Alumni Books of 2021

by | Dec 14, 2021 | Alumni Authors

New releases by 26 Aggie authors this year include a science fiction superhero novel, a personal story of adoption and a guide to Sacramento hiking trails. Alumni showed their variety of expertise in the nonfiction realm as well, covering such topics as plant biology, migrant incarceration and the grammar of Patwin. Check out UC Davis Magazine’s full list for 2021.


In her fifth book, Luck of the Titanic (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2021), Stacey Lee, J.D. ’96, introduced British Chinese acrobat twins Valora and Jamie, who are traveling to America aboard the ill-fated ship.

Part science fiction and part superhero story, We Could Be Heroes (Mira Books, 2021) by Mike Chen ’00, told the story of unlikely friends searching for the truth about their pasts.

Molly Ringle, M.A. ’03, published two new standalone queer fantasy books in 2021: Sage and King and Lava Red Feather Blue (Central Avenue Publishing).

Sadie Hoagland, M.A. ’09, set her debut novel, Strange Children (Red Hen Press, 2021), in a desert polygamist commune.

In her second novel, Something Unbelievable (Random House, 2021), Maria Kuznetsova, M.A. ’10, alternated between two stories: a grandmother’s escape from the Nazis and a new mother’s struggle to balance her roles.

Department of English Ph.D. candidate Tom Lin reimagined the classic Western through the eyes of a Chinese American assassin in The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu (Little, Brown and Company, 2021).


A third edition of The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War (Cambridge University Press, 2021) by G.D. (Gary) Solis, J.D. ’71, is a survey of the rapidly changing law of armed conflict intended for undergrads and law students.

Monica DeHart ’94 covered China’s growing presence in Latin America and what it portends for the future in  Transpacific Developments: The Politics of Multiple Chinas in Central America (Cornell University Press, 2021).

Kathleen A. Cairns, Ph.D. ’95, showed how women were at the center of a broader and more inclusive environmental movement at the turn of the 20th century in At Home in the World: California Women and the Postwar Environmental Movement (University of Nebraska Press, 2021).

Jill P. Ingram, M.A. ’98, traced how economic forces drove creativity in drama from medieval civic processions and guild cycle plays to the early Renaissance in Festive Enterprise: The Business of Drama in Medieval and Renaissance England (University of Notre Dame Press, 2021).

Plant biologist Beronda Montgomery, Ph.D. ’01, explained what humans can learn from plant behavior in Lessons from Plants (Harvard University Press, 2021).

Sarah Klotz, M.A. ’10, Ph.D. ’14, analyzed pedagogical philosophies and curricular materials during the first term of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School for Writing Their Bodies: Restoring Rhetorical Relations at the Carlisle Indian School (Utah State University Press, 2021)

Using government correspondence, photographs, oral histories and private documents, Jessica Ordaz, M.A. ’14, Ph.D. ’17, told the story of a detention camp’s evolution in The Shadow of El Centro: A History of Migrant Incarceration and Solidarity (University of North Carolina Press, 2021).

Bringing together two centuries of work by linguists before him, Lewis Lawyer, Ph.D. ’15, wrote A Grammar of Patwin (University of Nebraska Press, 2021), the first reference book on the endangered language once spoken in hundreds of Northern California communities.


In Peter Easter Frog (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2021), Erin Dealey ’70, Cred. ’72, introduced a bunch of animal friends who want to do what the Easter Bunny does.

Elana K. Arnold, M.A. ’98 offered The House That Wasn’t There (Walden Pond Press, 2021), a book for middle grade readers about a new friendship between next-door neighbors.


Craig Wilson ’69, J.D. ’72, wrote his debut novel, Kesterson: An Environmental Thriller (Gatekeeper Press, 2021), about a real-life California environmental disaster.

Inspector Lu Fei looked for clues to a brutal murder in rural Northern China in Thief of Souls (St. Martins/Minotaur, 2021) by Brian Klingborg ’90.


Gabrielle Myers, M.A. ’08, explored food production in her poetry collection, Too Many Seeds (Finishing Line Press, 2021).


The Commission (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2021) edited by Jeanne DeFazio ’74, offered a collection of reflections on the impacts of the pandemic, wildfires and racial violence through a theological lens.

Jason Warburg ’84 self-published The Remembering: Reflections on Love, Art, Faith, Heroes, Grief and Baseball in 2021 — collecting his own personal essays written over a period that saw the loss of his mother and father and his job, and then a global pandemic.

In Unnatural Selection (CavanKerry Press, 2021), Andrea Ross, M.A. ’99, recounted her search for her birth families as she worked as a wilderness guide in the Grand Canyon.


John Soares ’82, M.A. ’89, gave detailed route descriptions and maps for 35 trails in the Sacramento area in the new guidebook Urban Trails: Sacramento (Mountaineers Books, 2021).

Deatra Cohen ’87 and husband Adam Siegel, a UC Davis research librarian, offered a guide to the preparations, medicinal profiles and applications of a previously unknown tradition in Ashkenazi Herbalism: Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions of Eastern European Jews (North Atlantic Books, 2021).

Dan Brook, Ph.D. ’97, offered solutions to an age-old problem in Harboring Happiness: 101 Ways To Be Happy (Beacon Publishing Group, 2021).

Dedicated to the science of attention, Amishi P. Jha, Ph.D. ’98, unveiled Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day (HarperOne, 2021), guiding readers to lift mental fog, declutter the mind and strengthen focus.