Alumni Hub, Lifelong Learning

On the Bookshelf


  • Title: Civil War Life at Home
  • Author: Heather Palmer ’81
  • Genre: Non-Fiction / History
  • Published: November 2023

Civil War Life at Home, Palmer’s sixth history book for adults, presents the diaries of four people far removed from battle who nonetheless found their lives changed by the Civil War. Sarah was a Quaker farm girl whose religion and location initially seemed to insulate her from the war. Martha, despite being a “True Woman”, found herself being drawn into the politics of the war. Howard, a farmer, had to deal with the changing economy and constant threat of the draft. And Eliza saw the war split her sons into opposing armies. Across the years, these four speak to us through their dairies. With extensive footnoting by the author this is a marvelous volume for those interested in the times, throwing light on a portion of the 1860s population that is usually overlooked.

The Field Guide to the Birds of Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a visual demonstration of the 100 most common species of birds seen at Blue Heron Nature Preserve, a small and thin stretch of greenspace in northwest Atlanta surrounded by commercial areas and residential homes. The preserve is a wild haven for life, including birds, both common resident species, migrants, and even a few uncommon and irregular species. This guide aims to represent the diversity of birds in the preserve with hand-drawn images of the birds, as well as the issues that they face today and how places like Blue Heron support and assist the numerous species of birds that regularly use the park. It is also a good guide for the novice just interested in identifying birds at the preserve, and this field guide is a must-have for anyone who plans to visit.

Ask not what science can do for you, but what public history can do for science!

Interpreting Science at Museums and Historic Sites stresses the untapped potential of historical artifacts to inform our understanding of scientific topics. It argues that science gains ground when contextualized in museums and historic sites. Engaging audiences in conversations about hot topics such as health and medical sciences or climate change and responses to it, mediated by a history museum, can emphasize scientific rigor and the time lag between discovery and confirmation of societal benefit. Interpreting Science emphasizes the urgency of this work, provides a toolkit to start and sustain the work, and shares case studies that model best practice and resources useful to facilitate and sustain a science-infused public history.

Book cover of A Sisterhood on Fire
  • Title: A Sisterhood on Fire
  • Author: Sarah Hoeynck ’07
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Published: July 2023

When facing challenges from male authorities in their diocese, three spirited Catholic nuns on the Kentucky frontier must choose between their vows of obedience to the Church or their commitment to their fiercely independent community of women.

A Sisterhood on Fire dives into the vastly underexplored world of women religious in the American West and exhibits these nuns as more than just footnotes in Church texts. 

This is Sarah’s second novel, and she lives with her husband and two dogs in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Title: Conscious Design
  • Author: Nathanial White ’05
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Published: May 2023

Eugene, a wealthy paraplegic, must decide whether to preserve his consciousness forever in a digital utopia or suffer the pain tormenting his existence. Yet, the more he learns about digital replication, the more deeply he understands personhood, empathy, and the value of suffering.

“This novella is a marvel: a vision of a not-so-distant future in which our bodies are virtually obsolete and our consciousnesses immortal. Into an otherwise nihilistic world, Nathanial White encodes a kind of tragic beauty suffused with longing. Reading Conscious Designs made me want to download the author’s brain, harness its powers of imagination, and wrestle with the questions he so intelligently dramatizes in these pages.” Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men.

Nathanial White brings his lived experience of paralysis and recovery to Conscious Designs. What follows is a journey into ethics, morality, and the philosophy of being and personhood. Each time I thought I knew where the story was going, it surprised me, and drew me deeper. The prose is reminiscent of classic science fiction greats such as Asimov or Aldiss who played with ideas like colors on a canvas.” Marie Vibbert, author of Galactic Hellcats.

Conscious Designs knows what it is–which is more than its characters can say for themselves. Nathanial White’s fiction has its mind on human consciousness and artificial intelligence and an exoskeletal boot planted firmly on story. If you find yourself returning to the sci-fi of Philip K. Dick and the philosophical provocations of Brian Evenson, Conscious Designs is for you–at least, the version of yourself you call “you.” Christopher David Rosales, author of Word is Bone.

White won the 2023 Colorado Book Award in Science Fiction/Fantasy for Conscious Design.

Book cover of Between Two Worlds: An Armenian-American Woman’s Journey Into Wholeness

In Between Two Worlds, clinical psychologist Jemela Macer explores her familial, cultural, and spiritual journey to reclaim lost parts of her ancient Armenian soul and unite them with her modern American life.

Born the grandchild of four Armenian Genocide survivors long silent about the atrocities they endured, Macer asks, in a series of connected essays: What is passed down unknowingly from one generation to the next? How does transgenerational trauma live within us? And finally, how do we forgive our perpetrators, find healing, and re-integrate lost parts of our soul and those of our ancestors?

Macer takes readers from her childhood and young adulthood in Southern California, to the streets of India, Europe, Pakistan, South America, and finally, in what she comes to call “The Genocide Tour,” to the place of ancient Western Armenia. Searching for an inner sense of home, and a relationship to her ancestral roots, she ultimately finds them back in Southern California, in the very place where she began.

