Amherst Magazine

Short Takes

Compiled by Katherine Duke '05 

Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie London­derry’s Extraordinary Ride. By Peter Zheutlin ’75. New York: Kensington, 2007. 260 pp. $22.95 hardcover.
In 1894, two wealthy merchants made a high-stakes wager: could a woman ride a bicycle around the globe? A working-class Jewish immigrant from Boston proved that she could, turning herself into a mobile billboard for commercial sponsors and shattering Victorian ideas of female propriety. A freelance journalist, avid cyclist and great-grandnephew of Londonderry (whose sponsors changed her surname from Kopchovsky), Zheutlin tells Londonderry’s story and includes historical images from her travels.
   
An Earthly Paradise: The Medici, Their Collection and the Foundations of Modern Art. By Christopher B. Fulton ’80. Florence, L.S. Olschki, 2006. 329 pp. $182 hardcover.
For six decades of the 15th century, the Medici family presided over Tuscany, revitalizing the region through economic, architectural and cultural initiatives, including widespread patronage of the arts. Published with funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Louisville in Kentucky, An Earthly Paradise, which includes dozens of images, presents a scholarly examination of the Medicis’ private art collection and its legacy.
 
Last Rites. By Charles Patterson ’58. Bangor, Maine: Booklocker, 2007. 296 pp. $15.95 paperback.
Patterson’s 11th book and first novel follows Tom Reed, a dutiful son who, like his father, grows up to be an Episcopal minister. But the young man finds himself in over his head as he conducts funerals, hears confessions and grapples with church controversies. Can he free himself from expectations and leave the ministry?
 
Love and Language. By Ilán Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College 40th Anniversary Professor, with Verónica Albin. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2007. 261 pp. $25 hardcover.
How can words describe an emotion as complex as love? Drawing from history, philosophy, religion, literature and pop culture, Stavans and Albin engage in Socratic dialogues about what love is and how our ideas and expressions of it have changed, from Greek antiquity, through the Renaissance, to modern times. Stavans has authored, edited and translated numerous books and articles on poetry, fiction, language, Latino culture and Jewish culture.   

Markets of Paris: Food, Antiques, Artisanal Crafts, Books & More, with Restaurant Recommendations. By Dixon Long ’55 and Ruthanne Long, with photographs by Alison Harris. New York: The Little Bookroom, 2006.
255 pp. $16.95 paperback.

This colorful, pocket-sized guide tells travelers how to make the most of a visit to the City of Lights, exploring its markets, districts, crafts and culinary treasures. The Longs have lived in Provence and Paris and written guides to both cities. Ruthanne is a Napa Valley food consultant; Dixon, a fiction writer, is an emeritus dean and professor at Case Western Reserve University.

The New York Mets: Ethnography, Myth and Subtext. By Richard Grossinger ’66. Berkeley, Calif.: Frog Ltd., 2007. 315 pp. $16.95 paperback. 
Grossinger has written or edited 20 books, five of which are anthologies on America’s favorite pastime. This book gathers his unpublished and experimental writings about (or “thematically connected” to) the Mets and their fans, arranging them in reverse chronological order, back through several decades of New York baseball.

Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies. Edited by Sayantani DasGupta and Marsha Hurst, with an essay by Lara Birk ’98. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2007. 329 pp. $37.95 paperback.
This collection features poetry, fiction, drama, essays and transcribed oral testimonies about disease and recovery, setting these works alongside analyses from well-known scholars of narrative medicine. Birk’s essay, “The Listening Room,” tells of her hospitalization for an acute and excruciating muscular disease when she was a teenager. She went on to study the sociology of trauma at Amherst and is now a graduate student at Tufts University, where she is developing an interdisciplinary theory of chronic pain.
 
Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture. By Tarleton Gillespie ’94. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007. 395 pp. $29.95 hardcover.
Where the uses of artistic and literary works were once regulated through laws, they are now, in the digital age, increasingly regulated through the design of computer programs and security features, with the goal of making copyright violation not only illegal but also technologically impossible. Wired Shut examines the science, economics and politics surrounding this shift. Gillespie is an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University and a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.