The Other Typist

The debut novel by Pacific alumna Suzanne Rindell '03, delving into the underbelly of prohibition-era New York City has been acquired by Fox Searchlight for a film that Keira Knightley will produce and star in.

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Pacific News

Book and music gift ideas from University of the Pacific faculty, students and alumni

Dec 16, 2013

University of the Pacific, California's oldest institution of higher education, offers fresh new fiction and nonfiction titles for the book lovers on your holiday gift list. For music lovers, there are music CDs by faculty and students. Here are our picks of recent works by Pacific faculty, students and alumni:


 "The Other Typist," by Suzanne Rindell, Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, 368 pages. University of the Pacific alumna Suzanne Rindell '03 COP, in her debut novel, tells the story of a young woman living a plain, dull life as a police precinct typist in Prohibition-era New York City until a new addition to the typing pool helps plunge her into "the gaudy glare of illicit dance halls and speakeasies, hobnobbing with Brooklyn bootleggers and Newport socialites and intoxicated by bright lights, moonshine, bathtub gin - and her new friend, Odalie," according to the publisher. The Hollywood Reporter announced in June that Fox Searchlight had acquired rights to the book for a film that Keira Knightley will produce and star in.

"The Secret Daughter of the Tsar," by Jennifer Laam, St. Martin's Griffin, $14.47, 352 pages. In her debut novel, University of the Pacific alumna Jennifer Laam '94 COP brings together the stories of three women and an alternate history for the Romanov family, one in which a secret daughter is smuggled out of Russia before the revolution to continue the royal lineSecret Daughter of the Tsarage to dramatic and unexpected consequences.

"Sylvia'sSylvia's Secret Secret," by Scott Evans, Port Yonder Books, $14.95, 290 pages. The latest novel by Scott Evans, for 25 years an instructor at University of the Pacific and organizer of the university's inaugural Creative Writing Conference, weaves historical information into what the publisher describes as a "fast-paced psychological murder mystery." The plot explores the struggle of American poet Sylvia Plath with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as the circumstances of her notorious suicide.

"The Living," by Matt De La Pena, Delacorte Press, $17.99, 320 pages. This is the latest novel by University of the Pacific alumnus Matt de la Pena '96 COP. Known for gritty urban coming-of-age novels such as "Mexican WhiteBoy," de la Pena's latest tale is about Shy, a youth looking to make some money working on a luxury cruisThe Livinge liner to help out his mother and sister with the bills. Things turn for the worse when the largest recorded earthquake to hit California strikes.

"Powercat, The Pacific Tiger," by Lynn G. Beck, Mascot Books, $9.12, 24 pages. Lynn G. Beck, dean of University of the Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of EPowercat bookducation, writes about the University's mascot, Powercat, as he spends a fun-filled day at Pacific. Readers and little fans can follow along as Powercat visits iconic campus landmarks such as Grace Covell Hall, Janet Leigh Theatre and Alex G. Spanos Center. He sees the sites and makes his way to a big basketball game in the evening with each step of his journey shown in full color illustrations that are sure to delight Tigers big and small. A great book for Pacific fans of any age.


"The Bosshole Effect: Three Simple Steps Anyone Can Follow to Become a Great Boss and Lead a Successful Team," by Greg L. Alston, Mill City Publishing, $16.99, 172 pages. Greg L. Alston '77 Pharm.D., '78 EDU, graduated cum laude from University of the Pacific after simultaneously earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a K-12 teaching credential. Now an associate professor of Pharmacy Management and assistant dean at Wingate University School of Pharmacy in North Carolina, he draws from 35 years of experience in business and academic leadership to offer ways to prevent bad bosses, or Bossholes, from being a drain on the nation's gross domestic product. The book already has hit No. 1 bestseller status on Amazon and is helping secure Alston as "The Boss Whisperer."

"Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese," by Ken Albala, Rowman & Littlefield, $38 (paperback), 392 pages. This 2012 title by Ken Albala, a history professor at University of the Pacific and one of the world's most respected food historians, was named best foreign cuisine book by Gourmand International at the 2012 Paris Cookbook Fair.

