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A&S Bookshelf

Older bookshelves with a library ladder leaning against it.

Looking for new reading material? Start with this selection of some recent books by A&S faculty and alumni which explore new perspectives on people, cultural phenomena and art history.


In Crossing Bar Lines: The Politics and Practices of Black Musical Space (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), James Gordon Williams, assistant professor of African American studies, reframes the nature and purpose of jazz improvisation to illuminate the cultural work being done by five creative musicians between 2005 and 2019.

Williams considers how these musicians interface with contemporary social movements like Black Lives Matter, build alternative institutional models that challenge gender imbalance in improvisation culture, and practice improvisation as joyful affirmation of Black value and mobility.

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In Animism, Materiality, and Museums: How do Byzantine Things Feel? (Arc Humanities Press, 2021), Glenn Peers, professor of art history, argues for the need to integrate museum-based experiential qualities into discussion of Byzantine art in order to reach fuller, deeper, more ethical explanations of this culture than are habitually given.

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In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (Penguin Random House, 2021), George Saunders G’88 analyzes seven classic Russian short stories, exploring what makes great stories work and what they reveal about people and the world today.

Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, winner of the Man Booker Prize, and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.


Dana Spiotta's literary work, Wayward (Penguin Random House, 2021), features the story of a woman who flees her suburban life – and her family – as she grapples with how to be a wife, a mother, and a daughter, in a country that is coming apart at the seams following the 2016 election.

The critically acclaimed book was named one of Vogue's “Best Books to Read in 2021."


Mona Awad's novel All's Well (Simon and Schuster, 2021), details the life of a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers.

Awad is the author of three novels: All's Well, Bunny (Viking, 2019) and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin Random House, 2016). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney's, Time, Vice and elsewhere.

Suspended Book in Bookstore

You'll want to explore recent works by graduates (and faculty) of our M.F.A. in creative writing program in the Department of English. Since the program began in 1962, readers have reached for the work of its alumni—many critically acclaimed and best-selling—for diverse voices and new perspectives in cultural conversations about race, identity, family, history and culture.

Stack of Books

A snapshot of the breadth and depth of humanities scholarship at Syracuse University can be found in Books in the Humanities. The topics and geographies covered in these works from the copyright year pf 2020 are truly global. Disciplines as diverse as poetry, politics, philosophy and popular culture contribute to our collective understanding of what it means to be human.

Submitted by alumni

Peruse this diverse selection of subjects and genres from math to manners, submitted by the alumni authors.

Tom Alibrandi, G’63: My Summer with Senator Joe McCarthy

Douglas Brode ’70: From Hell to Hollywood: An Encyclopedia of World War II Films

Sharon L. Coggan G’92: Sacred Disobedience: A Jungian Analysis of the Saga of Pan and the Devil

John Robert Curtin ’69: On Civility: Restorative Reflections

Joseph Kirtland ’85: Complementation of Normal Subgroups: In Finite Groups

Marilyn Levinson (Marilyn Wolfe ’61), writing as Allison Brook: Checked Out for Murder (Haunted Library series)

Joseph Masterleo, ’70, ’78: The Ambient Christ: The Inside Story of God in Science, Scripture and Spirituality

John E. McIntyre G’75: Bad Advice: The Most Unreliable Counsel Available on Grammar, Usage, and Writing