A selection of books, films, and recordings by UChicago alumni.

All Happy Families

Directed by Haroula Rose, AB’02, AM’02; Attic Light Films, Chicago Media Angels, Glass Bead Films, Neon Heart Productions, Number 8 Production LLC, Pogi Studios, 2023

In this character-driven dramedy about a dysfunctional Chicago clan, Graham (Josh Radnor), an aspiring actor whose career has never taken off, is shaken out of his rut when his television-star brother (Rob Huebel) unexpectedly visits and his college crush (Chandra Russell) looks to rent an apartment in his family’s old two-flat. Haroula Rose directed and cowrote the film and co-composed its soundtrack.

Cat City

Directed by Ben Kolak, AB’06; Truth & Documentary, 2023

In 2007 a Chicago ordinance designated feral cats that have been trapped, neutered, and returned to their neighborhoods as protected “community cats.” Documentary director Ben Kolak highlights some of the thousands of feral cat colonies in Chicago and the volunteers who look after them. The cats control rodent populations, make their caretakers happy, and help the city avoid the costs and critiques of kill policies. But others warn of the risk that the cats—technically, an invasive species—pose to local bird populations. Sophia Rhee, MFA’14, AM’17, contributed to the film as an impact producer.

Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter

By Rachel Shteir, AB’87; Yale University Press, 2023

Dramaturgy professor Rachel Shteir has published a new biography of Betty Friedan, the feminist activist best known for penning The Feminine Mystique (Norton, 1963) and cofounding the National Organization for Women. Friedan is often ignored or critiqued by feminists today for failing to consider perspectives other than those of White middle-class women. Shteir offers a nuanced view of this controversial figure’s life and legacy, paying special attention to how Friedan’s Judaism informed her feminism.

A Cha Chaan Teng That Does Not Exist: Selected Poems of Derek Chung

Translated by May Huang, AB’19; Zephyr Press, 2023

May Huang began translating Hong Kong poet Derek Chung’s work while a student in the College. The 23 poems in this collection offer a bittersweet glimpse of a city in flux. The cha chaan teng featured in several poems is a Hong Kong–style diner—known for fast, inexpensive food—many of which have closed in recent decades. The poems also highlight everyday objects like a can of fried dace fish with salted black beans or a pineapple bun. As Huang writes in the introduction, Chung’s poems “breathe life into otherwise inanimate objects.”

From Dust They Came: Government Camps and the Religion of Reform in New Deal California

By Jonathan H. Ebel, AM’99, PhD’04; New York University Press, 2023

During the Great Depression, thousands of families from the Great Plains and Southwest sought work in California. New Deal government officials built camps to provide shelter and community; they also used the camps to reinforce the values of modern citizenship. Though rooted in Protestantism, these values were often at odds with the migrants’ more conservative Protestant beliefs and revivalist practices. Considering the camps as missionary spaces, religion professor Jonathan H. Ebel asks how secularism, religion, and modernity became enmeshed after this migration.

For additional alumni book releases, use the link to the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf at