Last Looks cover
Last Looks
by Mr. Howard M. Gould '84
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Dutton Adult; 2018; 304 pp.
Genre: Fiction
Category: Humor, Mystery/thriller
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A razor-sharp, exquisitely paced, madly fun debut thriller that gleefully lampoons Hollywood culture and introduces the highly eccentric yet brilliant ex-detective gone rogue: Charlie Waldo.

There are run-of-the-mill eccentric Californians, and then there's former detective Charlie Waldo.

Waldo, a onetime LAPD superstar, now lives in solitude deep in the woods, pathologically committed to owning no more than one hundred possessions. He has left behind his career and his girlfriend, Lorena, to pay self-imposed penance for an awful misstep on an old murder case. But the old ghosts are about to come roaring back.

There are plenty of difficult actors in Hollywood, and then there's Alastair Pinch.

Alastair is a onetime Royal Shakespeare Company thespian who now slums it as the "wise" Southern judge on a tacky network show. He's absurdly rich, often belligerent, and typically drunk--a damning combination when Alastair's wife is found dead on their living room floor and he can't remember what happened.

Waldo's old flame Lorena, hiding peril of her own, draws him toward the case, and Alastair's greedy network convinces Waldo to take it on. But after such a long time away from both civilization and sleuthing--and plagued by a confounding array of assailants who want him gone--Waldo must navigate complicated webs of ego and deceit to clear Alastair's name . . . or confirm his guilt.

Florida cover
Florida
by Ms. Lauren E. Groff '01
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Riverhead Books; 2018; 288 pp.
Genre: Fiction
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In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character—a steely and conflicted wife and mother. 

The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.

Adapting to Abundance
by Dr. Andrew R. Heinze (Andy) '77
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Columbia University Press; 1990; 276 pp.
Genre: Non-fiction
Category: American Studies, Religion/spirituality
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This was the first full-length study of the impact of American consumer culture on an immigrant group; it established Heinze's reputation as part of a scholarly vanguard that produced the first histories of mass consumption in Europe and America.

The Essential Fictions of Isaac Babel cover
The Essential Fictions of Isaac Babel
translated by Dr. Val Vinokur '94
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Northwestern University Press; 2017; 424 pp.
Genre: Fiction
Category: Literature
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The Essential Fictions offers contemporary readers seventy-two short stories by one of twentieth-century Russia’s premier storytellers, Isaac Babel. This unique volume, which includes Babel’s famous Red Cavalry series and his Odessa Stories, is translated, edited, introduced, and annotated by Val Vinokur, a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow in Translation, and features illustrations by Yefim Ladyzhensky, a painter known for his depictions of everyday life under Soviet rule in Babel’s native Odessa.

Babel was born in 1894 into multicultural Odessa’s thriving Jewish community. Working as a journalist, he witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War, and accompanied the Cossack horsemen of the Red Cavalry during the 1920 Polish-Soviet War, distilling these experiences into his fiction. Vinokur highlights Babel’s “horrified hopefulness” and “doleful and bespectacled Jewish comedy” in the face of the bloody conflicts that plagued his generation.

On the centenary of the revolution that toppled the Romanov tsars, Babel’s fictions continue to absorb and fascinate contemporary readers interested in eastern European and Jewish literature as well as the history and politics of the twentieth century.

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Iver and Ellsworth
by Ms. Casey W. Robinson '96
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Ripple Grove Press; 2018; 40 pp.
Genre: Fiction
Category: Children's Books
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From a factory rooftop, Iver and his good friend Ellsworth (a rooftop bear) are content to watch the busy world below. "Everyone's going somewhere," Iver says. "We can see the whole world from up here. That's enough somewhere for me." But after Iver retires, the friends must venture out in search of a new somewhere. Of course, the very best views are those you share with an old pal.

A Man's Partner: A Detective Jericho Single cover
A Man's Partner: A Detective Jericho Single
by Mr. Walter Marks '55
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Top Tier Lit; 2016; 113 pp.
Genre: Fiction
Category: Mystery/thriller
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Jericho’s former partner, Mickey “Mouse’” Davis, with whom he worked in NYPD Homicide, is found dead in his car —killed by a single gunshot fired into his mouth. A handwritten suicide note is discovered beside him. NYPD declares Mouse’s death a suicide, but Jericho has his doubts. He leaves East Hampton and goes into the city to investigate. The New York cops tell Jericho to stay out of it, so Jericho must try to solve this case on his own.

