Shelf Life

Story Time

sp2013 books1Love, laughter, and tomato sandwiches cemented the unlikely friendship of storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham and folk artist Charlie Lucas. The Alabama natives and cultural icons met for the first time at a dinner party in France, where Lucas overheard Windham say she longed for a down-home tomato sandwich. He made her one, and the two became inseparable, eventually living side by side in a quiet Selma neighborhood. 

Kerry Madden, a UAB assistant professor of creative writing, captures their story in Nothing Fancy About Kathryn and Charlie (2013: Mockingbird Publishing), a book for children that is illustrated by Madden’s daughter, Lucy Madden-Lunsford. In addition to the tomato introduction, the book finds the friends hunting for stories and metal scraps around the South, fishing, and offering hair-comb kazoo concerts on the lawn of the Selma public library. Proceeds from the book will be donated to the library. 

Thanks to a creative grant from the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, Madden and her daughter have been touring rural and urban libraries across the South this spring. “Kathryn and Charlie always veered off the beaten path to find interesting stories,” Madden says. “I wanted the tour to reflect that sense of adventure, to discover places where kids might not get to meet an artist or author every day.” 

True Believer sp2013 books5

Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood

By Brian Steele

(2012: Cambridge University Press)

What did Thomas Jefferson really believe? That question has provoked debate for more than 200 years, but Steele (History) adds fresh arguments to the fray in this new work. Focusing on the Virginian’s central role as narrator of the “American Story,” Steele insists that Jefferson was a man in love with a nation, both emotionally and intellectually. Deep convictions about America’s greatness and its unique national character lay at the root of all Jefferson’s ideas, Steele argues, from his views on ethnography to his famous conflict with Alexander Hamilton.  


sp2013 books6Give and Take

Charity and Condescension:

Victorian Literature and the Dilemmas of Philanthropy

By Daniel Siegel

(2012: Ohio University Press)

Mrs. Jellyby, the hectoring, indefatigable, and downright condescending matron of countless charities in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, represents the common perception of Victorian-era philanthropists. But were Mrs. Jellyby’s real-life counterparts such patronizing prigs—or were they motivated by a sincere desire to help? Siegel (English) argues for a nuanced view. Using close readings of Dickens, Eliot, and Tennyson, along with the writings of reformers such as Octavia Hill, Siegel shows that the era’s philanthropists took their own efforts with a healthy dose of self-doubt as they felt their way to new conceptions of social conciliation.


 

Together Alone

sp2013 books3Caregivers of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya: An Ecological Perspective

By Charnetta Gadling-Cole, Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Mildred C. Joyner

(2012: Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd.)

Caring for a person with a chronic, likely terminal illness is a challenge in any culture, but the addition of scarce resources, persistent stigma, and economic hardship can be particularly difficult in developing nations. In this text, Gadling-Cole (Social Work) and her co-authors shine the spotlight on HIV/AIDS caregivers in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. They paint a picture of the day-to-day political, social, economic, and cultural obstacles faced by caregivers, many of whom are forced into the role through the death of a loved one. The authors also offer recommendations on ways to improve conditions and comment on the roles of the church and international social workers.


 

Conservatism in the Black Community

sp2013 books2To the Right and Misunderstood

By Angela K. Lewis

(2012: Routledge)

In this unflinching look at a controversial subject, Lewis (English, African-American Studies) examines the true level of support for conservatism among blacks at the grassroots level in light of the growing prominence of a number of black conservative political intellectuals. She also investigates the areas in which blacks tend to have more conservative views and analyzes the place of black conservatism in the Tea Party movement.     


 

My DIY

sp2013 books4How to Build a Better Human:

An Ethical Blueprint

By Gregory E. Pence

(2012: Rowman & Littlefield)

Modern medicine has the power to help us look better, think faster, and run longer—but is there something immoral in doing so? Could it be “wrong” to live to 100? Pence (Philosophy) takes up the debate in this new work. He argues that the careful use of advances in genetics, biotechnology, and medicine could improve the human condition by eliminating faulty genes and enhancing positive traits. The key is to rescue the science, and the debate, from the fringes, he says. Pence calls for a frank, public evaluation of the benefits of medical innovations, from cosmetic surgery to mind-focusing drugs as well as underground enhancements in cycling and football.