Recently in Princeton Authors
September 14, 2010
September 9, 2010
August 31, 2010
New book: Blood and Ice, by Robert Masello ’74 (Bantam Dell)
August 24, 2010
New book: Commuters, by Emily Gray Tedrowe ’95 (Harper Perennial)
The author: Tedrowe, who has published short stories in publications including Other Voices and the Crab Orchard Review, says she can trace her literary accomplishments “directly back to what I learned at McCosh Hall and in Firestone.” The English major came out with her debut novel this summer. The idea for Commuters — which examines the repercussions of a later-in-life marriage — came from an experience she had as a teenager, when her grandmother’s 70-year-old friend got remarried.
The plot: The story opens with the sudden wedding of Winnie Easton, a widowed 78-year-old from the small, upstate town of Hartfield, N.Y., to a wealthy Chicago businessman, Jerry Trevis. His daughter, fearful of losing her inheritance, sues to freeze his assets; Winnie’s daughter, Rachel, has financial troubles and gets a loan from Trevis; and his 22-year-old grandson, Avery, pursues his dream of owning a restaurant thanks to Trevis.
June 24, 2010
New book: Tales of War: Great Stories from Military History for Every Day of the Year, by W.B. Marsh ’58 and Bruce Carrick ’58 (Icon Books Ltd.)
The authors: Drawing on their love of history and a knack for creating snapshots of interesting people and events, ’58 classmates W.B. Marsh and Bruce Carrick have collected vignettes describing episodes in history for several books in a “365” series for the publisher Icon Books. The authors of 365: Your Date With History (2004), which highlights events such as births, deaths, coronations, assassinations, convocations, scandals, battles, and treaties that have occurred on every day of the calendar year sometime in human history, Marsh and Carrick recently completed their latest book focused on military history. Marsh was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in advertising. Carrick served in the U.S. Army and worked in publishing.
The book: For every day of the year, the authors provide the story of a significant or gripping military event or the actions of a great commander or of an unsung hero. Spanning 3,500 years, the book covers about 50 different wars, 250 battles, and 30 sieges. The earliest event featured is a victory by Egypt’s Pharaoh Thutmose III over Canaanite rebels at Megiddo (located in what today is Israel) in 1479 B.C. (May 15). The most recent entry covers the heroic actions of Private Johnson Beharry, the driver of a mini-tank leading a platoon through ambushes in Iraq, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross (June 11). The authors also weave in quotations by commanders and national leaders, from Caesar’s “Veni, vidi, vici” in 47 B.C. (May 21) to Churchill’s 1940 statement: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” (May 13).
New book: Sophie the Awesome, by Lara Bergen ’90 (Scholastic)
The author: A former children’s book editor, Bergen has written many books for kids and tweens, including a number of successful titles in the Candy Apple line. In this first book in a new paperback chapter-book series for children ages 7 to 10, Bergen introduces her young readers to a sweet, spunky third-grade heroine. This is Bergen’s first original series. The second book in the series, Sophie the Hero, will be published in July.
The plot: Sophie Miller’s life seems average. She’s a middle child, lives in a town called Ordinary, has average hair and height, and has finished third in every race she’s entered. She isn’t the tallest, smartest, or funniest. She isn’t even the only “Sophie” in her class. To get over her boring life and become “something that wasn’t boring or average at all,” she determines to find a new name that conveys how special she really is — Sophie the Awesome — and live up to it.
May 20, 2010
New book: Day for Night, by Frederick Reiken ’88 (Little, Brown and Company)
The author: A former reporter and columnist, Reiken directs the graduate writing program at Emerson College. He also wrote the novels The Odd Sea (1998), about a family whose oldest teenage son disappears without a trace, and The Lost Legends of New Jersey (2000), which looks at the emotional and sexual life of a group of teenagers and their parents in Livingston, N.J, where Reiken grew up.
The plot: Reiken’s latest novel follows Beverly Rabinowitz, a New Jersey doctor born in Poland who as a child fled Europe during World War II. She takes a vacation to Florida with her cancer-stricken, marine biologist boyfriend, David, and his son. During that trip a chance encounter leads her to sense that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. That event is one of many that eventually guide her to a startling discovery. Among the cast of disparate yet connected characters are a comatose teenage boy in Utah, an elusive sixties-era fugitive, an FBI agent, and a Massachusetts veterinarian who falls in love on a kibbutz in Israel.
