Books: Bull City View

November 29, 2012

"Our city attracts more than its share of journalists and bloggers, essayists, and advocates, historians, and slam poets," writes Durham City Council member and The Independent cofounder Steve Schewel '73, Ph.D.'82 in the foreward of 27 Views of Durham. "They embrace the clang and clamor. They want to argue, proclaim, to laugh out loud, to write late into the night."

The fourth in a series of anthologies by Hillsborough-based Eno Publishers, the book includes contributions by English professor emeritus and poet James Applewhite '58, whose sublime poem "In the Gardens Beside a Library" captures the poignant immutability of time's progression, with Duke as a backdrop. The Regulator Bookshop co-owner John Valentine '71, who has witnessed decades of literary trends, recalls the arrival of Harry Potter on Ninth Street. And author and journalist Jim Wise '70 considers the city's "sometimes ugly, more often ridiculous" political and civic clashes over things like rooftop cow statues and oversized American flags (and why he wouldn't live anywhere else).

 

Page Turners

 

Credit: Eric Postel

Sophia McClennen A.M. '92, Ph.D. '97 explores how comedian Stephen Colbert has shaped political discourse in Colbert's America: Satire and Democracy. Emily Colin '97 weaves together dual plots around themes of love and loss in The Memory Thief. William Norrett '91 shows Hollywood's unglamorous fringe, replete with struggling improv comedians, blackmail attempts, and a murder case, in The Vanilla Gigolo Prescription. Judith Schiess Avila '70 captures the story of Code Talker Chester Nez, the last living Navajo recruited by the Marines to create a secrete code - included in the book - during World War II. Historian and folklorist David Cecelski '82 paints a vivid picture of a young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy in The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War. Kal Raustiala '88 makes the case that imitation sparks innovation in The Knockoff Economy. George Church '74 explains how synthetic biology will reinvent nature and what it means to be human in Regenesis.