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Shelf Life


Cover image from “In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa”

A Bold Little Man

A new biography examines the puzzling life of one loved and loathed University president-turned-Senator.

On Dec. 2, 1968, S.I. Hayakawa, then SF State’s acting president, scrambled atop a sound truck and ripped out its speaker wires, silencing protestors embroiled in what would become the longest student strike in U.S. history. "After that day, Hayakawa’s personal history was suddenly rewritten by those who loved or hated him, usually without the benefit of much information,"write Gerald (B.A., ’63; M.A., ’65) and Janice Haslam (attended ’66). The husband and wife team spent 10 years scouring Hayakawa’s personal papers and interviewing his friends, family members and former colleagues. The resulting biography, "In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa" (University of Nebraska Press, ’11), fleshes out the portrait of the controversial figure, introducing readers to "a gifted but flawed man, one who refused to capitulate to racism or elitism, to radicalism or to convention." In the process, the Haslams reveal much about the strike itself and its reverberations across campus. As for that famous cover photo, whether you see a man halting an illegal demonstration or one denying First Amendment rights, this book is bound to broaden your perspective.


Cover image from “The Rice Room: Growing up Chinese American

The Rice Room

University of California Press

In an updated edition of his bestselling memoir, journalist and broadcaster Ben Fong-Torres (B.A., ’66) offers a candid account of growing up torn between the traditions of his Chinese immigrant parents and the allure of Elvis Presley Americana. This hilarious and at times heartbreaking story includes stops at both the Gater student newspaper and Rolling Stone offices.




Cover image from “Cover image from "My Dyslexia"

My Dyslexia

W.W. Norton

A new memoir from Philip Schultz (B.A., ’67) traces his triumph over a learning disability -- one Schultz didn’t realize he had until his son was diagnosed with the same condition. Prepare to be inspired by the story of a boy who couldn’t read until age 11 but grew up to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry.




Cover image from “Cover image of "Turn of Mind”

Turn of Mind

Atlantic Monthly Press

In this stunning debut novel by Creative Writing Lecturer Alice La Plante, a newly retired surgeon has slipped into the early stages of dementia when she is accused of murdering her best friend. Is Dr. White’s shattered memory preventing her from telling the truth or helping her hide it? The question will keep pages turning.




Cover image from “Love and Shame and Love”

Love and Shame and Love

Little, Brown

Democratic politics loom large in Associate Professor of Creative Writing Peter Orner’s latest and much lauded novel. The story, which follows the private and public struggles of the Popper family of Chicago, includes a focus on Michael Dukakis, Orner’s former law school instructor.





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