds game enthusiast, she has written her first book, which is a companion to the new Angry Birds Space game (angrybirds.com/space) but can be read independently. Briggs also is a former contributor to the humorous Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series, which includes short sections on history, sports, jokes, trivia, and more.
 
The book: In this book for children, space pigs have stolen the Angry Birds’ eggs. The book takes readers through four levels of space as the birds search for their eggs. Young readers learn about the solar system, planets, the Milky Way, stars, and galaxies. On the colorful pages are “astrofacts” – such as “In 1908, an asteroid blew up in the sky over Tunguska, Siberia, with the force of 185 atomic bombs.”
 

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Perlow ’89 shows workers how to disconnect

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Leslie Perlow ’89 (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva/Courtesy Harvard Business Review Press)

New book: Sleeping With Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work, by Leslie Perlow ’89 (Harvard Business Review Press)

 
The author: A professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, Perlow aims to look at ways that organizations can change their work practices to improve productivity and the well-being of employees. She has written two other books: Finding Time: How Corporations, Individuals and Families Can Benefit from New Work Practices and When You Say Yes But Mean No: How Silencing Conflict Wrecks Relationships and Companies … and What You Can Do About It.
 
The book: Perlow argues that workers can disconnect from being on 24/7 — get a break from work responsibilities and checking their electronic devices — and, as a result, work more efficiently and achieve a better work-life balance. The key, she says, is that individuals can’t disconnect alone — they must do it with their teams. Perlow examines an experiment at the Boston Consulting Group in which teams of employees set aside “predictable time off” each week and discussed their progress toward that goal. The second part of the book provides a guide for other organizations to do the same thing.
 

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Menotti ’95 helps young children understand large numbers

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Andrea Menotti ’95 (Photo: Courtesy Andrea Menotti)

New book: How Many Jelly Beans? A Giant Book of Giant Numbers!, by Andrea Menotti ’95, illustrated by Yancey Labat (Chronicle Books)

 
The author: A children’s book editor and writer who worked for Scholastic and Chronicle Books, Menotti spent a few years as a teacher in the New York City public schools. For the past two years, she has been working on an M.B.A. at Cornell. Menotti is married to the book’s illustrator. After reading her book, she hopes “children come away with a very concrete idea of what a million is, and more familiarity with other large numbers, like hundreds of thousands.”
 
The book: This large picture book for children 3-years-old to 8 features Emma and her brother Aiden who talk about how many jelly beans they would like to eat. Emma starts out with a small number – 10 – but the number grows, eventually to a million – which is dramatically illustrated on a large foldout page at the end of the book.
 

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Tiger of the Week: Ellen Frankel *78

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Ellen Frankel *78 (Photo: Courtesy Ellen Frankel)

An author and former head of a publishing company, Ellen Frankel *78 got involved in writing for music “somewhat by accident,” she says.

 
A Philadelphia composer, Andrea Clearfield, set some of the text from Frankel’s book The Five Books of Miriam to music for an oratorio that celebrates women from the Old Testament and asked Frankel to write a new piece on Hannah for the oratorio. (The oratorio, Women of Valor, premiered in 2000.). Frankel’s collaboration with Clearfield led to other work and eventually to Frankel’s meeting the artistic director of an opera company in Philadelphia, who mentioned that he had read a book that he thought would make a great opera if he could find someone to write the libretto.
 
Frankel offered to take a crack at writing it. Inspired by real events, the opera tells the story of a white supremacist who transforms his life, thanks to a rabbi and his wife. The world premiere of Slaying the Dragon runs June 7 and 9 at the Prince Music Theater and June 14, 16, and 17 at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
 

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Weinstein ’94 pens a parody for parents

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Jacob Sager Weinstein ’94 (Photo: Courtesy Andrews McMeel Publishing)

New book: How Not to Kill Your Baby: A Slightly Useless Guide, by Jacob Sager Weinstein ’94 (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

 
The author: Weinstein has written for The New Yorker, The Onion, HBO, and the BBC. The author of three previous books, he has been nominated for two Writer’s Guild of America Awards and won one for his work on Dennis Miller Live. “When my wife, Lauren Sager Weinstein ’95, was pregnant with our daughter, I read a bunch of pregnancy and parenting books, and I got angry,” he told PAW. “Many of those books seem designed to terrify parents about all the horrible things that can go wrong if they don’t follow the author’s advice exactly. If I were a serious writer, I’d probably have written a Big Serious Response to those books. But I’m a comedy writer. … So I wrote a parody instead.”
 
