Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2016 (April 2016)

General-Interest Books by Alumni and Faculty Authors

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April 2016

[S16] Paganistan: Contemporary Pagan Community in Minnesota’s Twin CitiesPaganistan: Contemporary Pagan Community in Minnesota’s Twin Cities

By Murphy Pizza’96
Ashgate, 2014

Anthropologist Murphy Pizza crafts a compelling ethnography of Paganistan, a moniker adopted by a vibrant, urban Pagan community in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Pizza’s book, the first-ever study of this long-lived group, explores what it means to be a part of this community and how that identity connects with other identities, particularly that of being Minnesotan. She also ties it to the larger structural elements of the Pagan movement, including the various avenues of entry, oral storytelling traditions, connections to current events, and seasonally based rituals. “This ethnography is intended to be a starting point, not a final destination, on the journey of documenting this community.” Pizza specializes in religious studies, visual culture, and ethnic studies. She lives in the Twin Cities.

[S16] Godawful Dreams By Tom McBrideGodawful Dreams

By Tom McBride

Professor Emeritus

Professor Emeritus of English Tom McBride, long known for his distinctive teaching style and co-authorship of the annual Mindset List, enters the world of satirical fiction with Godawful Dreams, two short novels that focus on two different colleges weathering their own scandals. At Illyria College in Vermont in 1960, a series of backroom deals and personal mishaps threaten the financial foundations of the once powerful school. Meanwhile, in 1926, students, staff, and faculty at Belton College in Wisconsin (based heavily on Beloit) are all drawn into the mysterious life—and death—of Classics Professor Theodore Elves. In these two occasionally overlapping narratives that span nine decades and feature countless memorable characters, McBride wryly skewers the academic environment that he knows so well.

[S16] The DolphinThe Dolphin

By Craig Bennett Hallenstein’72
Storyville Press, 2016

Craig Hallenstein’s first novel is a psychological thriller set in New Orleans, La., the city where the main character Sean Jordan has moved for a fresh start. A conservative radio talk show host looking for higher ratings outs Jordan as a sex offender, and when the radio hosts’ 13-year-old daughter disappears, Jordan is a suspect. Police pursue him, unaware that Jordan is also a victim of a kidnapper who is terrorizing the city of New Orleans the night before Mardi Gras. While this fast-paced, suspenseful tale is a work of fiction, Hallenstein says it’s also a commentary on two contemporary issues: flaws in the nation’s sex offender registration program, and the media’s role in polarizing public opinion. Hallenstein is a psychologist and the father of five children.

[S16] Wry Humor, Peter M. LutterbeckWry Humor: Reflections as a Side Dish

By Peter M. Lutterbeck’58
AuthorHouse, 2014

In this alphabetized collection of essays—whose topics span from the Mafia presence in 1940s Chicago to debates on the merits of the Internet—Peter Lutterbeck recounts fascinating observations from his experiences around the world. Whether it be philosophical treatises on the unrealistic nature of modern films or the shifting state of gender dynamics, Dr. Lutterbeck produces a range of cultural critiques of the times we live in. Yet he also packs the book with fascinating anecdotes from his own life. Dr. Lutterbeck immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1939 and returned to Europe after college. He enjoyed successful careers in pathology and international pharmaceuticals for more than three decades before taking up humor writing as a retirement project two years ago.

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