Recent Literary Offerings from Mills Alumnae/i

Want Me
By Tracy Clark-Flory ’06

In this bold memoir, prominent sex journalist Tracy Clark-Flory shares the confusing, funny, and sometimes painful moments that shaped her young adulthood, offering an honest look at sex and culture for modern young women. Readers are taken on Clark-Flory’s journey toward sexual empowerment, from her beginning all the way to her time as a veteran journalist covering the sex beat. Thoroughly educational and thought-provoking, Want Me is about looking for love, sex, and power as a woman in a culture that is freer than ever, yet defined by unprecedented pressures and enduring constraints. (2021, Penguin Randomhouse)

Chokecherry Girl
By Barbara Meyer Link, MA ’77

Inspired by Link’s own childhood in smalltown Montana, Chokecherry Girl centers on three women—a teenager, a hairstylist, and a Crow Indian woman—drawn together by a stolen car, an illicit love affair, and a shooting. Despite their differences, these women form an unlikely friendship, face challenges of 1950s America that still resonate today, and learn the power of unspoken secrets. (2021, Acorn Press)

White Feminism
By Koa Beck ’09

Join the conversation about race, empowerment, and inclusion in the United States with White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, a new feminist classic and rousing call for change. Beck examines the history of feminism, from the true mission of the suffragettes to the rise of corporate feminism, with clear-eyed scrutiny and meticulous detail. She also examines overlooked communities—including Native American, Muslim, transgender, and more—and their difficult and ongoing struggles for social change. (2021, Atria Books)

Upgrade Available
By Julia Christensen, MFA ’03

This book, released alongside an exhibition with the same name, documents Christensen’s ongoing investigation into our “upgrade culture,” in which the need to upgrade electronics ultimately impacts the experience of time. Featuring Christensen’s writing interspersed with artwork and conversations, the book explores Christensen’s journey through the international e-waste industry all the way to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she works to envision artwork for an evolving, autonomously upgrading spaceship headed toward a potentially habitable planet in another star system. (2020, Dancing Foxes Press)

By Joan Gefland, MFA ’96

Set in a tech-driven world of apps, startups, and skateboarders, EXTREME follows characters who grapple with unresolved love affairs and the tension between authenticity and commercialism. The thriller’s heroine, Hope Ellson, must navigate a male-dominated tech world and face relentless pressure to meet ambitious goals. With an insider’s view, EXTREME offers insight into how a startup grows—and how it’s vulnerable to dying before its prime. (2020, Blue Light Press)

The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook
By Adrienne Robillard, MFA ’01

Bring home the tropical flavors of the Pacific with The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook. With 50 easy and delicious Hawai‘i-inspired recipes, including family favorites and new twists on iconic Island flavors, this cookbook will help you master your equipment, choose the best ingredients for grilling, and achieve perfectly cooked results sure to please. Robillard grew up and still lives in Hawai‘i. (2020, Ulysses Press)

Betrayal on the Bayou
By Sheryl Bizé-Boutté ’73

Bizé-Boutté’s first novel is set in the fictional Louisiana bayou town of Tassin Valley in 1854, where the ruling family enforces a peculiar version of code noir, and the rich harvests come from magical soil. The story centers around a newly widowed young man from Paris who arrives with his infant daughter, setting off a 28-year chain of events that reveal the brutal truths of inequality, colorism, and betrayal. (2020, Amazon)

Contagious Magic: Collected Poems
By Christie B. Cochrell ’77, MA ’87

The poems in Contagious Magic move back and forth among the places that have been essential to the poet’s life—New Mexico and the southwest, old Roman vestiges in northern Italy, a longtime home next to a synagogue in Northern California, and the color-drenched French countryside of artist Pierre Bonnard. As traveler, word-peddler, and celebrant of joie de vivre, the poet’s quest has been to gather luminous ingredients wherever they are found. (2020, Bay Company Books)

Haunted Heroine
By Sarah Kuhn ’99

Haunted Heroine is the fourth book in Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series, which centers around Asian American superheroines. Haunted Heroine follows superheroine Evie Tanaka, who investigates mysterious hauntings at a nearby women’s college while grappling with motherhood in her future. The setting will be eerily familiar to Mills alumnae. (2020, Penguin Randomhouse)

La Friche la Belle de Mai à Marseille
By Marta Rosenquist ’90

Adapted from her PhD dissertation completed at Aix-Marseille University, Rosenquist’s new French-language book examines a former tobacco factory that now serves as a home to other industries. She begins by retracing the history of the tobacco industry, and then explores the site’s theater companies, radio station, restaurant, and contemporary art gallery, among others. In the text, Rosenquist attempts to answer this question: What is the relationship between the indeterminate spaces of The Friche la Belle de Mai and its redevelopment? (2019, Pu de Provence)

The Names of All the Flowers
By Melissa Valentine, MFA ’13

Set in rapidly gentrifying 1990s Oakland, this memoir connects one tragic death to a collective grief for all Black men who die too young. A lyrical recounting of a life lost, this story is an intimate portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother. It is a call for justice amid endless cycles of violence, grief, and trauma, declaring: “We are all witness and therefore no one is spared from this loss.” (2020, Feminist Press)

