All Online Exclusives

Spring 2022 Book Roundup

Enjoy a crop of new titles by William & Mary authors

May 9, 2022
By Jennifer Hughes

Much like an arboretum full of different trees, flowers, plants and bushes, William & Mary alumni authors regularly create an interesting array of books, much to the delight of readers. Enjoy the latest book garden in this quarterly roundup featuring a family’s adventures driving a 30-year-old Volkswagen Westfalia camper van across North America, a Pulitzer Prize winner’s in-depth research on the Revolutionary War, a torrid romance, a thrilling race toward the end of the world, the wonders of coral reefs and much more.


The Obligation Mosaic: Race and Social Norms in U.S. Political Participation by Allison P. Anoll ’09

Based on the author’s extensive research and interviews, Anoll’s new book offers an interesting look at what Americans think about civic duty, what motivates them to participate and how their ethnicity affects norms.


Mingo by W. Jeff Barnes ’81, J.D. ’86

In this novel inspired by Barnes’ fascination with the Matewan Massacre and the years his father spent mining coal, two brothers lead very different lives after a tragedy separates them. Bascom stays in their hometown — Mingo — to work with their father in the coal mines, while his younger brother, Durwood, moves to Richmond to live with family members. As the brothers grow up separately and develop into diametrically opposed men, their struggles lead them to face off in the battles over unionizing coal mines.


Remi in Overdrive by Ashley Bristow Bartley M.Ed. ’08

Remi the squirrel is pretty amazing with his boundless energy and curiosity, but those two wonderful traits can get him in trouble, too. Written for children in nursery school and kindergarten, “Remi in Overdrive” provides young readers with lessons about self-care, self-control and self-determination. The book also includes help for parents and educators with tips on how to support their children who share Remi the squirrel’s amazing qualities.


Lost on the Freedom Trail: The National Park Service and Urban Renewal in Postwar Boston by Seth C. Bruggeman M.A. ’00, Ph.D. ’07

Millions of people flock to Boston’s Freedom Trail every year, but most don’t know the history behind the creation of the trail with its stops at some of the city’s most iconic spots, such as the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old North Church and Boston Common. Bruggeman shows how the Freedom Trail, developed in 1976, isn’t simply an educational tool to teach the public about the Revolutionary War, but a gimmick designed to attract affluent white Americans to a city hoping to revive its downtown area and to present a narrow view of history focused on brave white men.


The Year We Ruined Our Lives: A Family Road Trip Through Mexico and Central America by Paul Carlino J.D. ’98

Carlino and his wife, Rebecca Eichler J.D. ’98, put their jobs on hold, pulled their kids out of school, packed everything into a 30-year-old Volkswagen Westfalia camper van and spent a year driving through North America. Readers will enjoy joining the family on their adventures through this book, including meeting a 400-year old mummy, jumping from high places and hunting for tasty grilled meat. If the family’s journey piques your interest, the book offers tips for readers interested in planning their own family trip. Carlino and Eichler also talked about their experience in the W&M Alumni Magazine online exclusive article “The Road Less Traveled.”   


The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783 by Joseph J. Ellis ’65

In the final book of a trilogy that began with “Founding Brothers,” Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph Ellis traces the origins of America through its Revolution, beginning with the Seven Years’ War. By portraying the American Revolution through the perspectives of all sides of the conflict, Ellis shines a spotlight on important historical figures who haven’t received the attention they should, such as Catharine Littlefield Greene, Mohawk Chief Thayendanegea (aka Joseph Brant) and Harry Washington. In addition, the book provides an in-depth analysis of what drew together bands of people with differing goals and belief systems to become patriots united to fight for “the cause.”


Tumor Boy by John J. Healy ’90

In this 10th anniversary reissue of “Tumor Boy,” a book based on the author’s personal experience, readers can gain a greater understanding of what patients go through when they receive scary health news and manage life with medical treatments.


