Escape from the Soviet Union

vodkaBoston College alumnus Lev Golinkin has published A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka (Doubleday, 2014), about his Jewish family fleeing the Soviet Union in the waning years of the Cold War, with only 10 suitcases, six hundred dollars, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Golinkin would return to Austria and Eastern Europe to track down the strangers who made his escape possible and say thank you. According to the publisher, Golinkin’s debut is a thrilling tale of escape and survival, a deeply personal look at the life of a Jewish child caught in the last gasp of the Soviet Union, and a provocative investigation into the power of hatred and the search for belonging. Kirkus Reviews calls Golinkin’s memoir “a mordantly affecting chronicle of a journey to discover that ‘you can’t have a future if you don’t have a past.'”

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Book art by Barbara Adams Hebard

showcaseTwo book bindings by Burns Library Conservator Barbara Adams Hebard are on display at 23 Sandy Gallery, a fine art gallery in Portland, Oregon. Hebard’s work is part of Showcase 16, an exhibition of members of the Northwest Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers. This exhibition showcases the diversity in the art and craft of the book: historical, traditional, experimental and fine bindings, conservation work, sculptural artists’ books and book objects, miniatures, pop-ups, blank books, and letterpress and digital editions. One of Hebard’s contribution is a book binding she made for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Hebard says the vellum bindings in the Jesuitica collection at Burns Library served as an inspiration. Her other piece is a re-binding of Meditations with a Pencil, a book of illustrations created by artist Diana Orpen during World War II.

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The public life of love

davidkimIs it possible to recuperate love as a public value in the United States? How would it function in an era characterized by so much antagonism, even hatred? At the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, David Kyuman Kim will talk about his current book project, The Public Life of Love, an examination of the status of love in politics, public life, religion and the arts. His talk will take place Oct. 28 from noon to 1:15 p.m.  Kim is the editor-at-large of “The Immanent Frame,” a blog on secularism, religion and public life run by the Social Science Research Council, and is the author of Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics. He is an associate professor of religious studies and American studies at Connecticut College, where he served as the college’s inaugural director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. Sponsor: The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

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Five College Dialogues

college dialogBoston College alumnus Ian Thomas Malone has recently published, Five College Dialogues (TouchPoint Press, 2014), a book that is a philosophic comedic treatise on college life. According to the publisher: George Tecce, a graduate student working as a teaching assistant in the English department, his students, and his mentor examine the state of post-millennial academia. Malone was interviewed last month by the Greenwich Free Press. According to Malone, a sequel to Five College Dialogues is already in the works and scheduled for publication in Spring 2015. 

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Writing about religion in a polarized age

panelistsBoston College will host a panel of writers who will discuss their insights regarding contemporary discourse on religion, including the challenges that exist for those who desire to engage in thoughtful reflection on provocative topics. “Writing about Religion in a Polarized Age” will take place Oct. 23 in Devlin 101 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Panelists will be: Rod DreherMark OppenheimerSarah Posner and Alan Wolfe. Dreher, who writes a blog for The American Conservative, is the author of two books: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming and Crunchy Cons, about a growing “conservative counterculture” movement that stands outside the GOP mainstream. Oppenheimer, the 2014-2015 Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations at Boston College, is a journalist known for writing the biweekly “Beliefs” column for the New York Times. His books include Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture and Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah across AmericaPosner is a regular contributor on religion to Al Jazeera America and Religion Dispatches.  She is the author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, which investigated the unholy alliance between politicians and televangelists. Wolfe is the author and editor of more than 20 books, including At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora Is Good for the Jews, Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It, and The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Practice our FaithInterested, but can’t make the event? Follow along via live broadcast or twitter (#WritingAboutReligion). Sponsor: The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

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Infographics 101

infographicPulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gareth Cook will present “Infographics: The Origins and Future of Visual Thinking” on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Devlin Hall, 101. In the Best American Infographics 2014, editor Gareth Cook has assembled a compendium of the finest informative visuals created by print and electronic media in the past year. A book signing will follow Cook’s presentation.

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Praise for Fr. Dan’s Merton book

merton bookConsidered one of the most influential spiritual writers of the 20th century, Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk profoundly shaped by Franciscan spirituality. In his new book, Theology Department doctoral student Daniel Horan, OFM writes about the Franciscan influence in Merton’s life and writings. The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing (Ave Maria Press, 2014) has been called a major contribution to Merton studies and [to the] understanding of the Franciscan charisma,” by a reviewer at Patheos. More on Fr. Dan and the book can be found at Ave Maria Press  and Holy Name Province of Franciscan Friars.

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