University of Virginia faculty members regularly publish a variety of books, and not just in their academic disciplines. Extending the group of UVA authors to alumni yields many titles for readers to choose from at any given time.
The selected list here ranges from light summer reading to poetic reverie to more serious studies.
The sample includes fiction, memoir, poetry, children’s books and nonfiction, from historic to current topics. Although some of the nonfiction books occupy scholarly niches, the authors relate the academic topics to contemporary issues.
Most of these books, with short summaries from publishers below, became available in the first half of 2022, but a few will come out in a month or two.
Maria Adelmann, alumna, 2012 M.F.A. in fiction writing, “How To Be Eaten”
Adelmann’s debut novel reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a New York City support group for trauma.
Marlene L. Daut, professor in UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies, with Grégory Pierrot and Marion C. Rohrleitner as editors and translators, “Haitian Revolutionary Fictions, An Anthology”More than 200 excerpts are included in this volume, from novels, poetry and plays published between 1787 and 1900, especially about the Haitian Revolution (which took place from 1791 to 1804), with well-known authors and almost-forgotten writers.
Emily Giffin, 1997 UVA Law alumna, “Meant to Be”
A New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated in 31 languages, Giffin published her 11th novel in May. “Meant to Be” tells the love story of a privileged young man from a well-known American family who falls for a young woman with a troubled family history who’s trying to succeed as a model.
Adriana Trigiani, author of “Big Stone Gap” and other books, gave the following blurb: “This glorious, satisfying novel from the master storyteller of contemporary fiction is impossible to put down. It’s Giffin’s best novel yet – and they are all exceptional.”
Bruce Holsinger, Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English, “The Displacements”
Coming in July, this novel follows a family’s journey from Miami after losing everything in a destructive hurricane to their stay in a large evacuation shelter in Oklahoma.
Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Holsinger does a good job exploring the country’s cultural and economic divisions and the effects of climate change, and is even better with the characters and their ever-mounting problems. This story of displacement and desperation packs a wallop.”
Holsinger’s third novel, “The Gifted School,” was a Book of the Month Club selection, won the Colorado Book Award, and was named one of the Best Books of 2019 by NPR. The novel is currently in development as a TV series with NBC/Universal Television.
A scholar of medieval studies, Holsinger also has a book forthcoming on “The Parchment Inheritance: Animals, Archives, and the Making of Culture from Herodotus to the Digital Age.” His first two novels were historical fiction: “A Burnable Book” and “The Invention of Fire” were set in medieval London with the poet John Gower, a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, acting as an amateur sleuth.
Emma Lord, 2012 alumna who majored in psychology, “When You Get the Chance”
Lord is the New York Times bestselling author of “You Have a Match” and “Tweet Cute.” She is a BuzzFeed market editor and self-described “dessert gremlin living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater.”
Alexis Schaitkin, M.F.A. fiction alumna, 2013, “Elsewhere”
Schaitkin’s second novel imagines a small community with strict traditions and a strange twist: some young mothers disappear, but they don’t know why.
Her debut novel, “Saint X,” was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and was recently picked up for a series adaptation by Hulu.
Lisa Russ Spaar, professor of English, M.F.A. 1982. “Paradise Close”
Spaar, whose career has focused on writing and teaching poetry writing, just published her debut novel, “Paradise Close,” in her sixth decade. The book spans the 1950s through the early Trump era with a dual narrative about lost love. Two seemingly unrelated tales intersect of a teen-aged orphan who crosses paths when she grows up with a recluse poet to show how secrets of the past may have dangerous or redemptive consequences.
In an essay on Literary Hub, “A Poetics of Risk: On Publishing My Debut Novel in My 60s,” Spaar writes that she began this story about 20 years ago and worked on it intermittently, but she wasn’t ready to devote herself to finishing a novel until recently.
“I didn’t set out to write a novel. I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew simply that there were things I wanted to write about, to explore, that I wasn’t able to fit into or grapple with adequately in the kinds of poems that I was writing.
“I began to write into ways of getting at more truth than my own memory offered up. Wading into the waters of literary prose felt like leaving terra firma, making the maritime origins of ‘risk’ especially apt.”
Charles Marsh, Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies and director, Project on Lived Theology, “Evangelical Anxiety: A Memoir”
Marsh’s memoir, partly set in Charlottesville and at UVA, follows the journey of a religious young man trying to reconcile his faith with the changes of growing up along with the growing reality that he suffers from an anxiety disorder that threatens to derail his life.
The Christianity Marsh grew up with in the Deep South spurned mental health care, leaving him unable to understand or make a way out of his suffering. Eventually, he found psychoanalysis and a form of Christian faith that would bring him healing and honest self-acceptance.
Emily Ogden, associate professor of English, “On Not Knowing: How to Love and Other Essays”
“Moments of clarity are rare and fleeting; how can we become comfortable outside of them, in the more general condition of uncertainty within which we make our lives?” This description of Ogden’s book of poetic essays sets the stage for her focusing on specific and common experiences that defy academic knowledge and textbook facts.
The essay titles all start with “how to,” from “How to Catch a Minnow” to “How to Come Back to Life,” but don’t expect any easy prescriptions.
Kiki Petrosino, professor of poetry and director of the Creative Writing Program, “Bright: A Memoir”
Coming in August, Petrosino’s first essay collection offers glimpses of a life lived between cultural worlds. “Bright,” a slang term used to describe light-skinned people of interracial American ancestry, becomes the starting point for an extended meditation on the author’s upbringing in a mixed Black and Italian American family. Petrosino mixes moments of memoir with archival research and close reading in addressing the enduring, deeply personal legacies of enslavement and racial discrimination in America. Situated at the crossroads where public and private histories collide, “Bright” asks important questions about love, heritage, identity and creativity.
