Illustrations by Janice Wu
by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea ’49
BJ wrote this groundbreaking study after living in an Iraqi village with husband Bob Fernea ’54 for two years; she wore a veil and talked to locals on their own terms. She went on to a distinguished career in women’s studies, wrote several acclaimed books, and produced a half-dozen films.
by Carl Stevens ’42 [econ 1954–90]ste
This landmark article led to baseball’s current system of salary arbitration, a considerable source of amusement to Carl, who was a lifelong Red Sox fan.
by Gary Snyder ’51
Probably the best known of Reed’s poets, Gary was also one of the first to be identified as part of the Beat movement. He was strongly influenced by Lloyd Reynolds [English and art 1929–69] and David French ’39 [anthro 1947–88].
by Arlene Blum ’66
This gripping literary memoir relates the story of the American Women’s Himalayan Expedition Arlene led in 1978. National Geographic Adventure Magazine ranked it one of the top 100 adventure books of all time.
by David Eddings ’54
This novel of orbs and sorcerers was a runaway hit and propelled David from grocery store clerk to bestselling fantasy author. Dozens of titles followed. After his death, he left a gift to Reed of $20 million.
by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge ’69
“A canticle of visually stunning observations . . . meaning arrives through sensation, the surprised juxtaposition of moment upon moment.”—Poetics Journal. Mei-mei won the American Book Award for these poems; she has written many others and won numerous awards.
by Lee Blessing ’71
Two diplomats, an American and a Soviet, try to break their nations’ nuclear deadlock face to face in an elegant drama that was nominated for both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize—and was loosely based on a real episode.
By Katherine Dunn ’69
This powerful, darkly comic novel about carnival misfits is an underground classic and was a National Book Award finalist. Begins with a line from The Tempest: “This thing of Darkness I Acknowledge mine.” Katherine has also written Attic, Truck, Guyana, and Why do Men have Nipples?
By Robert Chesley ’65
This book of homoerotic plays includes Night Sweat, Jerker, and Dog Plays. One of the best known playwrights of the San Francisco gay scene, Robert wrote some 26 plays, many of which are still being staged today. He was also a theatre critic and composer.
by Howard Rheingold ’68
Howard was among the first writers to recognize the social implications of the internet and explore its myriad subcultures. This book chronicles his odyssey from simulated battlefields in Hawaii to robotics labs in Tokyo.
by John Daniel ’70
This book of essays won the Oregon Book Award. “I should take Mr. Daniel to court for overstressing my emotional stability by revealing, in matchless prose, what a desert is all about,” wrote David Brower. “It hurts to hold back tears when they have no place else to go.”
by Deborah Ross ’68
Far in the future, an interplanetary war has ground to an uneasy halt. A freak accident sends two characters back to a time when their desert world was lush and green and an alien civilization stands on the brink of destruction.
by Nancy Coe Farmer ’63
Three kids acquire superhuman abilities as the result of a nuclear meltdown in 2194 and encounter a ragtag assortment of criminals in the underbelly of Harare. This book won a Newbery Honor in 1994; Nancy has written several other well-received novels for young adults.
by Alison Baker ‘75
Alison won an O. Henry Award for the title story in this collection, described by one reviewer as “juggling quirky compassion, delicate observations, and surprising truths.”
By Janet Fitch ’78
Astrid’s mother murders her ex-lover through a diabolical method. Astrid survives a hellish succession of foster homes only to confront a stark choice: should she testify against her mother? This bestseller was adapted for the screen in 2002.
by Philip Whalen ’51
A quintessential Beat poet, Philip displays humor, intelligence, and honesty in this collection, which demonstrates what he called “continuous nerve movie.”
by Barbara Riddle-Dvorak ’64
Summer intern Bronwen McCuddhy must prove herself worthy to join a team probing the mysteries of genetics, when an unexpected telegram makes her question who she really is and what she wants from life.
by Barbara Ehrenreich ’63
In this classic piece of undercover reportage, Barbara worked as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, and Wal-Mart clerk, chronicling what life is really like in America when you make $6 to $7 an hour.
by Cathy Cobb ’81 et al.
