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Patrick Langham, director of jazz studies, suggests his own musical journey in "Grown Up Listening." Most of the music features Southern artists and composers.

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Arts and Culture

Book and music gifts from Pacific authors and musicians

Nov 26, 2014

Books and music make great holiday gifts. These new titles by authors with University of the Pacific ties will appeal to the foodies, political junkies and biography lovers on your list. Also included are fiction books for children and young adults, along with a new Christmas music CD from Pacific's student recording label.


Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History"Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History," co-edited by Ken Albala, University of California Press, $45 (paperback) or $85 (hardcover), 424 pages. Albala, a history professor at University of the Pacific, co-edited this book with Paul Freedman of Yale University and Joyce E. Chaplin of Harvard University, and wrote Chapter 1. It is the 22nd book written or edited by Albala, who is launching a Food Studies master's program at Pacific's new San Francisco campus starting next fall. Endorsed by the American Historical Association, "Food in Time and Place" provides readers with a broad review of historical research of food, from ancient Mediterranean and medieval societies to France and its culinary domination.

The Food History Reader: Primary Sources"The Food History Reader: Primary Sources," edited by Ken Albala, Bloomsbury Academic, $43, 536 pages. Albala, a history professor at University of the Pacific, has pulled together a global collection of material - cookbooks, fiction and a wide range of food writing - from ancient times to the present. This reader provides information on past culinary ideas and illustrates how historical forces have shaped the way we think about food.

From Famine to Fast Food"From Famine to Fast Food: Nutrition, Diet, and Concepts of Health Around the World," edited by Ken Albala, ABC-CLIO/Greenwood, $35, 293 pages. Albala, a history professor at University of the Pacific, edited this book that looks at how the foods people eat help to shape a region's health. It looks at diet, food security, economic factors and more to understand the influence food has on people's health globally, including the prevalence of "lifestyle diseases."

Children's and Young Adult Fiction

The Princes and the Treasure"The Princes and the Treasure," by Jeffrey Miles, Handsome Prince Publishing, $18, 30 pages. Miles, a professor of management and organizational behavior at University of the Pacific's Eberhardt School of Business, authored a groundbreaking children's story in which two princes meet on a quest to find "the greatest treasure in the land" and save and marry a princess. Instead, the two princes work together and fall in love.

The Infinity Ring Book 8: Eternity"The Infinity Ring Book 8: Eternity," by Matt de la Peña, Scholastic Inc., $10, 192 pages. De la Peña, a 1996 University of the Pacific graduate, has written a second installment in the popular Infinity Ring time-travel series. In this volume, Dak and Sera travel back in time to set things right in the present. His earlier installment in the series was "Infinity Ring Book 4: Curse of the Ancients." De la Peña, who attended Pacific on a basketball scholarship and recently returned to his alma mater to promote diversity in children's literature, has also written five critically acclaimed young adult novels: "Ball Don't Lie," "Mexican WhiteBoy," "We Were Here," "I Will Save You" and "The Living." 

Ben 10 Omniverse: Parallel Paradox"Ben 10 Omniverse: Parallel Paradox," by Joel Enos, Perfect Square Books, $7.50, 64 pages. In his second graphic novel, Enos, a 1993 graduate of University of the Pacific and now editor of Viz Media in San Francisco, brings back Ben 10 to save the universe. The Ben 10 series is one of the most popular boys' action story collections of all time and Omniverse brings together the best of the series.




Taming the Arctic: The 20th Century Renown Arctic Explorer Louise Arner Boyd"Taming the Arctic: The 20th Century Renown Arctic Explorer Louise Arner Boyd," by Durlynn Anema, National Writers Press, $14, 182 pages. Anema, a 1984 graduate of University of the Pacific, writes about Louise Arner Boyd. It is a fascinating tale of an heiress who tried a socialite's life of parties, events and travel, only to turn her attention to the Arctic. She used her millions to plan four expeditions and hire the crew and scientists to expand what we know about the frozen wilderness that intrigued her. She also took thousands of photographs of coastal Greenland.


