guy reading a book by the pool
July 14, 2020

Andover summer reading list

7 must-reads for summer 2020
by Nancy Hitchcock

Whether lounging by a pool or relaxing at a campfire, the following list of books by Andover faculty and alumni authors is sure to make your summer more enjoyable.

Absolute Cornelia

By Lucretia Bingham ’64, Rand-Smith Publishing

In a bewildering and unusual childhood journey, Cornelia is catapulted from her mother's island shack to her wealthy father's life with a "religious group." Absolute Cornelia shares the childhood journey of an inquisitive young girl who is struggling to find her footing. Her father's rigid moral standards feel safer than her mother's emotional unreliability, but beneath the deceptively calm exterior of the “religious group” lurks power-hungry adults, sexual harassment, and mental manipulation. Will Cornelia's tender inner strength prevail against evil? Will she be able to break the mental bonds of the church? And if so, does she return to the chaos of her mother's home?

Smoke in the Afterlife

By Emilio Iasiello ’87, Thurston Howl Publications

A collection of 67 poems, written in free verse, Smoke in the Afterlife narrates the hardships Iasiello experienced during childhood. Whether it’s bruises received after a drunken fit or the affection from a loved one not often seen, these encounters dramatically shape and mold a person. Poems include “Angels on the Head of a Pin” and “Passing Roadkill in August.”

Dangerous Shallows: In Search of the Ghost Ships of Cape Cod

By Eric Takakjian and Randall S. Peffer P’96, ’17, Faculty Emeritus; Lyons Press

Teaming up with deep wreck diver and tugboat captain Eric Takakjian, Peffer takes readers along on a literary quest to solve several maritime cold cases. Takakjian has been researching and diving wrecks off the New England coast for four decades; Peffer taught English at Andover from 1978 to 2015 and has published 20 books. The odyssey of Dangerous Shallows provides a moment-by-moment look at the events surrounding the loss of more than 20 ships, including the SS Andrea Doria, and tells the stories of discovering these wrecks and learning about their final hours.

Attentional Engines: A Perceptual Theory of the Arts

By William P. Seeley ’84, Oxford University Press

What is it about art that can be so captivating? How do we find value in the often odd and abstract objects and events we call artworks? Seeley proposes that artworks are attentional engines: artifacts that have been intentionally designed to direct attention to critical stylistic features, which reveal their point, purpose, or meaning. In developing this view, Seeley argues there is a lot we can learn about the value of art from interdisciplinary research focused on our perceptual engagement with artworks. The provocative theories Seeley presents will appeal to scholars and students interested in aesthetics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of art, and cognitive science.

Finding a Place to Stand: Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders and Citizens

By Edward R. Shapiro ’59, Phoenix Publishing House

What stands between us and authoritarianism seems increasingly fragile. Democratic practices are under attack by foreign intrusion into elections; voter suppression restricts citizen participation. Nations are turning to autocratic leaders in the face of rapid social change. Democratic values and open society can only be preserved if citizens can discover and claim their voices. This book draws on psychodynamic systems thinking to offer a new understanding of the journey from being an individual to joining society as a citizen.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey

By Diana Spalding ’01, Jill Kazial, and Liz Tenety; Sounds True

In this inclusive, holistic, evidence-based guide for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum journey, Spalding and her coauthors explain how pregnancy is much more than creating a baby. It’s also about the powerful transformation women go through on the journey to becoming a parent. This community-inspired, expert-driven book will coach and empower women each step of the way.

Vegetables: The Ultimate Cookbook

By Laura Sorkin ’87, Appleseed Press

In this celebration of vegetables, Sorkin shares with readers an A to Z list of more than 50 vegetables, mouthwatering photography, colorful original illustrations, and thoughtful analysis of various farming methods. Readers will learn where specific vegetables originated, which countries produce the most radishes, how to select the best avocado, ways to use jicama, and more. A chef and farmer, Sorkin also provides more than 300 easy-to-follow recipes, including options for snacks, salads, soups, stews, side dishes, and entrées.

Categories: Alumni, Magazine Online

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