Davis, California - Get a closer look at California’s 1,600 bee species, dig into food through poetry and art, explore the darker side of Cinderella and follow an exploration of spiritual practice through three decades of letters with poet Gary Snyder. Those are a few of the books by University of California, Davis, faculty and graduates available this holiday season. The writings range from academic works examining food safety and pollution to a supernatural story for young readers and an erotic novel.

“The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity” by Sandra M. Gilbert (W.W. Norton & Company, $29.95, 432 pages).
Renowned scholar and distinguished professor of English emerita Sandra M. Gilbert traces gastronomic ideas through myths and memoirs, novels, poems, celebrity chefs, television food programs, paintings and films. Gilbert discusses figures from Julia Child to Andy Warhol, M.F.K. Fisher to Sylvia Plath, and the politics and poetics of our daily bread, and taps into her own 1960s New York upbringing in an Italian-Russian immigrant family. The result is an ambitious and lively examination of the ways in which our culture’s artists have represented food across a range of genres. Gilbert is the author of many books including the landmark work of feminist literary theory “The Madwoman in the Attic,” eight collections of poetry and a memoir. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle's Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. 

“California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists” by Gordon W. Frankie, Robbin W. Thorp, Rollin E. Coville and Barbara Ertter (Heyday Books, $28, 304 pages).
This guidebook with 200 color photographs and illustrations by pre-eminent bee and botany experts including Thorp, professor emeritus of entomology, introduces readers to the 1,600 species of undomesticated bees that populate and pollinate California. The book holds a magnifying glass up to the 22 most common genera, describing each one’s social structures, flight season, preferred flowers and enemies, and provides information on bee-friendly plants and how to grow them.

“Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper” by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia (Harper Design, $16.99, 80 pages).
Garcia, who earned a master of fine arts degree (1994) from UC Davis, brings her dark and bold vision to this well-known story of a girl saved from her evil stepmother and stepsisters by a handsome prince. It follows Garcia’s New York Times bestselling versions of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Snow White.” Garcia’s art has been featured in Rolling Stone, Juxtapoz, Paper and Nylon, and exhibited internationally.

“Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places” by Gary Snyder and Julia Martin (Trinity University Press, $17.95, 280 pages).
In this collection of interviews and letters spanning 30 years, poet Gary Snyder, English professor emeritus, talks with South African writer and scholar Julia Martin. The conversation starts in the 1980s as an intellectual exchange between an earnest graduate student and a generous distinguished writer, and becomes a long-distance friendship and an exploration of spiritual practice. Snyder is a poet, essayist and environmental activist, author of 18 books, winner of an American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

“The Question of Miracles” by Elana K. Arnold (HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 240 pages).
Following the death of her best friend Sarah, Iris and her family move to Oregon for a fresh start in this middle-grade story of miracles, magic, rain, hope and a cat named Charles. Iris hates Oregon, but then meets Boris, an awkward, but know-it-all kid whose existence is a medical miracle. If one miracle is possible, she wonders if she can communicate with Sarah again. Arnold, the author of several young adult novels, earned her master’s degree in creative writing (1998) at UC Davis. 

“25th Annual Prized Writing — The Essay and Scientific and Technical Writing,” various writers, Karma Waltonen, editor (UC Davis Writing Program, $16.65, 159 pages).
The pieces in this collection were written by students in the University Writing Program.  Among the essay subjects are the grammatical and societal role of the word “hella,” antibiotic resistant bacteria and an ode to a minivan.

“Arresting Contagion: Science, Policy, and Conflicts over Animal Disease Control” by Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode (Harvard University Press, $49.95, 480 pages).
About 60 percent of all infectious human diseases are shared with other vertebrate animals, and in this book Alan Olmstead, distinguished research professor of economics, and Paul Rhode recount how early efforts combating livestock infections through border control, food inspection and creation of federal research labs turned the United States from a disease-prone nation into a world leader in controlling communicable diseases.

“In the Red: A Novel” by Elena Mauli Shapiro (Little, Brown and Company, $25, 288 pages).
In this darkly erotic novel about a good girl gone bad, Irina arrives at college where she quickly abandons ordinary student life for an affair with an older, mysterious man. For the first time, Irina feels free, but soon finds herself trapped by her lover and his mysterious work. Shapiro holds a master of arts degree in comparative literature from UC Davis (2010.)

