On the Bookshelf

The Faith of Dolly Parton (2018)
Dudley Delffs (’87 & ’89)

Faith of Dolly book cover

Tennessee native, Dolly Parton fanboy, and award-winning writer Dudley Delffs now spotlights 10 faith lessons as evidenced in Parton’s life, music, interviews, and attitude. The Faith of Dolly Parton focuses on the ways Parton’s life can inspire us all to be more authentic, to trust God during hard times, to stay grounded during the good times, and to always keep our sense of humor. Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, frequently surprising, and always true to Dolly’s down-home spirit of joyful generosity, this book will delight her millions of fans as well as anyone seeking a fresh faith-filled role model.

Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb (2018)
Tinky Weisblat (’82)

Rhubarb book cover

As a child, writer and singer Tinky Weisblat disliked rhubarb and balked at eating it. As an adult, she has
evolved into an enthusiast for the tart red stalks that pop up in her New England yard every year. Like
most converts, she is wildly enthusiastic about her rhubarb “religion.” In Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb
Weisblat shares some of her reasons for loving rhubarb and to demonstrate rhubarb’s adaptability, she provides more than 60 recipes, from beverages and appetizers through main courses and desserts.

Becoming a Fearless Leader (2018)
Elizabeth Shassere (’91)

Leader book cover

Being a leader is one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles we can take. Good leaders can create powerful teams that have huge impacts on companies, organizations, even the world! But it’s not easy to be a leader, especially an effective one. It can be stressful and demanding, and many of us spend our time as a leader feeling like a fraud who will be soon found out.

Evil Rises in North Korea (2017)
Michael Sunner (’76)

Evil Rises book cover

Alumnus Michael Sunner’s book begins with the North’s invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, which initiated the Korean War. The war resulted in the lasting enmity and mutual distrust between North and South Korea up to the present day.  This book uses the historic framework of the Korean Warto launch a fictional tale of a vast treasure lost during the famous battle at North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir in 1950 and discusses the evil of the North’s familial leadership and their unending quest for power and control of the Korean peninsula.

Confessions of an Anesthesiologist (2016)
William Cottrell (’71)

Confessions book cover

Anesthesiologist are service oriented professionals who make crucial decisions and perform critical, sometimes lifesaving procedures behind the scenes. The absence of drama usually implies a job well done. But after 38 years of private practice, William Cottrell realized there is an important and intriguing story that needs to be told.  In the book, Cottrell deals with a number of important issues; the changes in his medical practice, political and economic changes at the local and national level, personal and family instability, and lastly his own struggle to search for meaning and logic to these events.

Journal of a Fast Track Life (2018)
Charles E. Smith (’61)

Journal book coverCharles Smith’s life story is that of a small town kid with no silver spoon whose first job was editor of the hometown newspaper he once delivered as an eight-year-old. Forty-two years later he was in Washington, DC, serving in George W. Bush’s administration as executive director of the Nation’s Report Card (NAEP), arguably the most impactful federal initiative to improve education in modern times.

The King of Halloween and the Firecracker Queen (2018)
Lori Leachman

King of Halloween book cover

Lori Leachman’s memoir, The King of Halloween and the Firecracker Queen, takes readers through growing up in the South in a football family and the death of her father Lamar Leachman from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The book provides an intimate look at Lamar’s rise through the ranks of competitive football—from playing at the University of Tennessee to coaching in college, the WFL, CFL, NLF, and ultimately the Super Bowl. It is a story of one family’s love of a game and each other, one man’s strength of character, and one woman’s love that sustained him.

The Caribbeanization of Black Politics: Race, Group Consciousness, and Political Participation in America (2018)
Sharon D. Wright Austin (’93)

Book cover for Black Politics

In The Caribbeanization of Black Politics, Sharon D. Wright Austin explores the impact of ethnic diversification of African American communities on the prospects for black political empowerment. Focusing on Boston, Chicago, Miami, and New York City—cities that for the last several years have experienced an influx of black immigrants—she assesses the current political incorporation of these groups.

Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series (2017)
Eric Lewald (’76)

Book cover for Previously on X-Men

In late 1992, on small budgets and under tight schedules, the cast and crew of X-MEN: The Animated Series crafted a television show that, despite an industry full of naysayers, immediately shot to #1. This “kids’ show” often landed more than half the TV viewers across America, and a twenty-year gold rush of Marvel motion pictures and TV series followed. Previously on X-Men is Eric Lewald’s personal, inside account of how the series got on the air, the many challenges that were overcome, and how the show prevailed. The head writer interviewed 36 of the artists, writers, voice cast, and executives who helped make this game-changing series a worldwide success. This book is an authoritative look into the creation of the animated series that nobody expected to succeed. Lewald offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Saturday-morning cartoon series that changed Hollywood.

