My Sister’s Keeper

Leddy-memoirIn her haunting book The Perfect Other: A Memoir of My Sister (Harper, 2022), Boston College graduate Kyleigh Leddy recounts the fear, anguish, and heartbreak of losing a sister to mental illness. The book tells the story of the close bond between Leddy and her beloved older sister, Kait, and recounts how Kait’s adolescence was marked with a personality change, erratic and violent behavior, and ultimately a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Then, in 2014, 22-year-old Kait disappeared. Though her body was never found, security footage showed her walking to the peak of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Bridge, where it is presumed that she jumped. Leddy’s book got its start as a piece she wrote during her senior year at BC that won the New York Times’ “Modern Love” college essay contest. In The Perfect Other, Leddy, who holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, hopes to reduce the stigma around mental health and help other families who—like hers—felt “voiceless and afraid.” Read more, including an excerpt from The Perfect Other, in Boston College Magazine. An interview with Leddy was published in People magazine.

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New poetry from Paul Mariani

Marianai-all that will be newBoston College Professor Emeritus Paul Mariani has published his ninth collection of poems, titled All That Will Be New (Slant Books, 2022). Written during the pandemic lockdown, the collection is a reflection on the challenges and divisions of our current times. Mariani’s faith and love of nature and art provide avenues through which the poet finds and expresses hope. The poems in this collection take on a variety of formats and incorporate Catholic imagery; paintings from artists such as Seurat, Picasso, and van Gogh; and verses from poets such as William Carlos Williams. Mariani is a widely respected poet and biographer who has written about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. He discusses All That Will Be New in this Q&A and this Commonweal podcast.

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Educational policy reform in Ireland

Mcgraw_politics of irish edAs calls for further reducing the role of the Catholic Church in Irish primary schools gains traction in a rapidly evolving Irish society, The Politics of Irish Primary Education: Reform in an Era of Secularisation (Peter Lang, 2022) demonstrates how the interplay of civil society activists and organizations, the media, public opinion, and political parties and elites determines how policy reforms live or die. Co-authored by Sean McGraw, a faculty member in the BC Political Science Department, and Jonathan TiernanThe Politics of Irish Primary Education contains a rich and novel set of data, including interviews with leaders and elites from the major actors and institutions, numbers and trends from previously unreleased data from the Church and Department of Education, evidence from the authors’ originally designed and implemented parliamentary surveys, an original analysis of media coverage of educational issues and actors involved in the main educational reform debates, and detailed case studies of divestment, admissions, and curriculum policy reforms. McGraw is a comparative political scientist specializing in Irish politics. He has published How Parties Win: Shaping the Irish Political Arena and co-edited One Party Dominance: Fianna Fáil and Irish Politics 1926-2016. His articles have been published in the European Journal of Political Research and Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies, among other outlets.

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Book award for Ashley Duggan

duggan_health and illnessThe National Communication Association Interpersonal Communication Division has chosen Professor of Communication Ashley Duggan to receive a Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Book Award for her book Health and Illness in Close Relationships (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Synthesizing empirical evidence and associated theoretical constructs from the literature on health/illness in close relationships, Duggan compares foundational assumptions of research on relational processes and research on health and illness. Using this approach, she provides a cohesive, cross-disciplinary understanding of relevant theoretical and empirical issues and why health/illness provides a unique context for understanding close relationships. More from BC News.

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Review: When Magic Failed

lebanonProfessor of Near Eastern Studies Franck Salameh, chair of BC’s Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies Department, has written a review of Fouad Ajami’s memoir, When Magic Failed: A Memoir of a Lebanese Childhood, Caught Between East and West. The review was published in the Journal of the Middle East and Africa. Ajami, who died in 2014, was a scholar of Middle Eastern issues. He was born in Arnoun, Lebanon and was a professor at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Hoover Institution. Salameh writes in the review: “In this work, Ajami shows himself to have in fact been an unpretentious erudite who expressed the truths he learned in childhood from his village elders and teachers with an unassuming but profound simplicity.” | In addition, Salameh and a former student have contributed two Phoenician recipes, with historical and philological overviews, to Joukowsky Cookbook II (Brown University, 2022). Recipe: Lebanese Shawarma and the Origins of the Meat Wrap  |  Recipe: Waraq ’Einab / “Aate” / Dolma: Edible Vines with Ancient Roots

