(Covers collage by Helen Gregg, AB’09)


The Magazine lists a selection of general interest books, films, and albums by alumni. For additional alumni releases, browse the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf.


Kalisha Buckhanon, AB’99, AM’07

In the final novel in Kalisha Buckhanon’s trilogy on black American life, Solemn Redvine senses that a baby in her rural Mississippi trailer park may be her half sibling. After seeing the baby dropped down a community well, Solemn is thrown into chaos that only deepens when the baby’s mother disappears, a crime the local police force is reluctant to investigate. In this lyrical, haunting coming-of-age story, Solemn struggles to find identity and a way forward in the face of poverty and disenfranchisement.

For more, read our interview with Buckhanon.

The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America

Ethan Michaeli, AB’89

Founded in 1905, the Defender newspaper in Chicago has become an influential publication for generations of African Americans thanks to its unflinching coverage of racial justice issues and columns by prominent black thinkers. Former Defender reporter Ethan Michaeli chronicles the paper’s past and the way it has shaped American history, from encouraging the Great Migration to galvanizing civil rights activists to helping elect presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.

For more, read an excerpt from the Defender.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence, AM’99

Ben Rawlence first visited Dadaab, a Kenyan refugee camp near the Somalian border, as a Human Rights Watch researcher in 2010. Over the course of four years and seven long visits, he saw the camp’s population swell to half a million people and witnessed the violence, destitution, and hopelessness in which they live. Through the stories of nine of the refugees, Rawlence examines the sociopolitical forces that keep them trapped at Dadaab and puts individual faces on a humanitarian crisis.

Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More

Marjorie R. Williams, AB’80

Markets have been a part of life in Provence, France, since the Middle Ages. Food and travel writer Marjorie R. Williams highlights 30 of the region’s markets in a pocket-sized guide. Including color-coded maps, browsing and payment etiquette, and key French phrases, the guide provides information both necessary and enriching for a Provençal shopping experience.

Here the Blue River

Haroula Rose (Spyropoulos)

Folk singer/songwriter Haroula Rose’s second LP, named after a line in a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem, features layered, flowing melodies and plenty of storytelling. Many songs pay homage to her literary influences, from Pablo Neruda to Bonnie Jo Campbell, AB’84.

Emmett Till in Different States: Poems

Philip C. Kolin, AM’67

In 1955 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi for reportedly flirting with a white woman. Poet and University of Southern Mississippi professor emeritus Philip C. Kolin’s latest collection reflects on more than seven decades of race relations in America through the evolving, still-resonant legacy of Till’s murder.

Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

Pamela Toler, AM’81, PhD’03

In this companion book to the PBS drama series Mercy Street, history writer Pamela Toler tells the stories of several real-life nurses who worked at a makeshift Union hospital in Virginia during the Civil War. Toler draws on diaries, letters, and memoirs to show how overwhelming casualties on both sides of the war turned the Madison House nurses into fierce patient advocates, marking a new era in American medicine.

Hair: A Human History

Kurt Stenn, LAB’57, SB’61

Hair complements our fashion trends, is found in musical instruments, aids in forensic science—and has become part of our identity. Follicle expert Kurt Stenn, former director of skin biology at Johnson and Johnson, explores many biological, cultural, and anthropological strands of hair and its history, including the science behind relaxers and dyes, the role of hair shirts in medieval religion, the art of wig making, the use of hair in commercial products from brushes to tennis balls, and more.