An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (Knopf), by classicist Daniel Mendelsohn *94, begins when his father, at 81, decides to audit his course on Homer’s Odyssey. The retired research scientist frustrates his son by challenging his literary interpretations in class; but when they embark on a cruise retracing Odysseus’ path, the elder Mendelsohn and his son finally begin to understand each other.
A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa (Hachette), by Alexis Okeowo ’06, recounts extraordinary acts of defiance in regions of Africa marred by conflict: a couple kidnapped by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and now seeking a new life, a Mauritanian fighting modern slavery, a women’s basketball team flourishing in Somalia, and a vigilante taking up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram.
A Life of Adventure and Delight (Norton), by Akhil Sharma ’92, is a collection of eight short stories chronicling the lives of Indians and their personal struggles. The stories revolve around the complex — and sometimes humorous — aspects of marriage, sickness, and love.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars (Greenwillow), by Seth Fishman ’04, makes enormous numbers accessible to children. The book demonstrates in relatable terms unfathomable quantities such as the 37 billion rabbits and 3 trillion trees on Earth and the 100 billion trillion stars in the universe.