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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.”
A book by Mary Murray Bosrock
“Before I was old enough to go to school, I knew three things. We were Irish, we were Catholic and we didn’t talk to our next-door neighbors.” So begins a chapter in Bosrock’s memoir of 1950s life in Sandusky, Ohio. The second-youngest of eight children — five of whom attended UD — she recalls an era where “innocence reigned and nuns ruled” and includes tales of her time on campus in the early 1960s. Bosrock, who has written more than 10 books, says, “When I turned 65, I decided instead of getting serious about writing, I would only write what I loved. And this book was a labor of love.”
A book by Heather Johnson Parsons ’95
At 10 years old, Parsons spent two weeks preparing for a class speech. Armed with plenty of research and hours of practice, she stood in front of her classmates — and was too paralyzed with fear to deliver a single word. In her book, You Know What I’m Sayin’?, the communications lecturer advises readers on how to avoid this and other common public speaking horrors. “I wrote the book for the average person who has never taken a public speaking course; but it was also on my bucket list,” Parsons says. “I wanted to challenge myself and prove that I could do it. Most of my friends don’t even know I wrote it.”
Sam Hanke ’02 and Maura Brent Hanke ’02 had every hope for their happy, healthy newborn, Charlie, when he was born in April 2010. But when Charlie died three weeks later — a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — the couple searched for ways to prevent other families from experiencing the same loss. Enter Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, designed exclusively for the nonprofit Charlie’s Kids Foundation, which the Hankes began on what would have been Charlie’s first birthday. “Because books are often part of the traditional bedtime routine, it provides instructions and reminders right before the child is placed in their sleeping environment. It’s also likely people will read it to their child numerous times, reinforcing safe sleep guidelines,” said Kate Menninger Desmond ’02, a former classmate of the Hankes who now serves on the CKF board. Proceeds from the book support the CFK mission of education and advocacy.
A book by Joseph Szimhart ’69
Joseph Szimhart based his literary debut, a novel about a disenchanted college dropout who joins a religious commune in remote New Mexico, on a true story: his own. Since his involvement in a small cult in the 1970s, Szimhart has become a sought-after consultant and speaker in the field of exit therapy, appearing on The Maury Povich Show and advising Oprah producers while conducting more than 500 interventions with patients aged 17 to 75. “I wrote it primarily as entertainment, but there are many layers of philosophical, psychological and social themes that religious seekers and others will hopefully find enlightening,” he said.