Arts & Culture

Output: July/August 2022

Architecture Unbound: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde
Joseph Giovannini ’67
(Rizzoli, $50) 
An architect and critic, Giovannini gives cultural context, an in-depth timeline, and detailed narratives as he tracks recent generations of architects on the cutting edge of design—marking the twists, turns, and unexpected angles that are the hallmark of the architectural avant-garde. Highlighting figures from Peter Eisenman to Rem Koolhaas to Zaha Hadid, Giovannini’s focus is the “long-term cultural shift in disciplines away from the Apollonian paradigm of regularity and order.”

The Upgrade: How the Female Brain Gets Stronger and Better in Midlife and Beyond
Louann Brizendine ’81MD
(Harmony, $27.99)
In many modern societies, menopause is seen as “a slow decline toward the end.” Brizendine is a neuropsychiatrist and founder of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at UC–San Francisco, and she bristles at that assessment. She delivers a powerful and detailed guide—buoyed by a wealth of new science—that describes what follows after a woman’s exit from the “hormonal war zone” and “fertile phase.” The author calls this second half the “Upgrade.” She provides an abundance of practical strategies for emerging “vital, confident, and wise” in this “glorious time.”

Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
Florence Williams ’89
(W. W. Norton, $30)
“You’d think that after a million years of hominins sighing at the moon over lost love, we’d have figured out . . . why was heartbreak so hard to get over,” notes science writer Williams. When her own husband unexpectedly left their quarter-century-long marriage, “I felt like I’d been knifed in the heart, like I was missing a limb, set adrift in an ocean, loosed in a terrifying wood.” This book is both a finely crafted memoir and a report on discoveries in such fields as neurogenomics and social rejection psychology, and it is also the result of Williams’s search for ways to heal.

Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington
James Kirchick ’06
(Henry Holt, $38)
Since its inception in 1790, the nation’s capital “has attracted men and women from every diverse segment of American society,” writes journalist and historian Kirchick. But one group has long had to keep a “core aspect of their very being” closeted from public view. Indeed, for much of the past century, being LGBTQ was “the most terrible secret one could possibly possess,” says the author. He traces the “wide-ranging influence of homosexuality on the nation’s capital,” from the Franklin Roosevelt through the Clinton administrations, and the “slow but inexorable increase in acceptance.”

After Disbelief: On Disenchantment, Disappointment, Eternity, and Joy Anthony T. Kronman ’72PhD, ’75JD, Sterling Professor of Law.
(Yale University Press, $25) 
“My parents had an allergy to God,” writes Kronman, a former dean of Yale Law School. He grew up in a family that had once been Jewish and Christian, but had turned against organized religion “as a poison that must be avoided at all costs.” Kronman tells how he made room for the Eternal in his humanist life, with an evolving view of a God not of “philosophers or prophets but a mash-up of the two.”

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss
Amy Bloom
(Random House, $27) 
“This trip to Zurich is a new, not quite normal version of something Brian and I love: traveling,” begins Bloom, in a chronicle of her marriage to architect and past Yale football player Brian Ameche ’75. On this trip, the two did not give their in-flight toast, “Cent’anni—may we have a hundred years.” They were traveling to Switzerland to end Brian’s life. He had been diagnosed with dementia and had decided that the “long goodbye of Alzheimer’s was not for him.” They were bound for the offices of Dignitas, “the only place in the world for painless, peaceful, and legal suicide.” She tells the story of their life together and his last “long journey, miles and miles of Nought.”

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