Books, music, & film

Information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.

Bitter Melon
Elvis Alves ’02
(Mahaicony Books)

In his debut poetry collection, Elvis Alves uses bitter melon as a metaphor for life’s experiences. Beyond ruminating about the bitterness of life, he seeks to locate the truth in the adage “Life is what you make of it.” He plays with the notion that different relationships (with oneself, God, nature, and other human beings) are at the core of what it means to take ownership of life. Alves’s innovative explorations of diverse African diasporic experiences soar across continents while grounding readers in the sensory world he creates. Seamlessly interweaving the personal and sociopolitical, Bitter Melon challenges readers to see the world in new ways. Read a profile of Alves in Alumni Spotlights.

Half the Road
Kate Bertine ’97
(False Flat Films and Bertine Enterprises LLC)

Kate Bertine’s documentary film Half the Road: The Passion, Pitfalls & Power of Women’s Professional Cycling focuses on both her love of the sport and the pressing issues of inequality that modern-day female riders face in a male-dominated sport. With footage from some of the world’s best Union Cycliste Internationale races to interviews with Olympians, world champions, rookies, coaches, managers, and more, Half the Road offers unique insight into the drive, dedication, and passion it takes for a female cyclist to thrive. The film also follows Bertine’s quest to make the 2012 Olympics during her first year of racing professionally for Team Cola-vita. She is currently in her sixth year of road cycling and is a three-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Vegetable Juicing for Everyone
Helen Saul Case ’00 and Andrew W. Saul, PhD
(Basic Health Publications, Inc.)

In Helen Saul Case’s newest nutrition book, she and her father explore the health benefits of juicing at home. Many commercially available juices have been treated and packaged for days, if not weeks, months, or even years. This book helps readers save money on store-bought brands while providing the healthiest — and freshest — juicing methods. With anecdotes, medical evidence, and recipes, Vegetable Juicing for Everyone: How to Get Your Family Healthier and Happier, Faster! is for anyone interested in nutrition and how juicing can help readers lose weight, eliminate gastrointestinal problems, banish fatigue, prevent infection, cure psoriasis, lower cholesterol, and even fight cancer.

Too-Tall Foyle Finds His Game
Adonal Foyle ’98
(AFE, LLC)

Featuring vibrant illustrations, Too-Tall Foyle Finds His Game is a children’s book series based on the life experiences of retired NBA player Adonal Foyle. We see a young boy who grows up on a tiny island in the Caribbean and overcomes various hardships while struggling to find a sport that fits his abilities. After discovering basketball, he learns important life lessons during his quest for an education and NBA career. Foyle grew up in the small nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he picked up a basketball at the age of 15. After playing for Colgate, he was the eighth overall NBA draft pick in 1997 and played for a decade with the Golden State Warriors and three years with the Orlando Magic.

An Extraordinary Theory of Objects
Stephanie LaCava ’04
(Harper)

As an awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava found solace and security in strange and beautiful objects. When her father’s mysterious job transports her family to the Parisian suburb of Le Vesinet, the young American embarked on a life of discovery. In An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris, LaCava offers a haunting and moving collection of original narratives that reveal an expatriate’s coming-of-age in Paris, told through the lens of curious objects. She finds a way to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment by using creativity to find beauty in the uncertainty of the future.

Hunting Old Sammie (The Terrorist Next Door)
John Lauricella ’83
(Irving Place Editions)

John Lauricella’s novel takes place in Ithaca, N.Y., where Armand Terranova monitors America’s wars abroad even as he hides from them — a practice he shares unknowingly with his neighbor, Luke Robideau, who has stocked a sniper’s nest in anticipation of fighting terrorists head-on. Luke and Armand haven’t exchanged a word and distrust each other on sight. Luke’s cats and dogs roam freely, fouling Armand’s lawn and patio. Stalking the animals with a BB gun, Armand believes his neighbor is a threat: an unmarried, ill-kempt big man who lives with his elderly mother. To Luke, Armand is an immigrant peasant lucky at Luke’s expense. When small-animal excrement begins to fly across the property line, their mutual antagonism escalates into a confrontation only one man can win.