Journeys in Natural Dyeing
By Kristine Vejar ’01 & Adrienne Rodriguez ’01

Journeys in Natural Dyeing shares the story of the authors’ travels to four countries—Iceland, Mexico, Japan, and Indonesia—where they visited natural dyers who use locally-sourced dyes to create textiles that evoke beauty, connect to their environment, and showcase their mastery of skill. This book shares their process of using their own locally-grown dyes and includes recipes and projects to create more than 400 shades of color. In addition, you will learn how to use your own natural environment to create deep, beautiful colors. (2020, Abrams & Chronicle Books)

Love & Lies: A Secret Memoir
By Ann Beckman Hymes ’67

As the past catches up with her, Theresa Alston Crandall reflects on her life of deception in a secret memoir. Set at her inherited oceanfront home, Whimsy Towers, Theresa enjoys a carefree summer before being forced to grapple with her past due to her son’s mysterious and untimely death. As the title suggests, Theresa must come to terms with her life of love and lies. (2020, Secant Publishing)

The Unfolding Sidewalk
By Winifred Ebmeier Cullen ’68

In this children’s book, the young, imaginative Winnie learns to ride a tricycle and is soon led on a magical journey that promises treasure. But upon finding it, she must decide if the treasure is truly hers, or if a larger lesson is in store. (2019, Christian Faith Publishing)

Becoming A Japanese War Bride: An Oral History and From Grief to Grace: A Poetry Book
By Kristopher Shirey ’13

Told from the perspective of Fumiko, Becoming A Japanese War Bride details the journey of a Japanese war bride, thus preserving her voice forever. This tome actually started out as Shirey’s Mills thesis! And in From Grief to Grace, he paints pictures with words to pen deeply relatable poetry. (2020, BookBaby) (War Bride)

Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France
By Robin Mitchell ’98

In her book, Mitchell explores how images and discussions of black women helped shape the culture and national identity of post-revolutionary France. In particular, the book explores three famous black women: Sarah Baartmann, who “represented distorted memories of Haiti in the French imagination”; Ourika, a young Senegalese girl who inspired plays, poems, and other trends; and Jeanne Duval, whose demonization reveals the erasure of black women’s stories. Mitchell’s careful examination of these women highlights larger issues of the racial “blind spot” in French national identity, which is still relevant today. (2020, University of Georgia Press)

The Healthy Deviant: A Rule Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World
By Pilar Gerasimo ’90

Pilar Gerasimo’s new book offers advice on how to be healthy in what she explains is an unhealthy world using “new-era survival skills.” Though the word deviant has a mischievous connotation, Gerasimo defines a healthy deviant as “One who willingly defies unhealthy norms and conventions in order to achieve a high level of vitality, resilience, and autonomy.” The book, which she describes as part manifesto, part wakeup call, invites readers to participate on a 14-day journey which promises rewarding results. (2020, North Atlantic Books)

Free For All: A Lexi Fagan Mystery
By Autumn Doerr ’96

In the second book of the series, Autumn Doerr once again takes readers on a journey through the life of Lexi Fagan, who must come to terms with her past in order to catch a killer. Just as her life seems to be back on track, Lexi’s boss is found murdered. Her old friend, Detective Robert Reiger, needs her “eyes and ears” to solve this case, and Lexi is pulled into the world of the mysterious Freedom Institute. (2019, Autumn Doerr)

As Many Nows As I Can Get
By Shana Youngdahl ’01

In her debut YA novel, Youngdahl tells the story of recent high-school graduates Scarlett and David, who have grown up together in the tiny town of Graceville, Colorado. Suddenly, the two classmates find themselves in a whirlwind romance just weeks before heading off to college. Scarlett has always been so practical and prudent, yet is drawn to the fiery David in a way she never expected. Going back and forth through time, As Many Nows As I Can Get retraces that age when everything seems limitless yet impossible at once. (2019, Dial Books)

We Are All Good People Here
By Susan Rebecca White, MA ’03

First-year roommates Eve Whalen and Daniella Gold meet in the fall of 1962 at Nashville’s Belmont College and quickly see their relationship transformed by the many social changes of the decade. Eve, who grew up in a wealthy Atlanta family, finds herself drawn to the radicalism that defined the era, while Daniella, the child of a Jewish father and Christian mother from Washington, DC, distances herself from her friend. After a tragedy, the two reconcile—but attempt to bury the past. Though the story spans the course of American history between the presidencies of JFK and Bill Clinton, it’s just as relevant in today’s polarized political climate. (2019, Atria Books)

Ugly Differences: Queer Female Sexuality in the Underground
By Yetta Howard, MA ’02

What would it mean to turn to ugliness rather than turn away from it? Indeed, the idea of ugly often becomes synonymous with non-white, non-male, and non-heterosexual physicality and experience. That same pejorative migrates to become a label for practices within underground culture. In Ugly Differences, Yetta Howard uses underground contexts to theorize queer difference by locating ugliness at the intersection of the physical, experiential, and textual. From that nexus, Howard contends that ugliness—as a mode of pejorative identification—is fundamental to the cultural formations of queer female sexuality. Howard reveals how the things we see, read, or experience as ugly productively account for non-dominant sexual identities and creative practices. (2018, University of Illinois Press)