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Winter 2021 Book Roundup

Readers will rejoice this winter over a big pile of books by W&M alumni authors

December 13, 2021
By Jennifer Hughes

William & Mary alumni authors have as many books out this winter as American Sweetgum trees had colors on their seasonal foliage this fall. From food, history and international relations to fantasy, wisdom and poetry and more, readers will find a cornucopia of must-read tomes to enjoy in the winter quarterly book roundup as the weather cools down.


DJ Funkyfoot: Give Cheese a Chance by Tom Angleberger ’92

In DJ Funkyfoot’s latest adventure, the spunky chihuahua achieves his dream of serving as a butler, only to find out being a butler may not be as wonderful as he expected. His new boss – President Horse – must sign a peace treaty with the Queen of Wingland or suffer the consequences. The president decides he would rather play minigolf. Will DJ Funkyfoot save the day and move the president through his mini-golf game quickly to sign the treaty?


Collective Wisdom: Lessons, Inspiration, and Advice from Women over 50 by Grace Bonney ’03

From the founder of popular website Design*Sponge comes a compilation of hard-earned wisdom from more than a hundred inspiring women aged 50 and older, including activists, writers, an Olympic athlete and a NASA team member. The book distills lessons learned by amazing people into easily digestible advice.


From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US–China Relations by Earl A. Carr Jr. ’01

Given the recent pledge from China and America to increase cooperation in an effort to battle climate change, Earl Carr’s new book analyzing China and America’s relationship and related policies promises to be an interesting read for those interested in international relations and business. The book also looks at the issues that define the two countries’ current and future relationship.


Let's Find Joy by Shaunti Feldhahn ’89 and Katie Kenny Phillips

This new book leads children on a scavenger hunt to find joy through Jesus and teach them how to the choices they make every day will help them to give happiness to others.


Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917-1945 by Allison Finkelstein ’08

As a senior historian at Arlington National Cemetery, author Allison Finkelstein provides a unique analysis of what serving in the military meant during World War I and how American women supported the military by leading commemoration efforts. Although women could not serve as soldiers within the military, their work of honoring the soldiers and events of the war impacted U.S. culture and history.


All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody ’15 and Christine Lynn Herman

In this new graphic novel for young adults, seven families each must chose a champion to represent them in a tournament when the Blood Moon rises. Contestants fight for exclusive control of a wellspring of high magick, and the winner will be the last person standing. Ratcheting up the tension for this generation’s competition, a recently published tell-all book provides contestants with valuable information that they can use to their own advantage.


And Tyler No More by Stan Haynes ’80

Mystery lovers will welcome the debut novel of Stan Haynes, which follows congressional aide Monty Tolliver and his friend abolitionist Ben Geddis as they try to assassinate President John Tyler in 1844, shortly before the president plans to submit an annexation treaty to the Senate. The treaty would bring the Republic of Texas into the Union, thereby giving the Southern states a Senate majority. The historical mystery leads readers to contemplate morality, betrayal, the law and loyalty.


Things Are Completely Simple: Poetry and Translation by Brian Henry ’94

Translating poetry is an especially difficult job. How does one translate a concise art form based on words to other languages that might not have equivalent words or concepts in them? Poetry translator Brian Henry looks at the theories, methods and techniques of translating and shares correspondence between poets about the topic.


Audrey L and Audrey W: Best Friends-ish by Carter Higgins ’00

Author Carter Higgins enchanted children when she spoke about and read from her books at William & Mary’s Homecoming & Reunion Weekend 2019, and the magic extends to her writing. In her newest chapter book, readers meet two girls with the same name, but nothing else in common. Over the course of a school week, the two Audreys learn lessons about differences, acceptance and friendship. The book includes black and white illustrations throughout.


Circle Under Berry by Carter Higgins ’00

Named a “Publishers Weekly” Best Book of 2021, “Circle Under Berry” shows young readers that things are never as simple as they seem. Each page compares colors, shapes and objects in relation to each other in ways that can be seen differently upon each reading, so that the book appeals to many different ages and reading levels.


Give Way to Night by Cass Morris ’07

In the second book of the Aven Cycle, mages Latona and Vibia must overcome differences to protect Aven from the resurgence of a cult that wants to destroy the city. At the same time, Latona’s love Sempronius battles enemies and the darkness in himself to help protect Aven. Will Aven rise or fall?


Isaac’s Beacon by David L. Robbins ’76, J.D. ’80

Based upon real events, the book is the first novel in a series that will show how Israel formed after World War II and why it continues to impact the world. In the small kibbutz of Isaac’s Beacon, an Irgun fighter, a young farmer and an American journalist meet, and, subsequently, their lives reflect the drama of the history swirling around them.


Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories by David S. Shields ’73 and Kevin Mitchell

In a well-illustrated and interesting look at South Carolina’s food culture and most beloved dishes, David Shields ’73 and Kevin Mitchell share how ingredients used by the Native American, the Gullah Geechee and European communities came together, evolved into 82 of the state’s most famous dishes and created South Carolina cooking. Readers will walk away hungry after learning about the food traditions in every region of the state, from the famous rice and seafood dishes of the Lowcountry and mustard-based barbecue of the Dutch Fork to the red chicken stew of the midlands and the corn bread of the mountainous Upstate.


Some Faraway Place: A Bright Sessions Novel by Lauren Shippen ’13

The third Bright Sessions novel features Rose, who finds her ordinary life turned upside down when she changes from a 19-year-old who’d rather work than go to college to an Atypical who can travel into dreams. As Rose tries to balance a complicated life of work, her power, and a girlfriend who doesn’t know about it, she discovers that having her dream of becoming an Atypical come true wasn’t what she expected. Hear from Shippen in the recording of a recent W&M Alumni Association virtual panel, "Diverse Voices in Hollywood – Young Guarde Edition."


Major Makes History: From the Shelter to the White House by Jill Twiss ’98 and Maribel Lechuga

Emmy-winning writer Jill Twiss tells the story of President Biden’s dog Major and how he went from being his dad’s best friend to the first shelter dog in the White House. Get the inside scoop on what it was like being the first dog.


Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman M.A. ’94, Ph.D. ‘01

Meet Kabir, a boy from India who has lived in jail since the day he was born because his mom is wrongfully imprisoned. One day a new warden unexpectedly releases Kabir from prison to a man claiming to be his uncle. The outside world proves to be a frightening and dangerous place — one in which Kabir will show that he and his mom deserve a place.