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Henry Ford

Grodzicki_fordBoston College graduate Jenna Grodzicki has written a biography for young readers about auto industry pioneer Henry Ford. In The Story of Henry Ford (Rockridge Press, 2022), readers learn that as a young boy Ford loved to take things apart and figure out how they worked. Grodzicki shares how this curious child grew up and invented creative new ways to assemble cars and made them more affordable for the first time. The Story of Henry Ford is illustrated by Katya Longhi. This is the third biography for young readers written by Grodzicki, a library media specialist and author of both fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Other biography subjects have been Princess Diana and Babe Ruth.

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Personal retreat with the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Laramie-love everBoston College graduate Joe Laramie, S.J., national director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, has written a retreat guide that draws on the wisdom of Ignatian spirituality. Love Him Ever More: A 9-Day Personal Retreat with the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2022) can help readers encounter Christ in the world today  Fr. Laramie takes readers on a journey of reflection on the Incarnation, the ministry of Jesus, and God’s call. Each day begins with a quotation from the Spiritual Exercises and a grace to pray for, a personal story from Fr. Laramie, and contemplation on a gospel scene, and ends with reflection questions and a prayer. Fr. Laramie is also author of Abide in the Heart of Christ. He earned master of divinity and licentiate degrees from the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.

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A recipe for repairing brokenness

muldoon-neighborhoodYears ago, when pastor Mack McCarter returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, he found a city racially divided and mired in violence. He started a deceptively simple but powerful faith-based community rebuilding program that has since changed his hometown, and many others, for the better. Crime is down and graduation rates and home ownership are up. A new book, How to Remake the World Neighborhood by Neighborhood (Orbis Books, 2022), shares the story and philosophy of McCarter’s work conducted through his organization, Community Renewal International. Called “the premier community renewal building model in the nation,” CRI is an intentional movement to build friendship and connectedness among neighbors as a way to combat racial tensions, socioeconomic divides, fear, loneliness, and isolation. The program has spread to cities across the U.S. and Africa. How to Remake the World Neighborhood by Neighborhood is written by McCarter and Boston College alumnus and Associate Professor of the Practice of Philosophy Tim Muldoon. It offers a replicable and tested road map for renewing communities, according to the authors. Muldoon is an award-winning writer who has authored or co-authored 10 books and edited two others. He teaches in the University’s Perspectives on Western Culture program. Learn more about Community Renewal International from this 2020 CBS News video.

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A Study of Soul in Plotinus

gurtler-from alienPlotinus is often accused of writing haphazardly, with little concern for the integral unity of a treatise. In the new book From the Alien to the Alone: A Study of Soul in Plotinus (Catholic University of America Press, 2022), BC Professor of Philosophy Gary M. Gurtler, S.J., analyzes each treatise as a whole and finds much evidence that Plotinus constructed them skillfully, with the parts working together in subtle ways. From the Alien to the Alone also serves to clarify Plotinus’ rich use of images. From the publisher: “While this work confirms much recent scholarly consensus on Plotinus, many of Gurtler’s interpretations and general conclusions give constructive challenges to some existing modes of understanding Plotinus’ thought. The arguments and their textual evidence, with the accompanying Greek, provide the reader with direct evidence for testing these conclusions as well as appreciating the nature of Plotinus’ philosophizing.”

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costa-gavrasCosta-Gavras, the screenwriter, director, and producer who won an Oscar for his political thriller Z, is the subject of a new book by Boston College faculty members John Michalczyk and Susan Michalczyk. Costa-Gavras: Encounters with History (Bloomsbury, 2022) explores the life and work of the internationally respected director within the context of historical and socio-political events. For more than half a century, Costa-Gavras’ films have entertained and inspired, while addressing issues such as immigration, unemployment, global capitalistic greed, oppression, and the abuse of political and economic power in Europe. John Michalczyk, whose previous publications includes Costa-Gavras: The Political Fiction Film, is a professor of film studies at BC. Susan Michalczyk is an associate professor of the practice at BC. They are co-editors, along with Michael Bryant, of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and the Holocaust: A Prelude to Genocide.

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