The Only Woman in the Room

Barnes & Noble has announced its first national Book Club selection for 2019: The Only Woman in the Room (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2019) by Boston College alumna Marie Benedict. A historical novel, The Only Woman in the Room tells the story of Hedy Lamarr, a glamorous Hollywood film star who was also an inventor. She co-developed and co-patented a revolutionary frequency-hopping radio signal that was eventually used by the U.S. Navy. The invention laid the groundwork for today’s wireless communication technology. Benedict graduated from BC in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in history. She is also the author of The Other Einstein, about Mileva Maric, a mathematician and first wife of Albert Einstein. Read more about Benedict and her books in the New York Times Book Review and Newsweek.

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Landrigans’ book honored

Children and Environmental Toxins: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press), co-authored by BC alumni Philip J. Landrigan and Mary M. Landrigan, was named a 2018 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year. For nearly 50 years, the AJN Book of the Year Awards have recognized exceptional publications that help faculty and clinicians advance health care quality. Children and Environmental Toxins, an accessible book for parents and policymakers about the risks chemicals pose to children, was awarded first place in the Environmental Health category. A pediatrician, epidemiologist, and an internationally recognized leader in the public health field, Dr. Philip Landrigan is the founding director of Boston College’s Global Public Health initiative.

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Salameh on Charles Corm

Francophone Lebanese novelist Alexandre Najjar recently interviewed Boston College Professor Franck Salameh about his biography of writer and businessman Charles Corm, an influential figure in the nationalism movement that led to Lebanon’s independence. The interview was published in the Middle East’s leading francophone literary journal, L’Orient Littéraire, and explores the driving force behind Salameh’s interest in the works and life of Corm. Salameh is an associate professor of Near Eastern Studies in BC’s Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures and the Senior Editor in Chief of The Levantine Review. For more about Salameh’s book Charles Corm: An Intellectual Biography of a Twentieth-Century Lebanese “Young Phoenician,” see this BC Bookmarks post from 2015.

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The Politics of Petulance

In his latest book, Boston College Professor Emeritus of Political Science Alan Wolfe states that the nation is in an age of political immaturity. He calls on public intellectuals to step up today to challenge the president and demagoguery, similar to the way political thinkers like Richard Hofstadter, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Lionel Trilling took on McCarthyism. Wolfe, the founding director of BC’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, is the author of more than 20 books on politics, religion, moral freedom, and democracy. Read a book review of The Politics of Petulance: America in an Age of Immaturity  (The University of Chicago Press, 2018) in the New York Times.

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A special teacher

In a new novel by Boston College graduate Bradley Smith, readers are introduced to a special education teacher whose anxiety threatens to overwhelm him. The teacher’s students and his relationship with them play an essential role in his ability to effectively manage his anxiety. A Special Education in Anxiety is a semi-autobiographical work, according to Smith, who teaches students with special needs in Washington state and received his master’s degree from BC’s Lynch School in 2010. He talked about his book and his vocation as a teacher with his hometown newspaper, The Columbian.

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Snowbound

A young student is scheduled to present his project on Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica when a snowstorm traps him at home. He’s inspired to log his snowbound adventure in the spirit of Shackleton. That’s the story behind Captain’s Log: Snowbound (Charlesbridge, 2018), a new picture book written by Boston College alumna Erin Dionne and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. The Kirkus starred review calls Snowbound “entertaining, informative—utterly delightful.” Dionne is the author of several books, including Lights, Camera, DisasterOllie and the Science of Treasure HuntingMoxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, and Notes from an Accidental Band Geek.

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Best of 2018

A number of books written by Boston College graduates have been named to various “best books of the year” lists. A Mighty Girl, a multimedia platform that promotes books, toys, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls named three BC alumni books to its 2018 Best Books of the Year list: Just Being Jackie by Margaret Cardillo; Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by BC alumnus Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, and No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls by Katie Hurley. Writer’s Bone, a Boston-based multimedia platform featuring author interviews, named My Old Faithful by Yang Huang to its 50 Best Books of 2018 list. Longreads, which is dedicated to sharing the world’s best storytelling, included The Heart is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai by Elizabeth Flock in its 2018 Holiday Gift Book Guide. Are there any other “best of the year” alumni-authored books BC Bookmarks overlooked? Please comment below.

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