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June 2018.

June 6, 2018

Fundamentals of Soil Ecology (Third Edition) 

Coauthored by David Coleman ’60 (Academic Press, 2017)

Fundamentals of Soil Ecology offers a holistic approach to soil biology and ecosystem function, providing students and ecosystem researchers with a greater understanding of the central roles that soils play in ecosystem development and function. The textbook emphasizes the increasing importance of soils as the organizing center for all terrestrial ecosystems and provides an overview of theory and practice in soil ecology, from both an ecosystem and an evolutionary biology point of view. This new edition is fully updated, including an expanded treatment of microbial ecology and new sections on advances in molecular techniques and climate change research. David is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia.

A Borneo Healing Romance: Ritual Storytelling and the Sugi Sakit, A Saribas Iban Rite of Healing

Clifford Sather ’61 (Borneo Research Council, 2017)

A Borneo Healing Romance records a 2003 performance of the Sugi Sakit ritual sung by the last living priest bard still able to perform it. The book contains a full text and translation of the ritual together with analysis and detailed commentary. A distinctive feature of the Sugi Sakit was its incorporation of an epic narrative romance featuring the Iban culture hero Bujang Sugi, and a major theme of the book, addressed directly in the final chapter, concerns the way in which romantic love, compassion, and aesthetic beauty were made to serve as instruments of healing. In recording the ritual, Cliff was assisted by his wife, Louise Klemperer Sather ’61, who passed away in 2016.

Aegean Fire

Lin Sten ’67 (self-published, 2018)

In 433 BC in Classical Greece, from his chained position at his oar, Arion catches a glimpse of Athens’s fabled Akropolis through an oar port of the trireme commanded by his nemesis, Smerdis. Despite the fantasies of his childhood as the scion of a wealthy mercantile family on Lesbos, when he had always dreamed of coming here, he now hates Athens. After the Battle of Sybota, due to previous violent insubordination witnessed by Artontes, Arion’s new master, Arion is dispatched to the dreaded mines in Laurion. In 431 BC, like all other movable property, Arion is brought back to Athens for the duration of the first Peloponnesian summer occupation of Attica. After Arion nurses Artontes’s wife and child through the plague, Artontes assigns Arion to an oar bench on one of his cargo ships, but exposure to pirates might be more threatening than the plague, naval battles, or the mines. Aegean Fire is the second volume in Lin’s tetralogy, Arion’s Odyssey.

Lace and Blade 4 

Crossroads of Darkover

edited by Deborah J. Ross ’68
(Marion Zimmer Bradley
Literary Works Trust, 2018)

The Girl from Black Point Rock

Deborah J. Ross ’68
(Marion Zimmer Bradley
Literary Works Trust, 2017)

Two anthologies edited by Deborah have been published this year. Lace and Blade 4, published on Valentine’s Day, offers “a bouquet of sensual, romantic, action-filled stories,” continuing the anthology series Deborah has edited since the first volume was published in 2008. Crossroads of Darkover is the the 18th in the Darkover anthology series and features “tales of decisions, turning points, love lost and found, all in the beloved world of the Bloody Sun,” including one cowritten by Deborah. Last year, Deborah’s novelette “The Girl from Black Point Rock” appeared in Sword and Sorceress 32; it has been recommended for the Nebula Award. 

My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File

Katherine Verdery ’70 (Duke University Press, 2018)

In 1973, Katherine began her doctoral fieldwork in the Transylvanian region of Romania, ruled at the time by communist dictator Nicolae Ceaus,escu. She returned several times over the next 25 years, during which time the secret police—the Securitate—compiled a massive surveillance file on her. Reading through its 2,781 pages, she learned that she was “actually” a spy, a CIA agent, a Hungarian agitator, and a friend of dissidents: in short, an enemy of Romania. In My Life as a Spy, Katherine analyzes her file alongside her original field notes and conversations with Securitate officers. She also talks with some of the informers who were close friends, learning the complex circumstances that led them to report on her, and considers how fieldwork and spying can be easily confused. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Katherine experienced life under it. (See Class Notes.)

Three-Text Edition of Thomas Hobbes’s Political Theory: The Elements of Law, De Cive, and Leviathan 

Edited by Deborah Jones Baumgold ’71 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

For the first time, Thomas Hobbes’s masterpiece Leviathan is presented alongside two earlier works, The Elements of Law and De Cive. By arranging the three texts side by side, Deborah, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Oregon, offers readers an enhanced understanding of Hobbes’s political theory and addresses an important need within Hobbes scholarship. The parallel presentation highlights substantive connections between the texts and makes it easy to trace the development of Hobbes’s thinking. Readers can follow developments both at the micro level of specific arguments and at the macro level of the overall scope and organization of the theory. The volume also includes parallel presentations of Hobbes’s chapter outlines, which serve as a key to the texts and are collected in a précis appendix.

