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Football fans can supplement their seasonal passion by reading Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer's (distributive education '69) autobiography, Turn up the Wick, co-written with Chris Colston (marketing management '80), former editor of the Hokie Huddler, the official magazine of Virginia Tech athletics. The book provides a different perspective on the game than fans get from the stands or interviews. With humor and heart, the book details Beamer's life from childhood in Hillsville, Va., to his career as a player and coach before returning to Tech.

The publisher is Epic Sports, 505 Deering St., Birmingham, AL 35210.


Sharyn McCrumb's (M.A. English '85) most recent ballad book, The Songcatcher, is a historical mystery, semi-biographical of her five-times great-grandfather, who was kidnapped by sailors going to America. He brought with him a haunting song that his descendents invoke during moments of crisis. Weaving together subplots, McCrumb creates a patchwork effect. "My books are like Appalachian quilts," she says. "I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together."

The publisher is Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

"Life doesn't just happen to us. There is one spectacular moment when it happens for us," says Mary Gauden Hughes (psychology '81). Her book, The Last Slow Dance, conveys that sentiment in the story of a musician who must decide between his career and the love of a writer who may have found her best story yet in him. These two "not-so-young" lovers must figure out how to balance their dreams and fears when love is involved and when the past isn't resolved.

The publisher is Henri Butler Press, P.O. Box 1075, Roebuck, SC 29376.


Whipped Cream on Rain: A Poetic Journal of a Caregiver, by Karen Gillman, Ph.D. (M.S. family and child development '74), is a collection of poems and essays on Alzheimer's disease written about Gillman's experience with her afflicted spouse, a former member of the Virginia Tech engineering faculty. Gillman wrote the book to comfort other caregivers, and compares the disease's symptoms to elements of the American social system. She asks, "What might we discover about our own collective memory loss in order to vaccinate ourselves against repeat performances of tangling our ideas and hardening our attitudes?"

The publisher is Wyndham Hall Press, 52857 CR 21, Bristol, IN 46507-9460.


In Surprise for Ray, by Ann Marie Stephens (family and child development '91), Bly secretly lays plans for his best friend Ray's birthday. In the cozy, underwater world of the book's setting, Bly (a shark) must work at night while Ray (a stingray) sleeps, and he calls upon his other ocean friends for help. Seahorses and eels make gifts of shells, dolphins sing, and crabs cut up confetti. The book's illustrations, with their softened edges and vibrant colors, enhance its overall comfortable, friendly feel.

The publisher is Little Blue Works Ltd., the children's division of Windstorm Creative, 7419 Ebbert Drive S. E., Port Orchard, WA 98367;


Christopher P. Neck, associate professor of management, contributed to The Wisdom of Solomon At Work, a book concerning spiritual values in today's world and workplace. The authors tell stories of Biblical figures, suggesting how we might learn from them today, no matter what our "faith heritage." In fact, the authors come from differing religious backgrounds. Thomas and Jimmy Carter provide examples of integrating faith and compassion into business management. Neck has also written Medicine for the Mind and is a coauthor of For Team Members Only and Managing Self-Leadership.

The publisher is Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 450 Sansome St., Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94111-2512;