A book was left in a different location on campus each day for a lucky finder.
A book was left in a different location on campus each day for a lucky finder.

10 Days of Books By Reedies

Looking for a great book this holiday season? We've got recommendations.

By Britany Robinson | December 6, 2023

Throughout the year, the Reed Magazine team receives news from alumni and faculty who are publishing novels, poetry collections, children’s books, and nonfiction. There are so many compelling stories and fascinating explorations being produced by the Reed community.

We recently picked 10 books by Reedies to leave around campus as a literary scavenger hunt. There are a few days left, and you can follow along on Instagram to see if you recognize the location of the next book. We hope the finders enjoy them!

For everyone else looking for the just-right holiday read, here are some we think you'll enjoy, written and edited by members of the Reed community. (And one that's written about an alum.)

Perhaps one of these reads will be the captivating accompaniment to a hot beverage on a cold winter’s night, or the spark to an enlightening dinner conversation, or the perfect gift for the family member you always struggle to shop for. However you find your way into this list, you’ll be supporting the work of fellow Reedies.

1. The Quickening by Elizabeth Rush ’06

In 2019, fifty-seven scientists and crew set out for Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. Their goal: to learn as much as possible about this mysterious place, never before visited by humans, and believed to be capable of making a catastrophic impact on global sea-level rise.

In The Quickening, Elizabeth documents their voyage and takes readers on a personal journey around a more intimate question: What does it mean to bring a child into the world at this time of radical change?

2. The Thoughts by Sarah Barnsley ’95

This poetry collection explores different manifestations of intrusive thoughts as part of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) before navigating through the twists and turns of recovery and love. The Thoughts inhabits therapists’ treatment rooms, waiting rooms, and everyday documents, appearing in such varied forms as emails, research proposals, and kids’ puzzles. Compassionate and at times painfully humorous, The Thoughts is an act of advocacy, giving voice to critically underrepresented experiences of illness.

3. Leo + Lea by Monica Wesolowska ’89

One boy loves to count. One girl loves to draw. Leo + Lea is a friendship story, inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and cleverly constructed using its mathematical pattern. In this beautifully illustrated book, Monica celebrates our differences, as well as how math connects us to one another.

4. Toad by Katherine Dunn ’69

A previously unpublished novel by Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, Toad is the story of a deeply scarred and reclusive woman who spends her days reading drugstore mysteries, polishing the doorknobs, and waxing the floors. Sally broods over her blighted romances with self-important men, her lifelong struggle to feel at home in her own body, and her wayward early twenties, when she was a fish out of water among a group of eccentric, privileged young people at a liberal arts college. 

5. Welcome Home, Stranger by Kate Christensen ’86

Kate Christensen's newest novel is about an environmental journalist in Washington, DC, who has shunned her New England working-class family for years. Divorced and childless in her middle age, she’s a true independent spirit. She thinks her life is in free fal—until she’s summoned home to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death. Then things really fall apart.

Kate won the PEN-Faulkner award for her last novel, The Great Man

6. California Story by Steven Falk ’83

In this history and memoir of California, Steve Falk covers the years between his grandparents’ arrival in Redondo Beach in 1935 and the COVID pandemic. Each chapter takes place in a different California location and stories include growing up in the uber-suburb of Lakewood; hardcore punks in the Coachella; KGB agents at Disneyland; fortunes made and lost; YIMBYs, NIMBYs, mountain climbing, surfing; and a helicopter assault on Palo Alto.

7. Selected Poems of Calvin C. Hernton co-edited by Lauri Scheyer ’74

Lauri Scheyer co-edited this collection, celebrating visionary poet, Calvin C. Hernton. Hernton was a cofounder of the Umbra Poets Workshop; a participant in the Black Arts Movement, R. D. Laing's Kingsley Hall, and the Antiuniversity of London; and a teacher at Oberlin College. As a pioneer in the field of Black Studies, Hernton developed a theoretical and practical pedagogy with lasting impact on generations of students. He may be best known as an anti-sexist sociologist, but Hernton viewed himself, above all, as a poet.

8. Gary Snyder: Collected Poems by Gary Snyder ’51

This is the first collected edition of the essential, Pulitzer Prize-winning Beat poet Gary Snyder. Following selections from his many books of poetry, this volume concludes with a generous selection, made by Gary himself, of previously uncollected poems from little magazines and broadsides; translations from East Asian literatures; and drafts and fragments never before published.

9. Lighted Distances: Four Seasons on Goodlow Rim by John Daniel ’70

John Daniel’s new hybrid work of meditative poetry with interspersed prose reaches beyond his southcentral Oregon locus over an expanse of both landscape and thought. The poems are pure distillations of experience, most often reflecting on nature and our place in it, a fragile environment made more tenuous as John documents his own encounter with mortality.

10. He, Leo: The Life and Poetry of Lew Welch by Ewan Clark

Best known for his mysterious disappearance in May 1971, Lew Welch was an important voice of the Beat Generation and San Francisco Renaissance. He spoke of key issues that America was facing in the aftermath of World War II—from the rise of consumerism and complacent suburban sensibilities to the threat of environmental disaster.

The first bull-length biography of Lew, He, Leo includes poems, essays, and events—both personal and cultural—to help establish Lew’s importance as a prominent poet and figure during the San Francisco Renaissance.