Tortuga: A Confection of Blood and Gold

Thomas Erikson ’71 (Cascade View Publishing, 2017)

The streets are not mean, they are downright vicious in the pirate port of Cayona. Orphans like Jack Higgins scratch a living from errands and mugging drunken pirates. But during a hurricane’s deluge Jack pulls a retching body from the flooded street. It is Old Kit (a centenarian Christopher Marlowe), Cayona’s patriarch. Jack’s reward is to be his protégé—but with Kit in ill health, will he have time to learn to survive Cayona’s literally cutthroat commerce? To save a dying Kit, Jack treks to Hispaniola’s high country and a dead Indian shaman’s haunted cave for a “magic” medicine stone—and stumbles into a terrifying dream where the dead may still live and speak. Jack must escape it and return to save Old Kit, his own future, and soon his own life. The short, fast-paced chapters intersperse Jack’s adventures with the brutal, fantastic, and exotic tall tales told in the taverns: Tom’s first novel “might be a mash-up of Captain Blood meets A Clockwork Orange meets My Dinner with Andre.” 

The Atomic Cafe (digital restoration)

Jayne Loader ’73 (1982/2018)

Jayne and her partners, Pierce and Kevin Rafferty, recently supervised the 4K digital restoration of their 1982 cult classic film, The Atomic Cafe, which was described by the New York Times in its initial release as “a devastating collage-film that examines official and unofficial United States attitudes toward the atomic age in the years immediately after World War II.” The restoration was funded by the Library of Congress and produced by IndieCollect in New York City. It premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018. North American rights to The Atomic Cafe have been acquired by Kino-Lorber. The film will be rereleased in theaters in the summer of 2018.

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food (Second Edition)

Coauthored by Pamela C. Ronald ’82 (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Pam, a geneticist, and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, take the reader inside their lives for roughly a year, allowing us to look over their shoulders so that we can see what geneticists and organic farmers actually do. Their book argues that a judicious blend of two important strands of agriculture—genetic engineering and organic farming—is key to helping feed the world’s growing population in an ecologically balanced manner. This second edition includes a new preface and three new chapters: one on politics and food-related protests such as the Marin County antivaccine movement and the subsequent outbreak of whooping cough, one on farming and food security, and one containing recipes. Existing chapters on the tools of genetic engineering, organic vs. conventional foods, the tools of organic agriculture, and food labeling and legislature have all been updated to reflect developments since the first edition.

Antisemitism, Gender Bias, and the “Hervay Affair” of 1904: Bigotry in the Austrian Alps

Alison Rose ’85 (Lexington Books, 2016)

Alison’s book provides an in-depth study of an episode of Austrian history that had a significant impact on the development of Austrian law; the role of religious institutions; perceptions of Jews, women, and sexuality; conceptions of Austrian bureaucracy and the need for reform; and the relationship between the provinces and the Viennese center. The 1904 arrest and bigamy trial of Frau von Hervay, the Jewish wife of the district captain of a Styrian provincial town, is closely examined to shed light on the relationship between Jews and non-Jews and attitudes towards women and sexuality in the small cities and towns of the Austrian provinces. The case demonstrates that anti-Semitism influenced popular perceptions of Jews and women at the local level and that it targeted women as well as men. The book also provides insight into the public interest generated by sensations such as arrests, suicides, crimes, and trials and the way the press of that time reported on them.

Like a Fat Gold Watch: Meditations on Sylvia Plath and Living

Edited by Christine Hamm ’87
(Fat Gold Watch Press/Lulu.com, 2017)

Christine writes that she “was lucky to gather award-winning writers and artists from around the globe with an incredible variety of backgrounds and expertise” for this anthology inspired by Sylvia Plath. The artists, poets, writers, and essayists who contribute to this work respond to Plath’s work and life—not her death—with images, poems, essays, short stories, and academic texts, appreciating Plath as lively and complex, not as suicidal and one-note.

Notes on Wolves and Ruin

Christine Hamm ’87 (Ghostbird Press, 2017)

Notes on Wolves and Ruin is a collage text of prose poems and historical/scientific excerpts regarding violence, mental illness, women, and werewolves. Poet Mark Bibbins states, “Prepare to be amazed by the vivid and often terrible images . . . as [Christine] blurs the distinction between memory and fantasy, between quotation and invention. There is no moralizing here, though many possible morals emerge, as they often do when wolves are invoked.” Says author and critic Kristina Marie Darling, “Christine Hamm is an exciting and innovative voice in contemporary poetry. . . . By eschewing a main text constrained by its own importance, and embracing the paratextual zone, Hamm opens up the possibility of risk, beauty, and transformation where the reader does not expect to find it.”

When the Eye Sees Itself

Eric Borgerson ’88 (Polylyric Press, 2018)

In a society that segregates Aggressives and Vulnerables from full-fledged Citizens, a culture war rages over access to the powered class. Behind this public conflict lurks a new technology, Quantum Field Resonance Imaging, that enables people to touch minds. Intelligence agencies and hacktivists, cops and criminals, spiritual seekers and purveyors of institutional oppression, commercial opportunists and political revolutionaries race to control its staggering potential. The struggle for power lays bare both a rift and a linkage more fundamental than even the most sacrosanct of divisions, as the battle for the country and world becomes a battle of the mind. When the Eye Sees Itself is Eric’s first major work of fiction; while neither biographical nor autobiographical, it is informed and animated by Eric’s extensive experience with politics and the law as activist, participant, and exile. (See Class Notes.)

