Celebrated humorist Erma Bombeck ’49 made the foibles of everyday family life her beat. “My idea of housework,” she infamously wrote, “is to sweep the room with a glance.”
That’s why she might get a kick out of the essays in Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget, a nostalgic, humorous look at life through the ages.
“The stories in this book reflect a philosophy she always believed: If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it,” daughter Betsy Bombeck writes in the preface.
As the founder and director of the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, I’ve encouraged writers for years to find the courage to put their words down on paper, even publish a book.
Yet when prolific author Allia Zobel Nolan approached me about collaborating on a book, I worried about whether we could find the time and discipline to solicit essays, edit the pieces and publish an anthology, all within six months. With the ink barely dry on the first copies, we introduced the book in April at the spring workshop, with half the essayists in attendance for a book signing. Last week, we launched the ebook. Part of the proceeds benefits the workshop’s endowment fund.
One of the contributors has written eight books. Others have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other national and regional publications. A few, like Fritzy Dean, an 82-year-old great grandmother, have never seen their work published in a book.
“Erma Bombeck put women’s humor on the map,” said Nolan, a former senior editor for Reader’s Digest, who has written more than 175 books herself and shepherded this book from concept to creation. “She was to housewives what Spock was to babies. She held up a mirror to her life, burst out laughing, then sat down and chronicled it for millions to enjoy. We hope this book makes readers feel the same way.”
From the beach to bookstores to bars, readers have posted photos of where they’re reading Laugh Out Loud. One was spotted at a “Leprechaun Crossing” outside Dublin; another at the Motor City Comic Con in Michigan. The oldest reader: 93. The youngest: a toddler.
“When humor goes,” Erma wrote, “there goes civilization.”
A Chronological Commentary of Revelation
Barry Dysert ’85
Many people find the book of Revelation to be the most mysterious in the Bible. A Chronological Commentary of Revelation reorganizes the biblical text and makes it easy to read from beginning to end, almost like a story. “I’ve been studying and teaching Revelation for most of my life,” Dysert said. “I came up with the idea of teaching it in chronological order as a tool to use during the classes I teach.” Approached from a literal point of view, the book abounds with Scriptural references so that the reader can look up for himself or herself how Revelation can be interpreted. The book was published in April 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing.
The Unbeaten Path
Sean Sechrist ’12
When minoring in entrepreneurship at UD, Sechrist knew he eventually wanted to apply what he’d learned and strike out on his own. A post-graduation move to Chicago after landing a dream job in the corporate world deferred that plan. The work wasn’t fulfilling, and Sechrist decided to make a change. Last October he started an online podcast business called the Unbeaten Path. The site features interviews with individuals who have created the life they want on their own terms. “This includes dream chasers, entrepreneurs, people pursuing a life of personal fulfillment and success over status or money, and everything in between,” Sechrist said. “It is based on my belief that if you desire to experience personal success and true fulfillment in your life, then take action toward the life you want and not the life others expect you to live is key.” The show debuted in the top 20 on the careers chart and top 50 in the overall business chart on iTunes. Check it out at www.ubpath.com.
A Barefoot Boy in the Mango Tree: A Memoir of Maui and Me
Wayne Moniz ’68
Barefoot Boy is the memoir of Maui-born author and playwright Wayne Moniz from 1945 to the present. Moniz takes readers on a sentimental journey as his idyllic home transforms from a simple, uncomplicated island to the tourist mecca that it is today. It mirrors the transformation of how an unassuming island boy morphed into a complex and respected author, playwright and teacher. Moniz is a holder of the Cades Award, Hawaii’s most honored writing prize, for his body of work. Barefoot Boy was self-published in May 2017.
A blog by Cameron Collins ’94
Collins never imagined that the success of his personal blog “Distilled History” — a St. Louis history and drinking blog — would lead to a book deal. The idea of the blog began when he wanted to learn more about the city’s rich history. But he also wanted to throw in a twist. Collins writes, “If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of two things: history and drinking. Specifically,
St. Louis history and, specifically, drinking well-made cocktails.” Collins hunts for bits of under-the-radar history and then stops for a drink on the way. His blog led to his first book, Lost Treasures of St. Louis. For more information, visit www.distilledhistory.com.
