Posted August 2022

To celebrate National Book Lovers Day on August 9 and to shine a light on some of our phenomenal BU authors, we’ve compiled a list of the alumni-penned literature featured in the Spring-Summer 2022 edition of Bostonia Magazine. From murder mysteries to a unique analysis of seventeenth-century art, there’s a good read for every taste!

Banned in Boston: A Slightly Naughty-But-Nice Fable of the 1980s

by Daniel Kimmel (LAW’80)
Ben Porter, Franklin Abbott, and Margaret O’Leary, an unlikely trio of Bostonians, head up “Decency and Morality Now!” With dwindling funding, this antipornography organization is forced to come up with a way to “fight fire with fire.” It’s foolproof—unless they get caught.

Flame in a Stable

by Martin Edmund (GRS’08)
In his first collection in over 25 years, poet Martin Edmunds’ Flame in a Stable is an alarmingly poignant and intelligent book of poems. Author of the National Poetry Series winning The High Road to Taos, Edmunds draws you in with each word like the chains of an anchor being lifted onto a boat.

Joan is Okay

by Weike Wang (GRS’15)
Joan is a thirty-something ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, and successful. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.

My Brother Is Not a Monster: A Story of Addiction and Recovery

by Lee S. Varon (CAS’72)
Sophia is confused and angry when her older brother, Joey, begins acting differently, but her confusion turns to horror when she witnesses EMTs revive Joey after a drug overdose. While her brother is in the hospital recovering, their mom is forced to explain the disease of addiction. This is a tenderly told story about an issue facing countless families today and can serve as a way to begin having tough conversations with young ones.

Music is Murder

by B.J. Bowen (CFA’76)
When a symphony musician is murdered, bashed with her own bassoon, flute player Emily Wilson becomes the prime suspect. To save herself and secure justice for her murdered friend, she must find the killer.

Paybacks A Witch

by Lana Harper (LAW’10)
Emmy Harlow, a witch from the magical town of Thistle Grove, hasn’t been home in years. Her self-imposed exile—the result of complicated family history, a desire to forge her own path—ends when a magical tournament arbitrated by her family proves too deep of a tradition to deny. She’s determined to do her familial duty and get back to her real life in Chicago.

Shadow Music

by Helaine Mario (CAS’68)
Late in the Cold War, a young woman escapes from Communist Hungary, vanishing into the night with a priceless painting and a baby girl. Many years later, classical pianist Maggie O’Shea is drawn to Cornwall in search of a long-lost Van Gogh and the truth behind her husband’s death. A journal from World War II Paris holds many of the answers, but only two people know where the Van Gogh is hidden—a courageous nun and a man presumed dead.

Unknown Assailant: A Dr. Pepper Hunt Mystery

by Joanne Doucette (Wheelock’78,’84)
Dr. Pepper Hunt and Detective Beau Antelope team up again to investigate a tragic murder/suicide in a prominent ranch family in the small town of Farson, Wyoming. As they explore events leading up to the night of the disturbing crime they are drawn into the dark heart of a troubled family touched by a legacy of trauma.

The Art of Revision: The Last Word

by Peter Ho Davies (GRS’94)
In The Art of Revision: The Last Word, Peter Ho Davies takes up an often discussed yet frequently misunderstood subject. He begins by addressing the invisibility of revision—even though it’s an essential part of the writing process, readers typically only see a final draft. To combat this, Davies pulls examples from his novels The Welsh Girl and The Fortunes, as well as from the work of other writers. Davies also looks beyond literature to work that has been adapted or rewritten.

The Artist and the Eternal City: Bernini, Pope Alexander VII, and the Making of Rome

by Loyd Grossman (CAS’72)
This brilliant vignette of seventeenth-century Rome brings to life the friendship between a genius and his patron with an ease of writing that is rare in art history. By 1650, the spiritual and political power of the Catholic Church was shattered. Then a new Pope, Alexander VII, determined to restore the prestige of his church by making Rome the key destination for Europe’s intellectual, political, and cultural elite, enlists the talents of Gianlorenzo Bernini.

The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston’s Struggle for Justice

by Jan Brogan (COM’79)
At the end of the 1976 football season, more than forty Harvard athletes went to Boston’s Combat Zone to celebrate. At the end of the night, Italian American star athlete Andy Puopolo was murdered. Brogan traces the contentious relationship between Boston’s segregated neighborhoods during the busing crisis, shines a light on an unjust court system, and lays bare the deep-seated corruption within the police department and throughout the Combat Zone.

Know Your Hairitge: Zara’s Wash Day

by Zenda Walker (CGS’98, COM’00)
It’s wash day and Zara is not excited about wearing her hair in the same styles Mama usually creates. But once Mama takes Zara on a cultural journey to help her understand the significance of each hairstyle, wash days will never be the same! Know Your Hairitage: Zara’s Wash Day is a semi-biographical story about the hair texture and cultural styles of people of African descent and their link to a colorful and layered ancestral story.

The Legendary Toad’s Place: Stories from New Haven’s Famed Music Venue

by Randal Beach (CAS’72)
Anyone who has lived near New Haven, Connecticut, in the past 40-plus years has surely heard of Toad’s Place. With a capacity of 750, Toad’s has served as the perfect spot for musicians who prefer smaller venues. U2 played one of their first US concerts there, and the Rolling Stones gave 700 fans the night of their lives with a surprise show in 1989, to name just a few. Randall Beach and Toad’s owner Brian Phelps recall the legendary shows and behind-the-scenes stories.

Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy

by Erich Schwartzel (COM’09)
From trade to technology to military might, competition between the United States and China dominates the foreign policy landscape. But this battle for global influence is also playing out in a strange and unexpected arena: the movies. The film industry, Wall Street Journal reporter Erich Schwartzel explains, is the latest battleground in the tense and complex rivalry between these two world powers.

They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

by Kathleen Courtenay Stone (LAW’80)
In mid-twentieth-century America, women faced a paradox. Thanks to their efforts, World War II production had been robust and more women worked outside the home than ever before. Yet popular culture still portrayed the ideal woman as a housewife. In They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men, Kathleen Stone weaves stories of female ambition, uncovering the families, teachers, mentors, and historical events that led to unexpected paths.

To keep up with the lasted BU alumni news, take a look at the digital version of Boston University’s Alumni Magazine!

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