A Taste for Scandal by Brenda Hiatt ’78

Fans of the Netflix series “Bridgerton” and Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” will enjoy reading about spirited Violet, whose first attempt at a London season ends in disaster. When Violet’s brother leaves her under the watchful eyes of his friend Lord Rushford to make her official debut at the next season, the two realize that having a successful season may be more difficult than either had anticipated. Will Violet be able to pull off her debut or will she fall back into trouble — this time with the off-limits Lord Rushford?


The Presidents in Quirky Illustrated Verse by David Holland M.B.A. ’79

See all of America’s 46 presidents through the lens of Holland’s humorous poetry with illustrations by Phil McKenney. Readers may even learn a new fact or two about the presidents.


Friend of the Court by James V. Irving J.D. ’81

In his latest mystery, Irving uses his personal experience as a private detective and law school graduate in the character of Joth Proctor, a criminal defense lawyer who’s struggling to keep his practice afloat. Forced to take a job helping a prominent community member avoid getting blackmailed during his sticky divorce case, Proctor relies on his friends — prosecutor Heather Burke and private detective DP Tran — to help him solve a problem that is much more complicated than he anticipated thanks to gambler and career criminal Jimmie Flambeau.


On the March: A Novel of the Women’s March on Washington by Trudy Krisher ’68

In this new novel, three women — antiques store owner Henrietta, shy teen Birdie and 20-something Emily — meet on a long bus ride from Kansas to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. As their friendship develops over the 34-hour bus trip and the march, they discover they have more in common than they expected.


Fossil Woman by Sharon Lyon ’79

Henrietta breaks the mold in 1950s America with her love of paleontology and her insistence on entering a male-dominated field, but she will need that spirit after she graduates from college and enters the workforce on dig sites across the country. When Henrietta starts dreaming about prehistoric woman Ifa and embarks on a romance in waking life, her life becomes even more complicated.


The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood J.D. ’08

In Masood’s funny debut novel, two young people — one from Pakistan and the other from Iraq — struggle to reach America in the 1990s.  As the book follows their lives and growing families over the years to San Francisco, readers will learn about the difficulties Muslim immigrants face when finding their way in modern America.


The Last Man in Cleveland by Danny O’Dea ’18

Bats, the Summer Olympics in Brazil and politics meet in an apocalyptic thriller that finds five ordinary people facing the possible end of the world. A construction worker, a security guard, a Brazilian government official, a military leader and a writer highlight the complexity of humanity as they react to a pandemic tearing around the world.  


The World of Coral Reefs: Explore and Protect the Natural Wonders of the Sea by Erin Spencer ’14

Marine ecologist and underwater explorer Erin Spencer brings coral reefs to life in her new illustrated children’s book for ages 7 to 10. Water lovers of all ages will enjoy learning details about the types of coral, how reefs develop, the diversity of marine animals that live in them, how human behavior puts reefs in danger and much more. Check out Spencer’s Instagram takeover on the W&M Alumni Association account.


The Baba Yaga Mask by Kris Spisak ’04

When Larissa and Ira’s grandmother disappears on a trans-Atlantic flight, the sisters search through Eastern Europe for her in this novel based on Ukrainian folktales. As their quest continues from Poland to Hungary and beyond, and the sisters face the cold reality of war and emigration, they begin to wonder if their grandmother is truly lost or if she’s a Baba Yaga, a mythical witch who lives in the forest.


The Healing Journal: Guided Prompts and Inspiration for Life With Illness by Emily Suñez ’08

Manage the emotional toll of chronic or invisible illnesses through journaling with the help of this new book containing 50 affirmations, writing prompts and illustrations inspired by nature. After learning to use guided journaling to manage her own chronic health issues, author and illustrator Suñez wanted to create a resource for others in similar situations to learn how to develop appropriate self-care strategies, act as an advocate for themselves with medical professionals, family and friends and recognize and manage symptoms better.