Skip to content

  • Print
Arts and Culture

Holiday gift ideas: Books, music and more from Pacific authors and artists

Nov 21, 2017

Books and music by University of the Pacific authors and artist make a welcome gift all year round, but especially for the holidays. On this list you'll find books about women entrepreneurs, Latin women filmmakers, and girls growing up in the post-World War II United States. You'll also find several books on education, the Sacramento River and building apps. Three Pacific alumnae have written fiction books that are listed here. Music-lovers will find a CD of classical music for soloists and ensembles that feature a professor from Pacific's Conservatory of Music. Why not give a Pacific Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes membership to that hard-to-buy-for family member who's 50 or older. Have a George Moscone fan on your list? Why not make a gift in the fan's name to a crowdfunding effort to complete a documentary on Moscone's life.  

Books - Nonfiction

Boss Lady cover"Boss Lady: How Three Women Entrepreneurs Built Successful Big Businesses in the Mid-Twentieth Century," by Edith Sparks, The University of North Carolina Press (June 19, 2017), $81 hardcover, $19.99 Kindle Book, $17 paperback, 326 pages. The book by Edie Sparks, Pacific's vice provost of undergraduate education, tells of three first-generation breakthrough women entrepreneurs whose stories are absent most histories. Sparks shows how these women - Tillie Lewis, founder of Flotill Products, Olive Ann Beech, cofounder of Beech Aircraft, and Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farm - rose in the business world before women had broad access to higher education, federal programs to encourage women entrepreneurs or laws against credit discrimination.

The App Factory Playbook cover"The App Factory Playbook," by Drew Gorham, Lioncrest Publishing (June 2017), $10.99 (Paperback), 136 pages. Pacific alumnus Drew Gorham '10, founder of App Factory, offers a book written based on his experience at branding agencies and his own consulting firm that gives step-by-step instructions on defining, designing and developing mobile apps. The book shows the reader how to create product specs and find designers and developers on a budget.


Serving Students Who Are Homeless cover"Serving Students Who Are Homeless," by Ronald E. Hallett and Linda Skrla, Teachers College Press (December 2016), $36.95, 160 pages. The book by Ronald Hallett, an associate professor in University of the Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, and Linda Skrla, professor and chair of the school's Department of Educational Administration and Leadership, serves as a guide to educational leaders working to help homeless and highly mobile students facing hurdles to access and academic success.

Latin American Women Filmmakers cover"Latin American Women Filmmakers: Social and Cultural Perspectives" ("Paso Por Aqui Series on the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage"), by Traci Roberts-Camps, University of New Mexico Press (June 2017), $75, 208 pages. Traci Roberts-Camps, an associate professor of Spanish in Pacific's Department of Modern Languages and author of "Gendered Self-Consciousness in Mexican and Chicana Women Writers: The Female Body as an Instrument of Political Resistance," in her latest book looks at the work of women film directors from Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Roberts-Camps writes that they relied on their creativity to overcome the marginalization from the Latin American film industry, lower budgets and inadequate distribution. The book has been called an "insightful exploration" that is "relevant to the study of literature as well as film."

Sacrament cover"Sacrament: Homage to a River," by Geoff Fricker and Rebecca Lawton, Heyday (November 2013), $45, 160 pages. Pacific alumnus Geoffrey Fricker '69 supplies his work - atmospheric photographs revealing the geology, salmon runs, fluvial morphology and the impacts of man on the Sacramento River - for a book written by Rebecca Lawton. Fricker's black-and-white photos emphasize the river's wild ecosystem and the human influence.

American Girls and Global Responsibility cover"American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War," by Jennifer Helgren, Rutgers University Press (April 2017), $56.65 (hardcover), 256 pages. Jennifer Helgren, an associate professor of history at University of the Pacific and the coeditor of "Girlhood: A Global History," has written a book to close the gap in U.S. history about American girls and their roles as productive citizens in the post-World War II United States. She shows how age and gender work together to form girls' identities, configure roles and more.

The Refiner's Fire cover"The Refiner's Fire: An Odyssey of Faith," by Richard Bastear, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 2017), $15.99 (paperback), 440 pages. This autobiography by Pacific alumnus Richard Bastear '70 EDU tells of his journey to God - growing up after World War II, military service in Italy, sexual addiction, joys and sorrows of ministry, and more.


Helping Parents Understand Schools cover"Helping Parents Understand Schools: A Different Perspective on Education and Schooling in America," by Lyndon Furst, Information Age Publishing (December 2016), $54.36 (hardcover), $24.99 (paperback), 232 pages. Pacific alumnus Lyndon "Jerry" Furst '94 EDU, who has worked as a teacher and administrator at private Adventist schools and served 19 years on a public school board, has written a book to help parents to overcome misunderstandings about today's school system. The book strives to provide parents an alternative way of looking at public education.


