Summer Reading Ideas: New Duke Books

Fiction, scholarship, poetry and essays: Faculty and staff offer something for any reader

Part of the A Guide to Faculty Books Series

new books

From the science and politics of smoking to what animals can teach humans about love, Duke writers explore a wide array of topics in their latest books. 

Many of the books, including new editions of previous titles, can be found on the "Duke Authors" display shelves near the circulation desk in Perkins Library. Some are available as e-books for quick download. Most can also be purchased through the Gothic Bookshop.

[Duke Today will provide similar updates in the future. If you are a member of the Duke faculty or staff who will be publishing a book of interest to a general audience, send us a message about it along with your publisher's brief description.]

Esther E. Acolatse: "For Freedom or Bondage? A Critique of African Pastoral Practices" (William B. Eerdmans)

Acolatse, assistant professor of the practice at Duke Divinity School, examines Ghana's independent charismatic churches and argues that Christian pastoral practices in many African churches include too much influence from African traditional religions.


Matthew Adler and Billy Pizer, contributors: "Does Regulation Kill Jobs?" (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Law professor Matthew Adler and Sanford School professor Billy Pizer, an environmental economist, contribute chapters in this volume that challenges persistent myths that environmental and other social regulations are either notorious "job killers" or reliable job creators. Duke alumnus Joe Aldy also contributed to the book.


James Applewhite: "Cosmos: A Poem" (Louisiana State University Press)

Throughout his long career, English professor James Applewhite navigated the world of science through poetry. His new book makes explores time and consciousness in relation to the universe as described by Big Bang cosmology and as experienced by human beings in the everyday world.


Kate Bowler, Curtis Freeman, Warren Smith, Brittany Wilson, contributors: "Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell" (Cascade Books) 

Four Divinity School faculty contribute chapters in a tribute to colleague New Testament professor Douglas Campbell and his noted writings on the Apostle Paul. The book contains Campbell's own response to the contributions. The essays grew out of two conferences at King's College, London, and at Duke Divinity School.


Jason Byassee, co-editor: "Pastoral Work: Engagements With the Vision of Eugene Peterson" (Cascade Books) 

Byassee, a fellow in theology and leadership at Duke Divinity School, co-edited a volume reflecting on theological writer Eugene Peterson's work in the congregation. Sixteen noted scholar-pastors, including Duke Divinity professor of the practice William Willimon, contributed essays.


Paul Carrington, co-editor: "Anti-Corruption Policy: Can International Actors Play a Constructive Role?" (Carolina Academic Press, 2013)

Law professor Paul Carrington edits a diverse group of authors to evaluate international organizations' ongoing anti-corruption efforts and to consider possible new directions. The volume concludes with Carrington's proposal for expanding international private law remedies for fighting corruption.


Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss: "The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know" (Oxford University Press)

In a question-and-answer format, Sanford School professors Cook and Goss provide an essential resource, covering the latest research on gun violence, regulations and ownership, and the context, history and culture of the debate. The Washington Post's Wonkblog featured the book.


James Crenshaw: "Qoheleth: The Ironic Wink" (The University of South Carolina Press)

Crenshaw, a professor emeritus of Old Testament, looks at the mysteries of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, drawing on related literature from the ancient Near East and tracing the impact of its enigmatic author, who called himself Qoheleth. The American Library Association's Choice magazine recommends this book for specialists and interested non-specialist readers alike.


Richard DiGiulio, contributor: "Casarett and Doull's Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons," Eighth Edition. (McGraw-Hill) 

DiGiulio, a professor of environmental toxicology, contributed the chapter titled "Ecotoxicology" for this reference-text covering the full span of medical toxicology.


Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, contributor: "What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night" (Harper Perennial) 

Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, examines the consequences of exporting America's view of an unhealthy mind to the rest of the world. "Even severe illnesses such as schizophrenia may manifest differently outside the U.S., due to cultural adaptations or degrees of social support," he writes.


John Evans, co-author: "Expressive Writing: Words that Heal" (Idyll Arbor)

Evans, a health coach at Duke Integrative Medicine, shows how expressive writing can improve your health, often more than talking.


Michael T. Ferejohn: "Formal Causes: Definition, Explanation, and Primacy in Socratic and Aristotelian Thought" (Oxford University Press)

Ferejohn, a professor of philosophy and classical studies, presents new perspectives on the trajectory of Aristotle's thought.


Barbara Hotelling and Helen Gordon, editors: "How to Become Mother-Friendly: Policies & Procedures for Hospitals, Birth Centers, and Home Birth Services" (Springer Publishing Company)

Barbara Hotelling, a clinical nurse educator at the School of Nursing, and assistant clinical professor Helen Gordon provide evidence-based policies for developing mother-friendly care procedures in maternity care facilities. It focuses on prevention and wellness as alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.


Dr. Doris Iarovici: "Mental Health Issues and the University Student" (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Iarovici, a psychiatrist in Counseling and Psychological Services, discusses students' lifestyle problems and psychiatric concerns, using case vignettes to explore a variety of interventions.


