Read & Listen On

Recent Books by UB Alumni

Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

By Richard Kurin, BA ’72 & BA ’72

Since its discovery in 17th century India, the Hope Diamond—a glimmering deep-blue gem originally weighing 112 carats—has been shrouded in mystery and steeped in intrigue. In this groundbreaking work, Richard Kurin, a cultural anthropologist and director of the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, goes beyond the speculation to reveal the truth behind the legendary stone. “Kurin takes us on a journey that is full of adventure and reminds us that objects have biographies that are both full of drama and revelation,” says Rubie Watson, curator of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. (Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins, 2006)

The Palgrave Environmental Reader

The Palgrave Environmental Reader

Edited by Richard S. Newman, PhD ’98 & BA ’89 and Daniel G. Payne, PhD ’93 & MA ’91

The Palgrave Environmental Reader explores America’s evolving fascination with nature and environmental concerns. From the New England Transcendentalists to the U.N. convention on climate change, this book includes works by Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson and others, emphasizing such themes as environmental activism, racism and law. Payne is assistant professor of English at SUNY-Oneonta, while Newman is assistant professor of history at Rochester Institute of Technology. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

The Last Days of Dead Celebrities

The Last Days of Dead Celebrities

By Mitchell Fink, BA ’99

Internationally recognized journalist Mitchell Fink reports on the final days of 15 larger-than-life celebrities, including John Lennon, Ted Williams, Lucille Ball and John Ritter. Working with an extraordinary level of access, he unearthed exclusive and moving material, portraying the broad range of emotions these very sympathetic icons experienced. “The result is a thoughtful and sobering account of how our culture views and treats celebrities, as well as a poignant look at some very public people’s most private moments,” according to Publishers Weekly. (Miramax Books, 2006)

Vengeance on High: A Wally Morris Mystery (Avalon Mystery)

Vengeance on High: A Wally Morris Mystery (Avalon Mystery)

By Joani Ascher, BA ’73

In the fourth book of the author’s Wally Morris mystery series, real estate tycoon Keith Hollis’s plans for a residential development in the Grosvenor quarry cause an uproar at the Fourth of July celebration. As the last fireworks embers fall below the rim of the quarry, so does Keith. Wally Morris, a nursery school teacher and amateur detective, investigates his murder. (Avalon Books, 2006)

Blood Sisters: A Novel of an Epic Friendship

Blood Sisters: A Novel of an Epic Friendship

By Mary Jacobsen, PhD ’80

In this novel, two women—one straight, the other lesbian—have an enduring love over a 30-year period. “Haunting, lyrical and deeply moving,” Blood Sisters “pulls all the right heartstrings in its evocative portrayal of the profound and immutable bond between these two women,” writes Cameron Abbott, author of To the Edge and An Inexpressible State of Grace. “An immensely satisfying read.” (Haworth Press, 2006)

Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight

Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight

By Alan Gilbert, PhD ’97 & MA ’95

This collection of critical essays on contemporary poetry, art, culture and politics investigates the current state of these fields, bringing together writings on the work of a number of poets and visual artists. Gilbert illuminates poetic and artistic practices in the present and creates a new discourse for thinking beyond postmodernism. Meticulous and comprehensive, Another Future makes an important contribution to the critical discussion of contemporary poetry and cultural aesthetics. (Wesleyan University Press, 2006)

Meteoric Flowers

Meteoric Flowers

By Elizabeth Willis, PhD ’94

The author’s latest book of poetry was inspired by the scientific pastorals of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin and a respected physician, poet, philosopher, botanist and naturalist. Indeed, Darwin’s unique language provided titles for Willis’s poems, which evoke the spirit of Darwin’s own investigative poetics, as they work through the personal and sociological turbulence of 21st century citizenship. Willis is assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University. (Wesleyan University Press, 2006)

