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University of Georgia Press
Reminiscent of Wordsworth’s line “the child is father of the man,” these moving lyrics are deceptively sparse. The book’s central figure is poised at the nexus of youth and middle age—navigating his father’s mortality, recalling his own boyhood, celebrating the birth of his son, and cherishing the companionship of a soul mate. The past is always present in the universe of these subtle and sublime poems, and heaven itself is a form of memory: “It will be the past / and it will last forever.”

Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia

Harvard University Press
Perhaps the most politically charged and philosophically knotty word of the past decade, jihad is a case study in multilayered meaning. It means “holy war” to most westerners, but it also denotes a moral struggle to live an ethical life, as well as the rigorous intellectual practice of independent reasoning. Historical, legal, and literary sources trace the concept of jihad across several centuries, focusing on the innovations of modern Islamic thought that have taken place in the South Asian subcontinent, home to more than a third of the world’s Muslims.

Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government: How to Deal with Local, State, National, or Foreign Governments—and Come Out Ahead

Jack Welch, GE’s legendary CEO, found out the hard way that familiarity breeds contempt. He doomed European approval of GE’s acquisition of Honeywell ¬¬by insisting the EU Competition Commissioner call him Jack. Informality, often interpreted as denying government representatives proper respect, is just one mistake individuals and companies make when trying to negotiate with governments. Usually perceived as unmovable monoliths that decree rather than negotiate, governments are actually as open to persuasion as private parties—if you know the right strategies. Whether you’re applying for a building permit from the local zoning board or setting up a branch in Beijing, these valuable tools will help you avoid the snares of government deal- making and tip the balance of power in your favor.

Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks From Japan

Chronicle Books
Are unsightly burn marks scarring your once-shiny All-Clad pans? Just rub a crumbled eggshell over the problem areas, and the abrasive calcium carbonate in the shell will slough away the charred bits. Anxious to amp up your morning jog? Loop a rubber band from your ankle around your toe in a figure eight. This helps your feet expand and contract where the toes connect to the foot, providing more power during push-off. A treasure trove of similar homespun hints packs this diminutive guide hailing from the land of robot pets and anime. The term urawaza—“secret trick” or “unmapped shortcut”—is a video game coinage for secret commands that take players to the next level. But the concept of the clever, thrifty tip dates from the country’s efforts to reinvent itself in the lean years following World War II. The Japanese yen for innovation can help you hit the high notes in karaoke (hold a bottle of wine up to your chest), erase zits (dab vinegar on them), or get drunk faster (mix booze with an energy drink).

Julie Salamon, J75, A11P

There’s a good reason why so many soap operas are set in hospitals. Relationships, money, religion, and politics, comedy, tragedy, greed, love, and loss are as much a part of their lifeblood as surgeries and morning rounds. Julie Salamon, an award-winning journalist, embedded herself for a year at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn—at once a microcosm of the American health-care system and a unique community grappling with the challenges posed by a radically multicultural population (67 languages were represented at the hospital). The resulting narrative is both dramatic and informative, a fly-on-the-wall view of “a post-9/11 petri dish,” where technology, culture, and systems old and new “converged at the most critical moment in people’s lives.”

“What drew me to Maimonides was the cultural mix, the stew of humanity. Both my parents were immigrants, so that was a compelling factor. There was a kosher Chinese kitchen run by a huge black man from Jamaica, who you’d see walking the halls with this little rabbi in a long black coat and beard. There was a lot of accommodation to the Orthodox Jewish community, but the most remarkable was a special light that went on if somebody died. This alerted members of a sect of Jews who aren’t allowed to be in the same building as a dead body. The hospital’s marketing to the various communities was also fascinating. Pam Brier, Maimonides’ president, would go to the local mosque to talk about free colonoscopies. She and other administrators would attend the Italian-American parade, the Haitian celebration—there was always something.

Technology is both a huge blessing and a source of contention. You never know if you’re doing the right thing, because the next new thing that will make what you’ve done obsolete is right around the corner. Certainty is out the window.

The upside of medical technology is that so many things can be cured now—half the people who would have died from heart attacks 10 years ago now get heart stents, and they’re playing tennis the next day—but it’s almost as though, if you don’t get better, you’re a failure. There’s so much hope that it brings an attendant extra despair if you don’t get well.

There was a person whose entire job was to teach doctors to code diagnoses correctly. Sometimes the difference between a good code and a better code—which can be as simple as the addition or subtraction of one word—can make a difference of thousands of dollars in insurance reimbursements. Residents now have to learn all of these business aspects.

The good old days of trusting your family doctor are pretty much gone. There’s a wariness now, and that eats at the soul of the hospital. It’s easy to be cynical about what goes on in hospitals, but the fact is, these people are doing hard, scary work. I would constantly see low-level workers putting themselves out in ways you’d never expect, whether it was a nurses’ aide lifting someone to turn them in bed or a janitor who was called in to translate. What emerged in the middle of all the bureaucracy and political feuding and craziness was a community that really strove to do the right thing for patients.

Also of Note Tufts’ most wrinkled alum occupies the center ring in Paul Chambers’ Jumbo (Steerforth Press), the true, uncensored tale of the elephant’s surprisingly melodramatic life. With titles like “Mother,” “Daughter,” “Tanning,” and “Art Class,” the poems in The Dark Opens (Autumn House Press), by MIRIAM LEVINE, G78, are soaring and effortless, yet grounded in the solidity of everyday experience and relationships. In How to Find Out What (the) God (of Your Understanding) Wants From You (Mandorla Press), Rabbi BRIAN ZACHARY MAYER, A92, provides exercises to help seekers find their spiritual voices. Edited by KENNETH MILLER, A77, M82, Choices in Breast Cancer Treatment (Johns Hopkins) helps women navigate a complex array of treatment options with clarity and sensitivity. From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West (Palgrave Macmillan), by SUSAN NAPIER, Professor of Japanese Studies, looks at anime fans and their role in both Japanese and American subculture. Meditations on Rising and Falling (University of Wisconsin), a poetry collection by PHILIP PARDI, A92, draws sharply observed sketches of people searching for meaning. Worried parents of kids with emotional or behavioral problems receive a comprehensive guide to diagnosis and treatment in Help Your Child or Teen Get Back on Track (Jessica Kingsley), by KENNETH TALAN, M67. ELLEN SLUSKY WEINSTEIN, J81, acquaints children with Spanish, French, and Japanese animal noises in Everywhere the Cow Says “Moo!” (Boyds Mills Press).

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