Books - Fiction

Miguel and the Grand Harmony cover"Miguel and the Grand Harmony," by Matt de la Peña, Disney Press (October 2017), $13.75 (hardcover), $10.99 (Kindle book), 48 pages. Alumnus and Newbery Medal winner Matt de la Peña '96 and Pixar artist Ana Ramirez pair up with Pixar Studios' film, "Coco," for this jacketed picture book. The book features an original story based on the movie's characters and vibrant artwork. It is intended for readers ages 4 to 8. Disney Pixar's "Coco," "the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion," opened in U.S. theaters Nov. 22.

Postcards from Summertown cover"Postcards from Summertown: A Year in Oxford," by Sasha Kasoff Moore, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 2017), $15 (paperback), 110 pages. Pacific alumna Sasha Kasoff Moore '15 recently return from spending a year in Oxford, England, and produced a book of poetry and photos to tell a story of living abroad for the second time with her husband, Richard Edmund Moore.



Emblements cover"Emblements," by Laura Beatrice Thomas, (March 2017), $16.95 (paperback), 268 pages. Pacific McGeorge School of Law alumna Laura Beatrice Thomas '84 LAW writes a book about two college roommates who go their separate ways and 30 years later one of them learns that the other has died suddenly only to leave her in charge of the deceased woman's legal affairs. The survivor travels to a rural Iowa community where she becomes entangled in her old roommate's past life and comes to realize that she has to examine her own life to determine how to move forward.

A Perfect Plan cover"A Perfect Plan," by Alyssa Drake, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $12.99, 262 pages. The debut novel by Pacific alumnus Alyssa Drake, a 2000 Pacific graduate with a bachelor's in business with a concentration in French literature, is a historical romance suspense work set in 1850s England. It won the Obsessed by Books' 2016 Indie Award for Best Historical Read.



Gift of music

Dancing at the Pink House"Dancing at the Pink House," Patricia Shands, released by Snow Leopard Music, $12 CD, $9.50 MP3. A recording of "Dancing at the Pink House" by Patricia Shands, a professor of clarinet in Pacific's Conservatory of Music, was the title song for a CD of music for soloists and ensembles. The piece for clarinet and piano was featured on the Classical Discoveries Festival of New American Music on WPRB in Princeton, New Jersey.

Gift of lifelong learning

OLLI@Pacific, one of 120 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes nationwide, offers a rich array of classes and learning opportunities designed for adults 50 and older. The holiday discount for a gift membership for 2017-18 is $30 and offers the same benefits as an "active member": a full semester of weekly lectures, notices about upcoming speakers, events and enrollment, free on-campus parking, free admission for two to Pacific Conservatory of Music concerts, discounts at Valley Brew Take 5 Jazz club and Haggin Travel, and more. Participants can explore academic and general interest classes in a friendly, intellectually challenging environment without the stress of tests and grades. For more information about OLLI@Pacific and a gift membership, visit or call 209.946.7658.

Gift of Giving

George Moscone Documentary Project: In May, the George R. Moscone Institute for Public Service ceased operations and handed over its assets to University of the Pacific, including more than 80 hours of footage for an unfinished documentary about Moscone's life. In collaboration with the Moscone family and Pacific students, and with the help of a crowdfunding effort, the university will complete the documentary that will tell George Moscone's remarkable life story and preserve his legacy for generations to come. Learn more and give a gift in a loved one's name, visit

Support Pacific: During this season of giving, holiday shoppers can take a moment to renew their support for University of the Pacific by giving in the name of a loved one to the area of the university that means the most to you. Choose from our list of opportunities for giving or designate the gift for an area of your choice when filling out our giving form. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will help Pacific students to live, learn and lead with purpose.

Apparel, gifts and accessories to show Pacific pride

University of the Pacific's bookstore can make any holiday season orange and black. Shop online at the bookstore's website for a wide selection of Pacific apparel, including many gifts under $25. T-shirts and hoodies, gloves and beanies, coffee cups and water bottles, and even Christmas ornaments with help show off pride in Pacific. There's jewelry, glassware, electronics and more. Still stumped on what to get? Narrow down the possibilities by going to the "Collections" scroll down menu near the top of

About University of the Pacific
Founded in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education 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 areas of study in nine schools and colleges, including 25 graduate programs and 10 accelerated programs. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes its San Francisco Campus, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and graduate programs in health, food and technology fields, and Sacramento Campus, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and graduate programs in health, education, business, public policy and data science. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |
Visit our newsroom to see this and other news from University of the Pacific:
Search our media sources database:

Join University of the Pacific on: Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Youtube