Your July 2024 Reads

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This month’s feature titles include Dr. Fauci’s memoir, a bestselling YA author’s adult debut, and poetry inspired by the Grand Canyon

Did you know that Cornell has an online book club? Check it out!

For more titles by Big Red authors, peruse our previous round-ups.

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the cover of "On Call"

On Call

Anthony Fauci, MD ’66

“Except for a rare nod toward his family,” observes Kirkus, “Fauci confines himself to his professional life, delivering an illuminating, expert account of our government’s encounters with infectious diseases over the past 50 years—stories that involve as much politics as science.”

In this much-anticipated memoir, the famed physician and public health leader looks back on his life and long career—from his Brooklyn childhood to medical school at Cornell to his nearly four decades as director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

There, he led the U.S. response to outbreaks from Zika to COVID—and, during the latter, became a political lightning rod for opponents of pandemic-driven mask mandates and restrictions on public gatherings.

“If Fauci’s childhood reminiscences can be stiff and dutiful,” says the Washington Post, “his accounts of the health emergencies he weathered as a public servant—particularly the AIDS epidemic—are gripping.”


One of Our Kind

Nicola Yoon ’94

Yoon is a bestselling author of young adult fiction who has had two books adapted to the screen.

Here, she switches to the adult genre in what Publishers Weekly calls a “masterful psychological horror novel [that] brings to bear all the claustrophobia of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives against the backdrop of systemic racism and police brutality.”

Her protagonist—a woman named Jasmyn who is expecting her second child—moves with her family to Liberty, an affluent all-Black community in California.

The cover of "One of Our Kind"

While Jasmyn is in many ways relieved to be in a place devoid of societal racism, she has a creeping sense of unease about how Liberty’s residents seem to lose touch with their Black identity—particularly after spa treatments at the wellness center.

“The affection and care [Yoon] has for all her characters and the reasons that have taken them to Liberty deepen the novel’s stakes and heighten its terror,” says the New York Times. “Yoon also reminds us, through Jasmyn’s friendships and her relationship with her husband, King, of the richness and intimacy of Black culture, and underlines how much more we are than our trauma.”


The cover of "The Rock of Arles"

The Rock of Arles

Richard Klein ’62

Klein made a splash with his 1993 book Cigarettes Are Sublime, in which he contemplated the attractions and cultural cachet of smoking while trying to kick the habit.

Now, the professor emeritus of French literature has again teamed up with Duke University Press on an iconoclastic volume.

“This is likely the first book authored by a geological formation, in this case by the plateau of limestone on which the French city of Arles stands,” notes Kirkus.

“That, at least, is the explanation put forward by Klein … who jokingly claims that the Rock narrated the story of the town’s history to him—in French, which the author then transcribed and translated.”

As the publisher explains, that limestone slab “infallibly remembers every moment of its existence, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the fall of feudal aristocracy, from the domination of the Catholic Church to the present French representative democracy.”

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Klein’s other works include Eat Fat, a “postmodern diet book” in which he contemplates the beauty and value of corpulent bodies.


Pet-a-Palooza

Jan Carr ’75

A Human Ecology alum, Carr has worked as a Head Start teacher as well as a magazine writer and children’s book editor.

Her illustrated chapter book is the third entry in a series—aimed at readers aged five to eight—chronicling life in a second-grade classroom and starring kids named Buddy and Bea. The plot involves the children’s obsession with animals, including the antics of a visiting dog and the telling of (possibly) tall tales about a pet cat.

The cover of "Pet-a-Palooza"

“Energetic black-and-white illustrations complement the cheerful tone of the narrative and capture some of the book’s funniest moments to great effect,” says School Library Journal, calling the volume “a welcome addition to early chapter book collections, and a surefire hit for animal lovers.”

Pet-a-Palooza follows the earlier entries Not Really Buddies and Tiny Tornadoes; a fourth, Say Cheese, is set for September 2024.


The cover of "In Old Sky"

In Old Sky

Lauren Mukamal Camp ’88

In 2022, Camp (who’s currently the poet laureate of New Mexico) served as Grand Canyon National Park’s astronomer-in-residence, a position open not just to scientists but also to artists and conservationists.

This book of poetry—the first ever published by the Grand Canyon Conservancy—was inspired by Camp’s experiences. It also features a foreword by the park’s “dark sky ranger” and numerous color photos of the landscape.

As she writes in a poem titled “Arena”: “The sky is out again, galloping on its inherited ribbon. It’s so easy / to stand under it: the whole pulse / of the world, the dead stars, clouds slinking around, thinking rain, / thinking landless, then giving up on that / and wandering slow with a thought of tomorrow.”

Camp’s seven previous poetry collections include Worn Smooth between Devourings, An Eye in Each Square, and Took House.


How to Get Over a Breakup

Michael Fontaine

A classics professor on the Hill, Fontaine is a regular contributor to a Princeton University Press series offering ancient wisdom for modern readers. In his latest, he translates (from the Latin) 2,000-year-old romance tips from the Roman poet Ovid, whose suggestions range from heartfelt to humorous and downright raunchy.

Some of the wisdom echoes the common-sense advice you’d get from your besties after a romantic reversal: staying busy, taking up a new hobby, going on vacation, and “minimizing and belittling your ex’s best features.”

The book cover for How to Get Over a Breakup: An Ancient Guide to Moving On, featuring a statue of two people embracing.

(Even the most broken-hearted readers, however, will likely decline another of Ovid’s tips: putting your lost love out of your mind by going off to war.)

How to Get Over a Breakup is Fontaine’s fourth entry in the series, following How to Drink, How to Tell a Joke, and How to Grieve. Up next: How to Have Willpower, followed by How to Speak Freely.

Published July 9, 2024


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