Shelf Life

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think
Brian Wansink, PhD ’91
Bantam Dell
$25.

The director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab admits to snagging the occasional Cini-Mini at Burger King—and loving it. But 20 years of experiments on people’s food decisions (made at a rate of more than 200 per day) have convinced Wansink that “our tastes are not formed by accident.” He offers consciousness-raising about the lifestyle stressors and marketing techniques that lead to overeating (for example, seeing a “low fat” label on a product led people to consume 14 percent more calories) and gives tips for managing food impulses.

 

Skylight Confessions

Skylight Confessions
Alice Hoffman, MA ’75
Little, Brown
$24.99

In this multigenerational ghost story, a family that lives in a famous architect’s glass house experiences some familiar stages of grief and some that occur only in Hoffman’s distinctive brand of American magical realism. Amid broken china, sifting soot and strangely compelled birds, two children who have lost their mother to breast cancer grapple with fates that are not kind, yet have an odd beauty.

Living Into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics

Living Into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics
Bowen H. “Buzz” McCoy, ’58
Stanford U. Press
$24.95

President of a real estate and business counseling firm in Los Angeles and a former partner in Morgan Stanley, McCoy discusses how individuals and organizations need to think about ethical decision making. One of McCoy’s personal experiences while trekking in Nepal—when several groups encountered an ill man coming down a mountain—led to a much-debated business-school case called “The Parable of the Sadhu.”

Ninety Miles: Cuban Journeys in the Age of Castro

Ninety Miles: Cuban Journeys in the Age of Castro
Ian Michael James, MA ’95
Rowman & Littlefield
$24.95

An Associated Press bureau chief, James writes about three Cubans whose lives were altered by the ideological divisions in the Castro era. Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo fought on Castro’s side in the revolution, but then opposed the government and was jailed for 22 years. Paquito D’Rivera is a saxophonist who defected to New York City. Nancy Lledes grew up supporting socialism, but fell in love with a man who didn’t.

The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life

The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life
Allen Rucker, MA ’77
HarperCollins
$24.95

Hollywood writer Rucker experienced a one-in-a-million illness that left him paralyzed below the waist. His adjustments to immobility—he thought of calling his memoir A Farewell to Legs—are offered up to fellow Baby Boomers as a guidepost in the “life-altering illness/change-your-ways sweepstakes” that lies ahead as they age.

Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge

Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge
Linda Nash, ’84
U. of California Press
$24.95

An assistant professor of history at the University of Washington, Nash examines the cultural history of health and ecology issues in California’s Central Valley—from the fevers and miasmas that early settlers feared to the pollution and pesticide controversies of recent years. Humankind often has tried to improve nature in the vast valley, only to reap new problems.

Beyond the Seas

Beyond the Seas
Liam Coughlin, ’44, MA ’50
PublishAmerica
$24.95

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Coughlin draws upon a wealth of Irish and American history in this family saga. The novel spans four centuries, along with multiple continents, as the O’Sullivan family experiences struggles and battles, climaxing in a senator’s campaign against the death penalty. Embedded in the story are perspectives Coughlin gained as a fighter pilot and foreign correspondent.

Rickshaw Girl

Rickshaw Girl
Mitali (Bose) Perkins, ’84, illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Charlesbridge Publishing
$13.95

Naima yearns to earn money for her family, but driving a rickshaw or selling things in the marketplace are jobs considered suitable only for boys. In this novel for ages 7 to 10, Perkins dramatizes cultural changes afoot in Bangladeshi villages while rewarding her heroine’s economic and artistic ambitions.

Mr. Ding’s Chicken Feet: On a Slow Boat from Shanghai to Texas

Mr. Ding’s Chicken Feet: On a Slow Boat from Shanghai to Texas
Gillian Kendall, MA ’85
U. of Wisconsin Press
$22.95

A freelance writer living in Melbourne, Australia, Kendall noticed an advertisement for an English as a Second Language teacher to assist a crew of Chinese seamen. In a six-week journey rife with sea creatures, chainsmoking and linguistic confusion, Kendall examines the divide between her cosmopolitanism and the focused male-dominated world of the ship.