Reediana Briefs

Patricia Wallace Garlan

Patricia Wallace Garlan ’48 has published Sea Change: The Uncertain Realm of the Married (Summerland Publishing, 2012). The story, set in November 1963, focuses on Katherine Somerset, an educated, cultivated woman in her 30s, who appears to have it all. She is, however, unaccountably dissatisfied with her life, which leads to a search for a deeper experience during her vacation in Hawaii. The events in the U.S. are an undercurrent of the story, and as Katherine challenges her customary, “customized” world, she is perhaps an embodiment of the changing times and a new generation of Americans.

Anne-Marie Levine

Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter, by Anne-Marie Levine ’61, is available in a signed and numbered edition, at Amazon or connect with Anne-marie by email. The book is chapter one of a 12-chapter artists’ book.


Jenny Strauss Clay

Homer’s Trojan Theater: Space, Vision, and Memory in the IIiad, by Jenny Strauss Clay ’62, professor of classics at the University of Virginia, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. Jenny suggests new ways of approaching ancient narratives—not only with one’s ear, but also with one’s eyes—and argues that the loci system of mnemonics, usually attributed to Simonides, is already fully exploited by the Iliad poet to keep track of his cast of characters and to organize his narrative. Jenny suggests that Reedies may also be interested in having a look at the book’s accompanying website.

Connie Crooker

Melanoma Mama: On Life, Death, and Tent Camping, by Connie Crooker ’69, was published in April. The book describes the cross-country, solo tent-camping trip Connie took to celebrate her recovery from stage four melanoma diagnosis and treatment. “I gradually discovered that I could begin to enjoy my former activities, even if in limited form, so I have been adding them back into my life,” she writes. “One thing I have loved is marathon, cross-country tent-camping trips; just me and my overpacked car, my AAA maps, and my wanderlust. So, six months after my last radiation treatment, when I had mustered enough energy to conceive of it, that’s what I decided to do.” Connie is working on two additional Melanoma Mama books, Avoiding the Tuscan Sun: Melanoma Mama in Italy and Life in the Slow Lane: Melanoma Mama as Caregiver. Ten percent of the profits from the sale of Melanoma Mama books will go to melanoma research.

A first collection of poems, Conversation with a Skeleton, by Edward Fisher ’69, was published this year by Trafford. Described as at once passionate and lyrical, Conversation is both a lament for and a defense of a lost Bohemia. In it, Edward plumbs the depths of a mood of disquietude, defiant in the face of certain trends in American culture—its unchecked militarism, its imperial propaganda, and the corporate colonization of consciousness—all of which show little sympathy for poets and tend to marginalize them, dismiss them, or even steer them toward martyrdom. In his second collection, Darwin’s Circus, childlike joy and wonder accompany Edward’s spiritual wrestling with the meaning of love and death in a celebration of our earthly paradise.

Lorna Cutts Martens

Lorna Cutts Martens ’69 has published The Promise of Memory: Childhood Recollection and Its Objects in Literary Modernism (Harvard University Press, 2011). In this first sustained look at childhood memories, as depicted in the works of Marcel Proust, Rainier Maria Rilke, and Walter Benjamin, Lorna opens a new perspective on early recollection—how it works, why it is valuable, and how shifts in our understanding are reflected in both scientific and literary writings. Lorna is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Virginia.

M. Boyd Wilcox

M. Boyd Wilcox MAT ’69 has published Two to Four, a personal documentation of a significant third place in downtown Corvallis, Oregon. “Third place,” says Boyd, “represents that broad array, down through cultures and across time and geography, of informal public places where many people experience a chunk of their social life.” (First and second go to home and work, respectively.) “Familiar third place examples include German beer gardens, hair salons, bookstores, French bistros, and, of course, coffee houses.” Boyd’s book includes interviews with 20+ patrons, and sections covering quirky subjects such as overheard conversations; music, noise, and aural ambiance; the conundrum of the restroom light switch; table vulture; and see and be seen. “The book is arranged in journal fashion, as the experience of writing this unfolded before my very eyes, as I spent over four years sitting, sipping, watching, listening, and writing about the social dynamics of this established place.” Interested readers may obtain copies online.