Death Be Not Pwned (2016)
Mark Edens (’79)

Book Cover of Death Be Not Pwned

Michael knew his weekend was going to be a nightmare. On top of long hours at his after-school job delivering pizzas, he’s struggling to write the college application essay he hopes will get him into Harvard—and the deadline is Monday. But the real nightmare begins when he runs over somebody on his way home from work and realizes the eccentric old man he hit isn’t dressed like the Grim Reaper because he’s on his way to a Halloween party. He really is Death. And now he has a broken leg, and somebody has to drive him to his fatal “appointments.” Can Michael finish his essay,keep his job, and win the girl of his dreams, all while serving as Death’s unwilling chauffeur? Can he convince the police there’s an innocent reason he was at the scene of a grisly murder—and do it before the real killers catch up with him? And with lives on the line and his future at stake, can he cheat Death in the ultimate challenge: a one-on-one game of Halo?


The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer (2018)Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner book cover
Jessica Bishop

Making sure your wedding goes without a hitch is overwhelming―especially with the added pressure of staying on budget. Whether you have $10,000 or $1,000, wedding planner and author behind The Budget Savvy Bride, Jessica Bishop, helps you set a realistic budget with the organizational tools and insider tips in this wedding planner. Vowing to help you get organized and stay sane, this wedding planner helps you say “I do” on a budget that is right for you.

Jerry Whittle (’80)

Ben Cook, a blind graduate student at the University of Tennessee, hires a reader who turns out to be a world traveler with much experience. They fall in love, and many crises ensue, particularly because they are so different. Interesting characters enter their lives, and they must deal with overwhelming odds in their relationship.

Joe King (’11)

Articfice Historica coverUnknown author Gregor Planks lives under the assumption that he is in control of the fiction he writes, but when a reoccurring character in the stori es he writes starts to manifest himself the boundaries of between fantasy and reality quickly disappear. As Gregor attempts to win the affection of a gawky woman and fends off his slumlord with a kaleidoscope of menial jobs, he finds playing God to a fictional world has a higher price to pay than he could imagine. Traversing a mock history of humanity, Artifice Historica provides both a hilarious and horrifying view of the world.

Joe King (’11)

Human Ants book coverCombining the daring of Beat Generation luster, a terse lens of Realism, and a mocking romp though Classical form with the experimentation of Postmodernism, Joe King’s Human Ants restores poetry to a world that had forgotten it. Bursting with dark humor, hyperawareness, and the universal enigma of consciousness, Human Ants is broken down into four thematic segments that incite a bitter conflict between insignificance and an ever-expanding world. Whether King takes on variants of a Sonnet, Sestina, Villanelle, Free Form, or Stream-of-Consciousness, his sharp wit and charismatic personas ooze from every page. As Poet Jessie Janeshek writes in the forward to Human Ants, “His work reasserts the belief that all writers try to keep believing; what we write on the page can become an agent of change.”

M.O. Walsh (’01)

sunshineThe narrator tells the riveting story of the summer of 1989, when he was a fourteen-year old boy in Baton Rouge and in love with the girl across the street, Lindy Simpson. Lindy was the girl with golden hair and perfect legs, who rode her bicycle to track practice every afternoon, leaving a trail of beguiled boys in her wake. Yet one late summer evening, a crime shattered everyone’s illusion of the supposed idyllic neighborhood, and nothing was ever the same.

Granville M. Sawyer Jr. (’86)

CIFY_Cover_ImageThis is not a traditional college guide full of directives and checklists but a collection of relatable stories that imparts timely and practical wisdom. In short and focused chapters, ending with quick “takeaways,” the book is organized into five easy to read parts that guide students through the entire undergraduate experience. Sawyer starts them off with the right attitude, then shows how and where to access the right advice at the right time. He helps students identify critical resources and shares key learning techniques and insights that help them understand that just going to class won’t earn a degree.

Jordan Nasser (’91)

hiaf-coveronlyMost people would look at Derek and say he’d made it in life. A fun job, a handsome boyfriend, and an exciting life in New York City. But one night, staring at his reflection in the window of the subway as it barrels do wn Lexington Avenue, Derek realizes he’s fooling himself—and everyone else, too. Derek gets off the train and goes home. Only not home to his tiny Manhattan apartment, but home to Tennessee—which is definitely not NYC. At turns lighthearted, poignant, and surprising, Home Is a Fire is a delightful read for anyone who believes that whoever said “You can’t go home again” was mistaken. It’s just not exactly how you pictured it.

Valerie J. Frey (’99)

9780820330631Heirloom dishes and family food traditions are rich sources of nostalgia and provide vivid ways to learn about our families’ past, yet they can be problematic. Many family recipes and food traditions are never documented in written or photographic form, existing only as unwritten know-how and lore that vanishes when a cook dies. Even when recipes are written down, they often fail to give the tricks and tips that would allow another cook to accurately replicate the dish. Unfortunately, recipes are also often damaged as we plunk Grandma’s handwritten cards on the countertop next to a steaming pot or a spattering mixer, shortening their lives.This book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories,
and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions.


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