Eve Abrams ’93 and Shannon Brinkman

Since the early 1960s, Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter has served as a sanctuary for the Crescent City’s rich and illustrious jazz heritage, a haven for players, and an incubator for successive generations of jazz musicians. Each night the venue fills to the rafters with devoted fans and curious tourists eager to hear live traditional jazz performed by both veteran musicians and up-and-coming players. The performance space is simple, and a large portion of the audience must stand in the back, behind a limited number of benches, chairs, and floor cushions. Documentarian Abrams and New Orleans photographer Brinkman capture the essence of this historic club through band members’ heartfelt words and dazzling images of the musicians with their instruments and the venue itself.

Anne J. Adelman ’83, Kerry L. Malawista, and Catherine L. Anderson
Wearing My Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories: Learning Psychodynamic Concepts from Life • COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

This book should enliven psychodynamic theory for students, teachers, clinicians, and others wishing to learn the ins and outs of practice. Adelman and her co-authors share amusing, poignant, and sometimes difficult stories and reflections from their personal and professional lives as they invite readers to explore the complex underpinnings of the profession, along with analytical theory’s esoteric nature. The vehicle of the story is an integral part of psychodynamic practice so that it becomes an appropriate method in this book for illustrating the dynamics of psychoanalysis. Through their narratives, the writers, who are also practicing analysts, show readers how to incorporate psychodynamic concepts into their work and identify common truths at the root of shared experience.

Steve Almond ’88
God Bless America • LOOKOUT BOOKS, 2012

Almond has refined his gift for story writing over the years and his latest short story collection is possibly his strongest to date. His poignant tales embrace a wide range of believable and flawed American characters who often seek redemption, validation, understanding, and love. In “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched,” (which was selected for The Best American Short Stories), a psychoanalyst with a gambling addiction meets his match with a belligerent ex-patient at a high-stakes poker game. “Tamalpais” offers the touching account of a teenage waiter at a mountain inn who is forced to take care of an older woman who won’t stop drinking. And in “What the Bird Said,” the prodigal son of a rich family returns to his unhappy family, still seeking his father’s blessing as the steely patriarch lies on his deathbed. Almond’s stories beguile with their boundless energy, humor, and compassion.

Ethan de Seife ’95
Tashlinesque: The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin • WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2012

In the preface of his study, de Seife writes: “Director Frank Tashlin left an indelible impression on American and global film comedy. His films are some of the funniest, most visually inventive comedies ever made, and they feature landmark performances by some of the greatest comedians in American film history, a list that includes not only Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis, but Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny.” The book examines the director’s films in the contexts of Hollywood censorship, animation history, and the development of the genre of comedy in American film, with particular emphasis on the sex, satire, and visual flair that comprised Tashlin’s distinctive artistic and comedic style. Through close readings and pointed analyses of Tashlin’s large and fascinating body of work, the author gives us original insights into such classic films as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?The Girl Can’t Help It, and Artists and Models, as well as numerous Warner Bros. cartoons.

Halley Faust MA ’05 and Paul Menzel, editors
Prevention vs. Treatment: What’s the Right Balance? • OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

In the West, prevention in health care is usually underfunded while treatment receives greater priority. This book explores this observation by examining the actual spending on prevention, the history of health policies and structural features that affect prevention’s apparent relative lack of emphasis, the values that may justify priority for treatment or for prevention, and the religious and cultural traditions that have shaped the moral relationship between these two types of care. The publication helps clarify the nature of the empirical and moral debates about the proper balance of prevention and treatment by offering essays from a wide range of perspectives, many of them not often heard from in health policy. The book compares prevention and treatment by looking comprehensively—philosophically, legally, religiously, and scientifically—at their underlying values.

Daniel Handler ’92 and Maira Kalman (art)
Why We Broke Up • LITTLE, BROWN, 2011

Handler’s latest book is aimed at a young adult audience but adult readers are likely to find it delightful as well. As the title indicates, the novel deals with the breakup of a brief relationship between Min Green, a smart, film-obsessed high-school junior and Ed Slaterton, a senior basketball star who has already had several girlfriends. At the start of the book, Min is about to dump a box full of souvenirs from the relationship on Ed’s front porch. The novel cleverly takes the form of one long letter from Min to Ed, detailing the stories behind the objects in the box, how they connect to the couple’s time together, and how they help to explain why they were mismatched. Handler artfully conveys Min’s heartbreak and the awkwardness of adolescence with both tenderness and humor. Lovely, evocative illustrations by Maira Kalman provide the perfect accompaniment to this sweet yet unsentimental romance.

Oneka LaBennett ’94
She’s Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn • NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

Black teenage girls are often negatively represented in national and global popular studies. These pervasive popular representations often portray Black adolescents’ consumer and leisure culture as corrupt, uncivilized, and pathological. Oneka LaBennett draws on more than a decade of researching teenage West Indian girls in the Flatbush and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn to argue that Black youth are, in fact, strategic consumers of popular culture—and through this consumption, they are far more active in defining race, ethnicity, and gender than academic and popular discourses tend to acknowledge. The author also focuses on West Indian girls’ consumer and leisure culture within public spaces in order to analyze how teens are marginalized and policed as they attempt to carve out places for themselves within New York’s neighborhoods.