Jonathan Bagg, violist; Scott Lindroth, composer; Stephen Jaffe, composer; various others: "Elation" (Audio CD released by Albany Records)

The new recording, a collaboration between musicians and composers, features music professor Scott Lindroth's piece YTTE and two works by music professor Stephen Jaffe, Four Pieces Quasi Sonata and Offering. Bagg is a professor of the practice in music and a member of the Ciompi String Quartet.


Lisa Keister, co-editor: "Religion and Inequality in America: Research and Theory on Religion's Role in Stratification" (Cambridge University Press)

Sociology professor Lisa Keister and her co-editor collect in one volume essays that explore how and why religion and inequality are related.


Timur Kuran, editor: "Social and Economic Life in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records" (Is Bank Cultural Publications, Istanbul)

Kuran, an economics, political science and Islamic Studies professor, has compiled 10 volumes of records revealing which institutions governed socio-economic life in the Eastern Mediterranean. The work is the result of data-gathering initiated in 2003 that led to Kuran's "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East." Running 6,431 pages, the set is the first such compilation of sharia court records in any language.


Glenda S. Lee, co-author: "Faith that Works: Applying God's Word to the Job Search" (CreateSpace)

Lee, the Nicholas School's associate director for counseling, programs and training and the administrator for the Stanback Internship Program, breaks down the job search into manageable tasks complete with scriptural inspiration, examples and helpful resources.


Melissa Malouf: "More Than You Know" (Dalkey Archive)

Alice Clark, the protagonist of Pushcart Prize-winner Melissa Malouf's new novel, has been trying to avoid an acute state of "not-knowing" about what's happened and what's happening. Whatever happened has much to do with why three of her friends died early and badly, but Alice lived. Malouf, who teaches literature and creative writing and directs the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows, talked about the book for the Columbia University Press blog.

new books

Nancy MacLean, contributor: "Scalawag: A White Southerner's Journey through Segregation to Human Rights Activism" (University of Virginia Press) 

History professor Nancy MacLean wrote the introduction to Edward H. Peeples' autobiography and served as his editor. "Scalawag," which tells the story of a white working-class boy who became an unlikely civil rights activist, reflects on how moral courage can transform a life.


Frederick W. Mayer: "Narrative Politics: Stories and Collective Action" (Oxford University Press)

Mayer, professor of public policy, political science and environment and director of the Program on Global Policy and Governance, offers a new theory for explaining how narrative helps bring people together for collective action.


Neil McWilliam, co-editor: "L'Art Social en France de la Revolution a la Grande Guerre" (Presses universitaires de Rennes)

Art history professor Neil McWilliam is one of three editors of this examination of social discourse on art, its ideological origins and tensions since the time of the Jacobins to the anarchists. The book also traces the history of the concept of social art and the role it has played in artistic practices.


V-Y Mudimbe, co-editor: "Recontextualizing Self & Other Issues in Africa: The Practice of a Conference" (Africa World Press)

Mudimbe, a professor emeritus of literature, connects some of the works presented at a 2007 symposium jointly organized by Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan) and Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) under the sponsorship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


Brian Murray and Jonas Monast, contributors: "Climate Change Policy in North America: Designing Integration in a Regional System" (University of Toronto Press)

The two Nicholas Institute researchers contributed to chapter 9 in the book, "Design Issues for Linking Carbon Markets."

Murray also contributed chapters to "Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Encyclopedia" (ABC-CLIO) and "Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions" (The National Academies Press)


David Need, translator and essayist: "Roses," by Rainer Marie Rilke. (Horse & Buggy Press)

Need, a poet and visiting instructor with the Department of Religious Studies, has translated the 27-poem series "Les Roses," accompanied by Clare Johnson's pen and ink drawings. The book includes Need's essay placing this late set of French language poems in the context of Rilke's overall aesthetic project, focusing on the rose as a persistent motif for a "good" realized in art.


Jakob Norberg: "Sociability and Its Enemies: German Political Theory After 1945" (Northwestern University Press)

Norberg, an assistant professor of German, reconstructs the postwar arguments concerning the nature and value of sociability as a form of interaction and interconnection particular to modern bourgeois society.


Carl Nordgren: "The 53rd Parallel" (Light Messages Publishing) 

Nordgren, a professor of creative entrepreneurship, writes an ambitious novel about the historic contamination of the English River in Ontario. He talked about his debut novel on "The State of Things."


Wayne Norman, chapter co-author: "Citizenship,Part 3: Contemporary Theories and New Development" (Routledge)

Norman, a professor of ethics at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and in the Philosophy Department, is the co-author of "Return of the Citizen" in this multi-volume collection. This volume gathers the best scholarship on citizenship practice.


