Spring 2019

Mixed Media

Our books and creative milestones.

BOOKS

These Truth Book cover

These Truths: A History of the United States
W.W. Norton & Company
In nearly one thousand pages, Harvard professor and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore, J87, H14, traces the messy history of our nation, from its accidental discovery in 1492 to “America, Disrupted” (the final chapter) in the Trump era. Lepore scrutinizes four hundred years of this political experiment to answer a fundamental question: Is there any constitution or system of government by which citizens can rule themselves “justly and fairly, and as equals,” or is such an effort “fated to be corrupted” by violence and force, accidents of history, and the emotion and prejudices suppressing our best efforts at reason? Along the way, this sweeping compendium spotlights moments in the lives of both ordinary people and public figures as they play out on the grand stage of American civil society.

 

The Art of Armenia: An Introduction
Oxford University Press
In this scholarly but accessible survey reaching back to the prehistoric, Urartian, and Hellenistic roots of the former Soviet republic, Christina Maranci, the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and Architecture at Tufts, examines works across many media—including stone, metal, wood, and cloth—in their historical, geographic, and archaeological contexts.

 

The Bordeaux Kitchen

The Bordeaux Kitchen: An Immersion Into French Food and Wine, Inspired by Ancestral Traditions
Primal Blueprint Publishers
This beautiful cookbook includes 180 traditional, meat-heavy recipes (beef burgundy, lamb stew, French onion soup), with accompanying anecdotal introductions, detailed instructions, cooking techniques, wine-pairing tips, and more. Chef, butcher, and food writer Tania Teschke, F99, transports readers to southwestern France by recalling her encounters with chefs, farmers, vintners, and home cooks as she explores every aspect of the region’s centuries-old obsession with food and wine.

 

Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit
Painted Turtle
With stunning photographs by the author—Detroit News reporter Michael H. Hodges, A77—and historical illustrations, this biography considers the life and career of legendary industrial architect Albert Kahn (1869–1942) as well as his influence on Rust Belt building design and the impact he made on industry and technology.

 

Diary of a Dean, Campus Revolution 1968-1992
Createspace
Elizabeth Ahn Toupin became director of student affairs at Tufts’ Jackson College in 1968 despite not having a degree in education and, perhaps even more surprising given the times, being the daughter of Korean immigrants. In this memoir, Toupin, who went on to become associate dean of undergraduate education, tells her life story—from a childhood in the melting pot of Hawaii through her arrival in Massachusetts as a single mother of three to her years on campus as one of the country’s first Asian-American deans during a turbulent era in American history.

 

Hollywood Harmony: Musical Wonder and the Sound of Cinema
Oxford University Press
Ever wonder why going to the movies can be such an emotional experience? Frank Lehman, assistant professor of music at Tufts, is here to explain how music manipulates mood and signals plotlines and turning points. In this erudite work, he calls on theory, psychology, composition, and more to scrutinize hundreds of movies in all periods and genres, from the studio’s “logo theme” to the credits that roll as you prepare to leave the theater or sit, gutted, waiting to regain composure.

 

Leading Men Book cover

Leading Men
Viking
Christopher Castellani, AG96, artistic director of Boston’s GrubStreet creative writing center and the author of three previous novels, found inspiration for his latest work in a throwaway line from a letter written by Truman Capote. At a Capote-hosted party in Italy, playwright Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo, an aspiring actor and the love of Williams’s life, meet the (fictional) Swedish beauty Anja, who goes on to become a famous actress and confidant to Frank in particular. The relationships among the three protagonists become a gripping meditation on the nature of fidelity, genius, love, and what it means to be famous—or in the shadow of someone who is

 

Little Prayers
Blue Light Press
In this debut book of forty-seven evocative poems, essayist and writing professor Susie Meserve, J95, conveys the themes of love and loss, hope and transcendence in simple but often crushing language. Occasional surrealist twists—a detouring bus “sprouting great wings,” for one—provide lightness, along with fresh perspective.

