Friends of the Old Dominion University Libraries

Spring 2003 Newsletter

Ninth Annual Author Dinner

Each year the Friends of the Library host a Spring dinner, welcoming a noted author to speak and honoring one of our exceptional faculty. This year the Author Dinner is scheduled for April 7, in the River Rooms of Webb University Center. Our guest author this year is Sheri Reynolds, and our outstanding faculty honoree is Professor Michele Darby.

Ms. Reynolds, an associate professor of English and the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature in the Department of English, has been a member of the university's faculty since 1997. Originally recruited to teach courses in creative writing, Ms. Reynolds quickly proved herself in the literature classroom as well. Today she consistently receives exemplary evaluation scores from students ranging from first-semester undergraduates to graduate students who have published books themselves; many students cite her as their "all-time favorite teacher." Most notable among her many scholarly accomplishments are her three critically acclaimed novels. Ms. Reynolds's first novel, Bitterroot Landing, was her publishers' nominee for the 1995 GRANTA Young American Author Award. Her second novel, The Rapture of Canaan, reached the top position on the bestseller lists of The New York Times and USA Today. Following publication of her third novel, A Gracious Plenty, a reviewer wrote that Ms. Reynolds had "broken the perhaps mythical barrier ... [of writing] a third novel after a book that was an enormous financial success. In this line of work, then, she has shown not only increasing mastery of her craft and of the undefined form of long prose fiction, but discipline and determination This year she was the recipient of one of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Awards, the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's colleges and universities.

Michele Darby completed her bachelor and master of science degrees in dental hygiene at Columbia University. She has been a full-time faculty member at Old Dominion University since 1974 where she served seven years as chairman and over 17 years as graduate program director. In May 1981, Michele was an official guest of the Chinese Ministry of Health and Education, sharing current dental hygiene concepts and techniques with Chinese dentists. She also has lectured in Korea, Yugoslavia, Moldova, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy. She was a 1993 recipient of the Virginia State Council on Higher Education Faculty Award. She is one of few faculty at Old Dominion University who has earned the titles of Eminent Scholar and University Professor.

2003 Author Dinner
Date: April 7, 2003
Time: 6:00 p.m. Reception / Cash Bar
7:00 p.m. Dinner / Program
Location: River Rooms, Webb Center
Cost: $20 per person

To make reservations: Make your check payable
to Friends of the Library, and mail it to
2003 FoL Author Dinner
229 Perry Library
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529-0256

For more information: 683-4141

Recent Events

Fall Book Sale
The Fall Book Sale featured extended hours over the Halloween weekend, and resulted in $2,926 in sales!

Baskets for Books
The Lady Monarchs triumphed in a match against Virginia Commonwealth University at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on January 24. With 5836 in attendance, a total of $1665 was generated for Baskets for Books!

Fall Forum
It was standing room only at the creative and informative 2002-03 Fall Forum, as two Old Dominion researchers, Dr. Martina Doblin and Dr. John Adam, offered presentations highlighting their fields of study. Dr. Doblin, a Research Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is using digital images of microscopic marine organisms to develop a K-12 curriculum which combines the disciplines of science and art. Dr. Adam discussed some common and not-so-common patterns in nature in terms of their mathematical constructs.

Book Review

In the city of Bast, in Nick Smith’s novel Milk Treading (Luath Press, 2002), the mayor is embattled with the Church, gangs are at war in the slums, class distinctions are important and racial tensions are at a boiling point. The controlling denizens of Bast are cats, the racial tensions are with dogs, and the mayor is a lion. We view this world primarily through the eyes of Julius Kyle, a (feline) novelist-turned-journalist who is trying to make sense of his morally corrupt world by investigating the gang conflicts. It is gritty in parts – there are vicious fights – and there is love, betrayal, grinding poverty and political corruption. Smith has a marvelous, sardonic and very dry wit that serves to keep the story from being relentlessly depressing. This is a deeply disturbing, thought-provoking and quite remarkable novel. It offers an edgy and inventive approach to social commentary.
– Lisa Murray