14 Must-Read Books Written by Binghamton University Faculty

Posted by Erin Rosenblum on November 14, 2014

In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities of grading and lecturing, many professors at Binghamton University are also published authors of award-winning fiction and groundbreaking research. Here is a list of noteworthy books, both fiction and non-fiction, by Binghamton faculty.

All That Lies Between Us

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By Maria Mazziotti Gillan, professor of English and director of the creative writing program

Gillan, the current director of Binghamton University's creative writing program, has written many successful creative pieces herself. Her collection of poems, All That Lies Between Us, is an emotional series, perhaps a memoir, that raises new insight into the question of what it means to be human. All That Lies Between Us won the American Book Award in 2008.


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By John Gardner, former professor of English

Gardner, who died in a tragic motorcycle accident in 1982, was a professor at Binghamton University for three years. Grendel is a re-telling of the famous epic poem Beowulf from the point of view of the monster. Unlike the ominous Grendel in Beowulf, Gardner’s Grendel is sympathetic, a misunderstood creature longing for genuine companionship. Grendel is an innovative re-telling of perhaps the earliest and most important piece of English literature. The University gives a book award every year in Gardner’s honor.

The Laws of Gravity

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By Liz Rosenberg, professor of English

Liz Rosenberg has written numerous published novels, poems, poetry anthologies and picture books, but her 2013 novel, The Laws of Gravity, has experienced the most commercial success to date. Since its release, it has been a top-ten best seller on Amazon in the United States, Canada and the UK. The Laws of Gravity, set in present-day Long Island, follows a legal battle between cousins after one cousin refuses to donate cord blood that could help treat his seriously ill cousin. Read about her latest best-seller, The Moonlight Palace, in Inside.   

Haunted Halls

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By Elizabeth Tucker, professor of English

Elizabeth Tucker’s Haunted Halls offers an eerie collection of ghost stories gathered from college students across the country, and a thought-provoking, cultural, social and psychological explanation for why ghost story-telling is common on college campuses. Tucker has written a comprehensive, engaging and, at times, chilling anthology of campus folklore, referencing Binghamton University’s own supernatural legends throughout.

The Lobster Kings

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By Alexi Zenter, assistant professor of English

Released in May 2014, Alexi Zentner’s much-anticipated second novel was described as “breathtaking” in a review by People Magazine. The Lobster Kings, inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear, is a powerful family saga with a strong female lead. Cordelia King stands to inherit the crown of the island’s lobster fishing community but must defend the island from meth-dealers of the mainland, all while balancing sibling rivalry and falling in love. Read more about Zentner and The Lobster Kings in Binghamton University Magazine.

Pretty Good for a Girl

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By Leslie Heywood, professor of English

In her memoir, Pretty Good for a Girl, Leslie Heywood uses her personal experiences as a champion high-school runner to explore the obstacles that girls still face in the athletic world, including not fitting into traditional ideas of what a girl should be.

Evolution for Everyone

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By David Sloan Wilson, distinguished professor of biology and anthropology

Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives was deemed “the most accessible account of evolution for a general audience, as well as the farthest ranging” by Publisher’s Weekly. Wilson uses colloquial language and anecdotes about his wife and Binghamton students to demystify the theory of evolution, making it not only “accessible” but pretty darn convincing. The most interesting parts of the book are when Wilson uses Darwin’s theory to explain the little things that make us human. Why do we laugh? Why do we have music, dance and art? Why does religion exist the way it does? Learn more by taking the class based on this book, BIO105: Evolution for Everyone, offered every fall.

Why Do We All Love Dr. Seuss?

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Just as the title would suggest, this novel explores why Dr. Seuss books have become so natural to the realm of childhood. Einhorn explains that Dr. Seuss books combine entertainment with moral and spiritual lessons, giving them their appeal to children, parents and educators. Why Do We All Love Dr. Seuss? is an insightful exploration of how there is more to Dr. Seuss than meets the eye.

Whose Song? And Other Stories

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Thomas Glave’s literary debut, published in 2001, is a collection of nine short stories that are connected with themes of the African-American experience, the gay experience and Caribbean-American history. The story “Commitment” is about two young black men forced to end their secret affair when one of their father’s threatens to kill them both.

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

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By Herbert P. Bix, professor emeritus of history and sociology

Bix’s biography of Japanese emperor Hirohito won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction. Bix explores the full life of the controversial figure, who was trained from birth for the position, as he ruled while Japan entered the modern world.

Electing Chavez

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By Leslie Gates, associate professor of sociology

When Hugo Chavez won the presidential election of Venezuela in 1998, he became the first anti-neoliberal candidate to do so, in spite of widespread distrust of established politicians and a widespread belief that anti-neoliberalism would lead to economic tragedy. In this novel, Gates examines the political, social and economic climate that allowed him to do so, despite almost every one of these forces working against him. 

Contested Medicine

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By Gerald Kutcher, professor of history

During the Cold War, radiologist Eugene Saenger conducted experiments on advanced cancer patients to discover the effects of total body radiation on the disease. But under the request of the government, Saenger also used those patients to answer other questions about nuclear warfare. In his book, Contested Medicine, Kutcher provides a comprehensive look at the relationship between cancer research and the military.

The Global Obama

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Co-edited by Dinesh Sharma, associate research professor

In 2014, Sharma co-edited The Global Obama, a book about how the rest of the world views President Obama. Sharma and his co-editor examined the president's image in over 20 countries and across 15 continents.  

Shark Girls

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By Jaimee Wriston Colbert, professor of English

Wriston Colbert’s fictional story about how the lives of two women are forever changed as a result of a shark attack that amputates a child’s leg, earned itself recognition as a finalist for USABookNews Best Books of 2010 and ForeWord's Book of the Year.

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