Three Weeks With My Brother, Nicholas Sparks ’88 and Micah Sparks (Warner Books). Best-selling author Nicholas, known for romantic love stories, and his brother, Micah, took a three-week trip around the world last year. As Nicholas writes, the book is a story of two journeys: “one that took my brother and me to exotic places around the world, and another, a lifetime in the making, that has led us to become the best of friends.” That lifetime, as readers learn, has been too often marred by tragedies that tested their faith. Black-and-white family photos are sprinkled throughout the text.
Keep the Faith, Change the Church: The Battle by Catholics for the Soul of Their Church, James E. Muller ’65 and Charles Kenney (Rodale). The story of the organization Voice of the Faithful, a grassroots group formed to empower Catholic laity after the clergy sex abuse scandal. Founding president Muller, a Nobel Laureate, chronicles the group’s call for reform while also offering examples of how laity can help strengthen the church. Muller was the subject of a winter 2002-03 issue profile in this magazine.
Tender Hooks: Poems, Beth Ann Fennelly ’93 (Norton). Award-winning poet Fennelly plumbs the “sharp/sweet ambiguity of parenting” in fierce poems of birth and death, love and anger, faith and despair, loss and laughter. Her poetry, notes reviewer Ray Olson, relays “the experience of motherhood, including the emotional pain of miscarriage, more convincingly and intimately than any other poet who comes to mind.” There’s no sentiment here, only a clear eye for the reality of being a mother that proved, she writes, “wilder and deeper and funnier” than she ever imagined.
Integrity Matters. James F. Bracher and Daniel E. Halloran ’61 (Torchlight Publishing). As the list of public scandals grows, Americans seem to have lost faith in society’s integrity. With real-life examples, the authors examine how integrity can be restored to organizations, focusing on eight attributes that should be at the core of business today. Their recommendations for “constructive cultural change” encompass such difficult issues as balancing truth with compassion and distinguishing between form and substance.
I Love Being a Mom: Treasured Stores, Memories, and Milestones, Therese J. Borchard ’94 (Doubleday). A celebration of the magic of being a mom, from the stretch marks that never go away to the boundless joy a child brings. Essays, vignettes and short quotes—both poignant and funny—combine to shine a light on the life lessons being a mother offers. Contributors, mothers famous and not-so-famous, include Anna Quindlen, Celine Dion, Laura Bush, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alice Walker, Mary Lou Retton and Marie Poyer, mother of 14. Photos and drawings complement the text.
Learning Sickness: A Year with Crohn’s Disease, James M. Lang ’91 (Capital Books). Through fatherhood, earning a Ph.D., moving and starting a new job, the author struggles to come to terms with the chronic illness that manifested itself when he was 26. “I believe that illness and suffering can offer us insights into the most important questions we can ask ourselves about what it means to be a human being,” he writes. With openness and frank language, Lang discusses how his journey with illness has affected his family, his religious views and his work life.