Comfort and Lies cover
Comfort and Lies
by Dr. William H. Clamurro (Bill) '67
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2016
Genre: Poetry
Category: Poetry
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A very good first volume of poetry by a poet with a keen eye and muse for the sometimes isolation of life, the experience of Vietnam, and the unique relationship to the poet's cat and to nature.

The Vietnam Typescript cover
The Vietnam Typescript
by Dr. William H. Clamurro (Bill) '67
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2018
Genre: Non-fiction
Category: Memoir, Poetry, Veterans affairs
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In 1969 William H. Clamurro was a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam. Unlike COs with the 1-0 status who did not want to serve in the armed forces, Clamurro petitioned to be made a 1-A-0, choosing to join the Army, go to Vietnam, and serve as an unarmed combat medic. He served by retrieving and tending to the wounded, and often caring for the bodies of the dead rather than fighting.

He captured his time there as poems in a small field notebook. When he returned to the US he transcribed those poems on a cheap typewriter and hid them away in a box, where they remained for nearly five decades.

The Vietnam Typescript faithfully reproduces Clamurro’s original manuscript, complete with editing marks, and includes the author’s thoughts on the war and his experiences there. In addition to the poems written while he was in Vietnam, the book contains seven reflective poems written decades later, and an afterward written by historian Jim Kearney, another A-1-0 who served with Clamurro in the 2/34th  armored battalion.

About the author:

William H. Clamurro is Professor emeritus of Spanish at Emporia State University. He is the author of four books, Comfort & Lies (2016), Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares: Reading Their Lessons from His Time to Ours (2015), Beneath the Fiction: The Contrary Worlds of Cervantes’s Novelas Ejemplares (2011), and Language and Ideology in the Prose of Quevedo (1991). 

In addition, Prof. Clamurro is active as a musician and has performed with orchestras in Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio. In Emporia, he has performed with the ESU chamber orchestra, the Emporia Symphony Orchestra, and the Mid-America Woodwind Quintet. As an undergraduate at Amherst College (class of ’67), Clamurro studied creative writing with Archibald McLeish, and his poetry has been published in Flint Hills Review and other literary magazines.

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Fourth Person Singular
by Nuar Alsadir Ph.D. '92
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Liverpool University Press; 2017; 64 pp.
Genre: Poetry
Category: American Studies, Poetry
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Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2017
A Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

Claudia Rankine described the poems in Alsadir's first book as 'lawless,' 'provocative, and 'heartbreaking' as they 'converse from the inside out...come alive in the back and forth of a mind attempting to understand what it means to be in relation to.'

Fourth Person Singular continues to blow open the relationship between self and world in a working through of lyric shame, bending poetic form through fragment, lyric essay, aphorisms mined from the unconscious, and pop-up associations, to explore the complexities, congruities, disturbances - as well as the beauty - involved in self-representation in language. As unexpected as it is bold, Alsadir's ambitious tour de force demands we pay new attention to the current conversation about the nature of lyric - and human relationships - in the 21st century.

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Nixon in New York: How Wall Street Helped Richard Nixon Win the White House
by Mr. Victor Li '00
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Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; 2018; 368 pp.
Genre: Non-fiction
Category: American Studies, Biography, History, Politics
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Richard Nixon’s loss in the 1962 gubernatorial election in California was more than just a simple electoral defeat. His once-promising political career was in ruins as he dropped his second high-profile race in as many years. Nixon, himself, rubbed salt in his own self-inflicted wounds by delivering a growling, bitter concession speech that made him seem like a sore loser. In the months following his defeat and self-immolation, he left California to move to New York so that he could work for a prestigious Wall Street law firm. His new career only seemed to confirm what everyone already knew: Richard Nixon was finished as a politician.

Except, he wasn’t. Nixon’s political resurrection was virtually unprecedented in American history role, and he had his law firm to thank for paving his way to the White House. His role as public partner at Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander was the ideal platform for him as he looked to reinvent himself after his back-to-back losses in 1960 and 1962. Nixon’s firm gave him access to deep-pocketed clients, many of whom became donors when he decided to take the plunge in 1968. Furthermore, working for so many international clients allowed him to travel the world and burnish his foreign policy credentials – a vital quality that voters were looking for as the Cold War raged on and the Vietnam War showed no signs of slowing down. Nixon’s time at the firm also allowed him to build a formidable campaign staff consisting of top-notch lawyers, researchers and writers – a staff that did just about everything for him when it came time to ramp up for the 1968 campaign.