Brett Laidlaw ’83
Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager • MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS, 2011

In this unique cookbook, Laidlaw offers recipes that reflect his love for natural foods and foraging, “whether from woods, stream, lake, garden, or market.” His attraction to natural ingredients may be traced in part to his idyllic childhood spent among the nature of Eden Prairie in southwestern Minnesota near Minneapolis. For ingredients mentioned in his recipes, the author suggests an “expanded understanding of the idea of foraging, from strictly wild foods to a broader sense of gathering food with purpose and intent from many sources, whether mushrooms from the woods, a fish from a stream or a fish market, raw milk from a local farm, or seasonal produce from a farmers’ market.” He emphasizes that 90 percent of good cooking is good shopping, and that entails some effort on the part of the shopper to seek out good sources of ingredients from places beyond the large supermarket. Laidlaw makes a convincing case for the pleasure of the journey in seeking out fresh and flavorful local goods.

Blake Nelson ’84
Dream School • FIGMENT, 2011

In this sequel to his popular young adult novel Girl, Nelson follows teenager Andrea Marr as she travels east to attend the prestigious Wellington College in Connecticut, where she finds herself an outsider among some of the privileged and wealthier students she encounters there. Eventually she finds a connection with creative and brilliant cohorts and works on a novel. In a recent New York Times article, Naomi Fry praised “Nelson’s spot-on, often tongue-in-cheek renderings of the minutiae that fill Andrea’s college experience: the pretentious girl in the creative writing workshop who keeps using the word ‘metafiction’; the eyeliner- and leather-coat wearing, sexually confident dorm lothario; the forever cooler, laconic friend who makes an experimental film about ecstasy.”

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto ’81 and Kathleen M. Wong
Natural History of San Francisco Bay • UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 2011

This fascinating natural history of San Francisco Bay also explores its human history and how each affects the other. Home to healthy eelgrass beds, young Dungeness crabs and sharks, and millions of waterbirds, this unique body of water is marked by oil tankers, laced with pollutants, and crowded with 46 cities. The guide explores a number of subjects including fish, birds and other wildlife, geography and geology, the history of human changes, ocean and climate cycles, endangered and invasive species, and the path from industrialization to environmental restoration. More than 60 scientists, activists, and resource managers share their views and describe their work.

Diego von Vacano ’93
The Color of Citizenship: Race, Modernity and Latin American/Hispanic Political Thought • OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2012

Von Vacano ’93 suggests that the tradition of Latin American and Hispanic political thought, which has long considered the place of mixed-race peoples throughout the Americas, is uniquely well-positioned to provide useful ways of thinking about the connections between race and citizenship. He argues that debates in the United States about multiracial identity, the possibility of a post-racial world in the aftermath of Barack Obama, and demographic changes owed to the age of mass migration will inevitably have to confront the intellectual tradition related to racial admixture that comes to us from Latin America. Von Vacano compares the way that race is conceived across the writings of four thinkers of different eras: the Spanish friar Bartolomé de Las Casas writing in the context of empire; Simón Bolivar writing during the early republican period; Venezuelan sociologist Laureano Vallenilla Lanz on the role of race in nationalism; and Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos writing on the aesthetic approach to racial identity during the cosmopolitan, post-national period.

J. Peder Zane ’84 and Adrian Bejan
Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization • DOUBLEDAY, 2011

Zane cowrote this volume with Professor Adrian Bejan of Duke University, which describes Bejan’s groundbreaking discovery of the constructal law, a principle of physics that governs all design and evolution in nature. This principle holds that all shape and structure emerges to facilitate flow. Rain drops, for example, coalesce and move together, generating rivulets, streams, and the mighty river basins of the world because this design allows them to move more easily. The question to ask is: Why does design arise at all? Why can’t the water just seep through the ground? The answer is that it flows better with design. This is the same reason we find a similar tree-like structure in the lightning bolts that flash across the sky and in the tree-like structure of our circulatory and nervous systems. The authors write about design in nature as a scientific discipline in a clear, accessible way without sacrificing complexity.

If you are a Wesleyan graduate, faculty member, or parent with a new publication, please let us know by contacting David Low at dlow@wesleyan.edu or at Wesleyan magazine, Office of University Communications, Wesleyan University, South College, Middletown, CT 06459.


Joshua David Bellin ’87 and Laura L. Mielke, editors, Native Acts: Indian Performance, 1603–1832 • UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESS, 2012

Joseph Britton ’79Library of Pennsylvania Family Law Forms • THE LEGAL INTELLIGENCER, 2012

Cati Coe ’92, co-editor (with Rachel Reynolds, Deborah Boehm, Julia Meredith Hess, and Heather Rae-Espinoza), Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective •VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

Paul Dickson ’61, editor, Baseball is … Defining the National Pastime • DOVER, 2011

Paul Dickson ’61, Courage in the Moment: The Civil Rights Struggle, 1961–64 • DOVER, 2012

Jay Geller ’75The Other Jewish Question: Identifying the Jew and Making Sense of Modernity •FORDHAM UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

Derek Regensburger ’92Criminal Evidence: From Crime Scene to Courtroom • WOLTERS KLUWER LAW AND BUSINESS, 2012

Lodro Rinzler ’05The Buddha Walks Into a Bar … A Guide to Life for a New Generation SHAMBHALA, 2012

Ayelet Waldman ’86 and Robin Levi, editors, Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons • VOICE OF WITNESS AND MCSWEENEY’S, 2011

Sam Wasson ’03Paul on Mazursky • WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011

Of Note: Faculty Bookshelf

Faculty Bookshelf is a new Web page that lists and describes recent books written by Wesleyan faculty: