Spring 2019 Books

The following is a list of books published by alumnae and faculty, or about alumnae, and received at the Alumnae Quarterly offices since the publication of the winter 2019 issue. To submit your work, please email quarterly@mtholyoke.edu.

Cover of A Scientific Companion to Robert FrostA Scientific Companion to Robert Frost

Clemson University Press

Mention Robert Frost and people instantly think of snowy woods and less-traveled paths and rural neighbors meeting to fix their stone fence. But what does Robert Frost have to do with science? You might be surprised. Born in 1874, Frost lived through a remarkable period of scientific progress, including the development of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, the Big Bang theory, the discovery of the structure of DNA and the beginnings of space travel. Possessing a powerful intellect driven by keen curiosity, Frost was highly knowledgeable about the science of his time and infuses his poetry with imagery and language borrowed from science. Frost not only uses the language of science to enrich his poetry in the same way he uses classical, historical, biblical and literary allusions, but he also uses ordinary language to create sophisticated metaphors based on scientific concepts such as evolution and entropy.

The book, which is organized chronologically, uses language that is accessible to laymen and is supplemented by numerous illustrations and appendices that should make it a valuable resource for teachers and scholars.

Virginia F. Smith ’83 is a professor of chemistry at the United States Naval Academy, where she maintains an active research program and has published more than 20 scientific articles. Her interest in Robert Frost’s use of scientific imagery and language has led to three publications and multiple speaking engagements at colleges, universities and professional meetings. She has also served as president of The Robert Frost Society. After earning an B.A. in physics and chemistry from Mount Holyoke, Smith served five years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, then worked in industry before earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Washington State University.

Cover of The Hair BookThe Hair Book

Penguin Random House Books for Young Readers

After 40 years in print and with new illustrations, kids will enjoy this simple, rhymed riff features a charming cast of human and animal characters sporting all kinds of hair — short, long, curly, straight, dark, fair, braided, tied, washed, dyed. Written for children learning to read on their own, it’s filled with words and concepts kids encounter every day.

Cindy G. Tether ’72 lives in Bronxville, New York, with her golden-eyed pussycat, Pumpkin, and writes under the name Graham Tether. She loves to travel, to snorkel and to explore. Her curiosity about the world in which we live knows no limits.

Cover of Beyond the FieldsBeyond the Fields

Marshall Cavendish Ltd, Singapore

Set in the early 1980s against the backdrop of martial law and social turmoil, this novel offers a profound inequality, traditions that disempower women in our world and survival as a dance to the beat of a different future. The story follows twins Zara and Tara, born to a poor, landless farmer in a remote village of Punjab who through together embark on a quest for justice, battling keepers of a culture that upholds propriety above all else.

Aysha Baqir ’95 studied international relations at Mount Holyoke before returning to Pakistan and quickly learned that the poor needed access to economic resources and networks before they could voice their demands for social justice, and she decided to arm herself with an MBA. In 1998 she founded a pioneering economic development nonprofit organization, Kaarvan Crafts Foundation, focused on poverty alleviation through the provision of business development and market-focused trainings for girls and women. She headed the organization until 2013 when she relocated to Singapore. She is on the board of Kaarvan Crafts Foundation and an Ashoka Fellow. She is currently working on her second novel.


Cover of Genetic Consultations in the Newborn Genetic Consultations in the Newborn

Oxford University Press

As demand continues to exceed availability when it comes to clinical geneticists, authors Cynthia J. Curry ’63, MD and Robin D. Clark, MD, offer an essential new resource for practitioners everywhere: a streamlined diagnostic manual that connects subtle symptoms of newborn dysmorphology to their differential diagnosis.

Comprising more than 60 chapters organized by system and symptom, this book facilitates fast, expert navigation from recognition to management in syndromes that manifest during the newborn period. Richly illustrated and packed with pearls of practical wisdom from the authors’ decades of practice, it empowers readers to recognize the outward signs and symptoms crucial for an effective diagnosis.

For geneticists, neonatologists, pediatricians, and anyone else who cares for infants in their first days of life, “Genetic Consultations in the Newborn” provides an essential and unmatched resource for navigating one of the most challenging areas of clinical practice. It should not be missed.

Cynthia Rapp Curry ’63, MD,  is professor of pediatrics, emerita, at the University of California, San Francisco. She is an accomplished dysmorphologist and clinical geneticist with decades of experience in the evaluation of infants and children with both common and rare problems and malformations. She is an expert on the prenatal evaluation of abnormal fetal presentations and of stillborn infants. She developed the genetic services at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California and at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, California.

Cover of A Study of Household Spirits of Eastern EuropeA Study of Household Spirits of Eastern Europe

Bendideia Publishing

Eastern European mythology and folklore contain a rich, colorful blend of Christian and pagan tales, customs, and rituals. Many have lost their original significance, but others are still practiced—especially in remote, rural locations.

This book, the first in a series, will take readers on a journey to discover nine fascinating house spirits they may never have heard of. Readers will learn historical facts, discover fascinating and horrifying stories and enjoy beautiful illustrations to gain a complete experience of these elusive house spirits.

Robin Florence ’82 grew up in Bulgaria and moved to the U.S. where she completed her master’s degree in Boston. She is the author of stories inspired by the magic of Bulgarian, Thracian and Slavic mythology, written under the name Ronesa Aveela alongside her writing partner.

Too Much of Not Enough: A MemoirToo Much of Not Enough: A Memoir

She Writes Press

Pollak spent most of her life “looking for a family.” Raised by an emotionally evasive mother, she grew up believing that love was a reward conferred for achievement, rather than from being seen, heard, and acknowledged for her true self. It followed that she married an extrovert who performed for his students, and yet was unable to connect with his own wife.

In this poignant, instructive memoir, Pollak investigates the roots of misguided love and paints a picture of what it means to live a truly satisfied life. Her tale starts in the couples’ counseling office, where her soon-to-be ex-husband drops the bomb that he’s seeing someone else. From there, Jane goes on to find self-empowerment through her career as an artist, her travels around the world, her journey through twelve-step recovery, and her experiences while dating in her sixties. At last, she forges a blissful life on her own in Manhattan, conducting business and enjoying time with a committed partner.

Jane Goodman Pollak ’70 was born in the heart of the Midwest, in Columbus, Ohio, but she inherited the city gene from her New York City-native parents. When she was five, they returned the family to a neighboring suburb, White Plains, where Pollak grew up. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in studio art and theatre and an M.A. in art education from Columbia University Teachers College. Her first book, “Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye,” was republished by Schiffer Publishing. When Pollak’s marriage ended in 2011, she moved back to Manhattan, where she currently resides contentedly single. She has three grown children and three grandchildren.

Cover of Practicing Development: Upending Assumptions for Positive ChangePracticing Development: Upending Assumptions for Positive Change

Lynne Rienner Publishers

“Practicing Development” bridges the gap between academia and the world of practice to address challenges and propose concrete steps toward more equitable, effective, and sustainable development.

Editors Susan H. Holcombe ’62 and Marion Howard asked development practitioners and academics, many of them from the developing world, to contribute to this book. The authors draw from their on-the-ground experiences as they discuss what “development” is, how to attain it and what their findings mean for the funding and practice of development efforts. Often challenging conventional wisdom, they provide a range of concrete examples of innovation, responsiveness and sustainability—and perhaps most important, explore how practitioners might be better educated to achieve positive change.

Susan Higinbotham Holcombe’s ’62 teaching and publication builds on a career of practice and a focus on building capabilities for human development. She was program director for Oxfam America and has served in various positions with UNFPA, UNIFEM and UNICEF in New York and in multiple field postings. She has participated in or led field evaluations and assessments for Ford Foundation, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank and the University of the South Pacific. She assists the Poverty Alleviation Fund with program planning and monitoring.

Cover of SupanovaSupanova

Star Creature Universal Vibrations

The much-anticipated sophomore album “Supanova” blasts into orbit with Saucy Lady as a force to be reckoned with, gracing the cover as a space goddess of funk.

Sharing production efforts with her go-to multi-instrumentalist/producer Yuki “U-KEY” Kanesaka aka monolog, their tracks are layered with highly intricate vocal stacks over jazz funk, b-boy breaks and cosmic synths. This album is a full-sensory experience. Animator Steven E. Gordon, a contributor to X-Men Avengers comics and the 80s cult favorite Jem and the Holograms cartoons, creates the album artwork making the visuals as impressive as the musical content.

Noe Carmichael ’00 pursued a music major at Mount Holyoke College, where she was a radio DJ and an urban music director at WMHC 91.5FM, while taking off-campus courses on music production. After college, she received her master’s degree in library science from Simmons College, and took on professional positions as a Music Librarian at the Boston Public Library and at The Boston Conservatory. During her spare time, she sang in a six-piece cappella group and multiple Boston-area choruses. DJing, song writing, recording and performing with live bands became a natural fit. She created “Saucy Lady” as her alter-ego character and began pursuing these fields with passion and vigor. Known to her peers now as the “Beantown Disco Queen”, Saucy Lady has been working as a vocalist, song writer and DJ sharing her diverse musical range.

Cover of Kids CAN! 28-Day Family DevotionalKids CAN! 28-Day Family Devotional


This 28-day family devotional helps parents and kids work together better. Kids CAN! 28-Day Family Devotional uses Bible verses to highlight the important work kids do at home, in school, and in the economic world. The book includes an activities section with discussions of related books and movies, suggestions for field trips, and activities to try at home. The activities are organized around each week s theme:

Leah Bernstein Archibald ’03 is the content development specialist at the Theology of Work Project. Prior to TOW, Leah spent a decade working in the online publishing industry. She has written about IT Systems Integration for technical magazines and about finding God in parenthood for faith-based publications. Archibald holds a MBA from Babson College and a B.A. from Mount Holyoke. She lives in Bedford, Massachusetts, with her husband, three sons, five chickens and crazy dog.