May 11, 2010
New Book: The Liberty Bell, by Gary B. Nash ’55 *64 (Yale University Press)
The author: A professor of history and director of the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA, Gary Nash has written on ethnicity, class, gender, and religion in American history. A native of Philadelphia, he has served as guest historian to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Each summer he leads public school teachers on tours of Philadelphia, helping them bring history alive to their students. He also has written The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America and The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness and the Origins of the American Revolution.
The book: In The Liberty Bell, a history of the American icon and its precarious journey to becoming a symbol of American identity, Nash describes the bell’s origins — how the first one cracked and was recast, the events for which it tolled leading up to the revolution, and how it was hidden during the British occupation of Philadelphia. He explores the bell’s path from being considered useless at one point and as a result was nearly demolished — to its becoming a symbol of liberty that abolitionists seized on in their efforts to end slavery in America.
April 26, 2010
New book: Club Rules, by Andrew Trees ’90 (St. Martin’s Press)
The author: Trees was a history teacher at Horace Mann School in New York City until publication of his first novel, Academy X (2006) — set in an elite private school in New York where the main character, a 30-something single English teacher faced pushy parents, manipulative students, and administrators who engage in unethical behavior to appease wealthy donor-parents — eventually got him fired. His new novel also is set in an upper-crust world: Eden’s Glen, a wealthy Midwestern enclave where life revolves around Lakeshore Country Club. Trees wrote Decoding Love: Why It Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince, and Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction (2009), in which he examines why people fall in love, and The Founding Fathers and the Politics of Character (2004).
The plot: In Eden’s Glen, a world of privilege, the Winthrops stand out as owners of a family bank and hosts of sought-after parties. But position and money doesn’t always buy happiness. Long-married Preston and Anne Winthrop are the town’s golden couple, yet a buried secret emerges one summer, amid tee times and ladies’ lunches, that changes their lives.
March 19, 2010
New book: A User’s Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty, by Dave Goldberg *00 and Jeff Blomquist (Wiley)
The author: A physicist who is interested in the interface between science and pop culture, Goldberg has contributed to Slate.com and appeared on WNYC’s Studio 360 to discuss time travel. An associate professor of physics who studies theoretical and observational cosmology at Drexel University and earned a doctorate in astrophysical sciences at Princeton, Goldberg believes — contrary to its popular reputation — that physics can be fun.
The book: Goldberg and Blomquist, an engineer at Boeing Aerospace, gives nonphysicists an overview of popular physics topics in this accessible, irreverent, and humorous book. They answer questions such as “Are black holes real, or are they just made up by bored physicists?” “How empty is space?” “Where do atoms come from?” and “Is it possible to build a Star Trek-type transporter or a working time machine?”
March 9, 2010
New Book: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis ’82 (W.W. Norton)
The author: Lewis, whose book The Blind Side was made into a movie for which Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award, has written about his experiences as a new father in Home Game and about pro baseball in Moneyball. Twenty years ago he first chronicled the emerging excess of Wall Street in Liar’s Poker, based in part on his own experiences as a young investment banker for Salomon Brothers. His new book, The Big Short, serves as a sequel to Liar’s Poker, exploring the financial meltdown.
The book: Lewis tells the tale of the current global financial collapse through a group of investors who saw the trouble coming, weren’t fooled by the soaring house prices, and bet money on the boom going bust.
February 25, 2010
New book: Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires, by Carol Graham ’84 (Oxford University Press)
The author: Graham has studied poverty, inequality, and political economy in Latin America. Eventually that led her to examine income mobility in Peru and Russia, and to ask respondents how they felt about their movement up or down the income ladder. In 2000 she conducted the first study of happiness in a large sample of developing countries. Her new book reflects the last 10 years of her research. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Graham is the author of numerous books and articles on poverty, inequality, and novel measures of well-being.
The book: In this study of what makes people happy, the author explores how factors such as income, health, education, religious belief, and marital status affect well-being. The study is based on her research in developed and developing countries, ranging from the United States to Afghanistan. Graham discovered surprising consistency in the determinants of happiness across levels of development.