"The Science of Consequences: How they Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World," by Susan M. Schneider, Prometheus Books, $21, 383 pages. Biopsychologist Susan M. Schneider, a visiting professor at University of the Pacific, "uses human, pet, and wild-animal anecdotes to provide a unique and fascinating introduction to a science that is truly epic in scope," according to the publisher.

"Penumbra: The Premier Stage of African American Drama," by Macelle Mahala, University of Minnesota Press, $19.95 (paperback), 216 pages. University of the Pacific Assistant Professor Macelle Mahala's work is "the first scholarly look at Penumbra, an important if sometimes fiscally shaky institution whose impact and influence belie its small budget," according to a story by Rohan Preston in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN). "Mahala connects Penumbra to the settlement-house movements across the country, and to other intellectual and cultural traditions."

"The Indianization of Lewis and Clark," by William R. Swagerty, University of Oklahoma Press, $90, pages 820 (two volumes). For the American history buffs on your gift list, consider William R. Swagerty's hardbound, two-volume set about America's most famous explorers. Swagerty, a professor of history and director of the John Muir Center at University of the Pacific, demonstrates in this scholarly work that adopting Indian ways of procuring, processing, and transporting food and gear was crucial to the explorers' survival.

"Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites," by Teresa Bergman, Left Coast Press Inc., $29.95, 253 pages. University of the Pacific Professor Teresa Bergman won the Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award for this book. John Edward Bodnar, professor of history at Indiana University, hailed it as "an important contribution to our understanding of how the past is crafted and presented to the public." Teresa Bergman "insightfully explores the subtle links between what we see at museums and historic sites and who we think we are as a nation," he said. "Her scholarship demonstrates that history really matters and how extensive is the ongoing contest between various groups of citizens to define just what it should be."

"He's the Weird Teacher," by Doug Robertson, CreateSpace, $12.99, 266 pages. Doug Robertson '03, a graduate of University of the Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, is the creative, zany "weird teacher" to his students and writes about "how joyful teaching and learning can be," according to the publisher.


"Metamorphosis" Bassoonist Nicolasa Kuster, who joined the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music faculty in 2008, released a CD of classical music by contemporary American composers in 2013. The CD was funded in part by the University of the Pacific Conservatory Pacific Fund and Scholarly and Artistic Activity Grant. Buy the release at ($9.99 for download; $12.97 for CD).

"Feel Good" Pac Ave Records in November released an EP by the Darien Fields Band, made up of Stockton residents led by University of the Pacific business student Darien Fields '15 BUSI. The rock band is a favorite on University of the Pacific's campus, winning the campus Battle of the Bands contest in 2012 and coming in second in 2013. "Feel Good" is available for digital download on iTunes and for $5.94, and physical copies can be ordered from for $5.99.

"Reminiscences" The cumulative work of nearly 60 University of the Pacific students working with faculty and staff to create a professional student-driven musical creation is "Reminiscences." Pac Ave Records, a student-run label, is distributing the CD by Pacific's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, which was recorded at the famed Skywalker Sound studios. Buy the release at ($7.92) or ($9.99 for download; $15 for CD).

"Origins" The 2011-12 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet won a coveted DownBeat Award for best collegiate undergraduate jazz performance based on the "Origins" CD recorded and released in collaboration with music and entertainment management students and the student recording label, Pac Ave Records. Buy the release at ($8.99) or ($9.99 for download; $14.98 for CD).

Stocking stuffers

Black History Month: University of the Pacific's annual Black History Month celebration involves a number of activities that honor the history and heritage of African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Throughout the month of February, students, faculty and staff put on numerous events, including a keynote speaker, gospel concert, poetry reading, roundtable discussions and various guest lecturers. Visit the event website for more information on the event and to purchase tickets:

Brubeck Festival: This year's Brubeck Festival is part of a cross-country celebration of Dave Brubeck's life and his music. Al Jarreau, Eddie Palmieri and Terri Lyne Carrington are headlining the annual event. But this year the celebration includes a six-month exhibit at the Lincoln Center in New York City and a series of wonderful concerts there in April. Find out more about the festival and buy tickets by visiting or by visiting the festival webpage at

About University of the Pacific
Established in 1851 as the first university in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 undergraduate majors in arts and sciences, music, business, education, engineering and computer science, and pharmacy, and health sciences. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes the acclaimed Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco and the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Keith Michaud
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