To keep up with other new books from UC Davis authors and author appearances on campus, subscribe to the UC Davis Stores’ newsletter, published by author event coordinator Paul Takushi (who helped select titles for this list). Send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “newsletter subscribe” in the subject heading. Books by UC Davis authors are also for sale at the bookstore in the campus authors section, or can be ordered by calling (530) 752-2944 or e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More recent releases

“Soundtracks of Asian America” by Grace Wang (Duke University Press, $23.95, 228 pages). Wang, an associate professor of English, explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class and belonging, and how they navigate racialization in Western classical music, American pop and Mandarin-language popular music.

“Drone” by Mike Maden (Putnam, $9.99, 544 pages). The head of a private security firm specializing in drone technologies takes on a drug cartel that has assaulted a group of American students and in doing so unleashed a host of repercussions. Maden earned his master’s degree and doctorate (1985 and 1990) in political science at UC Davis.

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness (Penguin Group, $28.95, 561 pages). This volume brings to a close the New York Times bestselling trilogy about witch and historian Diana Bishop, and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont.  Harkness, who holds a doctorate in history from UC Davis and was an assistant and associate professor at UC Davis for seven years, is a history professor at the University of Southern California.

“Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: A Graphic Novel” by Anya Ulinich (Penguin Books, $17, 361 pages). Ulinich, who holds a master of fine arts degree in visual arts (2000) from UC Davis, turns her sharp eye toward the strange, often unmooring world of “grown-up” dating in this darkly comic graphic novel.

“Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Get Wrong, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor (BenBella Books Inc., $12.30, 199 pages). Bacon, an associate faculty member in the UC Davis nutrition department, describes the book as an insider’s guide to nutrition, bodies and the misunderstandings about them.

“Fantasy Islands: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis” by Julie Sze (University of California Press, $26.95, 248 pages). Sze, associate professor and director of the American studies program at UC Davis, examines the rise of China as a leading global manufacturer and the costs and dangers to the environment that poses.

“The Ploy of Instinct: Victorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance” by Kathleen Frederickson (Fordham University Press, $75, 236 pages).  Frederickson, an assistant professor of English, traces how instinct’s definition changed through studies of parliamentary papers, pornographic fiction, accounts of Aboriginal Australians, suffragette memoirs, and scientific texts in evolutionary theory, sexology and early psychoanalysis.

“The Tone of Our Times: Sound, Sense, Economy, and Ecology” by Frances Dyson (The MIT Press, $35, 208 pages). Frances Dyson, emeritus professor of cinema and technocultural studies, examines the role of sound in the development of economic and ecological systems that are today in crisis.

The Norton Anthology of World Religions, Volume 1: Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Volume 2: Judaism, Christianity, Islam; by various authors and editors (W.W. Norton & Company, $100, 4,448 pages). This landmark work examines the six major religions. The Judaism section was edited by David Biale, the Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History.

“A de activista” by Martha E. Gonzalez and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara (7 Stories Press, $9.99, 32 pages). This is the Spanish-language version of the successful 2013 book “A is for Activist” illustrated by Nagara, who holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from UC Davis. (1993.) This is an alphabet book for families who want their kids to grow up aware of activism, environmental justice and civil rights.

“ReCombinatorics: The Algorithmics of Ancestral Recombination Graphs and Explicit Phylogenetic Networks” by Dan Gusfield (MIT Press, 600 pages, $60). Dan Gusfield, professor of computer science, examines combinatorial algorithms to construct genealogical and exact phylogenetic networks, particularly ancestral recombination graphs. The algorithms produce networks that serve as hypotheses about the true genealogical history of observed biological sequences and can be applied to practical biological problems. Gusfield is also co-author of “The Stable Marriage Problem: Structure and Algorithms” and author of “Algorithms on Strings, Trees, and Sequences.”:

“Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire” edited by John Slater (Ashgate, 326 pages, $109.95). This book edited by Slater, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, explores Spain’s global empire in which a variety of medical cultures came into contact, and occasionally conflict. The book draws upon sources including drama, poetry, travel accounts and Inquisitorial documents and surveys a regional scope from Mexico to Germany.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.