Books, music & film

Information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.

The End of Time
Anthony Aveni
(University Press of Chicago)

The Internet, bookshelves, and movie theaters are full of prophecies, theories, and predictions that December 21, 2012, marks the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. In The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012, astronomy and anthropology professor Anthony Aveni explores these theories, explains their origins, and measures them objectively against evidence unearthed by Mayan archaeologists, iconographers, and epigraphers. He expands on these prophecies to include the broader context of how other cultures, ancient and modern, thought about the “end of things” and speculates on why cataclysmic events in human history have such a strong appeal within American pop culture.

Thomas M. Cronin ’72
(Columbia University Press)

Paleoclimates: Understanding Climate Change Past and Present is a comprehensive synthesis of paleoclimate research covering all geological timescales, emphasizing topics that shed light on modern trends in the earth’s climate. Thomas Cronin, an adjunct professor in the Science, Technology, and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, discusses recent discoveries about past periods of global warmth, changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, abrupt climate and sea-level change, natural temperature variability, and other topics relevant to controversies over the causes and impacts of climate change. This text is geared toward advanced undergraduate and graduate students and researchers in geology, geography, biology, glaciology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and climate modeling. It can also serve as a reference for those requiring a general background on natural climate variability.

Confessions of a City Girl
Barbara Davis Stcherbatcheff ’04
(Virgin Books)

For more than a year, Barbara Davis Stcherbatcheff anonymously wrote the City Girl column for the London daily newspaper thelondonpaper based on her experiences as one of the few women on the trading floor competing against “the bad-boy brokers” of Canary Wharf. Confessions of a City Girl delves into her story even deeper. She writes about working with super-rich hedge fund managers in the sleek streets of Mayfair. She shares the story of how she met, married, and divorced her very own “City Boy.” And she discloses how she made and lost large sums of money. Stcherbatcheff gives the inside track on life in the financial capital of the world, telling readers “what went wrong — and why the girls are the only ones who can put it right.”

Waiting for the Snow to Fall
Brennan Lagasse ’02
(VDM Verlag)

In Waiting for the Snow to Fall: First Nations, Federal Policy, and Environmental Justice, Brennan Lagasse presents a model for holistic sustainable land-use policy, based on critical examination of a ski area expansion plan in Northern Arizona. Lagasse delves into the case of the Arizona Snowbowl ski area, which, along with the U.S. Forest Service, seeks to expand the resort on a mountain held sacred by numerous Native American tribes. As social justice advocates and environmentalists question the sustainability of the expansion plan, Waiting for the Snow to Fall recommends how the plan can go forward justly and sustainably. The book also illuminates how future clashes can draw from lessons learned in this case and, ultimately, employ policy that is sustainable for all affected parties in land-use conflicts.

Cosmic Conversations
Stephan Martin ’89
(New Page Books)

Cosmic Conversations: Dialogues on the Nature of the Universe and the Search for Reality is a collection of interviews with cutting-edge thinkers on the nature of the universe and our relationship to it. Scientists, spiritual teachers, indigenous elders, and cultural creatives all share their voices on the nature of reality, the interplay of science and religion, and the role of humanity and each person in a mysterious, evolving universe.

The Luna Light Gang
George Nilsen ’47
(Vantage Press)

In The Luna Light Gang, George Nilsen presents the effects of the Depression on a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in an approach that speaks more about the virtues of community than the ravages of poverty. Main character Aslak Bergland and his friends become moonshiners, providing corn liquor to the community and cash to the members of The Luna Light Gang. The spirit of community shines through as nothing in the story — from the moonshining operation, to the eventual downfall of a corrupt federal agent, to the success of local farmers and businessmen — happens without the involvement of friends and neighbors.

A Ship in the Harbor
Julian Padowicz ’54
(Academy Chicago Publishers)

Julian Padowicz’s A Ship in the Harbor picks up where his 2006 memoir Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939 left off: in Hungary, where 8-year-old Padowicz and his mother have just escaped from Soviet-occupied Poland. In Hungary, Padowicz’s mother, Barbara, is embraced by a large social circle and believes herself saved. She attempts to sell her jewelry, and becomes the mistress of a wealthy Romanian count, hiding in style on his impressive country estate. But when the count proves himself dishonest, Padowicz and his mother are forced to go to Budapest, where the Nazis still await her. The book explores the bonds between mothers and sons, loyalty and deceit, faith, and treachery, in a continuation of Padowicz’s childhood story.