Henry Petroski: "The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors: A Tale of Architectural Choice and Craftsmanship" (W.W. Norton) 

Civil engineering and history professor Henry Petroski's newest book investigates the builder of his 1950s summer cabin in Maine. The New York Times calls it a "satisfying 18th book for Petroski-ites (you know who you are)." The book includes photographs by Petroski's wife, Catherine. In a Q-and-A, professor Petroski talks about how he came to write about the house and its eccentric builder.

new books

Jeff Powell: "The President as Commander in Chief: An Essay in Constitutional Vision" (Carolina Academic Press)

Law professor Jeff Powell's latest book can be read as a primer on how executive branch lawyers should approach advising their client, the president of the United States. He finds a persuasive approach in Justice Robert Jackson's concurring 1952 opinion in Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, also known as The Steel Seizure Case, involving the limits to the president's power to seize private property at a time of national emergency. Powell knows the task of the executive branch lawyer well, having served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel and as principal deputy solicitor general.


Naomi Quinn, co-editor: "Attachment Reconsidered: Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory" (Palgrave Macmillan)

Quinn, professor emerita of cultural anthropology, helps lead a challenge to attachment theorists by examining the theory in the context of local cultural meanings, including those of childrearing practices, the cultural models of virtue that shape those practices, and the translation of shared childhood experience into adult cultural understandings through developmental and psychodynamic processes.


Curtis J. Richardson, co-editor: "Methods in Biogeochemistry of Wetlands" (American Society of Agronomy)

Richardson, a professor of resource ecology, and director of the Duke Wetland Center, marshals the expertise of more than 100 scientists who provide key methods for sampling, quantifying and characterizing wetlands, which are vital to ecosystem health.


Luis Rosa: "Otra vez me alejo/Once again I walk away" (Isla Negra)

Rosa, a fellow with the Thompson Writing Program, has written his first novel, a story of friendship and academic intrigue, which has been published in Argentina (by Entropia) and his native Puerto Rico. Rosa runs a blog of reviews at


Dr. Philip Rosoff: "Rationing Is Not a Four-Letter Word: Setting Limits on Healthcare" (The MIT Press, July 18)

Rosoff, a professor of pediatrics and medicine, argues that a comprehensive, centralized, and fair system of rationing, incorporating certain key features from the organ transplant system and other existing systems, is the best way to distribute the benefits of modern medicine equitably while achieving significant cost savings.


James Salzman, co-author: "Environmental Law and Policy" Fourth edition. (Foundation Press)

Salzman, a professor of law and Nicholas Institute professor of environmental policy, helps to provide a broad, readable overview of environmental law while also explaining the major statutes and cases. For the fourth edition, to provide students a deeper understanding of how environmental law works in practice, a new chapter has been written on enforcement. Salzman is also the author of "Drinking Water: A History" (2012)


Clarissa Schilstra, contributor: "Applying Social Media Technologies in Healthcare Environments" (HIMSS Books)

Schilstra, a pre-med student at Duke, spent many of her childhood and teen years battling two bouts of leukemia. She writes "the experience would have been completely different" had she and her family not been able to use social media tools. Schilstra uses her own website ( to provide accounts of her experience and resources for teens who may struggle with similar conditions.


John Staddon: "The New Behaviorism" Second edition. (Psychology Press) and "Unlucky Strike: Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking" (University of Buckingham Press)

Psychology professor John Staddon updates a framework for applying behavioral science to the laboratory and to broader practical issues such as law and punishment, the health-care system and teaching. The mission of the book, he says, is to help steer experimental psychology away from its "current undisciplined indulgence in 'mental life' toward the core of science, which is an economical description of nature."

In a second book, Staddon claims the dangers of passive smoking have been exaggerated, and that lifetime medical costs for smokers are less than for nonsmokers, so penalizing (taxing) smokers for being a burden on our health care system is unjustified. Prize-winning landscape painter David Hockney, a prominent smokers' rights activist who Staddon met during a visit to Britain last year, illustrates the book with images featuring piles of cigarette butts and a self-portrait of the 76-year-old lighting up. The book has been featured on Book TV, as well as in The Times of London and the Sunday Mail.


Lucas Van Rompay, co-author: "Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts and Fragments in the Library of Deir al-Surian, Wadi al-Natrun (Egypt)" (Peeters Publishers) 

Rompay, a professor of Eastern Christianity in the Department of Religion, brings special attention to the inscriptions of scribes, readers, owners and occasional visitors. The book provides glimpses into the history not only of individual manuscripts but also of the famous monastery and its library, located in the Nitrian Desert.


Jennifer Verdolin: "Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us about Human Relationships" (Prometheus Books) 

Verdolin, an animal behaviorist researcher affiliated with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, compares the courtship rituals and mating behaviors of animals to their human equivalents, exploring what humans could learn from the animal world when it comes to love. Digital magazine Ozy described the book as "Wild Kingdom" meets "Sex and the City." Verdolin writes a blog for Psychology Today on various aspects of animal behavior.


Ross Wagner: "Reading the Sealed Book: Old Greek Isaiah and the Problem of Septuagint Hermeneutics" (Mohr Siebeck/Baylor University Press) 

Divinity School professor Wagner's new book highlights the creative theology hidden in translation as it explores the earliest known commentary on the Book of Isaiah, the second-century BCE translation of Isaiah into Greek by Jewish scribes living in Egypt.