Dickinson's Books of 2015


Check out some of the books alumni and faculty published in 2015

Compiled by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson and Caio Santos Rodrigues ’16

Fiction and Poetry

Living Quarters: Poems
By Adrienne Su, associate professor of English and poet-in-residence
Manic D Press

Adrienne Su uses both the structure of a domestic space and the rhythms of the seasons to seek, but not reliably find, order and consolation in life’s seeming disorder. Relationships dissolve; deaths come too soon; the past vanishes; the earth that gives beautiful and nourishing foods swallows up the creatures for whom it provides. The poems in Living Quarters struggle with that mix of affirmation and destruction, celebrating nature’s generosity while trying to make peace with its cruelty.

Lara’s Shadow
By Alan Fleishman ’61
B. Bennett Press

This compelling piece of historical fiction tells the love story of a Jewish-American Army officer and a German woman caught in post-Holocaust hate. Like the main character in Lara’s Shadow, author Alan Fleishman ’61 is a Jewish American who served in a tank battalion in Germany at the height of the Cold War. The military tensions with the Soviet Union, and the tensions between the American soldiers and their German hosts, provided grist for an intriguing novel. Although his new novel is not autobiographical, he drew heavily on his own experiences. And he credits Carla Seybrecht Skladany ’61 and Allan Sidle ’61 for inspiring him to write this, his third novel.

The Brentwood Anthology by Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange
Co-edited by Michael Wurster ’62 and Judith Robinson
Lummox Press

Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange (PPE) was founded in 1974 by Michael Wurster ’62 and four others as a voluntary association of local poets. Its purpose was to provide services to local poets, especially those outside the “university loop,” including workshops, readings, events and a network for information. The Brentwood Anthology is this first collection of works from members of the PPE, including 22 nationally and regionally known poets. It was named “Best Poetry Anthology for November” by the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Dead of Summer
By Sherry Knowlton ’72
Sunbury Press

In her second book, Sherry Knowlton ’72 returns to south-central Pennsylvania, where young attorney Alexa Williams is starting to recover from last autumn’s trauma of finding a dead body and the violence that ensued. With almost a year gone by, she can’t believe that her summer has begun with the discovery of another body. In a tale that takes her from Pennsylvania to Africa to the iconic Woodstock Music Festival of 1969, Alexa becomes embroiled in the dangerous world of sex trafficking and is entangled in a web of deception and danger that puts both her heart and her life at risk. By the time she discovers that the key to the present lies in the halcyon days of peace and music, it may be too late.

Cop Job 
By Chris Knopf '73 
Permanent Press

In his 13th book, Chris Knopf ’73 returns to Hamptons executive-turned-cabinetmaker Sam Acquillo, the hero who launched his fictional career. Alfie Aldergreen was already living such a marginal life that it’s hard to believe it’s ended. But someone’s taken the trouble to duct-tape the addled, crippled Iraq War vet to his own wheelchair and drown him. Why would anyone have targeted such a harmless victim? Southampton Town Police Chief Ross Semple, who’s usually the first one to warn Sam off homicides on his patch (Black Swan, 2011, etc.), makes it clear he wants Sam’s help this time. And a conference with Suffolk County DA Edith Madison and comely ADA Oksana Quan suggests an obvious reason why: because Alfie is the third confidential police informant to die suddenly. Nor has his death ended the cycle of violence. The rear window of Sam’s 1967 Grand Prix is bashed in to discourage him. His daughter, Allison, is attacked in her Manhattan apartment and left in a coma. Sam’s even hit by a fish truck in what seems to be an unrelated incident. All of these provocations have exactly the effect you’d expect, sending Sam diving ever deeper into the murky waters of past and present felonies.

The Sense of Reckoning
By Matty Dalrymple ’85
William Kingsfield Publishers

The Sense of Reckoning is the sequel to Matty Dalrymple ’85’s first Ann Kinnear suspense novel, The Sense of Death. It examines the effect that having an unusual skill—in Ann’s case, the ability to sense spirits—has on a person, and how that skill puts Ann and the people close to her in jeopardy. When Matty completed her first book, she decided that independent publishing was a far more appealing option than the traditional route, especially with the growing popularity of “indy” in other industries such as film. She chose William Kingsfield Publishers as her imprint in honor of her father, who wrote under that pen name. (Google two of his short stories in Collier’s Weekly: “Tobe” from September 1952 and “Captain’s Counterfeit” from July 1954.) Successful independent publishing meant treating the business side of book creation with the same care as the creative side. Matty recently ventured into audiobook production and speaks to writers’ groups about the independent publishing process.

