Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall 2016 (August 16, 2016)

General-Interest Books by Alumni Authors

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August 5, 2016

[F16] The New Cocktail Hour Book Cover and Others 

The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks

By André Darlington’98 and Tenaya Darlington’94
Running Press, 2016

The New Cocktail Hour is not your standard book on mixology. It’s historically contextualized, contemporary, and relentlessly fun. The Darlingtons cover everything from how best to stock your liquor cabinet to the ideal food pairings for each craft cocktail, which the authors define as “a mixed drink in which all of the elements—from spirits to mixers and garnishes—have been selected with care to create visual appeal, seductive aroma, balanced tastes, depth of flavor, appropriate mouthfeel, and above all, some pizzazz.”

The authors also include the fascinating backstory of each cocktail. For instance, one of the drinks (Moral Suasion) was created by a Boston bartender as a direct mockery of temperance activists. This compilation is further enhanced by detailed, colorful photographs that demonstrate just how aesthetically enjoyable cocktail hour can be.

The Darlingtons are siblings, whose mother is Beloit College Professor of Education Sonja Darlington. The duo bring culinary talents and reporting skills to Cocktail Hour. In fact, they like to joke that they are “drinkers with a writing problem.” Tenaya, a professor of writing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is an acclaimed cheese writer and blogger under the pseudonym Madame Fromage. (Her 2013 book, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, was reviewed in this magazine’s spring 2014 issue.) André is co-owner of Field Table, a new farm-to-table organic restaurant in Madison, Wis., and a restaurant critic and cocktail and wine columnist for the Isthmus, an alternative weekly newspaper, also in Madison, Wis.

– Kiernyn Orne-Adams’16

[F16] Ramblin' Boy Book Cover 

Ramblin’ Boy: The Letters of Steve Hoyt

Edited with commentary by Daniel Leen’69
Ecodesigns Northwest Publishers, 2016

In a unique narrative composed of letters, back stories, and photographs, Daniel Leen captures the wandering spirit of the 1960s and ’70s by drawing on a series of touching, humorous, and thoughtful correspondences exchanged between childhood friends. The main voice belongs to Steve Hoyt, an aspiring polymath and free spirit with an unquenchable thirst for adventure. He waxes poetic about hopping trains, nature, the fishing industry, cultural shifts, literature, and the open road, while Dan recounts his mixed experiences with “four walls education” (Steve’s term) as a Beloit Plan alumnus. There’s a visceral poignancy to this collection; times and ideals gone by are captured in the briefest of asides, extinct scenes rendered to life again with sketches. But it’s the authenticity of the voices—largely unedited, speaking of the day-to-day trivia of their lives just as often as their lofty dreams—that gives the story its heart.

[F16] History's Child Book Cover 

History’s Child

By Charles M. Boyer’73
New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2016

Charles Boyer, an 
English and humanities professor at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass., has written a stunning and memorable debut novel, which has won the AWP Prize for the Novel from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. History’s Child traces the lives of people forever shaken by World War II and its aftermath, including the Gradinskis, especially Tadek, who grew up in the shadow of the war. As the Soviets are replaced by the Nazis as occupiers in Poland, more and more changes come to the sleepy little village of Liaski. Tadek’s life, a balance of simple pleasures tainted by the constant presence of invaders, is irrevocably changed when he becomes a spy for the partisan movement. When he is captured and sent to the Gulag, the tale becomes one of survival and perseverance in the darkest of times. In this gripping story, Boyer recounts the finer points of history through intimate portraits of human love and suffering.

[F16] Red Lakes Book Cover 

Red Lakes

By Joshua Harding’94

Red Lakes follows the story of Sergei, a meat farmer living in a totalitarian Soviet state that rises from the ashes of a nuclear holocaust. But at the head of this new regime is a mysterious figure with red hair, white skin, and clown-like feet, not unlike a certain fast food chain mascot. When one considers that the people of this new state subsist on burgers, things seem suspicious. Sergei quickly finds himself in the middle of a grand conspiracy when he discovers that he is actually a clone of the State’s founder. But just as Sergei is being groomed for power, a group kidnaps him and tries to open his eyes to the horrors that the State is carrying out against his people. Placed between absolute power and a chance to liberate his countrymen, Sergei is forced to make an epic choice. “It’s like Soylent Green in Russia,” says author Tony Trevithick.

[F16] Rodriguez Book Cover 

The Great House of Raúl Rodríguez

By Sonette Chanson Tippens’65
Red Apple Publishing 2015

Sonette Chanson Tippens’s account of her adventures in Mexico may not be presented in chronological order in The Great House of Raúl Rodríguez, but they actually begin with Beloit College. In 1963, enrolled in a course taught by noted art professor Franklin Boggs, she and her classmates traveled to Guanajuato to study art and Spanish. The experience would change her life forever. While in picturesque San Miguel de Allende, she unknowingly accepts a marriage proposal during a midnight serenade that ties her to a wealthy family and a great house dating back to the 1600s, even though the marriage never happens and her “fiancé” is murdered. This is a true story of a college student abroad who forges life-changing and life-long bonds. These connections continue to draw her back to Mexico for months at a time to assume her place as the widow in a great house.

[F16] Elepahnts & Kings Book Cover 

Elephants and Kings: An Environmental History

By Thomas R. Trautmann’62
The University of Chicago Press, 2015

Thomas R. Trautmann, a professor emeritus of history and anthropology at the University of Michigan, has been writing about ancient India and related topics since the late 1960s. In his latest book, Elephants and Kings, Trautmann traces the history of war elephants in India and how their militaristic function helped to preserve their habitat and population, even as most of the uses for elephants—sacrifice, sport, and ivory—were directing the creature toward extinction. However, the kings of India decided to use elephants as both symbols of their power and crucial components of their military. Drawing upon an impressive array of scholarship and looking back over thousands of years, Trautmann’s book is a fascinating and enlightening read.

Mahesh Rangarajan, the author of India’s Wildlife History and another celebrated expert on the region, wrote that “no reader will ever view [the elephant] or its human benefactors (or exploiters) again without reference to this fascinating work.”

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