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A midsummer day’s read: UC Davis literature offers insight into nut bread, climate change, adolescent boys and more

August 1, 2013

On food and love

Video (2 min 57 sec)

Videography by Joe Proudman/UC Davis

“Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen” by Judith Newton (Perfect Paperback, $16.95, 322 pages). Already an accomplished writer of fiction and nonfiction, Newton illustrates in this memoir how she used food to sustain personal and political relationships, mourn losses and celebrate victories. Great storytelling is seasoned with real recipes for such things as salmon mousse and “Death Valley Date Nut Bread.” Newton is a University of California, Davis, professor emerita, having directed the Women and Gender Studies program for eight years and the Consortium for Women and Research for four years.

“The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce” by Anupam Chander (Yale University Press, $28, 296 pages). With real-world examples such as Google’s struggles with China, the Pirate Bay’s skirmishes with Hollywood, and the outsourcing of services to India, this UC Davis cyberlaw expert analyzes the difficulties of regulating Internet trade as today’s electronic silk roads ferry information across continents. In accessible language, Chander lays out a framework for future policies, showing how countries can dismantle barriers while still protecting consumer interests. Chander is a professor of law at UC Davis. There will be a book signing at the UC Davis School of Law Aug. 29, noon to 1 p.m., 1001 King Hall.

“Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism” by Karima Bennoune (W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., $27.95, 416 pages). News coverage of religious extremism and terrorist attacks overtakes stories about the global community of writers, artists, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, activists and educators of Muslim heritage who tell a different story in the fight against Muslim fundamentalism, says the author. Karima Bennoune draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews to illuminate inspiring stories, including that of Omar Belhouchet and his team of journalists who struggled to put out their newspaper, El Watan (The Nation), in Algeria, the same night that a 1996 jihadist bombing devastated their offices and killed 18 of their colleagues. The author is a professor of international law, and the book will be on shelves in August. She will present themes and anecdotes from the book at a World Affairs Council event Sept. 18 at the UC Davis School of Law.

 “A Troublesome Subject: The Art of Robert Arneson” by Jonathan Fineberg (University of California Press, $60, 270 pages). Touted as the first major monograph of the life and work of internationally acclaimed artist Robert Arneson, an icon of the UC Davis art faculty, this book proceeds through Arneson’s career, chronicling his early life, his “formation of a personal style and finding a unique subject matter in his famous post-1970 turn to self portraiture,” says the publisher. Arneson — perhaps best known on and around campus for his emblematic “egghead” sculptures — taught at UC Davis for 29 years, and died a year later, in 1992. Fineberg is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

“You Only Get Letters from Jail” by Jodi Angel (Tin House Books, $14.95, 286 pages). Jodi Angel’s second story collection chronicles the lives of young men “motivated by muscle cars, manipulative women, and the hope of escape from circumstances that force them either to grow up or give up,” writes the publisher. The book opens with the viewpoint of Philip, an adolescent who has just lost his mother to a drug overdose, telling his story from a dark and draped house with a television flickering Robert Redford movies. Angel earned a master’s degree in English from UC Davis in 2006. Her first collection of stories, “The History of Vegas,” was published in 2005.

“The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America” by Molly McCarthy (The University of Chicago Press, $30, 280 pages). Anyone who has ever found and read an old desk diary — of their own, or that of an older or deceased relative or friend — will immediately embrace McCarthy’s “biography of a book.” The book explores not only the types of diaries themselves, readily available in Montgomery Ward’s catalogs in the 1800s, and before that as best-selling almanacs, but also the people who wrote them and what they said. McCarthy is associate director of the Humanities Institute at UC Davis. She will sign her book Oct. 17, noon to 1 p.m., at the UC Davis Memorial Union store lounge.

“Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States” edited by Gregg Garfin (Island Press, $49.99, 528 pages). Those wondering if the hot temperatures outside are affecting the environment will be curious to thumb through this tome, one of 10 regional technical contributions to the 2013 National Climate Assessment. The NCA provides input to the U.S. president and Congress on the status of climate change. “Projected increases in temperature and changes in precipitations in the Southwest — from the California coast to the plains of eastern Colorado and New Mexico — will present challenges for managing ecosystems, water, agriculture, energy supply and delivery, transportation, and human health,” the book reports. Garfin is deputy director for Science Translation & Outreach, Institute of the Environment, at the University of Arizona. Multiple UC Davis researchers contributed to the book. Full news release on the text.

“Progress or Collapse: The Crises of Market Greed” by Roberto De Vogli (Routledge, $29.95, 272 pages). De Vogli, a social epidemiologist at UC Davis, writes that "psychological and political inertia trap us in a world of climate change, water shortages, food scarcity and peak oil, from which we may have lost the ability to escape.” Chapter titles and subtitles include: “Cooking up the Planet” and “United We Spend.” De Vogli said in an interview that anyone who “cares about humanity” should read his book. De Vogli is associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis.

To keep up with other new books from UC Davis authors and author appearances on campus, subscribe to the UC Davis Stores’ newsletter, published by author event coordinator Paul Takushi (who helped select titles for this list). Send an e-mail to pmtakushi@ucdavis.edu with “newsletter subscribe” in the subject heading. Books by UC Davis authors are also for sale at the bookstore in the “campus authors” section, or can be ordered by calling (530) 752-2944 or e-mailing generalbooks@ucdavis.edu.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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