Moving beyond “No”

On his popular podcast, “10,000 NOs,” Boston College alumnus Matthew Del Negro has interviewed countless people—from athletes and entrepreneurs to cancer survivors and authors—who have inspired others to keep going even when their progress seems infinitesimally slow. Del Negro says the podcast has been “a great education. Basically, I just keep relearning the lesson my Dad always taught me… that failure is just opportunity in disguise.” As a professional actor, Del Negro is familiar with the word “no” and has had to overcome a sea of rejections on his way to success. “As an actor, even if you’re considered a relative ‘success,’ you’re really unemployed for so much of your career.” He combines stories from his life and acting career with anecdotes and quotes from his podcast in his new book 10,000 NOs: How to Overcome Rejection on the Way to your YES (Wiley 2020). Del Negro says he has learned hard lessons about perseverance, persistence, and resilience and believes his book can teach readers how to make it through the tough times and deal with massive uncertainty by retaining the flexibility to change course and pivot to follow their passion. Del Negro is currently a series regular on Showtime’s “City on a Hill.” His acting credits include roles on ABC’s “Scandal,” HBO’s “Sopranos,” and NBC’s “The West Wing,” as well as roles in films such as Hot Pursuit and Wind River.

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Not riding the bench

In Old School Hoops: Stories of an Aging Baller, Boston College alumnus Jim Sweeney tells tales of his adventures as a masters-level basketball player, competing in more than 100 masters’ basketball tournaments in the U.S. and abroad. Sweeney shares stories from the road, where he has visited more than 20 countries, eaten “incredible food,” and met “awesome people.” Sweeney’s book also details the history of the global masters’ basketball movement and its international influence. Sweeney is head of FIMBA-USA (Federation of International Masters Basketbal Association) and serves on its international board.

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Book prize for Lucas

Associate Professor of Music Ann E. Lucas has been awarded the 2020 Bruno Nettl Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology for her book, Music of a Thousand Years: A New History of Persian Musical Traditions (University of California Press, 2019). The award recognizes an outstanding publication contributing to or dealing with the history of the field of ethnomusicology, broadly defined, or with the general character, problems, and methods of ethnomusicology. Iran’s particular system of traditional Persian art music has been long treated as the product of an ever-evolving, ancient Persian culture. In Music of a Thousand Years, Lucas argues that this music is a modern phenomenon indelibly tied to changing notions of Iran’s national history. Rather than considering a single Persian music history, Lucas demonstrates cultural dissimilarity and discontinuity over time, bringing to light two different notions of music-making in relation to premodern and modern musical norms. An important corrective to the history of Persian music, Music of a Thousand Years is the first work to align understandings of Middle Eastern music history with current understandings of the region’s political history.

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Positive thinking for teens

Teenagers are often overwhelmed and stressed. Social media can exacerbate these feelings. In her new book, Boston College alumna Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert, provides teens with ways to transform their anxious thought patterns and build a happier, more positive mindset. A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens is crafted to help teens let go of stress with relatable prompts and reflections―all grounded in positive thinking and positive psychology strategies. According to Hurley, A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens can help teens find confidence and achieve their goals. Hurley is a licensed clinical social worker and author of The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World and No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls. Her work can be found in US News & World Report, The Washington Post, and PBS Parents.

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Unusual books at Burns

Red garnets on a wooden book cover

The John J. Burns Library at Boston College holds a number of books with wooden covers. One example is the jeweled binding of a Bulgarian manuscript, titled Istorii︠a︡ slavi︠a︡nobŭlgarska. The cover is French Walnut wood, has sixteen faceted, deep red-colored garnets, and a chip carved cross, title, and the author’s name. The book at Burns is a limited facsimile edition of the manuscript with a unique custom-made cover. Burns Library also owns a numbers of books bound with pigskin covering wooden boards. Philippi Ecclesiae Eystettensis XXXIX. Episcopi: de eiusdem ecclesiae diuis tutelaribus. S. Richardo, S. Willibaldo, S. Wunibaldo, S. Walpurga is bound in decorated pigskin over beveled wooden boards, has its original clasps and catches, and is stamped in gold on the center of both boards with the coat of arms of Friedrich Förner (1568-1630). Read more about unusual book covers and bindings in the Burns’ holdings in a blog post from Burns Library Conservator Barbara Adams Hebard.

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Bringing a soldier home

The story of the repatriation of the remains of Boston College alumnus Jack Farrell, Jr., 66 years after he died in Europe while fighting in World War II, is told in a new book co-authored by veteran journalist Joseph M. Pereira and John (Jack) Wilson, a BC graduate who also is Farrell’s nephew. The authors lay out the story of a bloody conflict in the Hürtgen Forest along the Germany-Belgium border that would go on to be “the worst defeat the Americans suffered in Europe during World War II.” All Souls Day: The World War II Battle and the Search for a Lost U.S. Battalion (Potomac Books) is part investigative journalism, part military history, and part memoir. Read more on BC News.

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Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age

Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age: Desmond and the Quest for God (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) by Boston College alumnus Ryan G. Duns, S.J., is at the crossroads of theology and philosophy.  In his book, Fr. Duns frames philosopher William Desmond’s metaphysical thought as a form of spiritual exercise. He argues that Desmond’s metaphysics attunes its readers to perceive disclosure of the divine in the everyday. Approached in this way, Fr. Duns demonstrates how practicing metaphysics can be understood as a form of spiritual exercise that renews in its practitioners an attentiveness to God in all things. Fr. Duns, who received a MTS and a doctorate from BC, is an assistant professor in the Theology Department at Marquette University.

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Politics and the pandemic

Maxim D. Shrayer, award-winning author and professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies at Boston College, explores the impact of election-year politics and COVID-19 in his new volume of poems titled Of Politics and Pandemics: Songs of a Russian Immigrant. A combination of biting satire and piercing lyricism, Shrayer’s work delivers 36 interconnected poems about despair, hope, love, and loss. Shrayer has authored more than 15 books in English and Russian, including Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story, Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, and the anthology Voices of Jewish-Russian Literature. His works have been translated into nine languages. Shrayer won a 2007 National Jewish Book Award and in 2012 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Read more on BC News.

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World Drawing God Day: Nov. 9

This year’s annual World Drawing God Day—when people of faith create their own drawing of God and share it online via the hashtag #drawinggodwill be held on November 9. The inspiration for World Drawing God Day is the children’s book Drawing God, written by BC Church in the 21st Century Center Director Karen Kiefer and illustrated by Kathy De Wit. Schools from all over, including Ireland and Canada, are slated to participate. There will be three live Zoom events on World Drawing God Day (all times are ET): 10 a.m. – Drawing God with Picasso’s Inspiration (for students/teachers/young families); 1 p.m. – Meet Author Karen Kiefer, and 6:30 p.m. – Drawing God in Creation: When Heaven and Nature Sing (for families/adults/students). For more information, visit the Drawing God website.

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Dancing at Lake Montebello

Poet and Boston College alumna Lynne Spigelmire Viti has a new poetry collection that combines free verse and traditional poetry formats to capture moments of the author’s life, from childhood summers in Ocean City to marriage, divorce, and finding love again. Dancing at Lake Montebello (Apprentice House Press, Loyola University Maryland, 2020) begins with Viti’s early years in Baltimore and the turbulent ’60s and ’70s and ends with reflections on illness, death, loss, and grieving, as seen through the eyes of one moving through middle age. Viti’s previous publications include Baltimore Girls and The Glamorganshire Bible.

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