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BILLY JOEL: America’s Piano Man by Joshua S. Duchan C’01 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, $40.00.) A comprehensive examination of the singer-songwriter’s work and its enduring popularity. Duchan, an ethnomusicologist and associate professor of music at Wayne State University, draws on original interviews with Joel. Buy this book

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THE DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled by Jason Schnittker, faculty (Columbia University Press, 2017, $35.00.) In classifying and identifying psychiatric disorders, it’s important to recognize the role of various interest groups and how they may influence classification. Schnittker, a professor of sociology at Penn, outlines the imperfections of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and shows how mental illnesses can defy definitions and classifications. Buy this book

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THE SCRIBE OF SIENA By Melodie Winawer M’94 (Touchstone, 2017, $26.99.) When New York neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato inherits her late brother’s historic house in Siena, she also inherits his research into that city’s secret history—including the journal of a 14th-century fresco artist whose work features a perfect likeness of her own face. Winawer, associate professor of neurology at Columbia, weaves historical mystery with a time-traveling love story set during the wars between Florence and Siena. Buy this book

 

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WHEN YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT: Extreme Decision Making Lessons From the Antarctic by Brad Borkan C’75 Gr’79 and David Hirzel (Terra Nova Press, 2017, $14.99.) Early 20th-century Antarctic explorers like Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott had to make crucial, life-or-death decisions in the most challenging conditions. Borkan and Hirzel not only encourage readers to explore how they might have responded in those settings but provide techniques for making the best decisions in calmer circumstances. Buy this book

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