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UCD holiday reads touch on Christmas, politics, food

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From page A1 | December 13, 2013 | Leave Comment

Wonder & Delight newW

A look at recent books by UC Davis authors:

* “Wonder and Delight: A Dolph Gotelli Christmas” by Dolph Gotelli (http://Wonderanddelightbook.com, $75, 360 pages). Known as “Father Christmas,” UC Davis environmental design professor emeritus Gotelli has now featured his collection of toys and Christmas memorabilia in a book containing 570 color photos suitable for any holiday coffee table. For decades, Gotelli has mounted a number of museum exhibitions using toys from his collection — and this book gives everyone a chance to view them.

* “The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives” by Sasha Abramsky (Perseus Books, $26, 329 pages). Looking at long-term poor and the working poor, Abramsky, a UCD lecturer and freelance journalist, looks at the tens of millions of people whose lives are shaped by financial insecurity. Ultimately, he suggests ways “for moving toward a fairer and more equitable social contract.”

The New York Times Book Review just named the book one of the 100 notable books of the year.

* “Lost & Found: American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive” by Scott Simmon (Treasures from the American Film Archives, National Film Preservation Foundation, $24.98). Those hoping to catch a movie during their extra time off this season should seek out this DVD and accompanying 56-page booklet. In just over three hours, an anthology of silent films thought to be have been lost forever can now be viewed at home. The set features the work of such well-known directors as John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.

Simmon, an English professor who works at the intersection of film scholarship, archiving and access, has previously completed four of these critically acclaimed anthologies for the National Film Preservation Foundation. These collections have included such diverse themes as “The West” and social issues in American film. Altogether, his DVD sets make available 201 films preserved by the U.S. Public Archives.

* “Smarty Marty’s Got Game” by Amy Gutierrez (Cameron & Co., $17.95, 40 pages). This children’s book shatters stereotypes for girls in sports and tells the story of a character named Marty, who teaches the game and her love of baseball to her younger brother. Gutierrez, a 16-year career sports journalist who covers the San Francisco Giants, is a 1995 UCD graduate of the department of communications.

* “Song of Siwa: the Marzuk-Iskander Festival” by Louis Grivetti (XLIBRIS, $16.36, 242 pages). Grivetti, professor emeritus of nutrition, worked at the Siwa and Qara oases of Egypt during the mid-1960s, and wrote this fictional epic to honor the residents of these remote desert areas.

With many elements based on historical events, it relates the transcribed oral tradition of a band of early Stone Age hunters, led by Marzuk, who fled southwestern Europe, crossed the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa and ultimately reached safe haven in Siwa. It culminates with the visit of Iskander (Alexander the Great) to Siwa oasis, an event still revered at the oasis today.

The book is illustrated by Alison Smith, a multidisciplinary visual artist, singer, and performer.

* “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” by Alan Taylor (WW Norton & Co., $35, 624 pages). This Pulitzer prize-winning UCD history professor brings to light the untold stories of slaves who used war to escape slavery, and when newly freed, helped free others. Taylor focuses on the relationship between slave owners and enslaved people in the period between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, often called “the second American Revolution.”

The book is a finalist for the National Book Award.

* “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses” by Lucy Corin (McSweeney’s, $17, 192 pages). A collection of short stories by Corin, a UCD associate professor of English, illuminates moments of vexation and crisis, revelations and revolutions. An apocalypse might come in the form of the end of a relationship or the end of the world. Writes the publisher: “At once mournful and explosively energetic, ‘One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses’ makes manifest the troubled conscience of an uneasy time.”

* “Representing the Good Neighbor: Music, Difference, and the Pan American Dream,” by Carol A. Hess (Oxford University press, 49.95, 336 pages). This is the first book, according to the publisher, to examine in detail the critical reception of Latin American music in the United States. The author, a UCD professor of music, compares the work of three of the most prominent Latin American composers: Carlos Chavez, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Alberto Ginastera, with new biographical information on each.

* “Courtesans, Concubines and the Cult of Female Fidelity” by Beverly Bossler (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, $36, 480 pages). Bossler, a professor of history, specializes in the study of society, family and gender in China. Her most recent book traces the influence of commercialization and entertainment on gender relations in China in the 10th to 14th centuries.

Bossler illustrates how women intersected and interacted with men, influencing the social, political, and intellectual life of the Song and Yuan dynasties.

* “Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide” by Paul Knoepfler (World Scientific Publishing, $29, 360 pages). This book offers a guided tour through the awe, science and controversy of stem cell research. A true insider, Knoepfler is an associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy at UCD School of Medicine whose research focuses on stem cell and cancer cell biology. He also was treated for cancer a few years ago (though not with stem cells). His science interest came later in life — he has an undergraduate degree is in English literature. The book is informative, accessible and entertaining.

* “Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health” by Charlotte Biltekoff (Duke University Press, $22.95 paperback, $79.95 cloth cover, 224 pages). Biltekoff, formerly a chef at the acclaimed San Francisco restaurant “Greens” and now an assistant professor of cultural studies, and food science and technology at UCD, critiques dietary reform in the United States from the late 19th century emergence of nutritional science through the contemporary alternative food movement and campaign against obesity.

She says she intends not to change eating habits but rather to “illuminate the politics of dietary health in America, so we can better understand what happens when we define good diets, talk about eating right or try to improve peoples’ eating habits.”

* “Making the News: Politics, The Media and Agenda Setting” by Amber Boydstun (University of Chicago Press, $25, 280 pages). In her book, this assistant professor of political science looks at how the media can influence public policy and what makes policy issues resonate with the media. The publisher says: “Boydstun documents this systemic explosiveness and skew through analysis of media coverage across policy issues, including in-depth looks at the waxing and waning of coverage around two issues: capital punishment and the ‘war on terror.’”

* “Prometheus Reimagined: Technology, Environment, and Law in the Twenty-first Century” by Albert C. Lin (University of Michigan Press, $75, 316 pages). Lin, a professor of law, asks how governance institutions should adapt when innovation evolves faster than lawmaking and calls for a more democratic approach to technology regulation. Lin specializes in environmental and natural resources law. He is a former attorney for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

— UC Davis News

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