Meet the hedonists and swindlers, monks, and heretics who sweated in garages and over kitchen sinks to discover substances such as plastic, rubber, and aspirin in this engaging history of chemistry.
by Leslie Scalapino ’66
“An enlightened work singing of death, physical pain, social fearfulness, and where when or whether one is,” wrote Alice Notley. “You can’t stop.” Leslie was a leading experimentalist poet, publishing some 30 books of poetry.
by David Henry Sterry ’78
David was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia until he was lured into a much darker world—servicing the lonely women of Hollywood by night.
by Tamim Ansary ’70
The day after 9/11, Tamim sent an anguished email to 20 friends, discussing the attack as an Afghan American. The message reached millions and led to this book about his struggle to unite the two halves of his identity.
by Craig Ryan ’77
In 1966, former truck driver and pet store owner Nick Piantanida set a new record for manned balloon altitude, parachuted, and survived a free fall of 23 miles—just. This book is a real-life tale of adventure, space history, and a plummeting pioneer.
by Alafair Burke ’91
Investigating the brutal murder of a hotshot journalist, Samantha Kincaid finds herself caught in the middle of a personal—and potentially dangerous—struggle between the Portland police and the DA’s office. Third title in Alafair’s acclaimed Samantha Kincaid series.
by Vern Rutsala ’56
“This wonderful book of poetry, which was a 2005 National Book Award finalist, is filled with scintillating visions of life, home, work, and family expressed in accessible language through which the poet magnifies daily events into art.” —National Book Award Judge
by John Sperling ’48 et al.
Forget red state/blue state. The real divide in U.S. politics is Retro America (South, Plains, Mountain West, Appalachia) vs. Metro America (coasts and Great Lakes). John founded the University of Phoenix.
by Richard Crandall ’69 et al.
“It’s rare to say this of a math book, but open Prime Numbers to a random page and it’s hard to put down. Crandall and Pomerance have written a terrific book.”
—Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society
by Kate Christensen ’86
When noted painter Oscar Feldman dies, he leaves behind a wife, a son, and a sister—all duly noted in his New York Times obit. He also leaves a mistress and their twin daughters. Now two rival biographers are circling around the survivors. This novel won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner award.
by Michael Munk ’56
Subtitled Sites and Stories from Our Radical Past, this book offers a glimpse into Portland’s rich radical heritage. “Sat down on my sofa and couldn’t put it down until I finished,” wrote former Portland Mayor Tom Potter. “Fascinating!”
by Lise Funderburg ’82
Pig Candy could fit into several genres—including narrative nonfiction, memoir, travelogue, and biography—but essentially, it’s a book about life, death, and barbecue.
by Benjamin Nugent ’99
An engaging look at the history of nerds and nerdiness. What makes Dr. Frankenstein the archetypal nerd? Where did jocks come from? Can nerds be cool? If not, why is America obsessed with them?
edited by Deepak Sarma ’93
Deepak juxtaposes classic Hindu scriptures with works of reformers and radicals to illuminate the new face of contemporary Hinduism. He has also written Classical Indian Philosophy and An Introduction to Madhva Vedanta.
by Peter S. Goodman ’89
New York Times business reporter traces the root cause of the Great Recession—the gargantuan loads of debt that Americans took on to pursue their dreams, abetted by a complicit banking industry.
by Laleh Khadivi ’98
A Kurdish boy is orphaned in a massacre and then raised by one of the Iranian soldiers who killed his parents. The Independent called this novel “remarkable for its beautiful and brutal poetry.” Winner of a Whiting Writers Award.
by Vanessa Veselka ’10
In a dystopian America on the verge of war, Della makes hoax calls about false bomb threats, but realizes too late that she may be part of something bigger when her phony targets go up in flames. Won the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize.
by John Sheehy ’82
The raw, dramatic, underground history of America’s most distinctive college—yes, Reed!—as told by the people who know it from the inside.
—Compiled by Chris Lydgate ’90, Jim Kahan ’64, Gay Walker ’69, John Sheehy ’82, Kim Durkin ’13, Daniel Ku ’13, and Laurie Lindquist. Blame errors, omissions, and howlers on Lydgate.