Good books, rain or shine

With the long days of summer ahead, PAW offers some summer reading ideas, culled from new books by alumni.


i-48a106aefff24c894cc67c3fb15e7c16-JaneAlison.jpgThe Sisters Antipodes: A Memoir -- Jane Alison ’83 [aka Jane A. Shumate] (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). When the author was 4 and living in Australia with her mother, a teacher, and father, an Australian diplomat, her parents met an American couple and had affairs. Both couples had two girls about the same age. Soon the couples divorced and the fathers traded places. Alison moved with her mother, sister, and stepfather to the United States. It would be seven years before Alison saw her birth father again. Alison describes the implications of this shocking split and the competition between her and one of her stepsisters for their fathers' love. Kirkus Reviews called the memoir "an incomparable personal story exquisitely, stunningly told." Alison is the author of Natives and Exotics and The Love-Artist and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Miami.

Click here for a PAW story on Alison's novel Natives and Exotics.


i-2650bfd58a9123c09908f97e4978e1d8-JustinFox.jpgThe Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street -- Justin Fox ’87 (Harper Business). The author tells the story of the rise and fall of the belief that financial markets are rational, reliable, and capable of regulating themselves. He traces the development of that idea and the thinkers who constructed economic theory and the financial landscape, from Irving Fisher to Milton Friedman and Robert Merton. Fox is the business and economics columnist for Time magazine.

(Photo by Allison Downing)


i-275301eeb5e7fcf3daba69435c61b3d1-hyatt_bass.jpgThe Embers -- Hyatt Bass ’91 (Henry Holt). As the main character in this novel, Emily Ascher, prepares for her wedding, her family confronts the tragedy of her brother's death years ago. Her estranged father, Joe, a playwright and actor, has been wracked by grief and guilt. Ascher and her parents explore what really happened and their own culpability. Library Journal called this "nuanced" family saga "engrossing." Bass wrote, directed, and produced the film Seventy-five Degrees in July, released in 2006.

(Photo by Sarah Shatz)


i-4b1c1bbbee337255d8f2c6a0473edc35-JeffKreisler.pngGet Rich Cheating: The Crooked Path to Easy Street -- Jeff Kreisler ’95 (HarperCollins). In this satirical guide to lying, cheating, and stealing one's way to the top, the author uses real scams in business, sports, politics, and entertainment to show readers how to do it themselves -- by exploiting employees, deceiving the public, bribing the refs, and using accounting tricks. And he offers tips on what to do if caught, including "deny, deny, deny." Kreisler is a comedian and writer for Comedy Central's InDecision 2008, and he performs standup comedy.

Click here to watch Jeff Kreisler's infomercial for Get Rich Cheating.


i-877962d528d0a6e164a83a9023d74690-ChrisBeha.jpgThe Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else -- Christopher R. Beha ’02 (Grove Press). Having recently quit his job, broken up with his girlfriend, and moved back home with an unpublished novel, the author decided to spend a year reading all 51 volumes of the "great books" in the Harvard Classics -- assembled 100 years ago and ranging from St. Augustine's Confessions to Don Quixote. During that year, Beha faces personal tragedies -- the death of a beloved aunt and serious illness -- as he ponders the big questions of life. Part memoir, part intellectual excursion, his book explores what the books taught him about life and what life taught him about the great books. Beha is an assistant editor at Harper's magazine.

Click here for Christopher Beha's PAW essay "Learning from Professor Gauss," about Christian Gauss' relationship with Edmund Wilson ’16.

(Photo by Josepine Sittenfeld ’02)