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New & Notable

Love All
by Callie Wright (Grad 

This debut novel, set in Cooperstown, N.Y., illuminates secret lives within the Obermeyer family. In the week following the family matriarch's death, her widower moves in with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren and past mistakes bring the Obermeyers to the point of implosion. Central to the plot is The Sex Cure, a notorious and real-life novel that rocked Cooperstown in the 1960s. Wright deftly switches from one character’s point of view to another, chapter by chapter, showing love and grief from all sides.

The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal
by Duncan G. Stroik (Arch 

In this collection of essays, Stroik, a professor of architecture at Notre Dame, seeks to recover the sense of sacred in places of worship. Recent churches that blend in with contemporary architecture “are in danger of becoming mere … assembly halls rather than sacred places,” he argues. Stroik looks back to classical architecture, investigating the symbolism of porticos, bell towers, colonnades and vaultings, and suggests how modern churches might “create a sense of transcendence on a limited budget.”

Negro Building
by Mabel O. Wilson (Arch 

As the 2015 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., approaches, Wilson traces the evolution of black public history from the Civil War through the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Focusing on African-American participation in world’s fairs, emancipation expositions and early black grass-roots movements, the book gives voice to the people who curated many black-organized exhibitions: Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, A. Philip Randolph, Horace Cayton and Margaret Burroughs.

História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands
by Eleanor Stanford (Grad 

In this memoir and travelogue, Stanford describes her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Twenty-two and newly married, Stanford navigates an unfamiliar culture and attempts to hide the eating disorder she’s developed that threatens both her marriage and her life. Stanford, also a published poet, writes lyrically about living in a foreign land, of “the strange combination of pride and dread I felt when I walked down the dirt road by the school and throngs of students called out, ‘Teacher, teacher!’”

Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them
by Betsy Prioleau (Educ 
66, Grad 72)

Though lady-killers have earned a bad reputation as rakes, lotharios, even sociopaths, Prioleau argues in this cultural history that true seducers “love deeply, can be faithful, and treat mistresses with respect, courtesy, and erotic genius.” Ladies’ men need not be movie-star handsome; instead “they include every conceivable breed and condition of man.” The book discusses seducers across the centuries, from King Gilgamesh to Warren Beatty (even a 1970s UVA professor is mentioned along the way). Here are a few of the men featured:

  • Giacomo Casanova: “An 18th-century Venetian adventurer and man of accomplishments— author, entrepreneur, violinist, scholar, diplomat and bon vivant—Casanova was one of the world's greatest lovers. He admired and respected women and made their happiness his life’s work … Women were usually the aggressors, and none were abandoned and ruined; partings were by mutual consent … If anything, he was a fool for love.”
  • Lord Byron, the British 19th-century poet, was “irreverent, moody, and hot-tempered … yet he was ‘quite simply, irresistible.’ More than a rock-star poet who caused a tsunami of female fans—he won the undying adoration of innumerable women throughout his life … Byron trailed an aura of wanderlust and foreign adventures, decked out in a wardrobe of Albanian turbans and Turkish pantaloons … His club foot and chronic limp played on female sympathies, and women nurtured him instead of the other way around. They copied his poems, lent money, monitored his health, and coddled him like a maharajah.”
  • Franz Liszt was one of the great musical seducers, a pianist and composer who touched off a ‘Lisztmania’ throughout 19th-century Europe. At his concerts, this bravura showman performed with such soul-sizzling passion that women went wild. ‘Trembling like poor little larks’ they stalked him, fought over his discarded orange rinds, tucked his cigar butts in their cleavages, and swamped him with love letters. Too kind-hearted to decline, he took droves of lovers, two of whom left their husbands for him and forgave his many transgressions.”
  • Jack London: “The turn-of-the-century American adventurer and author of Call of the Wild … [was] a muscled roughneck [with] a face to launch a thousand fantasies … But his allure for women went beyond pretty. He was an intriguing compound: a dominant alpha male and at the same time a sensitive poet and champion of talented, smart and independent women. His adventures began early and always with strong proto-feminists who were his equals in the ring.”
  • Sam Cooke: “The rhythm-and-blues sensation of the 1950s and ’60s who popularized such classics as ‘You Send Me’ and 'Wonderful World’ ... conveyed ‘genuineness,’ generosity, and ‘instinctive kindness in every fiber of his being’ … Cooke seemed born for women. He had erotic crackle even as a teenager—energy, charm, vitality, and a way of talking to girls with ‘warmth and kindness,’ as though each were the only person on the planet. Forthright and honest, he refused to game them.”