Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall/Winter 2014 (November 4, 2014)

General-Interest Books by Alumni and Faculty Authors

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October 31, 2014

BOOKSHELF Schooling for ResilienceBy Edward Fergus’96, Pedro Noguera, and Margary Martin

Harvard Education Press, 2014

In this extensive three-year study, the authors (including Fergus, the first McNair Scholar from Beloit to obtain a Ph.D.) examine the social and structural issues deterring black and Latino boys from higher education and ensuing success. The study looks at seven schools from across the United States, all with one commonality: they are “created specifically to serve boys of color” by “shaping the long-term educational trajectories of their students.” The schools’ methods are compared and contrasted throughout the book’s thematic chapters, which include “Single-Sex Schools,” “Curriculum and Instruction,” “Reconstructing Social Identities,” and “Creating Protective School Environments.”

As the authors explain through their analyses, the obstacles facing young Latino and black men’s paths to academic success include inadequate resources or irrelevant classes at school, lack of positive male role models in the community, identity crises, and family factors such as low parental involvement. Each of the profiled schools aims to override the students’ negative perceptions of academics and themselves by offering emotional support, culturally relevant lessons, and promotion of academic ideals.

As the principal at one school puts it: “Sure, we want our kids to get good grades and get admitted to good colleges, but we’re actually trying to accomplish more than that … We are hoping that they will become men who will become leaders in their communities … who will work to improve urban life somehow.”

Using a mix of statistics, policy overviews, and interviews with students and faculty, the text serves “as a call to action” to address serious issues in American education.




BOOKSHELF Sunday Kind of Love

By David Benjamin’73

Event Horizon Press, 2014

David Benjamin’s latest novel is a suspenseful tale of a passionate love triangle between a woman, a man … and his quarterback. The star of this comedic ode to sports ardor is Trish, who cares nothing about football but has spent years pining after her married boss Allen Andrews, a Green Bay Packers fanatic with a special fondness for superstar quarterback Brett Favre.

The story takes place in 2009 as Favre, recently returned from retirement, begins playing for the hated Minnesota Vikings. Amidst this statewide drama, Trish, with the determined help of her friend Gary, starts a campaign to win Allen’s heart that requires her to dive into the daunting world of Packers worship. As she frequents Lambeau Field and a boisterous Madison football bar, Trish’s encounters with the eccentricities and fervor of avid fans teach her more about the game and the people who love it—including, eventually, herself.










BOOKSHELF Secret Life Secret DeathBy (Linda) Genevieve Davis’73

October 7th Studio, 2013

The discovery of family secrets can launch many kinds of journeys. For Genevieve Davis, it inspired a decade-long odyssey to uncover the true story of the grandmother she never knew. The resulting book—part memoir, part biography, and part cultural history—catalogues her Grandma Minnie’s mysterious and turbulent life, which included romantic and social connections to the Chicago Mafia and co-ownership of a popular bar and brothel in the small town of Spread Eagle, Wis.

Davis’ research process included interviews, letters, and archival study, as well as various adventures (and misadventures) around Chicago and northern Wisconsin. Along the way, she uncovered stories not only about her family, but also about the secret history of Chicago, prostitution, immigration, and organized crime. In addition to writing the book, Davis wrote, directed, produced, edited, and designed an artistic docu­drama of the same name which premiered in 2012.










BOOKSHELF College RentalsBy Dan Gooder Richard’69

Inkspiration Media, 2013

Sending a child to college can be daunting—both personally and financially. However, Dan Gooder Richard hopes to take some of the sting out of student housing fees by teaching parents how to purchase property in college towns, and turn a profit.

According to Richard, the demand for off-campus housing will only increase into the foreseeable future, given the record number of high school students choosing to pursue further education. It is, therefore, a smart choice for both parents and investors alike to buy property in college towns.

With Smart Essentials for College Rentals, Richard takes potential homebuyers through every step of the acquisition process: from locating profitable student rentals, to assembling a team of financial advisers, to finding suitable tenants.

Richard is the author of several books on marketing and real estate and the editor of the Smart Essentials series of guides to money management.









BOOKSHELF Lioness of Brumley HallBy Augusta Pearson Benners (Marian Blincoe Lee’76)

CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014

A colorful cast of characters illuminates every page of Augusta Pearson Benners’ foray into young adult fiction. In fact, there is such a wide array of strange and wonderful figures roaming the corridors of Brumley Hall that Pearson Benners features an index of their names and functions just so her readers can keep track.

The Lioness of Brumley Hall is fantasy in the C.S. Lewis tradition—fairies and talking animals are constantly interacting with unfazed child protagonists. Much of the novel is centered on Azalea, the 10-year-old granddaughter of the eponymous lioness.

Azalea helps to lead readers through the weird and whimsical happenings at Brumley Hall—from the appearance of the future Dalai Lama, to a young fairy princess seeking protection from evil forces.

This is the first in Augusta Pearson Benners’ Urwelt Chronicles series.










BOOKSHELF Silk SermonsBy D. Stanley Moore’51

Self-published, 2013

Silk Sermons is more than the story of an American family immigrating to China to teach English: It is a cross-cultural memoir in multiple voices. D. Stanley Moore interweaves personal anecdotes with narratives about, and in some cases written by, his students.

It quickly becomes difficult to discern who is teaching whom. Moore gives his students access to information and in turn, they provide him with knowledge gained through their own experiences.

Moore captures a changing China with first-hand accounts of the student-led, pro-democracy demonstrations that occurred nationwide in 1989. His first year of teaching ended with the Tiananmen Square massacre, and he tells of traveling on the Trans-Siberian railway during the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. Silk Sermons allows readers tremendous insight into the political events that came to define a generation, and shows how they changed the lives of those around him.









BOOKSHELF Paperless DoctrineBy Aaron M. Wilson’99

Onyx Neon Press, 2014

In this short story (appropriately sold only on digital reading platforms), Wilson explores a world in which printed books have been made illegal. The plot focuses on Mr. North, a mid-level bureaucrat who has been assigned to destroy the last bookstore on Earth. He is conflicted about this assignment, not the least because he has gotten to know the owner, James, who struggles against the odds to keep the world of paper alive.

The story traces the emotional complexities of the two characters as they navigate a digitized world of instant information and constant advertising while trying to determine what, if any, remnants of the physical, visceral past should be saved.

After graduating from Beloit, Wilson obtained his M.F.A. in writing from Hamline University. He has published several short stories, poetry, and a “novelette” and currently works as the office coordinator for the Beloit College Museums.










BOOKSHELF South Korea Our StoryBy Daniel L. Nardini’83

Xlibris, 2013

In this debut autobiography, Nardini charts his “personal discovery of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and its ancient cultural and historical heritage.” His accounts are based on his experiences as an English teacher in South Korea from 1996 to 1997 and subsequent trips back to the area over the next decade.

During his time in the country, he explored the history of notable cities and former monarchies and witnessed many significant current events, including recession, civil unrest, and anti-American movements.

As much as the book is about South Korea, it is also about the blossoming love affair between Nardini and his wife, a former student. After Nardini returned to America, they carried on a correspondence which led to a cross-continental romance that provided even more insight into the cultural norms of a land that they love as much as each other.

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