Book cover of A World Apart: Growing Up Stockdale During Vietnam

In 1964, when he was ten years-old, Sid’s father, Commander James Stockdale, was a Navy fighter pilot and Carrier Air Group Commander (CAG) at the peak of his career. One year after the war started, in September 1965, he was shot down and spent the next seven and a half years in the “Hanoi Hilton” as the senior Naval officer.

After a year of being frustrated with the incompetence of the US government’s handling of the POW issue, Sid’s mother, Sybil Stockdale, began organizing women in similar circumstances in the greater San Diego area. This group eventually became The National League of Families of POWs and the Missing in Southeast Asia. Throughout the war, they pressured the U.S. government towards action and raised public awareness about the plight of POWs.

Commander Stockdale came home in February 1973, with the other 590 servicemen held during the war. Six months later, Sid started as a first-year at Colorado College. This memoir is the story of Sid’s life, from age 11 to 18, living in his household during those turbulent years. His primary sources include his parent’s book, In Love and War (1984), his mother’s diary that he received after she passed in 2016, and his own memories.

Book cover of Taking the Field: Soldiers, Nature, and Empire on American Frontiers

In the late nineteenth century, at a time when Americans were becoming more removed from nature than ever before, U.S. soldiers were uniquely positioned to understand and construct nature’s ongoing significance for their work and for the nation as a whole. American ideas and debates about nature evolved alongside discussions about the meaning of frontiers, about what kind of empire the United States should have, and about what it meant to be modern or to make “progress.” Soldiers stationed in the field were at the center of these debates, and military action in the expanding empire brought new environments into play.

In Taking the Field, Kohout draws on the experiences of U.S. soldiers in both the Indian Wars and the Philippine-American War to explore the interconnected ideas about nature and empire circulating at the time. By tracking the variety of ways American soldiers interacted with the natural world, Kohout argues that soldiers, through their words and their work, shaped Progressive Era ideas about both American and Philippine environments. Studying soldiers on multiple frontiers allows Kohout to inject a transnational perspective into the environmental history of the Progressive Era, and an environmental perspective into the period’s transnational history. Kohout shows us how soldiers—through their writing, their labor, and all that they collected—played a critical role in shaping American ideas about both nature and empire, ideas that persist to the present.

Book cover of Metamorphoses of Psyche in Psychoanalysis and Ancient Greek Thought

This unusual book explores the transformative power of liminal experiences in ancient Greek texts, psychoanalytic theory, and the author’s own life, to demonstrate how a contemporary understanding of ancient thought can illuminate modern psychoanalytic theory and practice especially as it relates to trauma, grief, and the development of psyche.

With the understanding that liminal experiencing involves engaging a psychic space outside the boundaries of ego organization, Dobson artfully interweaves autobiography, literary analysis, philosophical ontology, and psychoanalysis, to formulate a new paradigm for how to construct human beings, how to enliven and deepen personal and therapeutic experience, and how poetic language is the gateway to this magical realm of transformation. Alongside richly detailed case analyses, the author uses her dual expertise in psychoanalysis and ancient Greek literature to explore how the maternal and liminal in human life were displaced with the rise of Athens and a new way of being human ― the rational citizen ― and how this repression has resulted in diminished, constricted experiencing and the suppression of women throughout western history.

Book cover of Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science

Hilarious, heart-breaking, and perfectly pitched, these carefully researched poems about historical women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine will bring you to both laughter and outrage in just a few lines. A wickedly funny, feminist take on the lives and work of women who resisted their parents, their governments, and the rules and conventions of their times.

Explore the stories of women you may have heard of (Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Émilie du Châtelet) alongside those of others you may not (Virginia Apgar, Maryam Mirzakhani, Ynes Mexia, Susan La Flesche Picotte, Chien-Shiung Wu). Illustrated with Kristin DiVona’s portraits for NASA’s “Reaching Across the Stars” project, this is a book to share with scientists, feminists, and poets, young and old of any gender.

Book cover for A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch
  • Title: A Novel Obsession
  • Author: Caitlin Barasch ’15
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Published: March 2022

Good Morning America Buzz Pick, and a BuzzFeed and New York Post “Best Book of 2022”.

Twenty-four-year-old New York bookseller Naomi Ackerman is desperate to write a novel, but struggles to find a story to tell. When, after countless disastrous dates, she meets Caleb – a perfectly nice guy with a Welsh accent and a unique patience for all her quirks – she thinks she’s finally stumbled onto a time-honored subject: love. Then Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, Rosemary, enters the scene. 
Upon learning that Rosemary is not safely tucked away in Caleb’s homeland overseas, but in fact lives in New York and also works in the literary world, Naomi is threatened and intrigued in equal measure. If they both fell for the same man, what else might they have in common? The more Naomi learns about Rosemary, the more her curiosity consumes her. Before she knows it, her casual Instagram stalking morphs into a friendship under false pretenses – and becomes the subject of her nascent novel. 