A book by Patrick Wensink ’02
Although Wensink has written five books for adults, Go Go Gorillas: A Romping Bedtime Tale (HarperCollins, 2017), is the writer’s
first children’s book. Wensink took inspiration from family trips to the zoo with his wife and then-2-year-old child. As his son kept asking why the gorillas were always sleeping, Wensink would make up stories about what made them so sleepy during the day. Eventually, the idea of apes who stayed up dancing all night took shape. During talks with his editor, he said, “Several times we said things like, ‘Would a gorilla really dance the watusi? What kind of records would a baby ape play if he were deejaying?’ These are silly conversations but also show how seriously we thought about children’s literature.” Wensink is currently putting the final touches on the sequel, Go Go Bananas, which is set to be published in 2018.
A book by Lisa Barrickman ’96
When Lisa Barrickman started to think about her 40th birthday, she was thankful for the years she had lived and wanted her celebration to be a reflection of that gratitude by practicing 40 days of intentional kindness leading up to her birthday. She left a basket of toys at a park or taped a baggie of coins to a parking meter. Once others heard about her kindness journey, they were excited, too. Many joined her, and together they scattered more than 20,000 acts of kindness. Her book, A Case for Kindness, will be released June 27, 2017, and gives readers practical ways to spread kindness in the world. “The great thing about kindness is that we never know where our good deeds end,” she says.
A book by Larry Campanella ’78
With more than 40 years of experience in the fitness field, Larry Campanella published his first food guide in November 2016. Larry’s Healthy 21 Day Food Guide helps those interested in bodybuilding, losing weight or simply eating healthy,
planned-out meals. The book also includes gluten-free recipes. Campanella said, “My major philosophy is that portion control is the key to success, as well as a nutritionally balanced healthy diet.” Fifty percent of book sales go directly to Elijah’s Food Kitchen, a food bank in Campanella’s hometown of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Flyers are invited to contact the author at email@example.com.
A book by Bradley D. Saum ’88
The history of Black Elk Peak — previously known as Hinhan Kaga and, more recently, as Harney Peak — remained segmented and scattered throughout the shadows of antiquity, until now. Saum chronicles the stories that are intrinsically linked to the highest point in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “Black Elk Peak is truly a natural, historical and cultural gem,” Saum said. “I wanted to capture all the history associated with this peak and share my appreciation with others.” The history includes stories of the great Sioux holy man Black Elk and an account of Gen. George Custer summiting the peak during an 1874 expedition, among other historical moments. The book is published by the History Press.
A book by Kate Athmer ’09
In Millennial Reboot, sport management graduate Kate Athmer and her co-author Rob Johnson tackle prejudices and lay out the ways “old-school” and “new-school” can co-exist and move an organization forward. “A lot of our peers, including some of our best friends, are frustrated with their options and not really sure how or where to start looking for a path to advancement,” Athmer says. The book has practical advice on networking, negotiation, interviewing and attire without sugar-coating reality: Work hard. Keep learning. Recognize when you’re wrong. Respect cultural norms. Seek advice. Share your knowledge. The book was published in November 2016 by Lioncrest Publishing.
A book by Daniel Hobbs ’68
A political-religious thriller, God’s Betrayal: The Credo is the third installment of his Baby Boomer Betrayal series that Daniel Hobbs, under the ghostwriter name Ben Leiter, published in March 2017. The story begins when Father Gabriel Garza questions his Jesus and his God. Exiled from his tough Washington, D.C., inner-city parish and assigned to Rome for two years of graduate study, Garza stumbles through blood-soaked Vatican archives. His mysterious academic adviser works for Vatican intelligence and shares explosive religious and political files with Garza — but why? Hobbs is currently working on the fourth installment of this series, which he says “contains more explosive twists and turns, and a surprise ending.”
A book by Reginald Tomas Lee Sr. ’87
If your job involves improving profits, managing people, making investments and ensuring the sustainability of your company, Reginald Tomas Lee Sr.’s book Lies, Damned Lies, and Cost Accounting could be next on your reading list. Lee, who also holds master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, published his third book in February 2016 to help managers analyze money-making transactions and optimize cash flow. “My objective is to have the readers understand cost accounting is not what it’s made out to be and there are options if their job involves managing people or profits, making investments, and ensuring the sustainability and viability of their companies,” Lee said. He said he hopes the tools in the book provide leaders with proper insight to save jobs, companies and their economies. The book is published by Business Expert Press.