The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency"The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency," co-edited by Jennifer R. Mercieca '95, '97, Texas A&M University Press, $23, 266 pages. In her second book, Mercieca looks at the impact that campaign rhetoric has beyond Election Day. She explores whether expectations created during a campaign hinder an elected official's ability to enact his or her agenda. The book looks especially at Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Mecieca, who earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at University of the Pacific, is an associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University and co-edited this book with Justin S. Vaughn, assistant professor of political science at Boise State University. Mecieca is also the author of "Founding Fictions."


After the Parade"After the Parade: Adjustments Confronting Military Personnel and Their Families," by Lester L. Westling Jr., Hillwood Publishing Company, $17, 130 pages. Lester L. Westling Jr., a 1952 graduate of University of the Pacific and a retired U.S. Navy chaplain, writes about the cost of war for those in the military and their families. The book provides information to help servicemen and women and their families learn how to manage hazards, cope with separation, and deal with visible and hidden wounds.


University of the Pacific is also home to the oldest conservatory of music in the Western United States and educates some of the finest musical artists and composers, music educators and music therapists.

Christmas at Pacific"Christmas at Pacific" is the latest CD from University of the Pacific's student-run Pac Ave Records label and features holiday classics. Recorded in the university's Owen Hall Studio by 40 musicians and singers with the help of student engineers, "Christmas at Pacific" includes "All I Want for Christmas," "Sleigh Ride," "Do You Hear What I Hear?," "O Holy Night," "Silent Night" and more. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD go to Harmony Stockton, an after-school music and tutoring program in Stockton, Calif. This is the fourth CD from student-run Pac Ave Records. This and other Pac Ave Records CDs can be ordered through Amazon,, or other major digital distribution channels, or by emailing the Pac Ave staff at Visit for more information about Pac Ave Records.

"Feel Good": Pac Ave Records released "Feel Good," an EP by the Darien Fields Band, in November 2013. The rock band, led by University of the Pacific business student Darien Fields '15, is a favorite on campus having won the campus Battle of the Bands contest in 2012 and coming in second in 2013. Buy "Feel Good" at iTunes and ($5.94) or ($5.99 for download; $7 for CD).

"Reminiscences": Recorded at the famed Skywalker Sound studios, "Reminiscences" is the work of nearly 60 University of the Pacific students working with faculty and staff. Pac Ave Records, a student-run label, is distributing the CD with music performed by Pacific's Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Buy the release at ($7.92) or ($9.99 for download; $15 for CD).

"Origins": The 2011-12 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet won a coveted DownBeat Award for best collegiate undergraduate jazz performance based on the "Origins" CD recorded and released in collaboration with music management students and the student recording label, Pac Ave Records. Buy the release at ($8.99) or ($9.99 for download; $14.98 for CD).

Grown Up Listening"Grown Up Listening": This release by Patrick Langham, director of jazz studies at University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music, suggests his own musical journey. Most of the music features Southern artists and composers, with a nod to his association with legendary jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck and the Brubeck Institute at University of the Pacific. Buy the release at iTunes ($9.99), ($12.97 for download and $15 for CD) or ($8.99 for MP3; $23.38 for CD).

"Ferdinand the Bull and Friends": Nina Flyer, professor of cello for University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music and a member of the resident ensemble Trio 180, is featured on this award-winning CD with actor David Ogden Stiers reading poems and stories based on Munro Leaf's 1932 children's story, "The Story of Ferdinand." Performances featuring Flyer have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards - "Shulamit Ran: Three Fantasy Movements/String Quartet No. 1/Nadia Boulanger: Three pieces for cello and piano" recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra and a compilation of Lou Harrison's work recorded with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. "Ferdinand the Bull and Friends" is available on ($17.50).

"Rachmaninov": Frank Wiens, a professor of piano for University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music, has performed internationally and continues to draw enthusiastic audiences on his annual recital tour of the United States. This CD includes Wiens' performance of Rachmaninov's "Third Piano Concerto" with the Slovakia National Orchestra and Rachmaninov's "Piano Sonata No. 1." Professor Weins' CD is available on ($14).

About University of the Pacific
Established in 1851 as the first chartered university in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 undergraduate majors in arts and sciences, music, business, education, engineering and computer science, and pharmacy, and health sciences. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, which is home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, and the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. For more information, visit

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