Arts & Culture


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High Risk: Stories of Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected
Chavi Eve Karkowsky ’98
(Liveright/W. W. Norton, $26.95)

There is usually nothing more straightforward than having a child, during which the “completely, boringly healthy” mom-to-be has a “completely, boringly routine pregnancy,” says New York ob-gyn Karkowsky. But when things go awry and you need a maternal-fetal medicine specialist—a “high-risk pregnancy doctor”—you’ve entered the realm of this skilled physician and writer, who provides harrowing and heartwarming tales about “the most interesting work in the world”: what goes wrong and right during the trimesters, the delivery, and beyond, including a look at the racial disparities that haunt the process.

Signs and Wonders: The Photographs of John Beasley Greene
Corey Keller ’92; designed by Miko McGinty ’93, ’98MFA, with Rebecca Sylvers ’15
(DelMonico Books/Prestel, $60)

When Jean-Francois Champollion discovered how to decipher hieroglyphics in the 1820s, the mysterious Egyptian empire turned into “a text to be read,” writes Keller. Thirty years later, a young American explorer named John Beasley Greene mastered the new art form of photography. He traveled to Egypt and Algeria to document the writing, the monu-ments, and “endless sweeps” of sand and sky. The book’s many photos and Keller’s exegesis shine a light on the work and brief life of an artist who died when he was only 24, yet who captured “some of the most evocative landscape studies ever produced in the Middle East.”

The World Eats Here: Amazing Food and the Inspiring People Who Make It at New York’s Queens Night Market
John Wang ’09JD, ’09MBA, and Storm Garner
(The Experiment Publishing, $19.95)

Back in the pre-pandemic era, if you were hungry on any Saturday night from April through October, and you hankered for something delicious but cheap, the Queens Night Market was your place. It served everything from Berg’s Pastrami to Dakgangjeong (South Korean fried chicken). Its top price: six bucks. Ex–corporate lawyer Wang launched the wildly popular weekly celebration of food and culture in 2015, offering an array of delights from around the world. The Market is now on hiatus, but it comes alive in this book as Wang and his documentarian wife, Storm Garner, provide recipes and stories from behind the scenes.

The Betrayal of the Duchess:
The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern
Maurice Samuels, the Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French
(Basic Books, $32)

In 1832, Marie-Caroline of Bourbon—duchesse de Berry and mother of France’s heir-apparent king—launched a quixotic attempt to topple a French government imposed by a revolution and to restore her son to the throne. She failed. The duchess evaded capture for several months—until her trusted adviser, Simon Deutz, betrayed her. Deutz was Jewish, and the aftermath, writes Samuels, “provoked modern France’s first major outpouring of antisemitic hatred.” In a chilling story with echoes that are all too modern, Samuels shows what happened when “attitudes towards Jews first crystallized into a political ideology.”

A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes
Eric Jay Dolin ’88MEM
(Liveright/W. W. Norton, $29.95)  

“The crayfish knew it was coming,” writes Dolin. It was 1957, a tropical storm was expected, and Louisianans were amazed to see thousands of crawdads scuttling out of the marshes. The storm had developed into Hurricane Aubrey. Dolin profiles several famous tropical storms, a few of the many that are “an integral, inevitable, and painful part of the American experience.” He also writes on science and scientists, on the “death, destruction, and despair” hurricanes cause, and on “stories of charity, kindness, humor, and resilience.”

Catherine House: A Novel
Elisabeth Thomas ’10
(Custom House/HarperCollins, $27.99)

Every college has its secrets, but when a troubled teen named Ines Murillo gains admission to this fabled, ultra-selective school “so terrifically endowed that tuition was free,” she discovers something disconcerting about her fellow students: “I wasn’t the only one at Catherine on the run. All of us, for one reason or another, had nowhere else to go.” And when the iron gate that separates this modern version of Hogwarts from the outside world closes, Ines and her quirky friends begin three years of complete isolation on a campus that harbors an undergraduate heart of darkness.

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