One Square Mile
Sheldon Parrish ’81

In One Square Mile, Sheldon Parrish chronicles the history of his hometown, Roosevelt, N.Y. He travels as far back as 1643, when the area was occupied by a Native American tribe called the Merricks. Then called Rum Point, the town featured farms that produced tobacco, corn, pork, and beets. He traces its several name changes and the historical events that brought them about, including the turning point of its economic history and its relationship to Theodore Roosevelt.

Even Worse Than We Had Hoped
Paul Spelman ’89
(Meshomac Publishing)

Part memoir, part examination of the TV business, Even Worse Than We Had Hoped pulls back the curtain on local TV news while recounting one reporter’s quest to make it to TV’s “major leagues.” Paul Spelman began as a “one-man-band” reporter in a small town in North Carolina and ended up in the nation’s capital. His new book is about chasing a dream through the trenches of TV news. Spelman recounts tales such as meeting a medical examiner who stores corpses in his garage; coming face to face with a rifle-wielding ex-judge; and working with a cameraman who calls in gambling bets while on the way to a story. While telling these stories of “run and gun” journalism, he provides insight into the difficulties of breaking into TV news, and the challenges of staying there.

In the media

“We’re talking about an enormous amount of potatoes.”
— Nancy Ries, associate professor of anthropology and peace and conflict studies, describes to BBC Radio why she believes increased potato cultivation in Russia is a sign of oppression and poverty
“Kindle is really cool to use, but I don’t think it’s practical enough to take over the literature industry.”
— Ali Goldfarb ’13 shares her opinion with New Voices magazine about reading books on a handheld device

“Hamilton is about as close to Mayberry as you can get in modern-day America.”
— Glenn Cashman, associate professor of music, describes Colgate’s location for an article in JazzTimes

“There’s a real appetite for intellectual engagement among our alumni.”
— Tim Mansfield, director of alumni affairs, explains in a Chronicle of Higher Education article how the university’s Living Writers course is utilizing new media to connect with alumni

“… They all had something that seized them, and gave them their life’s work. I honor their experience.”
— Joscelyn Godwin, a music professor and author of several books on  America’s obscure spiritual dimensions, comments for a Los Angeles Times article about people’s quest for spiritual experiences

“The idea is that time gets renewed, that the world gets renewed all over again — often after a period of stress — the same way we renew time on New Year’s Day or even on Monday morning.”
— Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology and Native American Studies, explains to National Geographic News the significance of the year 2012 in the Mayan calendar

“Creating a trusting atmosphere, having dinner together, and discussing tough topics like alcohol and drug use, body  image issues, and relationships before there is a crisis helps to build honesty into your relationship.”
— Beverly Low, dean of first-year students, offers advice in Family Times magazine to parents of college students

Bringing back the banned

The right to read was celebrated in Hamilton with a Banned Book Readout on Sept. 28, sponsored by the Hamilton Public Library and the Colgate Bookstore. Community members read their favorite passages from the following books:

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron and Matt Phelan, read by Anne Clauss, president, Hamilton Public Library Board, and her daughter, Gretchen

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, read by Elaine Connelly, Hamilton Public Library

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, read by Nancy Heck, Hamilton resident

Howl by Allen Ginsberg, read by David Hollis, Radio Free Hamilton

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, read by Noor Khan, Colgate history professor

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, read by Sue McVaugh, mayor of Hamilton

The Giver by Lois Lowry, read by Andrea Pura ’13

Lush by Natasha Friend, read by Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, read by Phoebe Rotter, Hamilton Central School senior

Forever by Judy Blume, read by Izzy Schaller, Hamilton Central School middle-school student

A Separate Peace by John Knowles, read by Pat Weaver ’13

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Susan Weitz, resident supervisor at Colgate’s Chapel House

Beloved by Toni Morrison, read by Jane Welsh, Fortnightly Club

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, read by Stephanie Zanowic ’11