General-Interest Books by Alumni and Faculty Authors
Not So Good a Gay Man: A Memoir
By Frank M. Robinson’50
Not So Good a Gay Man is the posthumously published memoir by Frank M. Robinson’50, detailing eight decades living as a gay man in the United States, including the difficulties of keeping his sexual orientation a secret, his eventual role in the gay movement, and his political activism during the AIDS pandemic.
Robinson, who died in 2014, had a diverse career as a writer, from producing an advice column in Playboy (without revealing his sexual orientation) to publishing science fiction and thriller novels, including The Towering Inferno, to speech writing for the first openly gay American politician Harvey Milk.
Robinson also writes about many of his college experiences, including how, as a junior, he sold his first short story to Astounding, an important science fiction publication at the time. The story was initially rejected, but Robinson took the advice of English Professor Chad Walsh to trim it and try again. It worked.
Though Robinson never intended to become involved in politics when he moved to San Francisco in 1973, his friendship with Harvey Milk blossomed, and he became one of Milk’s most trusted advisors. When Milk was assassinated in 1978, he left a “political will,” with Robinson stated as his successor for the gay rights movement. Robinson continued his activism around the AIDS pandemic. His memoir is dedicated to a handful of first names and the rest of “the 636,000 who died of AIDS because their government didn’t give a damn.”
Robinson was the author of 16 novels, three of which were adapted into movies. The Dark Beyond the Stars was a space travel reimagining of Christopher Columbus’s journey, selected as a New York Times notable book in 1991.
By Virginia Konchan’02
Noctuary Press, 2017
A fantasy amusement park’s Snow White falls in and out of love with a not-so prince charming. A hardened Iraq War veteran discusses his life with a military doctor before his next deployment. A Christian woman comes to terms with her abusive husband. Konchan’s small but powerful collection of short stories brings these dim settings into the light with honesty and wit. As a poet, editor, and professor at Marist College in New York, Konchan brings contagious sarcasm and dark humor to her rough-edged short stories. Her essays, criticism, translations, and short stories can be found in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and other publications.
Water, Security and U.S. Foreign Policy
Edited by David Reed’70
David Reed’70, senior policy advisor for the World Wildlife Fund, is interested in the intersection of global water challenges and the prosperity and security of countries and communities everywhere. Reed has assembled 18 case studies by leading thinkers and practitioners on global water policy that provide an analytical framework for policy makers, scholars, and researchers studying the connections between the environment and U.S. foreign policy. Taken together, the case studies help interpret the impact of water-driven social disruptions and the stability of partner governments and U.S. interests abroad. The foreward is written by former U.S. National Security Advisor and retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones.
Prairie Scholar: From Pioneer Boy to College President
By Ingebrikt Frederick Grose
Edited by Charles Frederick Grose’63
Iron Leaf Press, 2016
Dr. Charles Grose’63 earned his medical degree after Beloit, then served for 30 years as director of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Stepping away from that post opened up time to edit and republish the story of his great uncle, I.F. Grose. Born to immigrant parents in 1862 on the Minnesota frontier, the elder Grose became the first president of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., by the time he was 29. This autobiography originated in 1919, when Grose wrote his life story with the intention of recording and sharing the pioneer experience.
The History Worker
By Jenny Drai’97
Black Lawrence Press, 2017
Jenny Drai’s third collection of poems begins with a jumble of prose: incongruent facts ranging from literature written about Richard III to a 19th century silver miner. Drai sees these facts as their own histories, weaving them in with her childhood memories and adulthood musings. At the center of the collection are poems about the Hearst Castle, built on the Chumash tribe’s land in California, and its relation to these other subjects. Inspired by her German and Romanian heritage, Drai explores themes of conquest and the immigrant experience, intertwining these ideas with her own experiences growing up in the United States, studying literature and language at Beloit, and moving to Germany.
Star Wars From a Certain Point of View
Stories by multiple authors, including Madeleine Roux’08
Random House, 2017
In 1977, the world was introduced to the movie Star Wars, which became a cultural phenomenon and a powerful impetus for spin-off storytelling. To celebrate the original movie’s 40-year anniversary, editors at Random House invited authors to reimagine a moment from the original film through the perspective of a supporting character. The result is an anthology of short stories about the galaxy from a completely different point of view. Maddie Roux’08 is one of the contributing authors, writing about the character Breha Organa, the queen of the planet Alderaan and adoptive mother of Princess Leia. Shortly after graduating from Beloit, Roux began blogging Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, an experimental story that became her break-through work of fiction. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Asylum series and many other works of fiction.