The Environmental Advantages of Cities
William Meyer
(The MIT Press)

Conventional wisdom holds that urbanization and environmental quality are necessarily at odds. Cities are seen as sites of ecological disruption — consuming a disproportionate share of natural resources, producing high levels of pollution, and concentrating harmful emissions. Cities appear to be particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, to be inherently at risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases, and even to offer dysfunctional and unnatural settings for human life. In his book, William Meyer, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Colgate, tests these widely held beliefs against the evidence — and comes to a different conclusion.

3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan
Richard J. Samuels ’73
(Cornell University Press)

Richard Samuels offers the first broad, scholarly assessment of the governmental and societal impact in Japan from the March 2011 earthquake (the most powerful to have hit there in recorded history), which produced a devastating tsunami that in turn caused an unprecedented multireactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The events occurred after two decades of social and economic malaise — as well as considerable political and administrative dysfunction at both the national and local levels — and resulted in national soul searching. In the wake of the tragedy, political reformers saw cause for hope and an opportunity for Japan to remake itself. Samuels explores the post-earthquake response in three key sectors: national security, energy policy, and local governance. He is Ford International Professor of political science and director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   

Contesting Constructed Indian-ness
Michael Taylor
(Lexington Books)

Native American sports team mascots represent a contemporary problem for modern Native American people. In his most recent book, Michael Taylor argues that the ideas embedded in the mascots are as old as the ideas constructed about the Indians, going back to first contact between the peoples of the Western and Eastern hemispheres during colonialism and other conquests. Taylor, an assistant professor of anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate, also looks at how the notions of “playing Indian” and “going Native” are precipitated from these historic contexts. In the contemporary sense of Native Americans, popular culture ideas suggest dressing Native Americans in feathers and buckskin in order to satisfy stereotypical expectations of Indian-ness.

Also of note:
In the chapbook History’s Trail (Finishing Line Press), poet Fran Markover MA’73 presents the poet on her journey as she finesses different roles — as daughter, granddaughter, sister, neighbor, and citizen of the world.

Footnotes:
Catherine Bagwell and Rebecca Shiner, both professors of psychology at Colgate, were recognized on Guilford Press’s list of the top five new books in developmental psychology. The Handbook of Temperament, edited by Shiner and Marcel Zentner, examines the current knowledge on temperament and its role in development and relationships. In Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence, Bagwell and Michelle E. Schmidt explore the significance of friendship for social, emotional, and cognitive development from early childhood through adolescence.

David Pinault, who was a professor of philosophy and religion and leader of the Egypt Study Group at Colgate from 1988 to 1993, recently published an Egypt-themed novel titled Museum of Seraphs in Torment: An Egyptological Fantasy Thriller. He is now a professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University.




In the media

“There was a ritual stop for cheeseburgers at Gilligan’s in Sherburne on the way up, a beer at a new brew pub called Good Nature Brewing in Hamilton… We had a post-commencement lunch at Ye Olde Landmark Tavern in nearby Bouckville, which was where we had dined the first time Anna had visited Colgate (you try to bring everything full circle).”
        — Steve Reddicliffe, father of Anna Reddicliffe ’13, in a New York Times article about his triplets graduating from different colleges

“Christians must focus on how business affects people, especially the workers. ‘Are people able to live out their own agency by making a contribution in the workplace?’ is a question Christians should ask. Do employees have meaningful work, or just repetitive, low-paid, mind-numbing work?”
        — Douglas A. Hicks, provost and dean of the faculty, reflecting on the business practices of Christian companies in a New York Times article

“Compared to the status and role of women in the Islamic societies along the Mediterranean coast, Arabia … women in Western Sahara enjoy significant advantages.”
        — Jacob Mundy, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies, in a Seattle Times article about the independence of Muslim women

“As I watched the trailer, I thought, ‘This is for 16-year-olds. All of this is about gearing this toward high school and college students who may not have any notion of who Fitzgerald was or what the book actually was.’”
        — Mary Simonson, assistant professor of film and media studies and women’s studies, weighed in on CNN about the latest film adaptation of The Great Gatsby

“Since you can’t really violate God’s plan for you, life extension is alright because it’s part of God’s will.”
        — Aisha Musa, assistant professor of religion and Middle Eastern studies and Islamic civilization, in an article about “radical life extension” in the Atlantic