Arts & Culture


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Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry
Imani Perry ’94
Beacon Press, $26.95

Almost everyone knows A Raisin in the Sun, “the most widely produced and read play by a Black American woman,” writes Perry—but aside from that canonical drama about a family fighting segregation in inner-city Chicago, few people are familiar with Hansberry. The fiery playwright, author, and gay social and political activist was born into an influential and academic Chicago family whose children were expected to “do something of significance” for themselves and for African Americans. Hansberry died at 34 in 1965, from pancreatic cancer, yet she accomplished much, Perry writes. “She sparked and sparkled.”


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Lori Gottlieb ’89
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28

“Change and loss travel together. We can’t have change without loss,” writes psychotherapist Gottlieb. In this deep, disarming, intimate examination of “how we heal and where it leads us,” Gottlieb shows us the inner lives of several patients, as seen from the couch. She also recounts her own journey through therapy after she had been unexpectedly dumped by the boyfriend she’d planned to marry.


The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age
Leo Damrosch ’63
Yale University Press, $30

In 1764, a group of extraordinary men began meeting every Friday night at the Turk’s Head Tavern in London to “talk, laugh, drink, eat, and argue until late into the night,” writes Damrosch. This richly illustrated account of the “Club,” as the gatherings of this “constellation of talent” came to be called, centers on the “odd couple”: critic Samuel Johnson and his biographer, James Boswell. The book evokes “the teeming, noisy, contradictory, and often violent world of eighteenth-century London.”


Ballpark: Baseball in the American City
Paul Goldberger ’72
Alfred A. Knopf, $35

“The game of baseball may not truly be the ultimate American metaphor . . . but the baseball park, the expanse of green that begins beside city streets and appears to extend forever, is.” So opens this lovely, sometimes loving, exploration of the places where professional baseball has been played over the past century and a half, historic Fenway Park and modern Camden Yards among them. Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic, explores how ballparks exemplify ways in which “the Jeffersonian ideal of the rural landscape” has been linked inextricably with the “Hamiltonian vision of American industry and urban vitality.”


Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
Nicholas A. Christakis, Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science
Little, Brown Spark, $30

These days, it’s easy to focus on what divides us. But sociologist and physician Christakis asks, “Can you love your own group without hating everyone else?” His answer, based on years of research in his Human Nature Lab at Yale, is a resounding and optimistic yes. As a result of evolution written in our genes, we all share a “common humanity,” says Christakis. “We carry within us innate proclivities that reflect our natural social state, a state that is, as it turns out, primarily good, practically and even morally.”


A Field Guide to Cape Cod, Including Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, and Eastern Long Island
Patrick J. Lynch, Senior Digital Officer (retired), Office of Public Affairs and Communications
Yale University Press, $27.50

The 250-mile arc of glacier-crafted terrain from Rockaway Beach (on western Long Island) to Race Point (on the northeast tip of Cape Cod) is called the “Outer Lands.” Lynch, a master naturalist, photographer, and digital artist, offers a visually stunning compendium of the life that thrives in and on the beaches, marshes, forests, dunes, and surrounding waters—as well as a look at how our species has changed the region. The book belongs in the backpack of every Outer Lands visitor and resident.

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