 

My Parent's Keeper: The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork, And Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving
Yale University Press
Using her own father’s battle with dementia as a jumping-off point, Jody Gastfriend, J80, weaves practical caregiving advice together with anecdotes from those who have been through it. Gastfriend, vice president of senior care services at Care.com, covers topics as straightforward as finances and as nuanced as sibling relationships and “caring for the parent who couldn’t care for you.” Tips, checklists, and a resource list at the end make this book a must for people with aging parents.

 

Renoir book cover

Renoir: An Intimate Biography
Thames & Hudson
This isn’t the first biography of Auguste Renoir—it’s not even the first by this author—but it may be the most thorough, as Barbara Ehrlich White, A88P, A91P, has devoted much of her almost sixty-year career to studying the pioneering impressionist painter. Encouraged to write the book by the artist’s descendants, White, an adjunct professor emerita of art history at Tufts, excerpts thousands of letters—many previously unpublished—by, to, and about Renoir to challenge some common misconceptions about his life.

 

Still becoming book cover

Still Becoming: Conversations with People in their Sixties
Right Coast Press
This book of essays, coauthored by Betsy Banks Epstein, J74, AG74, A01P, and her sister-in-law, psychologist and Tufts lecturer Elinor Svenson, profiles thirty-two notables—including Boston meteorologist Harvey Leonard, singer Livingston Taylor, Massachusetts treasurer Deb Goldberg, and late Celtics deadeye shooter JoJo White—whose lives and words show that the sixth decade of life can be a fulfilling time of transition and hope, despite new and enduring challenges

 

The 21 Escapes of LT. Alastair Cram
Macmillan
How is it possible that no one thought to write a book about Scottish soldier Alastair Cram until David M. Guss, professor emeritus of anthropology, took on the challenge? A movie waiting to happen, this fascinating account of Cram’s dogged refusal to yield to captivity after being taken prisoner in 1941 as a member of the Royal Artillery starts on the battlefield and never flags in its fast-paced chronicling of the “Houdini of the Second World War.”

 

The White Darkness
Doubleday
David Grann, F92, has earned his reputation as one of America’s most compelling nonfiction writers with best-sellers such as Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z. In this slim volume, originally published in the New Yorker, Grann draws on audio recordings, diary entries, and scrapbooks to recount the story of a middle-aged British eccentric named Henry Worsley, who was so obsessed with the explorer Ernest Shackleton’s doomed 1914 Nimrod expedition that in 2015, he set out alone on foot to replicate the thousand-plus-mile route across Antarctica.

 

What's Next? Creativity in the Age of Entertainment
Bookbaby
Incorporating contemporary research and her own experiences, musician, educator, and “cultural entrepreneur” Jan Karlin, J76, takes stock of how our market-driven era, which often conflates the terms “art” and “entertainment,” can actually discourage creativity, and what should be done about this crisis.

 

Albums

Forth Wanders
Sub Pop Records
Indie quintet Forth Wanderers, including bassist Noah Schifrin, A18, got together in high school and have since garnered admiring reviews and a devoted fan base (New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde is among their champions). With music that often veers into punk territory, heartfelt lyrics about intimacy and betrayal, and sharp vocals by lead singer Ava Trilling, this eponymous album delivers raw emotion.

 

Look Alive
Nettwerk Music Group/Ocho Mule Records
Guster, an alternative rock band formed in 1991 at Tufts, recently released its first album in four years (and announced upcoming tour dates in the United States and Canada). Superfans, rejoice: as expected, the new record delivers catchy, finely layered instrumental hooks and crisp, wistful vocal harmonies. Pop craftsmanship at its finest.

 

The Home I'd build for myself cover image

The Home I'D Build For myself and All my Friends
Left Hand Path
The ten hard-core techno-pop tracks on this album from Bermuda native and self-described member of that country’s “queer
diaspora” Russell E.L. Butler, A08, AG09, clock in at an average of six minutes each—plenty of time to revel in the blissfully energetic beats.

 

Art Exhibit

Harry Dodge: Works of Love
On view at Tufts's Tisch Family Gallery through April 14, this solo show includes sculptures, drawings, and videos from San Francisco interdisciplinary artist Harry Dodge that plumb the emerging relationship between robots and artificial intelligence and humans.