A book by Mary R. Dunn ’63
Not your typical children’s book, Dunn offers a professionally illustrated biographical nonfiction piece that conveys the story of early-20th-century gardener Rose Standish Nichols, showing young and old readers alike ways to enjoy and learn from nature. After discovering a garden hidden by time, age and history, the book explores Nichols’ life. “I was shocked there wasn’t already a book about her,” said Dunn, who has written more than two dozen books. “I want to give her work the recognition it deserves.” Nichols, a native of Boston, is often considered America’s first professional landscape architect.
A book by Dennis Tenwalde ’87
Just another beautiful night in south Florida, or a Canadian mafia moon-worshipping jewelry conspiracy chase? Tenwalde, a 29-year law enforcement veteran, says his suspense-filled novel has both. “In tough times, people take advantage of those in need,” he said. “I want to let people know what happens, to give insight. I want to show readers a story, along with the technical aspects of how police operate.” Producers have pitched the idea of a movie, but Tenwalde’s content with the book: “I didn’t write it for money or lots of attention.”
A book by Reed F. Noss ’75
America’s ecosystems are home to biologically rich and once-abundant species and biodiversity that are rapidly vanishing, unbeknownst to many, says Noss. This ecologist-turned-writer’s book presents grasslands from Texas to Virginia and Florida to Ohio — their past, possible future and how to protect these extraordinary places, as well as how to preserve nature universally. With a nearly 40-year career in ecosystem conservation, he currently serves as the Davis-Shine Endowed Professor at the University of Florida.
A book by Debbie Caffo and Ron Caffo ’69
Two adventurous Americans — with no foreign language skills and limited international experience — leave their homeland behind for a 15-year stint in post-Communist Russia. An expansion of their 2010 self-published tome, If Alligators Could Fly, this book incorporates the specific experiences of three of their Russian co-workers. “We wanted to pay tribute to our Russian colleagues and everyone we met, learned from and admired along the way,” Ron Caffo said. Back in the U.S. since 2007, the couple now travels frequently. As for the airborne reptiles? Check out the book’s introduction for an explanation.
Read more about the Caffo’s journey here.
A book by Don Quigley ’63
For nearly 40 years, each December Don Quigley ’63 has done the same thing: he’s donned a familiar red suit, added a temporary white beard and spent time listening to hundreds of children detail their Christmas wishes.
“My writers’ group was really interested in my motivation — why do I keep doing this, year after year, with nothing material in return? I credit my humble childhood Christmases and the values system taught by my parents: what’s important, and what isn’t. I wanted to use the role of a mythical character to bring out that focus.”
Published in 2012, Santa’s Magic chronicles Quigley’s four-decade stint as the jolly man. He based the book on his short story about a young girl whose father was paralyzed in a car accident the month before Christmas. Her one request of Santa? To have her father walk again.
“You never know the impact you can have on someone else’s life. I later learned that until that night when she sat on Santa’s lap, she hadn’t spoken a single word since her father’s accident. After I left, she finally spent time with her father,” said Quigley, who has kept in touch with the girl and her family. He sent her a copy of the book.
Quigley is an adjunct professor in the School of Business Administration.
A book by Addie J. King ’01
King modeled the main character in her first novel after her experience as a first-year law student — then, she added a talking frog. “When I learned that the Brothers Grimm had studied law before they started their folklore and linguistic studies, I was hooked,” she said. The book combines real-life scenarios (like the new student who forgets to check for first-day assignments) with a creative reimagining of Grimm fairy tales. An attorney by day, King said creative writing helps hone her legal writing skills — in turn, her legal work makes great inspiration for future fiction.
A book by Michael Anthony Grandillo ’86
Although this dissertation-turned-historiography features Tiffin’s evolution, much of the book speaks to more universal themes. “The history of higher education in Ohio embodies the American experience: of immigration, the quest for economic freedom, the escape from religious persecution, and most importantly, to our spirit of celebrating the value of education,” explained Grandillo, who serves as vice president for development and public affairs at the school. Mentions of UD, the Marianists and the city of Dayton can be found throughout.
A book by Lori M. Balster ’94
UD research chemist — and avid writer — Balster puts a new spin on the typical high-school sweetheart story in her novel, which profiles a smart, blond 15-year-old girl and the 17-year-old green-haired punk who falls for her. “I’m so tired of the Hollywood narrative where the pretty blond cheerleader is won by the geeky guy with glasses that no one thought had a chance,” she said. “That narrative has no resonance with me. This country is about choice. We should have more narrative choices, too.”
A book by M. Charles McBee ’68
No, this isn’t an in-depth look at the 2012 election; McBee’s original screenplay-turned-novel is a political thriller, he said, written in the “brilliant satirical style of Dave Barry combined online casinos with the authentic drama style of Nelson DeMille.” The fast-paced story follows Commander Jack Connolly as he pieces together a national-security puzzle (including, among other things, a renegade submarine, a missing vice president and an assassination directive).
A book by Kevin P. Ryan ’88
Growing up in a devout Catholic family, Ryan had long been a “praying person.” As he matured, the formulaic memorizations of his youth gave way to more spontaneous expressions garnered from experiences as broad as backpacking and running to simple daily life observations during his 28-year teaching career at a Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio. The daily prayers he shared with students inspired Seeing God Everywhere, a collection of 366 reflections drawn from a wide range of spiritual and interfaith traditions. “Prayer doesn’t have to happen in a church setting,” Ryan says. “It’s a way of life.”