A selection of books written by Unitarian Universalists.
The Great Circus Train Robbery: A Northern Spy Mystery. Nancy Means Wright. Hilliard and Harris, 2008; $16.95. This middle grade novel, based on the “spying” adventures of Wright’s own children, is a sequel to The Pea Soup Poisonings, which won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA novel. Wright is a member of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury, Vt.
The Stylist: A Novel. Cai Emmons. Harper Perennial, 2007; $13.95. Hayden, a 25-year-old Harvard dropout working in a Hoboken hair salon, and Emory, a 40-year-old woman transitioning to become a man, go to a Costa Rican eco-resort to rescue Hayden’s injured father. The journey both heals and changes them. Playwright and novelist Cai Emmons teaches at the University of Oregon and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Ore.
Love & Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow. Forrest Church. Beacon Press, 2008; $22. The Rev. Dr. Forrest Church, preeminent UU theologian and long-time minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, writes a memoir of his experiences with the deaths of family members and friends, and a meditation on his own impending death from cancer.
After-School Theatre Programs for At-Risk Teenagers. Philip Zwerling. McFarland, 2008; $35. The Rev. Dr. Philip Zwerling, a UU minister and assistant professor of English at the University of Texas–Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, looks at how youth theater programs can make a positive impact on teens. Includes a list of more than 100 current programs.
Black History in the Pages of Children’s Literature. Rose Casement. Scarecrow Press, 2007; $55. This educational resource provides an introduction to historical periods and an annotated bibliography of children’s literature that would be useful for teaching topics in Black history to a youthful audience. Casemont is associate dean of education at the University of Michigan–Flint and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint.
The Light Within: The Extraordinary Friendship of a Doctor and Patient Brought Together by Cancer. Lois M. Ramondetta and Deborah Rose Sills. William Morrow, 2008; $24.95. A dual memoir of an oncologist (Ramondetta) and a patient (Sills), who was a professor of religion. Although a memoir, the book talks about the diagnosis, treatment, side effects, and anxieties of ovarian cancer. Sills passed away in 2006. Ramondetta, an associate professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, Tex.
Buffalo Gal: A Memoir. Laura Pedersen. Fulcrum, 2008; $15. This humorous memoir recounts the author’s life, from her wild childhood in Buffalo, N.Y., to her high-power Wall Street career as the youngest person with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. The author of eight books, Pedersen has written for the New York Times and is a member of the UU Church of Amherst, N.Y., and the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City.
Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. Selected, edited, and with introductions by Glenn Adelson, James Engell, Brent Ranalli, and K.P. Van Anglen. Yale University Press, 2007; $70. This major anthology is the first to apply a fully interdisciplinary approach to environmental studies. The book demonstrates how the sciences, social sciences, and humanities all contribute to understanding our interrelationships with the natural world. Brent Ranalli, a member of Follen Church Society in Lexington, Mass., is a senior analyst at the Cadmus Group, an employee-owned environmental consulting firm.
The Informed Gardener. Linda Chalker-Scott. University of Washington Press, 2008; $18.95. An introduction to sustainable landscaping practice. Chalker-Scott addresses some of the myths and problems that plague both home and professional gardeners, such as “Are native plants the best choice for sustainable landscaping?” An extension urban horticulturalist and associate professor at Washington State University and author of an online column “Horticultural Myths,” Chalker-Scott is also a member of University Unitarian Church in Seattle, Washington.
Hiking Out: Surviving Depression with Humor and Insight Along the Way. Dick Sederquist. PublishingWorks, 2007; $15.95. A collection of essays and stories about life through the eyes of a hiker. Sederquist, a member of the Universalist Church of West Hartford, Ct., is a cancer survivor and also overcame a lifelong battle with depression. The book was a Best Books Award finalist at USA Book News.
Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk. David J. Kundtz and Bernard S. Schlager. The Pilgrim Press, 2007; $25. A practical handbook that covers basic skills religious caregivers and ministry students need in order to be supportive and enlightened care providers to LGBTQ persons. Fourth book in The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry series sponsored by Pilgrim Press and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. Bernard S. Schlager, director of national programming at the Center and an adjunct professor there, is a member of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury, Vt.
The New Writer’s Handbook: 2007 and The New Writer’s Handbook: Volume 2. Ed. by Philip Martin. Scarletta Press, 2007 and 2008; $16.95. This annual anthology of articles by notable authors, journalists, writing instructors, editors, agents, and literary bloggers offers writers advice on their craft and careers, including how-to pieces and topics on professional issues and the creative process. Martin, an author, editor, and literary consultant who directs Great Lakes Literary, was acquisitions editor for The Writers Book. He is a member of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, Wisc. Ted Kooser, who writes the preface for Volume 2, is a former U.S. poet laureate and a member of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Neb.
Spiritual Transformations: Science, Religion, and Human Becoming. Karl E. Peters. Augsburg Fortress, 2008; $7. Examines, through story and analysis, the many varieties of spiritual transformation, both predictable and unexpected, and how these changes can bring about wholeness and a new sense of being. Peters is professor of philosophy and religion at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Hartford, Ct. He is coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and is a member of the University Unitarian Universalist Society in Orlando, Fla.
To Serve the President: Continuity and Innovation in the White House Staff. Bradley H. Patterson. Brookings Institution Press, 2008; $34.95. Gives an inside view of the White House staff, from policy offices to the grounds of Camp David. Patterson is a past president of the American Society for Public Administration who has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for more than six decades, including fourteen years on the White House staffs of Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford. He is a member of River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Md., and a former member of the UUA Board of Trustees.
Thinking About Retirement? Think Again: Goal Exploration and Employment Strategies for Midlife and Beyond. Barbara B. Hildner. Frederick Fell, 2006; $10.95. A practical guide for midlife and older adults evaluating their life options. The author, a career counselor, is a member of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
Submissions for Books by UU Authors may be sent to UU World, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210. Indicate publisher, date, price, and the author’s UU affiliation. We cannot include every title and cannot return books. Preference will be given to books of general interest; self-published books will be included selectively.
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.
Sonja L. Cohen is deputy managing editor of UU World and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.