Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2013


Corrie Searls '14, an art history major from Minneapolis, at the site of her dream internship last summer, Christie's auction house at New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. Photo by Karsten Moran

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“Listening to Sea Lions” and eight other alumni and faculty titles

Listening to Sea Lions: Currents of Change from Galapagos to Patagonia
By Sarah Keene Meltzoff '71
2013, AltaMira Press, $75

Meltzoff, an associate professor of marine affairs and policy at the University of Miami, mentions Connecticut College in the preface of her book.

As she explains, during her senior year she won a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for independent study abroad. She had proposed sailing solo down the west coast of South America and studying children in the villages that she imagined dotted the shoreline. Only after winning the grant did she discover that the shoreline consisted mostly of desolate desert. She went to the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia, instead.

More than 20 years later, Meltzoff made it to her original area of interest and began anthropological studies of people living along the Latino Pacific Coast and later the Galapagos Islands. This book tells six stories of the people she met as they struggled to survive extreme El Niño events and shifting political climates.

Meltzoff's accounts read like shorts stories or parts of a novel. They're filled with vividly drawn characters, such as Max, a fisherman who loses his life to “the bends” (decompression sickness) after too many dives trying harvest pepino or sea cucumbers for a lucrative market.

The sea lions of the title share in the struggling fishermen's plight. Sometimes acting as mascots, sometimes as rivals, they endure the same boom-and-bust cycles of fish populations and the effects of tourism and conservation efforts.
Anthropology Professor Gisli Palsson of the University of Iceland describes “Listening to Sea Lions” as “an unusual book, a welcome addition to the rapidly growing literature on environmental change and its complex implications for humans.”

Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman: Reclaiming My Moxie After Cancer
By Susan Cummings '66
2012, Booksmyth Press, $12.95
Her memoir's title is proof Cummings didn't lose her sense of humor after battling breast cancer and the subsequent body image issues that arose. Not just another cancer chronicle, “One-Breasted Woman” is a spirited journey recounted with self-deprecating candor.

Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project
By Robert M. Townsend,
Sombat Sakunthasathien and Rob Jordan '98
2013, MIT Press, $35
MIT professor Townsend has been collecting economic data in Thailand since 1997. Along the way he learned much about the processes and challenges of conducting a large-scale survey as well as the people and culture of Thailand. Journalist and author Jordan traveled with him and his survey cohort to write the text of this book, which details their efforts and how they could impact the country's economic and social policies.

Humble Launching: The Story of a Little Boy Growing Up at Sea
By N. Beetham Stark '56
2011, $4.99
During a long career as a plant ecologist, N. Beethham Stark worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., and at the School of Forestry at the University of Montana, where her students named her outstanding forestry professor three times. Now retired, she has written a collection of nine books about a fictional hero named Benjamin Rundel and his adventures during the Napoleonic Wars. Her love of exploration shines through in the latest novel as Rundel starts out as a stowaway, stands up to a traitorous captain, is marooned on a deserted shore and repeatedly faces death. The novels are available for purchase at

One Off
By Mark Kestigian '76
2012, Red All Over Publishing, $18
This novel follows the cheeky Howard Johnson as he struggles to come to terms with his outrageous family, insane boss, and the burden of knowing his grandfather was a murderer who was never sentenced. The story arc quickly spins out of control as the people he meets all represent various types of insanity that constantly get under his skin as he tries to find his place in an outrageously hilarious caricature of society.

Our Rarer Monsters
By Noel Sloboda '95, Marc Snyder (Illustrator)
2013, Sunnyoutside, $15
This second book from Sloboda, an assistant professor of English at Penn State York, contains more than 60 brief poems and works of prose — some illustrated with linocuts (a variation on a woodcut) — that touch on subjects both modern and historic, whimsical and routine, real and mythical.

Sold for Endless Rue
By Madeleine E. Robins '75
2013, Forge Books, $25.99
Robins, whose previous books have been in the fantasy and romance genres, has published a historical novel set in 13th century Salerno, Italy, home of the world's first medical school. The book is inspired by the story of Rapunzel and follows three generations of women who work in the healing arts.

The Principles of New Thought: Tracing Spiritual Truth from the Source to the Soul
By April Moncrieff '64
2013, DeVorss & Company, $12.95
Without the rigid principles to which other spiritual movements adhere, New Thought has changed since its 19th century beginnings. The core beliefs remain intact, however, and Moncrieff revisits the movement's history to help modern followers connect more deeply to their spirituality.

When Seltzer was Two Cents a Glass: A History of America and Me, 1929-1955
By Bernard I. Murstein
2013, CreateSpace, $15.95
Murstein, the May Buckley Sadowski '19 Professor Emeritus of Psychology, diverges from his prolific academic writings to
pen a memoir/history, the first in a planned
two-volume set. He begins each chronological
chapter with a portrait of the political and societal tenor of the times and then connects them to his personal experiences growing up in Jewish neighborhoods of the Bronx.

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