Jeffrey Kovac ’70, professor of chemistry at the University of Tennessee, is coeditor of the book Roald Hoffman on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry (Oxford University Press, 2011). Though known best for his 50-year career in chemistry, Nobel laureate Roald Hoffman also wrote extensively about the relationship of chemistry to philosophy, literature, and the arts. In this book, Jeff and coeditor Michael Weisberg present 28 of Hoffmann’s most philosophically significant essays and lectures, many of which are not widely accessible. Organized under the general headings of chemical reasoning and explanation, writing and communicating, art and science, education, and ethics, these stimulating essays provide invaluable insight into the teaching and practice of science.

Jeremy Popkin
Jeremy Popkin

Jeremy Popkin ’70 published two books in 2011, La presse de la Revolution: Journaux et journalistes, 1789–1799 (Odile Jacob) and A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution (Blackwell/John Wiley). His book on the Haitian Revolution has been praised as a beautifully executed account of one of the most fascinating events in modern history—the only successful slave revolt in world history and the first time people of color overthrew a European colonial regime to establish an independent country.

Robert Slavin

Robert Slavin ’72, professor of education at Johns Hopkins University and at the University of York, has published Damp Yankees: Another American Gobsmacked by England (iUniverse, 2011). What is it really like to be an American living in England? Robert provides an informative and provocative insider’s glimpse into the heart of England, allowing for a fresh perspective for Americans who want a better understanding of the lovely island of Britain and its people, exotic customs, and ancient traditions.

Davd Sterry

Old-school noir meets the new millennium in Confessions of a Sex Maniac by David Sterry ’78. This is a story of obsession, murder, and the underbelly of San Francisco, with a low-level underling bagman sex maniac, who will stop at nothing to get the thing he longs for most—a prize as beautiful as she is deadly—the Snow Leopard. His search takes him deep into the seedy groin of San Francisco’s notorious Polk Gulch, where he must choose: sex or death? “Coal eyes with glowing embers in the center made my breath syncopate, and I could almost feel her long red claws at the end of her paws digging into the small of my back.” A Henry Miller Award finalist, Confessions is a tribute to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Ellroy, and all those hard-boiled, tender-hearted noir writers David holds near and dear to his heart, brain, and other essential organs. The New York Times reports, “Sterry writes with comic brio . . . eye-opening, astonishing, brutally honest, and frequently funny... graphic, politically incorrect, and mostly unquotable in this newspaper.”

Michael Hoberman

New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America, by Michael Hoberman ’86, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2011. The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. In New Israel/New England, Michael tells the story of the Sephardic merchants who traded and sojourned in Boston and Newport between the mid-17th century and the era of the American Revolution. He also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people.

Sarah Wadsworth

Sarah Wadsworth ’86 is coauthor of Right Here I See My Own Books: The Woman’s Building Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). On May 1, 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago opened its gates to an expectant public eager to experience its architectural beauty, technological marvels, and vast array of cultural treasures. One of the most popular attractions was the Woman’s Building, a monumental exhibit hall filled with the products of women’s labor—including more than 8,000 volumes of writing by women. Right Here examines the progress, content, and significance of this historic first effort to assemble a comprehensive library of women’s texts. Sarah is associate professor of English at Marquette.

Brittney Corigan (McElroy)

Navigation, a first collection of poetry by Brittney Corrigan (McElroy) ’94, was published by the Habit of Rainy Nights Press in April. Navigation describes an arc of passage guided by the uncertain stars her grandfather revealed to her and those he kept hidden. She enters the uncharted waters and unmapped lands where she must establish the way not only for herself, but also for her child with autism. The collection is a fluid narrative not only about generations, but also the act of generating one’s own life both inside and outside of the boundaries laid by family. Poet Maxine Scates [English, 1989–2006] says: “The pulse of every day is made extraordinary as she chronicles the struggles and joys of family in a voice all too aware of a difficult world made all the more dear by our precarious place in it.”

Monika Wieland

A Guide to the Birds of San Juan Island by Monika Wieland ’07, was published in 2011 by Orca Watcher. Over 300 species of birds have been documented on San Juan Island, drawn to the variety of habitats found in its shorelines, farmlands, forests, and prairies. This book provides visitors with a quick entry into the experience of bird watching in this lush environment. A biology major at Reed, Monika now lives in Friday Harbor, Washington.