A student staring at a stack of books on a table

Faculty books for every appetite

Any year at Emory, excitement always runs high to scan the annual list of faculty publications, given that their subject breadth and sheer numbers are impressive in equal measure. In February, Emory honors its faculty authors with an event known as Feast of Words, which offers a chance to highlight the faculty’s publishing successes in the past year.

In 2016, 118 books made the list, three of which won national or international honors. These included "Never Better! The Modern Jewish Picaresque" by Miriam Udel, associate professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture in both the Department of German Studies and Tam Institute of Jewish Studies, which won the National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience; "White Rage" by Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor and chair of African American Studies, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism; and Neuro-Ophthalmology Illustrated, by Valérie Biousse and Nancy Newman, which won the British Medical Association first-place book award for neurology.

Before offering a toast to the scribes at Feast of Words, then-Interim Provost Stuart Zola reflected, “These volumes represent many years of hard work. In some ways, writing a book can be a solitary activity, but increasingly at Emory, we are seeing this as a collective effort. Faculty are finding communities of support and camaraderie for their work as scholars, creators, and writers.”

Here is a sampling of the 2017 books by faculty authors and editors that will be celebrated at the next Feast of Words.

Photo of Benjamin Reiss

Understanding the evolution of sleep

In "Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World," English professor Benjamin Reiss combines insights from history, literature and science to explore how socially constructed rules for human sleep — from when we should sleep to where and with whom — turned a universal human experience into a cause for worry and frustration.

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Photo of Gregory Berns

Dogged research

Dog-cognition scientist Gregory Berns — distinguished professor of neuroeconomics and director of the Center for Neuropolicy and Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience — is the first researcher to capture images of canine thought processes using fMRI. His first book, "How Dogs Love Us," became a New York Times bestseller. His latest, "What It's Like to Be a Dog," came out in September.

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Photo of Erin Tarver

Face painting and more: Understanding sports mania

"Football was life; everything else was just biding time." So says Erin Tarver, assistant professor of philosophy at Oxford College, who wrote "The I in Team: Sports Fandom and the Reproduction of Identity." Tarver grew up in Baton Rouge, where the football fortunes of Louisiana State University were followed closely. The book unique combines fandom with feminism and poststructuralism.

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Photo of Peter Höyng

Serendipity in the stacks

While researching Hugo Bettauer at the Austrian National Library, Peter Höyng, associate professor of German studies, stumbled across his 1922 novel, "The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast." What had brought him to Austria was Bettauer's better-known "City without Jews." Yet Höyng was struck by this other work, which starts and ends in Georgia and touches on the role of race in American society.

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Photo of Anthony Martin

A book in which the dirt flies

Emory paleontologist Anthony Martin's "Evolution Underground: Burrows, Bunkers, and the Marvelous Subterranean World Beneath Our Feet" tours the underworld, from the tiny tunnels of modern-day earthworms to the massive paleo-burrows excavated by the Pleistocene's giant sloths.

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Photo of Brent Strawn

Combating religious illiteracy

"You know a language is in peril and dying if only the elderly speak it," says Brent Strawn, professor of Old Testament at Candler School of Theology. "But when even the elderly can't speak it anymore, the language dies." Thus his latest book, "The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment."

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Photo of Greg Ellison

Facilitating "Fearless Dialogues"

Candler School of Theology professor Gregory Ellison didn't take a conventional road to life as a public scholar. What began as a call to action on a local radio station has grown into a grassroots organization and global movement. Ellison shares that journey in his latest book, "Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice."

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Photo of Kevin Young

Getting to the bottom of "Bunk"

What if truth is not an absolute thing but instead a muscle that grows weaker with neglect? Poet and scholar Kevin Young, Emory University Distinguished Professor, poses that question in his timely new book, "Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News," a sprawling exploration into fakery, falsehoods, and the hucksters who perpetrate them.

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