The book: In this tongue-in-cheek manual, Weinstein offers lots of laughs and advice on everything from when to get pregnant (“exactly on your 20th birthday”) to taking your baby out (“strip your baby naked and apply sunscreen to every crevice of his body”) to choosing a nursery school: “Make sure to visit first, and ask the teachers about their educational philosophies. Then ask about their criminal records. If they insist they have none, you may need to keep asking, perhaps while shining a bright light in their face. Also, take their fingerprints, then follow them home from a discreet distance and go through their trash."
 

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Rogers ’88 offers tips for low-carbon living

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John Rogers ’88 (Photo: Courtesy Union of Concerned Scientists)

New book: Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living, by John Rogers ’88, Seth Shulman, Jeff Deyette, Brenda Ekwurzel, David Friedman, Margaret Mellon, and Suzanne Shaw (Island Press)

 
The author: A senior energy analyst with the Climate and Energy Program of the nonprofit organization Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Mass., Rogers is an expert on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the connection between energy generation and water consumption. To reduce his carbon footprint, he switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs; replaced his old, inefficient furnace and air conditioner with top-efficiency models; got rid of an inefficient water heater for a solar water heating system and an on-demand heater; and made changes to better seal his house with improved windows and more insulation.
 
The book: Rogers and his colleagues from the Union of Concerned Scientists provide actions individuals can take to reduce their carbon emissions. The three things that matter most, says Rogers, are “what and how you drive, how you use energy at home, and what you eat (specifically, how much red meat).” The book’s recommendations, the authors write, “won’t just lower your emissions of carbon dioxide; they can also improve the quality of your life, save you money and time, and even improve your health.”
 

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Crano ’64 offers advice on influencing others

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William D. Crano ’64 (Photo: Mathieu Young Photography)

New book: The Rules of Influence: Winning When You’re in the Minority, by William D. Crano ’64 (St. Martin’s Press)

 
The author: A psychology professor at Claremont Graduate University, Crano is an expert in the field of social influence — particularly the impact minorities have on the beliefs and actions of the majority. He also researches drug prevention and recently was named by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to serve on a committee that will develop global drug-prevention standards.
 
The book: The author looks at how the “weak influence the strong [and] how the minority changes the majority” and provides guidance for persuading other people of your opinion when you don’t have the power in a relationship. Crano outlines “rules of influence” — including the need to be persistent, consistent, unanimous, and flexible — that will “help you win when you don’t control the game.”
 

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Treuer ’91 answers questions about Indians

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Anton Treuer ’91 (Photo: Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society Press)
New book: Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, by Anton Treuer ’91 (Borealis Books)

 
Author: An Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist, Anton Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation in Minnesota. A professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, he is the editor of the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language, Oshkaabewis Native Journal, and has written books on Ojibwe history and language. Treuer, who calls himself an “ambassador for my people,” has given hundreds of public lectures; this book emerged from the question and answer sessions that followed his presentations.
 
The book: In a question-and-answer format, Treuer provides answers to more than 120 questions — including What is a powwow? What is Indian religion? and How come 50 percent of Indians are flunking their state-mandated tests in English and math? — that he hopes will help readers better understand Indian history and culture.
 

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Wallach ’80 writes memoir on dating

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Van Wallach ’80 (Photo: Courtesy Coffeetown Press)
New book: A Kosher Dating Odyssey: One Former Texas Baptist’s Quest for a Naughty & Nice Jewish Girl, by Van Wallach ’80 (Coffeetown Press)
 
The author: A native of Mission, Texas, Van Wallach is a journalist living in Connecticut whose work has appeared in Advertising Age, The New York Post, Newsday, and The Hollywood Reporter. A PAW contributor since 1993, Wallach says that his memoir, A Kosher Dating Odyssey, was inspired in part by his 2004 PAW essay, “Technology drives the heart afield.”
 
The book: Raised a Southern Baptist, Wallach slowly began to question his beliefs and was drawn to his parents’ Jewish heritage and later to the women who embodied it. In this humorous memoir that explores the search for faith and love, he looks at the challenges of dating as an ex-Baptist Jewish intellectual single man.
 
Opening lines: “I wear a chai — the Jewish letter symbolizing life — around my neck. I’ve studied Hebrew and Yiddish and have visited Israel. I subscribe to Jewish newspapers. … Reading my religious résumé, you would never guess that I began my spiritual journey as a New Testament-reading, hell-fearing member of the First Baptist Church of Mission, Texas. How the heck, so to speak, did that happen? And how did I return to Judaism, which decades later led me to the whirling world of Jewish online dating?”
 