The Surgeon and the Cowgirl
By Heidi Hormel ’85
Harlequin American Romance

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel ’85 has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and in public relations before settling happily into penning romances. In her first novel picked up by Harlequin American Romance (the second, The Convenient Cowboy, will be available in August), she tells the story of retired rodeo rider Jessie Leigh, who has one more trick to pull: partnering with ex-husband Payson MacCormack to save her ranch. Hope’s Ride offers horse therapy for children, and Payson is a pediatric surgeon at the hospital set to certify the program. Their split wasn’t exactly amicable, but Jessie’s determined to make it work … even if Payson’s presence sends her heart racing. Payson’s career and Jessie’s ranch are depending on each other, but will working together bring the surgeon and the cowgirl closer together, or drive them apart for good?

The Sweetheart Deal
By Polly Sweeny Dugan ’87
Little, Brown and Co.

Following the success of her first book, So Much a Part of You (2014), a linked story collection, Polly Sweeney Dugan ’87 presents her first novel, The Sweetheart Deal, which tells the poignant story of what happens when a woman who thinks she’s lost everything has the chance to love again.

Hard to Let Go
By Laura Croghan Kamoie ’92 (pen name Laura Kaye)

Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet—a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey. A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat  joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights … and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs. Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.

By Jennifer Howard ’94

Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course. Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts. An action-packed romance—now a major motion picture starring Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame.

Bonus pick: Read Madonna Enwe '16's short story, "Where We Are," and learn why it was the winning entry for Dickinson Magazine's summer fiction contest.


Islam in Saudi Arabia
By David Commins, professor of history
Cornell University Press

Saudi Arabia is often portrayed as a country where religious rules dictate every detail of daily life. Yet everyday life in the kingdom does not entirely conform to dogma. In Islam in Saudi Arabia, Commins challenges the stereotype of Saudi Arabia as a country immune to change, places the Wahhabi movement in the wider context of Islamic history and considers Arabia’s heritage of diversity (where Shi’ite and Sufi tendencies predating the Saudi era survive in the face of discrimination) and the effects of its exposure to Western mores.

The U.S.-India Relationship: Cross-Sector Collaboration to Promote Sustainable Development
By Michael Fratantuono, associate professor of international studies, business and management; David Sarcone, associate professor of international business and management; and John D. Colwell
Strategic Studies Institute

There is an increasing need on the part of strategic leaders from all sectors to better understand the factors that contribute to the success of collaborative initiatives. Those insights are relevant to efforts to promote sustainable development, a matter of importance in the context of the U.S.-India strategic relationship. This book is a collection of reflections and transcripts from a March 2013 workshop on that theme, co-hosted by Dickinson and the Strategic Studies Institute. Learn more.

A Very Seductive Body Politic: Silvia Berlusconi in the Cinema
By Nicoletta Marini-Maio, associate professor of Italian and film studies
Mimesis International

Marini-Maio maps the multilayered narratives that the cinema has created on and around Silvio Berlusconi as a powerful means to explore the age of Berlusconismo. Going back to the comedy Italian style sub-genre, which foreshadows the significations converged in Berlusconi before the real figure actually entered the public stage, the discussion spans the proto-Berlusconi everyman of “La piu bella serata della mia vita” (1973) and the decadent caricature of “La caduta dell’impero” (in pre-production). Marini-Maio argues that the Berlusconi of this study is not only the historical persona, but also a pervasive semiotic category in which the history of the country is inscribed.

Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli
By Ted Merwin, associate professor of Judaic studies and director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life
New York University Press

Pastrami on Rye is the first comprehensive history of the Jewish deli. The deli, Merwin argues, reached its full flowering not in the immigrant period, as some might assume, but in the interwar era, when the children of Jewish immigrants celebrated their success in America by downing sandwiches and cheesecake in theater district delis. But it was the kosher deli that followed Jews as they settled in the outer boroughs of New York City, and that became the most tangible symbol of their continuing desire to maintain a connection to their heritage.

The Making and Unmaking of Mediterranean Landscape in Italian Literature: The Case of Liguria
By Tullio Pagano, associate professor of Italian
The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Italian Studies

Pagano's book focuses on literary representations of the northern Italian region of Liguria, whose landscape has been portrayed by internationally known Italian poets and novelists, from Eugenio Montale to Italo Calvino.

Rethinking an Icon: Toussaint Louverture and Caribbean Cultural Production
Edited by Mariana Past, associate professor of Spanish, and Natalie Léger of CUNY-Queens College
Santiago de Cuba: Editorial del Caribe

Past and Léger presented at the Festival del Caribe in July in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Santiago de Cuba.

Musical Witness and Holocaust Representation
By Amy Wlodarski, associate professor of music
Cambridge University Press

Musical Witness and Holocaust Representation is the first comprehensive analysis of secondary witness and representation in Holocaust music. In it, Wlodarski asserts that the composition of a Holocaust representation is a political act that reflects the composer’s understanding of, and relationship to, the Holocaust. By translating history into musical forms and idioms, Wlodarski argues, composers engage with questions of trauma, history, identity and representation.

