Off the Shelf

A sampling of current books received at this magazine

Beach Stones, photographs by Josie Iselin ’84, text by Margaret W. Carruthers (Abrams, $17.95). Here is an international gathering of rocks, tumbled by nature, beautifully photographed, and illuminatingly commented upon. It will transport you to the waterside straightaway.


In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor, by Larry L. King, NF ’70 (PublicAffairs, $26.95). The author of My Dog Skip and editor of Harper’s was friend, colleague, or mentor to a cast of characters that included David Halberstam ’55, Norman Mailer ’43, William Styron, James Jones, Truman Capote, and the author of this biography. King tells how, at a fancy dinner in Mississippi, Morris got the governor to publicly “pardon” guest George Plimpton ’48 for mischief done in the state by Plimpton’s Civil War-era great-grandfather, Adelbert Ames. Before the meal ended, however, several uniformed highway patrolmen, equipped with guns, clubs, and handcuffs, removed Plimpton from the hall on the grounds that he must leave the state immediately because the pardon would expire in one hour.

The holes in these stones, from Santa Clara, Brazil, "are fossilized burrows, perhaps of a worm or shrimp," writes Margaret Carruthers. "Ichnologists...consider them fossilized behavior..."
From Beach Stones


A maiko, an apprentice geisha, from A Year in Japan

A Year in Japan, by Kate T. Williamson ’01 (Princeton Architectural Press, $19.95, paper). A visitor’s take on some lesser-known aspects of quotidian Japan, in few words and many colorful illustrations. Williamson lives in New York City and has a particular interest in socks.


The Philosophy of Baseball: How to Play the Game of Life, by Raymond Angelo Belliotti, J.D. ’82 (Edwin Mellen Press, $109.95). Belliotti is Distinguished teaching professor and chair of the philosophy department at the State University of New York College at Fredonia. He intends his book for nonphilosopher athletes and coaches “searching for references in the history of Western thought to provide ballast for their methods.” His publisher explains the grand-slam price by noting, “[W]e sell most of our books to research libraries, where each copy is used many times....”


In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig, by Andrew Zimbalist, Ph.D. ’74 (Wiley, $24.95). A professor of economics at Smith and an expert on sports-business issues, the author critiques Commissioner Selig’s performance, including his response to the steroid scandal.


Tête-à-Tête: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, by Hazel Rowley, RF ’00 (HarperCollins, $26.95). A most unconventional love story, engagingly written and full of entanglements.


The Near Future, by Joe Ashby Porter ’64 (Turtle Point Press, $15.95, paper). A delicious novel about golden-agers negotiating the remains of the day in a South Florida trailer park. The author is otherwise engaged as Shakespearean scholar Joseph A. Porter, a professor at Duke.


The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War without End, by Peter W. Galbraith ’73, K ’78 (Simon & Schuster, $26). “Iraq’s civil war is the messy end of a country that never worked as a voluntary union...,” writes Galbraith, the United States’s first ambassador to Croatia and now Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “Partition—the Iraqi solution—has produced stability in most of the country and for this reason should be accepted. In Baghdad and other mixed Sunni-Shiite areas, the United States can not contribute to the solution because there is no solution, at least in the foreseeable future....No purpose is served by a prolonged American presence anywhere in Arab Iraq.”


The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl ’97 (Random House, $24.95). Fact and fiction concerning the strange circumstances surrounding the death of Edgar Allen Poe, by the author of The Dante Club.


First Digs: The Quasi-Adult’s Guide to Decorating with Style without Blowing Your Budget, by Yee-Fan Sun ’96 (St. Martin’s Press, $19.95, paper). Advice for recent graduates.

You might also like

Teaching Nutrition in Medical Education

Will Harvard Medical School return nutrition instruction to pre-eminence?

Animal (Code) Cracker

After listening to leviathans, an undergraduate comes to conservation.  

Breaking Bread

Alexander Heffner ’12 plumbs the state of democracy.

Most popular

Prepare for AI Hackers

Human systems of all kinds may soon be vulnerable to subversion by artificial intelligence.

Teaching Nutrition in Medical Education

Will Harvard Medical School return nutrition instruction to pre-eminence?

Who Built the Pyramids?

Not slaves. Archaeologist Mark Lehner, digging deeper, discovers a city of privileged workers.

More to explore

Architect Kimberly Dowdell is Changing Her Profession

Kimberly Dowdell influences her profession—and the built environment.

How Schizophrenia Resembles the Aging Brain

The search for schizophrenia’s biological basis reveals an unexpected link to cellular changes seen in aging brains.

Harvard Researchers on Speaking to Whales

Project CETI’s pioneering effort to unlock the language of sperm whales