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Brock *75 offers solutions to economic crises

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H. Woody Brock *75 (Photo: Mary Ryan)

New book: American Gridlock: Why the Right and Left Are Both Wrong, Commonsense 101 Solutions to the Economic Crises, by H. Woody Brock *75 (John Wiley & Sons)

 
The author: H. Woody Brock is the founder and president of Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic think tank that provides economic and financial market analysis to financial institutions, corporations, and investors. Brock, who earned a Ph.D. in politics studying mathematical economics and political philosophy at Princeton, is a public speaker and has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.
 
The book: The author examines how the United States can address its economic problems and looks at five challenges — including the entitlements crisis, the risk of financial market meltdowns, and the “need to learn how to bargain effectively with thugocracies” (China). “Resolving them,” he writes, “is fundamental to the nation’s future.” He also argues that deductive logic (instead of ideologically driven data-analysis) can change the way people think about these issues and lead to new win-win solutions that cross the Left-Right ideological divide.
 

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McGuire ’76 pens a poetry collection

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Dawn McGuire ’76 (Photo: Kristen Lara Getchell)

New book: The Aphasia Café, by Dawn McGuire ’76 (IF SF Publishing)

 
The author: A neurologist and a poet, McGuire has written two other collections of poetry, Sleeping in Africa and Hands On. An adjunct professor of neurology at the Neurosciences Institute of Morehouse School of Medicine, she researches minority health disparities in stroke and dementia. For years she has treated people with aphasia, a disorder that is caused by stroke, brain tumors, dementia, and other illnesses and leaves many people unable to speak or express their thoughts.
 
The book: Her latest collection of about 50 poems was inspired by her aphasia patients. Some of these poems aim to examine what happens to identity when people struggle with this disorder. But McGuire also explores the “everyday aphasias we all share: the ways we often can’t say what we mean, or mean what we say, or understand what others are trying to tell us; how we sometimes cry out in frustrated curses, or babble on and on despite the cluelessness of the Other.”
 

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Ladin *00 shares her journey from a man to a woman

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New book: Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, by Joy Ladin *00 (University of Wisconsin Press)

 
The author: A poet, Joy Ladin is the David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. When in 2008 she returned to teach literature at Yeshiva University as a woman, after years teaching as a man, she made headlines. Ladin, who was Jay Ladin at Princeton, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution.
 
The book: In this memoir, Ladin shares her journey from living as a man to becoming a woman. She describes the pain of living as a man and wrestles with moral, spiritual, and philosophical questions of gender transition. “My gender identity crisis had destroyed my marriage, shattered my family, and turned me into an unwelcome stranger in my own home. … My children were grief stricken, angry, and baffled by the double blow of losing their happy family and the strange transformation of the father they loved,” writes Ladin.

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Mundy ’82 looks at the rise of female breadwinners

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Liza Mundy ’82 (Photo: Sam Kittner)

New book: The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners is Transforming Sex, Love, and Family, by Liza Mundy ’82 (Simon & Schuster)

 
The author: A staff writer at The Washington Post, Mundy also is the author of Michelle: A Biography — about First Lady Michelle Obama ’85 — and Everything Conceivable: How the Science of Assisted Reproduction is Changing Our World. With her latest book – which was the subject of a Time magazine cover story among other press buzz — she turns to the changing roles of men and women.
 
The book: In the coming decades, writes Mundy, “women, not men, will become the top earners in households.” In The Richer Sex, she examines how this “big flip” will change the workplace, dating, marriage, and home life. Drawing on interviews with men and women, she looks at how they already are dealing with women’s increased economic power and she makes predictions for the future. Men, she writes, “will rapidly adjust to the new state of affairs” and “we will see more and more men attracted to high-earning, dynamic, and successful women.” And women, she adds, “will change the way they look at men and what traits they find desirable in a mate.”
 

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Park ’51 examines film noir

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New book: What Is Film Noir?, by William Park ’51 (Bucknell University Press)

 
The author: William Park taught at Hamilton College, Columbia, and for 38 years at Sarah Lawrence College, where he co-founded the film program. His articles on film have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Velvet Light Trap, and The Journal of Popular Film. The co-editor of The College Anthology of English and American Poetry, he also is the author of The Idea of Rococo and Hollywood: An Epic Production — which “takes the reader on a poetic romp through Hollywood’s razzle-dazzle history,” wrote director Jon Avnet.
 
The book: Film scholars and film critics don’t agree on “what exactly” film noir is, writes Park in his study of the film category. “Some consider film noir a genre; others think it a style.” Park argues that this confusion stems from the fact that film noir is both a genre and a period style, and therefore unique in the history of Hollywood. In his book (which includes images from films), Park examines the various theories of film noir, defines the genre, and explains how film noir relates to the style and the period in which it was created.
 

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