Arts & Culture

Output: November/December 2022

To have your book, CD, app, or other work considered for Output, please send a copy to Arts Editor, Yale Alumni Magazine, PO Box 1905, New Haven CT 06509; or e-mail a copy or link to

Sophia Schindler ’19
(album available on Apple Music and other streaming services)
Schindler is a prolific young composer whose music could be categorized, without confusion or argument, as electronic dance music, neoclassical composition, New Age, instrumental pop, prog rock, or art rock. It’s distinguished by a collage of beats, chords, and a few not-quite-musical sounds. The elements line up tentatively, then find a groove, then swell and blossom while sounding deceptively basic. Godspeed’s song titles—“Scorched Earth,” “Sunken City,” and “Thieves”—may suggest apocalypse, but the dark rumblings are more of a warning sign, and a rather pleasant one at that.

Writing on the Job: Best Practices for Communicating in the Digital Age Martha B. Coven ’93, ’01JD. 
(Princeton University Press, $14.95)
“Writing is an essential skill in today’s economy,” writes Coven, a White House and Capitol Hill communications wizard who has distilled a quarter century of crafting clear and succinct messages into a splendidly wise how-to book. The author “offers advice on more than a dozen forms of writing, from a one-line tweet to a lengthy report.” The book is designed to help writers “sound lively, not stuffy,” while getting the “bottom line up front” message across in a variety of situations: from memos and corres-pondence to slide decks, social media, and public speaking.

Livid: A Novel
Cai Emmons ’73
(Red Hen Press, $18.95)
Rage can’t stay bottled up forever. Sybil White Brown, grieving “a terrible loss,” returns to the West Coast, which she had left after a divorce—and there a jury-duty summons sets the stage for the bottle to be uncorked. Sybil soon finds herself serving as a juror in a murder trial with her ex-husband Drew, and as the novelist skillfully weaves their stories together, an explosion is clearly brewing. “Where is the happy midpoint between the short fuse and the morbid fear of expressing anger?” she wonders. Will Sybil find that “middle path”? Read on.

Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live
Becca Levy, Professor of Epidemiology and Psychology
(William Morrow/HarperCollins, $28.99)
Levy starts her Health and Aging course by asking her students “to think of an old person and list the first five words or phrases that come to mind.” In this culture, the collection is more likely to lean negative than positive. In an eye-opening book that looks at how countries around the world view aging, Levy shows that these beliefs can “become scripts we end up acting out”—perceptions that “can steal or add nearly eight years to your life.” Her book outlines how to change your outlook and promote “age liberation.”

I’ll Take New Haven: Tales of Discovery and Rejuvenation
Lary Bloom; Paul Bass ’82, editor
(Antrim House, $18)
Seven years ago, writer and magazine editor Bloom, who was getting close to retirement age, and his wife Suzanne ditched the “tranquil countryside town of Chester” and moved to the “urban chaos and culture” of New Haven, which Condé Nast Traveler dubbed “one of the ten unfriendliest cities in America.” But Yale’s hometown opened its arms to Bloom, who has taught writing at the university. In this series of eclectic essays—most of them first published in Paul Bass’s online newspaper, the New Haven Independent—Bloom explores, literally and figuratively, “the sidewalks in our city, paths to illumination.”

Total: Stories
Rebecca Miller ’84
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25)
There’s the “Enormous Woman” hired to help a mom overwhelmed by a home invasion of ladybugs. There’s a Martha’s Vineyard teen coping with her recently developed body and a downturn in family fortunes. There are five more stories, and all seven are exquisitely honed. “People were such mysteries,” says Joad, the narrator of “I Want You to Know,” a story that revolves around finding a partial manuscript about a murder. “Reading the typed pages had infected her with a virus that she had to carry around.” Readers of Miller’s tales will find themselves addicted.

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