Cover of The Body PapersThe Body Papers

Restless Books

Born in the Philippines, young Grace Talusan moves with her family to a New England suburb in the 1970s. At school, she confronts racism as one of the few kids with a brown face. At home, the confusion is worse: her grandfather’s nightly visits to her room leave her hurt and terrified, and she learns to build a protective wall of silence that maps onto the larger silence practiced by her Catholic Filipino family. Talusan learns as a teenager that her family’s legal status in the country has always hung by a thread—for a time, they were “illegal.” Family, she’s told, must be put first.

Not every family legacy is destructive. From her parents, Talusan has learned to tell stories in order to continue. The generosity of spirit and literary acuity of this debut memoir are a testament to her determination and resilience. In excavating such abuse and trauma, and supplementing her story with government documents, medical records and family photos, Talusan gives voice to unspeakable experience, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.

Grace Talusan ’94 was born in the Philippines and raised in New England. A graduate of Tufts University and the MFA Program in Writing at UC Irvine, she is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Talusan teaches the Essay Incubator at GrubStreet and at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts. She is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University for 2019–2021. “The Body Papers,” winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, is her first book.

Cover of ExuberanceExuberance

Red Hen Press

Exuberance, a poetic sequence set in the earliest years of aviation, explores everyday risk and extraordinary exuberance. Pilots Lincoln Beachey, Blanche Stuart Scott, Harriet Quimby, Ruth Law, Ormer Locklear, Clyde Pangborn and Bessie Coleman fly at carnival altitudes, hitting the highs and lows of daredevil performers. They engage a chorus of promoters, parachute jumpers, and fans, all wondering how the spectacular experience of being able to move through the air will transform life on the ground. The action begins at the first air meet at Dominguez Field in 1910 and closes with the first trans-Pacific flight in 1931.

Dolores Hayden ’66, award-winning poet and historian of American landscapes, engages the lives of daredevil pilots—women and men from the earliest years of aviation—in “Exuberance,” her third poetry collection. Hayden’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Common, Ecotone, Raritan, Shenandoah, the Yale Review, Southwest Review, Best American Poetry and Poetry Daily. Author of “American Yard” (2004) and “Nymph, Dun, and Spinner” (2010), she’s received awards from the Poetry Society of America and the New England Poetry Club, and residencies in poetry from Djerassi, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Noepe. Professor emerita of architecture and American studies at Yale University, Hayden has also been a Guggenheim fellow and won an American Library Association Notable Book Award for nonfiction.

Cover of Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It: Playful Ways to Stop Struggling with Your Child and Start Having More FunParenting — Let’s Make a Game of It: Playful Ways to Stop Struggling with Your Child and Start Having More Fun

Amazon Digital Services

Through light-hearted stories, learn playful ways to stop struggling with your child and start having more fun. Parenting can be exhausting and overwhelming. Your kids are whining, not listening, uncooperative… even melting down. We’ve all been there! Instead of nagging, yelling and getting into power struggles, this book uses games to overcome everyday challenges. You’ll have more fun as a parent, you’ll empower your kids and your family will spend more time connecting.

Like many parents, the mom in these stories faces typical frustrations during her children’s toddler through elementary school years. When she changes her approach, things quickly improve, tension turns to quality time and life becomes more playful.

Karen Thurm Safran ’84 works as a marketing executive in K-12 education technology, making learning fun for kids. She has a B.A. degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA from Santa Clara University. Even though she works in an exciting industry, being a mom is by far her favorite job. As a parent, she gets to apply her problem-solving, organizational, and leadership skills to empower those she loves most — her two children.

Cover of Imagining Seattle: Social Values in Urban GovernanceImagining Seattle: Social Values in Urban Governance

University of Nebraska Press

“Imagining Seattle” dives into some of the most pressing and compelling aspects of contemporary urban governance in the United States. Serin D. Houston uses a case study of Seattle to shed light on how ideas about environmentalism, privilege, oppression and economic growth have become entwined in contemporary discourse and practice in American cities. Seattle has, by all accounts, been hugely successful in cultivating amenities that attract a creative class. But policies aimed at burnishing Seattle’s liberal reputation often unfold in ways that further disadvantage communities of color and the poor.

Looking not just at what these policies say but at how they work in practice, she finds that opportunities for social justice, sustainability and creativity are all constrained by the prevalence of market-oriented thinking and the classism and racism that seep into the architecture of many programs and policies. Houston urges us to consider how values influence actions within urban governance and emphasizes the necessity of developing effective conditions for sustainability, creativity and social justice in this era of increasing urbanization.

Serin D. Houston is an assistant professor of geography and international relations at Mount Holyoke College.

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