There’s no better escape from chilly temperatures and the hustle and bustle of the holidays than curling up with a good book and a cozy blanket. Looking for an engaging read? Check out these new titles from William & Mary alumni.

The Inferno by Winston Brady ’09

This novel of faith and redemption is modeled on Dante’s classic poem, updated for American history. The protagonist attempts suicide, only to find himself in a dark wood and quickly ushered into hell by Ernest Hemingway. There, through conversations with politicians, writers and those considered American heroes, “the protagonist learns how and why a country with unbelievable potential and unparalleled freedoms could have ended up in the political and cultural morass we find ourselves in today,” says Brady. The first chapter is based on his experience at William & Mary.

Gettin’ Kinda Itchie – The Groups That Made The Mamas & The Papas by Richard Campbell ’89

“Gettin’ Kinda Itchie” chronicles the individual careers of musicians John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty — better known as The Mamas & The Papas — before they were “California Dreamin.’” The Journeymen, John Phillips’ folk group prior to The Mamas & The Papas, played at William & Mary in 1963. Campbell, dubbed “the keeper of the flame” of The Mamas & The Papas’ legacy by Michelle Phillips herself, started researching the groups that preceded The Mamas & The Papas during his time at W&M and continued to work with Swem Library’s Special Collections to compile research that culminated in this rockin’ book. Read more about Campbell and his book in our online exclusive “Dream a Little Dream.”

Invisible History: The Collected Poems of Walta Borawski edited by Philip Clark ’02, M.A.Ed. ’03

Walta Borawski was a well-known poet in the post-Stonewall era. His poems, which cover themes that include the history and social status of gay men and their experiences during the height of the AIDS epidemic, were described by Allen Ginsberg as “truthful, snappy, plenty of low life & local detail, sparky mind of the young poet sassing & observing his environment, gay & grim, still romantic. Who doesn’t love romance? Lots of intelligence in the line, mindful measure of spoken speech music.”

This is the third book Philip Clark has edited, following “Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS” and “In the Empire of the Air: The Poems of Donald Britton.” “Invisible History” won Publishing Triangle’s 2023 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry.

Perpendicular Women: Adventures in the Multiverse by Chris Coward ’72

“Perpendicular Women” is a new speculative cross-genre novel, encompassing science fiction and women’s fiction. Kara and Pandora are two women living seemingly parallel lives in two different universes. When their universes connect, they join forces. The author promises that the novel will leave readers “questioning the very fabric of our reality and the limitless potential of the human heart.”

You Are What You Watch by Walt Hickey ’12  

The latest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Walt Hickey, “You Are What You Watch,” investigates the effects of popular culture through the media we watch, read, listen to and otherwise consume. The book employs research, reporting and data visualization to illuminate the real-world impacts of popular culture on society, the environment, economics, the future and more.

Though the Darkness: Medicine, Missions, and Meeting God in Nepal by Rebecca Martin ’04  

Drawing from her experience serving as a missionary physician in Tansen, Nepal, for two years, Rebecca Martin hopes that her recently published memoir is “encouraging for all who serve, particularly in challenging spaces, as we each seek to live out our vocation to care with compassion and excellence.”

Murder at Midnight by Katharine Schellman ’09

In the latest Lily Adler mystery, Lily leaves London to spend Christmas with her late husband’s family and her good friend Captain Jack Hartley. When a snowstorm traps neighboring families together at a Christmas ball, a dead body is found — and suspicion falls on Jack’s sister. Lily and Jack are determined to discover the true killer.

What Holds Us Here: Pieces From a Place in the Woods by Judy Cicatko Strang ’86, M.A. ’90

Judy Cicatko Strang’s first book, “What Holds Us Here,” is a compilation of her nonfiction prose and poetry, written between the early 1990s and 2018. Accompanied by images from contributing artists, Strang shares that her book explores “discoveries, losses and wisdom gained from efforts to establish and preserve a homeplace — for humans and nonhumans alike — in the woods of Amherst County, Virginia.” Contact Judy through the Pedlar River Institute website at for more information or to obtain a copy.

Self!sh: Step Into a Journey of Self-Discovery To Revive Confidence, Joy, and Meaning by Stephanie Szostak ’94

You might recognize Stephanie Szostak from her roles in “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Iron Man 3” or ABC’s “A Million Little Things.” Szostak is a Give an Hour ambassador and “Self!sh,” released on World Mental Health Day, is Szostak’s debut self-help book. It features eight exercises for self-reflection that can help readers develop a “playbook” for their mental well-being — much like a playbook a coach might use, but for an individual to use to better respond and thrive in the face of adversity. Look for a profile of Szostak in magazine’s winter digital edition.

Related: Books published by William & Mary in 2023

Editor’s note: This story originally ran as an online exclusive on the W&M Alumni Magazine website.