God and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom of Conscience—An Insider’s Account
By Barry Lynn ’70
Prometheus Books

A central player in every major church-state separation battle for decades, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn ’70 understands the complexities of this divisive issue like few others. As a longtime activist, a civil rights lawyer and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he offers a unique perspective and a wealth of experience on church-state controversies. In this lively book, he has compiled his writings from various sources to explore in depth the ways in which many religious extremists have attempted to erode individual liberties. The topics range from publicly promoted prayer to taxpayer-subsidized vouchers for religious schools, end-of-life and reproductive rights and censorship.

Artichokes & City Chicken: Reflections on Faith, Grief, and My Mother’s Italian Cooking
By Jan Groft ’71
River Grove Books

Years after her mother’s death, author Jan Groft ’71 faces the silence and secrets that separated them. Prompted by a prolonged struggle with writer’s block, she embarks on a journey of listening with the heart. Part memoir, part spiritual guide, Artichokes & City Chicken is a candid and poignant encounter with unresolved grief. Like the recipes of Groft’s mother sprinkled between chapters, the pages of Artichokes & City Chicken offer nourishment as they illuminate paths toward inner peace.

Race and Poverty in the Americas
By Jacob Kim ’87
Cognella Academic Publishing

Race and Poverty in the Americas uses postmodernist deconstruction to present a libertarian understanding of race and poverty and discusses how, in today's world, race is used for profit. It teaches race theory from a humanities perspective to help students understand how race is made and used throughout society. The book also explains how the current state of race relations is conceptualized and suggests alternative ways to protect all minorities, especially the minority of the individual. 

The Color of Sundays: The Secret Strategy that Built the Steelers’ Dynasty
By Andrew Conte ’93 
Blue River Press

Andrew Conte ’93’s second book delves into the moments that shaped Pittsburgh Steelers history, both on the field and in the back room, and led the Steel City to four Super Bowl victories. The Color of Sundays tells the story of how Bill Nunn Jr., Art Rooney and the Steelers front office reshaped the franchise. Bill Nunn Jr.’s strategy was simple: Scout talent where many other teams had failed, and bring in players from the historically black colleges and universities. This period in Steelers history was instrumental in the building of the Steel Curtain defense, as well as the integration of important offensive picks including the future Hall of Famer John Stallworth. Today the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of pro football’s most successful and prestigious franchises, thanks to the Steelers’ front office having its sights squarely focused on the future.

The Fragmentary History of Priscus: Attila, the Huns and the Romans, AD 430-476
By John Given ’94
Arx Publishing

Translated by classics scholar John Given ’94, associate professor and program director of classical studies and vice chair of the faculty of East Carolina University, this new translation of The Fragmentary History of Priscus arranges the fragments in chronological order, complete with intervening historical commentary to preserve the narrative flow. It represents the first translation of this important historical source that is easily approachable for both students and general readers.

Ladies of Letterpress: A Gallery of Prints with 86 Removable Posters
by Kseniya Thomas ’01 and Jessica White
Princeton Architectural Press

Who can resist the tactile charm of letterpress? Not many, judging by its ever-rising popularity among artists and designers working with old-school printing methods. Ladies of Letterpress features the best work of the members of Ladies of Letterpress, an international organization that champions the work of women printers. It includes a wide range of pieces, from greeting cards to broadsides and posters, printed in a variety of type and illustration styles. Each piece is accompanied by details of paper, inks and press used in its printing, as well as a profile of its printer. Whether you’re drawn to elegant greeting cards, humorous note cards, or calendars or posters, you’re sure to find inspiration in this volume. And when you do, there are 86 detachable pages just begging to be pinned up. The book was compiled by the founders of Ladies of Letterpress, Jessica White and Kseniya Thomas ’01, owner of Thomas-Printers, a commercial letterpress and design shop in Carlisle, Pa.

Fresh Made Simple
By Lauren Keiper Stein ’02
Storey Publishing

Fresh Made Simple is a collection of 76 full-page illustrated recipes with ingredients and steps cleverly integrated right into the art. Each recipe is designed around a featured fresh ingredient, from kale to leeks, mango to blueberries, cheddar to eggs, scallions to strawberries. The result is a delicious collection of vegetarian fare for every meal of the day, as well as snacks, dressings and spreads. It also include ideas to pair fish, meat and chicken with some of the dishes. Beginners (even kids!) and good cooks alike will be inspired by combinations such as ginger lemon honey butter, leek corn egg bake, apple manchego salad, kale pesto, fried plantains with avocado feta mash, blueberry & corn pancakes and mango rice salad.

Adventures in Muniland
By Michael Comes ’08, David R. Kotok and John R. Mousseau
Cumberland Advisors

With a perspective that only decades of experience can bring, Adventures in Muniland captures the municipal bond market’s transformation from stodgy to dynamic. This concise yet comprehensive stroll offers an insider’s view, brings the reader right up to today’s discussions and carries the added benefit of providing a clear understanding of what can at times appear to be an opaque marketplace. The Cumberland Advisors team has produced an insightful review for the seasoned professional and a must-read for newcomers and investors.

Learn more

Published December 17, 2015