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The latest books, film, and music by Reedies.

December 1, 2017

A Bungalow of Surprises

Barclay Henderson ’62 

Barclay, a retired entrepreneur, real-estate and restaurant chain operator, has a new book, A Bungalow of Surprises. Drawing from the “surprises that have filled his own bungalow of stories,” this is a treasury of colorful personalities: old and young, rich and poor, domestic and foreign, with lessons of audacity and living life on their own terms. The reader will enter the desert tent and the mind of a nomadic Bedouin woman, spend a year with a geisha, and learn the power of risk from a third-degree black belt whose secret teaching weapon is strudel. Along the way are enchanting ideas and insights from animals, microorganisms, sperm cells, and sphincters. This is a life’s voyage without a dress rehearsal. Barclay notes, “Most experience is new to us, an adventure in surprise and irony. The secret is to embrace those surprises as our most powerful teachers.”

Beyond the Battle of Naupaktos

Lin Sten ’67 

The third volume in Lin’s tetralogy, Arion’s Odyssey, is set in 430 BC. Thanks to Arion’s courageous response to the pirate attack north of the Kaphereos promontory, he earns back some of the trust and goodwill that he lost when he tried to escape his servitude. Then come two naval battles between Athens’s Delian League and Sparta’s Peloponnesian League, and the plague descends on Athens. These are dangerous times that call for a man of courage. If Arion has learned enough of patience and subservience, can he hope for a generous manumission by his owner? The revolt of Lesbos in 428 BC tests Arion’s patience and that of Athens. Maybe Arion has waited too long.

Revival Type: Digital Typefaces Inspired by the Past

Paul Shaw ’76 

Paul, an award-winning designer, typographer, and design historian, has released a new book sure to delight anyone fascinated by typography. A fascinating tour through typographic history, Revival Type provides a visually rich exploration of digital type revival. Many typefaces from the predigital past have been reinvented for use on computers and mobile devices, while other new font designs are revivals of letterforms, drawn from inscriptions, calligraphic manuals, posters, and book jackets. Paul introduces these fonts, many of which are widely used, and engagingly tells their stories. Examples include translations of letterforms not previously used as type, direct revivals of metal and wood typefaces, and looser interpretations of older fonts. Among these are variations on classic designs by John Baskerville, Giambattista Bodoni, William Caslon, Firmin Didot, Claude Garamont, and Nicolas Jenson, as well as typefaces inspired by less familiar designers, including Richard Austin, Philippe Grandjean, and Eudald Pradell. Handsomely illustrated with annotated examples, archival material depicting classic designs, and full character sets of modern typefaces, Revival Type is an essential introduction for designers and design enthusiasts into the process of reinterpreting historical type.

AQA GCSE Drama // Oxford Literature Companions: A Streetcar Named Desire

Annie Fox ’77

Annie has two new books out this year: a new drama textbook and a literature companion text.  Her drama textbook, AQA GCSE Drama, has been approved by the testing agency AQA and is a colorful and accessible presentation with a visual approach throughout to engage students of all abilities. It contains a detailed description and analysis of six set plays, and practical suggestions for drama activities and tasks. The book also features contemporary examples of drama writing, staging, performance, and interpretation throughout. Oxford Literature Companions: A Streetcar Named Desire provides study support for students age 16 and up. The companion features an analysis of the text, including context, theme, genre, and critical views, as well as detailed sections focusing on the writer’s use of language, structure, and dramatic techniques. The book includes activities, practice exam questions, and a glossary. 