Italy Illuminated, Volume I, Books 1-IV Biondo Flavio

Italy Illuminated, Volume I, Books 1-IV Biondo Flavio

Edited and translated by Jeffrey A. White, PhD ’75 & MA ’69

While serving a number of the Renaissance popes, Biondo Flavio (1392–1463) inaugurated an extraordinary program of research into the history, institutions, cultural life and physical remains of the ancient Roman empire. Italia Illustrata (1453), which appears here for the first time in English and includes commentary, is a topographical work describing Italy region by region—its aim is to explore the Roman roots of the Renaissance world. Jeffrey A. White is associate professor of classical languages at St. Bonaventure University. (Harvard University Press, 2005)

Leave No Nurses Behind: Nurses Working with disAbilities

Leave No Nurses Behind: Nurses Working with disAbilities

By Donna Maheady, MS ’81

In the midst of a national nursing shortage, many nurses who can and want to work are being denied the opportunity because they have disabilities, this book asserts. Here 11 nurses share their inspirational stories; their disabilities include vision and hearing loss, spina bifida, HIV, MS (multiple sclerosis), tremors and mental illness. Though nursing with a disability is a challenge, this book demonstrates that with proper planning, the requisite knowledge and perseverance, it is possible. The author is a pediatric nurse practitioner and adjunct assistant professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. (iUniverse, 2006)

My Nights at the Improv

My Nights at the Improv

By Jan Siebold, MLS ’77

In this novel for young audiences, eighth-grader Lizzie, never one to take risks and reticent in her self-expression following a move to a new town, learns from observing five students in a theater class on improvisation. How do they do it? Lizzie wonders, not just on stage, but in life, too? “Improvisational theater is a fascinating topic that is not often represented in fiction for this age group,” writes School Library Journal. “The concept is well covered in this high-interest novel.” The author is a school library media specialist who lives in East Aurora, New York. (Albert Whitman, 2005)

Aesthetics and Environment: Variations on a Theme

Aesthetics and Environment: Variations on a Theme

By Arnold Berleant, PhD ’62

Environmental aesthetics is a theme whose variations are as endless as the possibilities of the human performers and conditions from which it is fashioned. This set of essays testifies to Arnold Berleant’s special talent in moving easily between both natural and human environments and opens up the contemporary discussion beyond that of the wilderness to the cultural and social environment. He maintains the idea that inasmuch as people are embedded in these worlds, relationships—including human relationships—are part of them. The melding of these two worlds leads Berleant to defend ultimately what he has termed “social aesthetics.” “Arnold Berleant’s essays are essential readings in environmental aesthetics; they have helped to define the field,” writes Allen Carlson, professor of philosophy at the University of Alberta. (Ashgate, 2005)

White Treasure

White Treasure

By R. Jack Punch, EMBA ’04

In this novel about hidden treasure, Wilbur Bone inherits his friend’s dive boat. He begins to enjoy diving and starts to charter scuba outings. After a chain of events plunges Bone into the petrifying depths of Lake Ontario, his peaceful life is shattered as violence and greed invade his quiet life. The author is himself a scuba diver for almost 40 years and resides in Albion, New York. (iUniverse, 2006)

An Introduction to the United States Legal System: Cases and Comments

An Introduction to the United States Legal System: Cases and Comments

By Alberto Manuel Benitez, JD ’86 & BA ’83

An Introduction to the United States Legal System is designed to introduce non-U.S. trained lawyers, law students and undergraduates to the intricacies and nuances of the U.S. legal system. As a consequence of globalization, the need for lawyers who are international in perspective and competence is increasing. This book attempts to compress three years of U.S. legal education into one casebook. The author is director of the immigration law clinic at George Washington University Law School. (Carolina Academic Press, 2006)

The Magnificent Man

The Magnificent Man

By William Mueller, BS ’84

The Magnificent Man tells the story of George Beaver, a 40-year-old American investment banker–turned artist, his training at the Villa Catalan in Italy, his solitary struggle to overcome life’s distractions and conventional ideals, and his explosive love affair with Allegra Greffi, a beautiful but troubled Venetian. Yet the novel’s most unforgettable character is Beaver’s teacher and friend, Anthony Servadio, a master stone carver who is awarded a Papal commission to replace the Vatican Obelisk with a marble statue in a sweeping story that illuminates the creative process. (AuthorHouse, 2006)

