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A book by William Ries ’59
Longtime educator William Ries was once told that he must have the easiest job in the world as an elementary school principal. Having spent his work days among students — on the playground, at the bus stop, in the lunchroom — instead of behind a desk, he knew that was not the case. “I wanted my seven grandchildren, and others, to understand the challenges that an elementary school principal faces,” Ries said of his book, which tells his experience as a principal in a light-hearted, inspirational way. “My favorite part of writing was saying pleasant things about many of my fellow principals and other strong staff members. Their dedication to children, staff and parents is admirable,” he added.
A book by Andrea Kiesewetter Hulshult ’00.
Andrea Kiesewetter Hulshult can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. With her first novel, Fighting the Fog, she hopes others will also appreciate the beauty of English composition. Highlighting the value of
hope, courage and friendship, it’s a story of a woman, her best friend and the struggles that come after tragedy strikes. “You shouldn’t let the fog of life keep you from living life to its fullest,” Hulshult said. “I hope people take from this book that they, too, can fight through the fog, and I hope it allows them to escape from reality for just a few minutes.”
A book by Virginia Brabender ’71
A researcher at heart, psychologist Virginia Brabender dove into adoption literature to learn and understand the field before becoming an adoptive parent herself. However, she found herself disappointed when her readings minimally addressed the bond between adoptive parents and children. Brabender worked with
co-editor and fellow adoptive parent April Fallon to develop a book that weaves the experiences of many adoptive families with rich clinical research to engage readers, both lay and professional. “I hope to give a voice to adoptive parents in a way that has not been done before,” she said.
A book by Chris Blewitt ’96
Chris Blewitt has always enjoyed learning about American history; now, he’s written the book on it. The Lost Journal is an educational adventure novel that takes readers on a chase through some of the country’s most
well-known historical sites to uncover their best-kept secrets. “I really enjoy learning about Colonial times and the American Revolution,” Blewitt said. “I visited all the historical places featured in the book, from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Those trips, and the actual research, made writing this book very enjoyable.”
A book series by Laura Roecker Stropki ’03 and Lisa Roecker.
Stropki teamed up with her sister, Lisa, to co-write a “book we would have loved reading as young people.” The duo is now three installments into their Liar Society series, which follows 15-year-old Kate and the secrets she uncovers within her posh co-ed private school. “We discovered that it’s not as easy to write a young adult book as it is to read one, but we’re hooked now on the writing process,” Stropki says. Their favorite part? Getting fan mail from girls who have become avid readers because of their books.
A book by Kathy Laugheed ’86.
Written in two parts, The Spirit Keeper chronicles an epic journey across the early Pennsylvania frontier. Laugheed explains, “My grandmother was proud of her pioneer heritage, and she bequeathed to me both a deep fascination for frontier history and a good deal of ancestral guilt. I wrote this book as part penance for the sins of our past, part tribute to all our ancestors, part defense for my own sorry existence and part grandiose delusion as I hope to remind modern Americans of the pile of carcasses our forefathers had to crawl over in order to give us the life we take for granted today.”
A book by Stephen Grismer ’84
Retired Sgt. Stephen Grismer, a 25-year veteran of the Dayton Police Department, wanted to give a voice to the policemen and women who worked to keep Dayton safe during the Great Flood of 1913. Volunteering to help put together an exhibit in Carillon Park, he quickly realized what little information was available about these unsung heroes. “At that time, newspapers were the only way information traveled; so, I spent a lot of time researching news articles released during the flood and interviewing family members of police officers from 1913 for their stories.”
A book by William Clarke ’58
As a management consultant, Bill Clarke’s firm provided advanced financial retirement planning. But when it came time for his retirement, Clarke found himself in a state of melancholy. “My discontent with my retirement experience drove me to find out why I wasn’t happy. The result was a comprehensive book that helped me cope with my personal crisis,” Clarke says. He looks at retirement from a holistic — not just a monetary — approach that allows retirees to make an individual plan. “I assure you, as a veteran retiree, that achieving happiness and personal fulfillment in retirement involves much more than financial planning.”
A book by Vincent F.A. Golphin ’79
Golphin originally intended to blog his account of being a visiting professor in Beijing, but China’s stringent firewalls kept him from accessing it. So, he journaled and drafted poems by hand. From his perch in a 10th-floor apartment, Golphin writes about “a world we haven’t begun to explore.” Of his work, he says, “I never know what’s going to come of my books; it’s sort of like a paper lantern over a pond: it will go wherever it goes, and I hope it brings light.”
A book by Brad Saum ’88
A finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards’ regional nonfiction category, Saum’s book delves into the history of Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. It features a wide collection of unearthed artifacts, like an 1899 newspaper ad offering burro rides. A former park ranger, Saum promises the 7-mile hike to Harney Peak is worth it. “You can imagine Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum standing on the peak, peering across the pine trees and spotting a rock outcropping a few miles away, declaring it the site of a grand mountain carving.”