Erika Meitner, MFA poetry 2002, “Useful Junk”
Meitner is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech.
Mohammed Sawaie, professor of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures, “The Tent Generations: Palestinian Poems”
Sawaie translated 16 Palestinian poets from Arabic to English for this anthology.
Aimee Seu, MFA poetry 2020, “Velvet Hounds: Poems”
Seu’s debut collection won the 2020 Akron Poetry Prize.
Gosia Glinska, 2005 MFA in fiction and associate director of research, Darden School, “Mia & Tiago and the Bird in Hand Principle”
The first book in a series, “Mia & Tiago and the Bird in Hand Principle” is about teaching kids entrepreneurial thinking and is based on Saras Sarasvathy’s ideas about “effectuation.” Sarasvathy, the Paul M. Hammaker Professor in Business Administration at Darden, researches, teaches and writes about this framework, “effectuation,” as a means of understanding the creation and growth of new organizations and markets.
The second book, “Mia & Tiago and the Lemonade Principle,” also is available, and a third one, “Mia & Tiago and the Affordable Loss Principle,” will be published next.
Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, “The Lost Lost-And-Found Case: Mack Rhino, Private Eye 4.” Jacobs received his M.F.A. in fiction from UVA in 1994. He and Swender, a husband-and-wife writing team, have published many books for children.
Corban Addison, 2004 UVA Law School alumnus, “Wastelands: A True Story”
The author of four novels, Addison’s new book is not fiction. It looks at the large-scale hog farming industry and the residents of a North Carolina town who stood up to the company polluting their neighborhoods. John Grisham contributed the foreword.
Kevin Driscoll, assistant professor of media studies, “The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media.”
Fifteen years before the commercialization of the internet, millions of amateurs across North America created more than 100,000 small-scale computer networks. The people who built and maintained these dial-up bulletin board systems in the 1980s laid the groundwork for millions of others who would bring their lives online in the 1990s and beyond. “The Modem World” tells an alternative origin story for social media, centered not in the office parks of Silicon Valley or the meeting rooms of military contractors, but rather on the online communities of hobbyists, activists and entrepreneurs. Over time, countless social media platforms have appropriated the social and technical innovations of these early communities.
Elizabeth Ellcessor, associate professor in media studies and a senior faculty fellow at the Miller Center, “In Case of Emergency: How Technologies Mediate Crisis and Normalize Inequality”
“Sirens blare. Maps blaze in alarming colors. … Emergency media inform how ‘normality’ is defined, and whose norms become the standard,” as reviewer Shannon Mattern wrote about this book. “It thus has the capacity, as Ellcessor shows us, to cultivate a new norm that’s more inclusive, just and compassionate.”
“In Case of Emergency” examines how media systems define what emergencies are – and aren’t – with profound consequences regarding race, disability and gender.
Susan Tyler Hitchcock, 1978 alumna in English, “Into the Forest: The Secret Language of Trees”
For millennia, trees have offered renewal and inspiration. They have provided for humanity on every level, from spiritual sanctuary to the raw material for homes, books and food. In this beautiful and revealing book, National Geographic combines legendary photography with cutting-edge science to illuminate exactly how trees influence the life of planet Earth – from our personal lives to the weather cycle. Beautifully illustrated essays, written by Hitchcock, tell the stories of the world’s most remarkable trees, from Tane Mahura in New Zealand, the ancient Maori “lord of the forest,” to Pando, a single aspen spreading over 100 acres: Earth’s largest living thing. Discover how an astronaut carried tree seeds to the moon and back; and the reason “microdosing” on tree gas is a sure way to boost your immune system.
Timothy Jarrett, alumnus, “Ten Thousand Voices: A History of UVA Glee Club and Its Times”
Published by UVA Press on the occasion of the Glee Club’s 150th anniversary, the book explores the roots of singing at the University and traces the evolution of the Glee Club from a student serenading group at the close of Reconstruction to its current state as an independent organization. It also examines the social, political and cultural forces that shaped the Glee Club along the way.
Read a UVA Press interview with Jarrett, who sang in the Glee Club in the early 1990s, here.
Noel Lobley, assistant professor of music, “Sound Fragments: From Field Recording to African Electronic Stories”
A groundbreaking study of the world’s largest archive of field recordings of African music, “Sound Fragments” follows what happens when a colonial sound archive is repurposed and reimagined by local artists in post-apartheid South Africa. The book speaks to larger issues in sound studies, curatorial practices, and the reciprocity and ethics of listening to and reclaiming culture.
Robert L. O’Connell, military historian and alumnus with a doctorate in history, “Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged”
By the first half of the 20th century, technology had transformed warfare into a series of intense bloodbaths in which the line between soldiers and civilians was obliterated, resulting in the deaths of 100 million people. During this period, the author aims to show how four men exhibited unparalleled military leadership that led the United States victoriously through two world wars: Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower.
Frederick Schauer, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, “The Proof: Uses of Evidence in Law, Politics, and Everything Else”
In a world awash in “fake news,” where public figures make unfounded assertions as a matter of course, a preeminent legal theorist ranges across the courtroom, the scientific laboratory and the insights of philosophers to explore the nature of evidence and show how it is credibly established.
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May 29, 2023