Walking to the Sun
A Journey through America's Energy Landscapes
Tom Haines, associate professor of English, ForeEdge, Oct. 2018
It was a winter day in 2013 when journalism professor Haines stood in front of his basement furnace and pondered a question that would kick off a four-year journey through America’s fuel landscapes: What was the source of the natural gas that fueled his new propane furnace — and by extension, his well-insulated life? An award-winning journalist and former Boston Globe travel writer, Haines covered hundreds of miles on foot to overcome his own disconnection from America’s energy economy and better under- stand the way we live on Earth in the face of a growing climate crisis. Moving through a North Dakota oil field, Pennsylvania gas country and the open-pit coal mines of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, “Walking to the Sun” starts with a reckoning of today’s fos- sil-focused infrastructure. It then becomes an exploration of tomor- row: exploring renewable energy options along the tidal coast of Maine, on the windswept plains of Texas and in California’s sun- struck desert. Along the way, Haines offers compelling insights about how we live now — and what might come next.
John Smolens ’82g, Michigan State University Press, Feb. 2019
During a fierce blizzard, former constable Del Maki’s house deep in the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula becomes a haven for a cast of characters — a pregnant nurse, her current and former boyfriends, an enigmatic Finnish woman and a petty thief — trying to dig themselves out from the consequences of an underworld deal gone bad. The sequel to Smolens’ 2001 novel “Cold,” “Out” is a gripping tale of nature and human nature, and the difference between being rescued and being saved.
A GLOBAL HISTORY
Steve Hardy, emeritus professor of kinesiology, University of Illinois Press, Nov. 2018
Long considered Canadian, ice hockey is in truth a worldwide phenomenon — and has been for centuries. In “Hockey: A Global History,” Hardy and his coauthor Andrew C. Holman, a professor of history at Bridgewater State University, draw on 25 years of research to present a definitive end-to-end history of the sport. “Hockey” offers the story of on-ice stars and organizational visionaries, venues and classic games, the evolution of rules and advances in equipment, and the ascendance of corporations and instances of bureaucratic chicanery. Hardy and Holman chart modern hockey’s “birthing” in Montreal and follow its migration from Canada south to the United States and east to Europe. The story then shifts from the sport’s emergence as a nationalist battlefront to the movement of talent across international borders to the game of today, where men and women at all levels of play lace ’em up on the shinny ponds of Saskatchewan, the wide ice of the Olympics and across the breadth of Asia.
My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
MaryAnne Esposito ’91g, Ciao Italia, Nov. 2018
The 12th cookbook by PBS cooking show “Ciao Italia” host Esposito offers recipes, of course, but “Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy” is also a travelogue and memoir. Drawing on years of Italian travel, Esposito serves up — alongside unique recipes like savory meat-stuffed olives and Sicilian chocolate cookies — the notion that there is no such thing as “Italian food” but rather distinct cuisines that vary widely among the country’s 20 diverse regions. The book includes essays about quintessential Italian ingredients such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and San Marzano tomatoes, as well as Esposito’s thoughts about what gives her recipes meaning.
The Beantown Girls
Jane Healey ’94, Lake Union Publishing, Feb. 2019
In the waning days of 1944, Fiona Denning’s world is turned upside down when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down over Germany. Determined to learn his fate, the Boston native recruits two friends to join her overseas as Red Cross volunteers, offering coffee, comfort and a slice of home to American soldiers on the frontlines. Based on the true stories of the Red Cross’s Clubmobile Girls, “The Beantown Girls” provides a fresh perspective on American participation in Europe toward the end of World War II.
Aaron Weiss ’06g, Everytime Press, June 2018
The best travel writers are outsiders who become insiders: clear-eyed reporters who can provide an educated window into an unfamiliar country, its people and its history. In “Lenin’s Asylum,” Weiss draws on his two years in the Peace Corps to provide that type of insider’s view on tiny land-locked Moldova, a former Soviet republic and the poorest country per capita in Europe.
James Kelly ’74, winner of the 2017 Texas Review Press George Garrett Fiction Prize, Oct. 2018
As a young boy, he’s set up by an uncle to think he’s going to be scalped — a grisly joke his cousin explains away as adults’ impulse to make children endure the same terrors they’d once experienced. Later, as an 18-year-old, his draft number comes up and he must confront an entirely different form of terror: Can he live with his actions if he goes halfway around the world to kill people with whom he has no quarrel? If he doesn’t? Kelly’s short story collection, winner of the 2017 Texas Review Press George Garrett fiction prize, builds a life in snapshots of its titular ”pitchman” — an everyman who gives up teaching for the life of a traveling salesman in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.