How to Transport the Cremains of Your Loved One

Allyson Lazar ’96 (2017)

“Look [the flight attendant] right in the eye and ask them this simple question, ‘But if living children can sit on laps, why can’t dead ones?’” Allyson’s narrative nonfiction piece takes the reader on a darkly funny, heart-wrenching journey through sudden bereavement, framed as advice on “safely transporting home the cremains of your loved one with a sense of dignity and respect and in a fashion that is mostly legal.” It appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Blood and Bourbon. 

The Whiteness Album

Nato Green ’97 (Blonde Medicine, 2018)

Nato’s second comedy album, The Whiteness Album, is now available on most streaming and download platforms, with tracks including “Techies Behaving Badly,” “Trump is Bad at White Supremacy,” and “No One Really Wants to Come to America.” Nato has been summed up “more or less accurately” by the East Bay Express as “erudite and acerbic, a San Francisco–raised father, union organizer, gastronome, bibliophile, and political sparkplug.” He’s also been named San Francisco’s best comedian by SF Weekly, Huffington Post, SFist, and CBS. Besides performing stand-up comedy, Nato has written for multiple media outlets; he created and hosted a live game show, Iron Comic; and he wrote for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on FX and toured nationally with W. Kamau Bell and Janine Brito as Laughter against the Machine. He is currently on sabbatical in Cuba. (See Class Notes.)

Old Gold Mountain 

Bradley W. Wright ’02 (Black Opal, 2018)

In Brad’s first novel, Justin Vincent is a San Francisco–based artist who leads a secret double life as a cat burglar. He likes the freedom, money, and self-determination his unusual career provides, but also increasingly feels that it is a life he fell into by accident. When a valuable painting is stolen from his lover, Valerie, Justin agrees to use his underworld contacts and knowledge of the black market to help. The search leads him ultimately to a mysterious chateau in the south of France and a dangerous web of secrets and lies. To escape with his life and complete his objective, Justin’s skill, luck, and perseverance will be tested to their utmost limit.

A Kingdom Divided: Evangelicals, Loyalty, and Sectionalism in the Civil War Era

April Holm ’03 (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)

In the decades before the Civil War, the three largest evangelical denominations diverged sharply over the sinfulness of slavery. This division generated tremendous local conflict in the border region, where individual churches had to define themselves as being either northern or southern. In response, many border evangelicals drew upon the “doctrine of spirituality,” which dictated that churches should abstain from all political debate. A Kingdom Divided uncovers how evangelical Christians in the border states influenced debates about slavery, morality, and politics from the 1830s to the 1890s. Using little-studied events and surprising incidents from the region, April argues that evangelicals on the border powerfully shaped the regional structure of American religion in the Civil War era. April is assistant professor of history and associate director of the Center for Civil War Research at the University of Mississippi; her book is part of the series Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War.

Indecorous Thinking: Figures of Speech in Early Modern Poetics

Colleen Rosenfeld ’03 (Fordham University Press, 2018)

Indecorous Thinking is a study of artifice at its most conspicuous: it argues that early modern writers turned to figures of speech like simile, antithesis, and periphrasis as the instruments of a particular kind of thinking unique to the emergent field of vernacular poesie. The classical ideal of decorum described the absence of visible art as a precondition for rhetoric, civics, and beauty: speaking well meant speaking as if off-the-cuff. Against this ideal, Colleen, an associate professor of English at Pomona College, argues that one of early modern literature’s richest contributions to poetics is the idea that indecorous art—artifice that rings out with the bells and whistles of ornamentation—celebrates the craft of poetry even as it expands poetry’s range of activities. Drawing widely across the arts of rhetoric, dialectic, and poetics, Indecorous Thinking offers a defense of the epistemological value of form: not as a sign of the aesthetic, but as the source of a particular kind of knowledge we might call poetic.

Ship It

Britta Lundin ’07 (Freeform, 2018)

Claire is a 16-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is
an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at
a local Comic-Con panel, it’s a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire’s assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated—after all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest’s character and his male frenemy. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay—because he’s not. Definitely not. Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands; in order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community—as well as with their fans—they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colorful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show, and a funny, tender, and honest look at all the feels that come with being a fan. Britta also writes for the hit TV show Riverdale; she was a poli sci major at Reed, but, according to wife Aya Burgess ’07, “soon after graduation decided she wanted to write for The West Wing, not work in the West Wing.”

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Principles of Microeconomics

Nick Huntington-Klein ’09 (Kona Publishing, 2018)

One prominent feature of the standard principles of microeconomics curriculum is the use of mathematical and graphical models—all those crazy graphs! These models are in the course because they represent economic concepts. Nick, known at Reed as Nick Chandler-Klein, provides a textbook that shows the exact steps necessary to work with these models and also shows why each of these steps works. Nick is an assistant professor of economics at California State University–Fullerton; he was inspired to write this book through his experience teaching Principles of Microeconomics at Fullerton and at Seattle University, as well as through his work tutoring in person and online.

Tags: Books, Film, Music