Black on Black: Urban Youth Films and the Multicultural Audience

Black on Black: Urban Youth Films and the Multicultural Audience

By Celeste A. Fisher, MS ’88

This book tackles the under-examined subject of black, male-focused, coming-of-age films in American society. Of central concern is an analysis of responses made by culturally diverse young adults to selected “hood” films of the early 1990s. Grounded in reader-response theory and using qualitative research design and analysis, Celeste Fisher, visiting assistant professor of sociology at Ithaca College, examines student interpretations of three representative films of the period: Boyz N the Hood, Juice and Menace II Society. Fisher provides insight into how meaning is determined by a multicultural audience in response to a particularly controversial representation of “blackness” in America. (Scarecrow Press, 2006)

Financial Public Relations 101 for Financial Service Professionals

Financial Public Relations 101 for Financial Service Professionals

By William Bongiorno, BA ’91

This audio CD teaches financial executives about the public relations process and how it can help them increase shareholders and assets under management. Among the topics covered: how to orchestrate a public relations plan, the difference between PR and advertising, how to conduct a one-on-one interview and tips on which news releases get coverage. Bongirono is president of Blue Chip Public Relations in South Salem, New York. (Blue Chip Public Relations Inc., www.bluechippr.com)

The Quintessential Guide to Using Consultants

The Quintessential Guide to Using Consultants

By David Zahn, BA ’84

The Quintessential Guide to Using Consultants presents practical and clear guidelines for maximizing the results of the consulting relationship through each step. The reader gets answers to such questions as: What does a consultant do? Should you use former colleagues who have an inside knowledge of your business, or opt for outside experts? What is a consultant responsible for and not? (HRD Press, 2004)

Joining In: Exploring the History of Voluntary Organizations

Joining In: Exploring the History of Voluntary Organizations

By Karen J. Blair, PhD ’76 & MA ’74

Students, scholars, genealogists, museum docents and historical society volunteers who seek to explore .the many volunteer organizations in America’s history will gain considerable guidance from this path-breaking volume. Karen J. Blair, professor and chair of history at Central Washington University, offers practical steps to locate club records, ask appropriate questions and make sense of the story from the perspective of the individual members, community and the broad historical themes of the past. Joining In is the latest volume in the publisher’s Exploring Community History Series. (Krieger Publishing Company, 2006)

Recent Music by UB Alumni

Air Play

Air Play

Francesco (“Frank”) Bonifazi, BSME ’81

In this debut CD, Francesco (“Frank") Bonifazi presents his world-renowned jazz whistling, along with his guitar and vocals. “He makes it all seem effortless,” writes the Denver Post. Air Play, produced in 2005 and available at www.cdbaby.com/bonifazi, has been picked up by many public radio stations, including UB’s own WBFO-FM and Denver’s jazz89 KUVO-FM. Bonifazi gives credit for his success to engineering and music classes while studying at UB, as well as “the great jazz that makes Buffalo special.”

Attention Alumni Authors

UB Today publishes notices on recent books and CDs by alumni. Send brief, factual descriptions of the book or CD, along with copies of the publisher's or producer's blurb and critical reviews, if desired. Include the full name of the publishing house or recording company, year of publication or production and the author's UB degree (s) and the year(s) received. Indicate where the author now lives and any current credentials that relate to the subject matter of the book, or the content of the CD.

To accompany each listing, camera-ready book jacket or CD cover art, or the book or CD itself, may be sent to UB Today, 330 Crofts Bldg., Buffalo, NY 14260, and will be returned if requested. High-resolution digital book cover art (scanned at 300 dpi) is preferred for the print edition and may be sent, along with a description of the book or CD, to whitcher@buffalo.edu. Preference is given to titles of wide general interest.

All submissions are subject to editing for length and clarity. Please include a daytime telephone number for verification.