Creative works

Author: Carol Schaal

The Power of Daily Mass: How Frequent Participation in the Eucharist Can Transform Your Life, Bert Ghezzi ’69Ph.D. (Ave Maria Press). The author, who has attended daily Mass for eight years, uses his own experience, testimony from his fellow daily Mass attendees and quotations from the saints to show how frequent participation in the Mass can offer Catholics the courage to face daily challenges. Each chapter in the book ends with questions for comprehension and discussion.

I Kill the Mockingbird, Paul Acampora ’85 (Roaring Brook Press). When three middle-school friends see that To Kill a Mockingbird is on their summer reading list, they want to make sure everyone gets excited about reading the Harper Lee classic. So they visit bookstores and libraries and conceal all the copies, hoping scarcity will increase demand. School Library Journal says this “funny, poignant and quirky” novel “will appeal to today’s middle schoolers who are tech-savvy, literate, and idealistic.”

Finding Jake, Bryan Reardon ’94 (William Morrow). When a deadly shooting occurs at his son’s high school, stay-at-home dad Simon Connolly is forced to confront a parent’s darkest fear: Was his child responsible? In this novel of psychological suspense, the author explores questions of parental missteps, love, loyalty, family dynamics, faith and hope. Kirkus Reviews hails the book as “a compelling read; disturbingly relevant in contemporary America.”

Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety & Security, Michael J. Manyak ’73, Joyce M. Johnson, Warren Young (WindRush Publishers). Pack a flashlight, sunscreen and extra batteries — and don’t forget the duct tape. This handy guidebook, organized alphabetically, offers advice on everything from medical emergencies to taxi safety, with hints on avoiding such perils as identity theft, wild animal bites or terrorist attacks. “Stow this book in your carry-on luggage,” says Dr. Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Hell from the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II’s Greatest Kamikaze Attack, John Wukovits ’67 (Da Capo Press). The April 16, 1945, attack of the USS Laffey by 22 Japanese suicide aircrafts resulted in the deaths of 32 sailors and injuries to more than 70. Through interviews with survivors and the memoirs of crew members, the author re-creates the events of that 80-minute firefight and the return of the crippled American warship from Okinawa to Seattle, where the surviving shipmates were welcomed as heroes.

Creative works web extra

Master of Ceremonies, Donald Cozzens ’73M.A. (In Extenso Press). This thriller follows an Army veteran of the war on terror who has vowed to take revenge on the priest who abused him as a child. As a secret society with links to the Vatican attempts to protect the guilty priest, now an archbishop, others seek to expose his transgressions. The author is a priest who frequently writes and lectures about the need for transparency and candor in the Church.

God, Why Does My Son Have Autism? A Father’s Journey, Ken Herceg ’69 (DPZ Technology). Kathy and Ken Herceg are the parents of six children, including Kevin, who has autism. Here Ken shares his experiences of 35 years of life with Kevin, from common problems and challenges faced to lessons learned. The author says he wrote this short memoir especially to answer “a number of questions a father [of a child with autism] might have.”

Waggers, Stacy Nyikos ’90, illustrated by Tamara Anegon (Sky Pony Press). When puppy Waggers is adopted, his wildly wagging long tail causes plenty of problems in his new home. Can Waggers and his family find a way to stay together before the enthusiastic dog wrecks everything? This colorful picture book is designed for pet lovers ages 3 to 6.

Made in Kenya, Feisal Nanji ’82 (Absurd Humor Publishing). Through a series of vignettes, the author presents stories both humorous and touching about growing up in tight-knit Indian community in Africa. From lobbying his parents for a new pair of soccer boots to surviving the travails of puberty, Nanji gives readers a glimpse of the culture of Ismaili Muslims.

Pharmaceutical Accumulation in the Environment: Prevention, Control, Health Effects, and Economic Impact, edited by Walter E. Goldstein’73Ph.D. (CRC Press). Through case studies and a look at current practices, the textbook presents ways to minimize the harmful impact of pharmaceutical and personal care product contaminants in the environment. It also examines the costs of wastewater treatments and treating contaminated soil and landfills.

After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain, Michael Anderson ’90 (MIT Press). How does the brain actually work? Does each region of the brain have a singular role? Here the author argues for a multidimensional approach to the brain, one that reflects his contention that different neural partnerships are established under different circumstances. This version, he says, offers a more promising road toward a unified science of minded organisms.

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, Jennifer Chiaverini ’91 (Dutton). When Missouri belle Julia Dent marries Ulysses S. Grant, a Union army lieutenant and abolitionist, in August 1848, she does not set her slave, Jule, free. But when the Emancipation Proclamation is signed in 1863, Jule decides it’s time to emancipate herself and plans a daring escape from behind federal lines. This is the author’s fourth work of historical fiction, which follows Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival.

Struggle to Survive: A Story about Operation Babylift, William T. Yaley ’63 (Corby Books). In April of 1975, as the Vietnam War ended, some 3,000 children were evacuated from South Vietnam and adopted by families in the United States, Canada and other countries. This historical novel follows combat veteran John Ellis as he and a group of nuns race against time and through dangerous territory to move children from an orphanage near Saigon to the airport.

Better Must Come: Exiting Homelessness in Two Global Cities, Matthew D. Marr ’93 (Cornell University Press). As part of his fieldwork, the author followed the trajectory of 34 people who left transitional housing services in the cities of Los Angeles and Tokyo. Here he prescribes policy changes to help end homelessness, arguing that it can be overcome both personally and socially.

Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions, Elton Skendaj ’01M.A. (Cornell University Press). How do you shape the institutions of a new country? The author focuses on efforts to build the police force, the central government, courts and a customs service in Kosovo, using national survey data, interviews and focus groups. Along the way, he discovered “the path to democratization was different from the path to effective state bureaucracies.”

Beside Myself: From Ecorse to Notre Dame, J. Larry LeBlanc ’54 ( At age 82, the author finished this memoir of his journey from “a Depression days . . . boy raised in an emotional vacuum” to his years as a Notre Dame student. With humor, good will and honesty, the author offers stories of faith and family, hope and despair, struggles and adventures.

Morality Truly Christian, Truly African, Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp., (University of Notre Dame Press). After presenting a short history of the development of African Christian theology, the author examines the responses of African theologians to African tradition and the responses of Christian theologians to non-Christian religions. He uses case studies to show how the African church has tried to relate the healing Gospel message to African situations.

I Love You Dad, David McCain (CreateSpace). The book begins Russell McCain detailing his childhood in from the 1930s to the ’50s. The story then shifts to the drive Russell, now infirm, and his now-adult son, David, made in 2013 from Florida to Connecticut. Both were aware that these were Russell’s last days. The final chapters offer letters from the father to the son, who is the father of Daniel McCain ’16. Proceeds from the book are being donated to the American Cancer Society and to start a scholarship at Notre Dame in Russell McCain’s name.

Celtic Grace: Thin Places, Paschal Baute ’57 (CreateSpace). A collection of Advent poems and meditations that is “more comfortable with mystery than certainty,” and which values the “places where one is surprised with the serendipity of grace and beauty or a deep and profound peaceful silence.” The poet, a former Benedictine monk, is a pastoral psychologist.

Carol Schaal ’91M.A. is managing editor of this magazine.