In his lyrical memoir Screening Room, Alan Lightman ’70 takes readers to Memphis in the 1930s, where his grandfather built a movie-house empire that catapulted the family to prominence. Lightman grapples with his grandfather’s long shadow and begins to understand the Southern family he left behind as a young man.

Graduate student Christian Sahner ’07 blends history, memoir, and reportage in his poignant account of life in Syria and the religious and political forces that have shaped it. Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present explores the rise of sectarianism, the role of Christianity, and the civil war.

Mathematics Without Apologies offers an eclectic panorama of the lives of mathematicians in the 21st century. Michael Harris ’73 draws on his personal experiences and obsessions to convey the romance of math, touching on a wide variety of topics, from whether mathematicians are to blame for the 2008 financial crisis to how to react if asked to explain number theory at a dinner party.