As her lies and half-truths spiral out of control, and fact and fiction become increasingly difficult to untangle, Naomi must decide what – and who – she’s willing to sacrifice to write the perfect ending.

Book cover of Writing as a Performing Art
  • Title: Writing as a Performing Art
  • Author: Thomas E. Cronin (CC Professor Emeritus of Political Science and 1991 CC Acting President)
  • Genre: Non-fiction/Craft
  • Published: December 2021

Writing as a Performing Art is written to encourage, motivate and inspire non-fiction writers of all ages. It celebrates why we write, why we must write, and reviews the strategies veteran writers employ. One of its aims is to cultivate the Inner Editor – to remind writers of the importance of editing, rewriting and polishing their work.

The primary goal of Writing as a Performing Art is to prepare writers to write compelling and convincing stories. Stories are what makes us human, and writers help us navigate the complexities of life. Writers help reveal our common human bonds. They let us know we not alone, and help us search for better possibilities.

Cronin’s Writing as a Performing Art is both a pep-talk and a rigorous guide for how writers can more effectively connect with their readers. It reviews standard practices yet encourages writers to write bravely, to bend the rules to make their points, and to provide the evidence to convince. Writing matters. And what matters even more is the power of ideas. Writing, Cronin emphasizes, is a grand opportunity to tell your story. To tell the truth, advocate for improvements, share creative ideas, and celebrate our capacity for compassion, gallantry, humanity, and love.

Book cover of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

In The Mike File, Trimble grapples with his brother’s heartrending life and death and looks behind doors he’s barricaded in himself.

In 1957, when Trimble was six, psychosis overwhelmed his 14-year-old brother, Mike. Mike left home and never lived there again, dying alone in a Denver boarding home at 33. Journalists used Mike’s death to expose these “ratholes” warehousing people with mental illness.

Detective story, social history, journey of self-discovery, and compassionate and unsparing memorial to a family and a forgotten life, The Mike File will move every reader with a relative or friend touched by psychiatric illness or disability.

Book cover of Becoming Brazilian: How to Work, Live, and Love Like a Brazilian
  • Title: Becoming Brazilian: How to Work, Live, and Love Like a Brazilian
  • Author: Thomas Augustin Winter ’84
  • Genre: Travel Non-Fiction
  • Published: July 2021

Being a gringo in Brazil is terrific! Are you planning on visiting or working in Brazil? Becoming Brazilian will guide you through the intricacy of Brazilian culture and give you a deeper understanding of the country. It covers cross-cultural differences that will aid the reader to navigate both social and business interactions and explains the regional differences in Brazil though its celebrations, beliefs, customs, and gastronomy.
Becoming Brazilian focuses on the history and themes of major topics of Brazilian life. It is not a tour guide nor a travel guide. Becoming Brazilian is a guide for living and interacting with Brazilians to give the reader a deeper experience during their time in this great country.

Book cover of Tomorrow, It’s Only a Vision: The Journey Continues

This continuing saga of Jack Walker’s fascinating life story takes the reader inside the Chicago labor movement, civil rights street activity, and anti-Vietnam War protests of the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. The reader is with Walker as he associates with labor leaders, some honest and some not, and politicians and judges on the take. He introduces two mafia “juice men” who shared their daily experiences with him and two other mobsters who ran a call girl ring. His working relationship with most all the Black leaders in Chicago gives some insight into Black rage of the time. His years as a civil rights investigator will introduce a small-town mayor who claimed his school district would never desegregate and a Minnesota town that went silent on why the Native American students were pulled out and returned to the reservation. His legal defenses before administrative law judges and arbitrators left landmark precedents for federal government workers. Readers will experience his ten years as a practicing alcoholic and his up-and-down life recovering to go on and become a successful real estate operator, only to lose it all in bankruptcy and foreclosure, then recover to go on living one day at a time.

Book cover of Little Drops of Water
  • Title: Little Drops of Water
  • Author: Gladys Bendure Pfeiffer 1920
  • Illustrator: Elle Emery Shafer ’12
  • Genre: Children’s, Nature Fiction
  • Published: 2021

Set in the Rocky Mountains, this fictional children’s illustrated story follows the journey of several water drops form their creation as snowflakes in the atmosphere to water drops on land. Their journey is a unique one, as they fall along the Continental Divide and encounter challenges while they move through the watershed from the highest peaks in Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. Pfeiffer wrote this story in the late 1940s and Shafer, her great-granddaughter, illustrated it in 2021.

Book cover of And Silent Left the Place

A young woman stands naked and afraid in the South Texas dark. Miles away, an old man climbs into his secret hole, burdened by his Great War bargain. On this night in April 1963, the burden of silence passes from old to young in Bruce’s debut novel (rereleased). And Silent Left the Place is a lyric tale of violence, redemption, and love reclaimed in the cruel, dry land of Texas.

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