The Promise of a New America  

William Paul Wanker ’79 

The Promise of a New America identifies the philosophical, historical, political, economic, social, and cultural causes underpinning the increasing dysfunction of the American republic and the subsequent disenfranchisement of its peoples. William uses these findings to identify a solution to remedy American ills. He argues for building a new form of governance around the concept of human dignity and living a dignified human existence. He proposes an ecocultural community defined both by its naturally occurring biosystem and by the economic and cultural identity of the people involved therein. He challenges all Americans to overthrow their republican form of government by engaging in a campaign for human dignity, supported through the Human Dignity Project,™ which would ensure increasing enfranchisement and not segregation. William has worked for many policy organizations and elected officials in the country: the Oregon Legislature research office, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Education Commission of the States, the US Department of Education, the Center for Public Policy & Contemporary Issues, and the Center for the American West. He holds five ecommerce patents, and has founded and advised technology companies. 

here / still / now

Paul D’Amato ’80 

The west side of Chicago is not the poorest, the oldest, the largest, or the most African American of African American communities. It is just like every other swath of poverty in and around every single city in the U.S. We are led to believe that the only time these communities are in crisis is when something occurs that lands on a front page. But the real crisis is ongoing and it’s one of acceptance—acceptance of the conditions, day in, day out. Yet when Paul is there, visiting someone he knows, or simply stopping someone he has never met, something besides a concern for poverty takes shape. This is what he photographs. When these subjects agree to be photographed, they stand for the best and only example of who they are. The photographs won’t change these neighborhoods—but they remind us that the individuals in the images are as important as any one of us. Paul is a professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. His work is in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Maggie Rudy ’81 

Maggie’s third children’s book is a retelling of the Aesop’s fable and features characters and environments that she built and photographed. The book received a starred review from Kirkus, who raved about the illustration: “Rudy’s intricately constructed miniature tableaux of found materials and felted characters, photographed by her, offer much to pore over . . . Even the gestures of the two mice are carefully orchestrated to show emotion.” The reviewer adds, “There’s always room for another take on a classic, especially when done so well.” 

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Bill Morrison ’87 

Dawson City: Frozen Time pieces together the bizarre true history of a collection of some 500 films dating from the 1910s–1920s, which were lost for over 50 years until being discovered buried in a subarctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon, in Dawson City, located about 350 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Using these permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, archival footage, interviews, and historical photographs to tell the story, and accompanied by an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers (Captain Fantastic), Dawson City: Frozen Time depicts a unique history of a Canadian gold rush town by chronicling the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation—and through that collection, how a First Nation hunting camp was transformed and displaced.

Sun Moon Earth

Tyler Nordgren ’91 

On April 8, 2024, millions of Americans will experience an awe-inspiring phenomenon: a total eclipse of the sun. In Sun Moon Earth, astronomer Tyler Nordgren illustrates how this most seemingly unnatural of natural phenomena was transformed from a fearsome omen to a tourist attraction. From the astrologers of ancient China and Babylon to the high priests of the Maya, Tyler takes us around the world to show how different cultures interpreted these dramatic events. Greek philosophers discovered eclipses’ cause and used them to measure their world and the cosmos beyond. Victorian-era scientists mounted eclipse expeditions during the age of globe-spanning empires. And modern-day physicists continue to use eclipses to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity. Tyler is a professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Redlands and a former board member of the International Dark Sky Association. Sun Moon Earth was named one of Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2016.

Boston Podcast Players

Greg Lam ’96

Boston Podcast Players is a new monthly podcast started by Greg and fellow playwright Mara Palma that features Boston area playwrights in interviews as well as excerpts from full-length plays. Featured in the first season are Mimi Augustin, Mary McCullough, Greg Lam, Mara Elissa Palma, Ken Green, Jecenia Isis Figueroa, Rosa Nagle, and Colleen M. Hughes. These playwrights met in 2016 at Company One Theatre’s PlayLab program, where they made up the PlayLab Unit for that year. They represent a diverse cross section of playwriting styles, ethnicities, experiences, and points of view that are explored during the first season. The podcast is available for free subscription on iTunes and other popular podcast platforms. See bostonpodcastplayers.com.

Who Lives/ Wer lebt

By Elisabeth Borchers

Translated by Caroline Wilcox Reul [Library]

Caroline, one of Reed’s intrepid library staff, has translated from German the work of the esteemed 20th-century poet and editor, Elisabeth Borchers. In this bilingual edition of Borchers’s book, six sections highlight Borchers’s stylistic experimentation, “which ranges from sophisticated, subtle political commentary to inventive rhyme and playful personal narratives.” Caroline is a freelance lexicographer and translator.