From critically acclaimed poetry collections and popular novels to deep, thought-provoking analyses of historical and contemporary events, professors and graduates from the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences published dozens of books this year that appeal to broad audiences across a range of topics.
In addition to the upcoming books — scheduled for December release — by Politics professors David Leblang and Philip Potter (and Ph.D. graduates Benjamin Helms and Chen Wang), here are some of the A&S-authored books published the second half of this year:
Keep the Feast: Poems [LSU Press], by Stephen Cushman (English): Cushman’s poems in this three-part collection sing “in the tradition of the psalmists and devotional poets, offering an intimate, ecstatic doxology, both exultant and indicting, spiritual and secular,” making “prodigious and intrepid forays into the realms of history, sexuality, religious ardor, the imperiled planet, and the reasons for making art.”
Displacements [Random House], by Bruce Holsinger (English): The fourth novel by Holsinger, imagining the reckoning accompanying the world’s first Category 6 hurricane that decimates Houston and transforms Miami into a collection of islands drew raves from The New York Times reviewer who called it “hypnotic,” “upsetting” and “a thorough translation to fiction of what it can feel like to live right now.”
Begin Again [Macmillan], by Emma Lord (2012, Psychology): Andie Rose, the protagonist of this Young Adult novel has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and an unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.
Selected Books of the Beloved [Copper Canyon Press], by Gregory Orr (English): For more than a decade, Creative Writing Program co-founder Gregory Orr has been writing “the Book”: an imagined tome containing every poem and song ever written. Drawing from a rich tradition of lyric poetry, this is the culmination of that project — a celebration of the transformative power of poetry, and of our extraordinary capacity to feel and to love.
Elsewhere [Celadon Books], by Alexis Shaitkin (2013, MFA alumna): Set within the subgenre of domestic dystopias familiar to readers of Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood, this fantastical novel explores society’s role in the maternal experience through an “affliction” that causes mothers — usually young ones — to vanish into the ominous clouds hanging over their fictional town.
Paradise Close (Persea Books), by Lisa Russ Spaar (English): The paths of an orphaned girl in 1971 and a 60-something recluse in 2016 entwine in acclaimed poet Lisa Russ Spaar’s first novel, a story of damaged souls and salvaged hope.
Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford University Press), by Aynne Kokas (Media Studies): From TikTok and Fortnite to Grindr and Huawi, Kokas delivers a revealing look into the technology firms that gather our data, and how the Chinese government is capitalizing on this data flow for political gain.
Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush & Invasion in Iraq [Oxford University Press], by Melvyn Leffler (Emeritus Professor of American History): A vivid portrayal of what drove George W. bush to invade Iraq in 2003. Employing a unique set of personal interviews with dozens of top officials and declassified American and British documents, Leffler vividly portrays the emotions and anxieties that shaped the thinking of the president after the shocking events of 9/11.
Bright: A Memoir [Sarabande Books], by Kiki Petrosino (English): The first full-length essay collection from acclaimed poet Kiki Petrosino, this work of lyric nonfiction offers glimpses of life lived between cultural worlds, a meditation on the author’s upbring in mixed Black and Italian American family.