Reediana Briefs

Vern Rutsala

The Long Haul 
By Vern Rutsala ’56

This final collection by the late Vern Rutsala is a stunning testament to his incisive sensitivity and his lyrical voice, which commands nostalgic tones while constructing vignettes of middle-class life. His enduring emphasis on the West—particularly Oregon—serves as a striking backdrop. While the narrative is intentionally placed in time and space, the reader senses a profound timelessness as Vern chronicles the cyclical nature of life.  “That foolishness matures in us / now as the map forgets the route / as we eke our way over all/those years between reliving / all the lost discoveries/that mint themselves new again.” —Sylvia Randall-Muñoz ’15

Don Schuman

Missionaries from Outer Space
By Don Schuman ’57
(CreateSpace, 2015)

Aliens from the planet Durva land on earth and announce their love and good intentions toward the “Earthlings.” Are they spiritual emissaries or invaders? Keniston, a Durvan missionary, warns President Subornable: “If you reject our suggestions and it turns out we’re right, you’re facing total ecological collapse. The consequences of our position are all to the good, while the consequences of rejecting our position are absolutely devastating.” Clever allusions to “Donald Rump” and “Faux News” pepper Don’s fictive universe as both Durvans and Earthlings question the Earth’s future, and ultimately, its fate. —SRM

Jon Appleton

Jon Meets Yoshiko  
By Jon Appleton ’61 
(Phoenicia, 2015) 

Jon’s latest CD is a recording of neoclassical and neoromantic piano compositions, performed by the exciting and expressive Japanese-American pianist Yoshiko Kline. Known for his innovations in electro-acoustic music, Jon has performed and taught music around the world, and was part of the team that developed the Synclavier, the first commercial digital synthesizer. 

Lin Sten

Life after Death at Ipsambul 
By Lin Sten ’67

Set in ancient Greece, this imaginative novel follows Arion, a boy who enjoys a safe, privileged childhood on Lesbos. His life changes drastically when he and his merchant father set sail across the Aegean Sea. On their journey, the boy and his father encounter extreme horror that forces Arion to consider his place in such a world. Arion likens their journey to Homer’s Odyssey. Lin’s prose is highly detailed, and he constructs a striking portrait of the time. Ipsambul is the first book in a forthcoming series titled “Arion’s Odyssey.” —SRM

Alan Mussell

Wherever Love’s Camel Goes 
By Alan Mussell ’68

(iUniverse, 2015)

Alan’s second novel is a sequel to The Last Crusade. Alan again constructs a complex portrayal of medieval Europe, as we find Maurice working in the royal palace of Frederick II as an illuminator and translator.  In his work, Maurice encounters an unusual Sufi manuscript. He later attends a meditation group with his friend Rashid which compels him to consider his values and place in the world.  Simultaneously, several of Maurice’s Catharist friends from his previous journey in The Last Crusade find themselves confronted with the Inquisition.  Alan weaves a complex historical narrative with a sense of immediacy that explores issues of friendship and loyalty. —SRM

William Cornell

Une vie pour être soi 
By William Cornell ’69
(Payot & Rivages, 2015) 

Bill discusses his groundbreaking research in the post-Freudian psychological field of transactional analysis, and its functional consequences for the therapeutic relationship. A practicing therapist and consultant, Bill has published numerous articles and book chapters, as well as edited several books discussing body-centered and transactional approaches to psychotherapy. He is the editor of The Script and coeditor of Transactional Analysis Journal.

Jeremy Popkin

From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography 
By Jeremy D. Popkin ’70
(Oxford University Press)

This book offers a concise yet comprehensive account of the many ways in which history has been studied and recounted, from the ancient world to the new universe of the internet. It shows how the same issues that historians debate today were already recognized in past centuries, and how the efforts of historians in the past remain relevant today. Jeremy holds the William T. Bryan Chair of History at the University of Kentucky. Among other things, this project made him reread the battered copies of Herodotus and Thucydides he used in Hum 110 back in 1966. (See Class Notes). 

Matthew Kangas

Figure to Field: The Art of Jacqueline Barnett
By Matthew Kangas ’71 
(Museum of Northwest Art, 2016) 

The dynamic work of Jacqueline Barnett emerges from abstract expressionism and organic metaphor. Matthew has written many books and serves as contributing editor for a number of publications, including Art in America, Sculpture, Art Guide Northwest, and Visual Art Source, an online weekly newsletter. 

Maurice Isserman

Continental Divide
By Maurice Isserman ’73
(Norton, 2016) 

Invoking a cast of characters that includes Gary Snyder ’51, Jack Kerouac, Thoreau, Emerson, and John Muir, Maurice’s history of American mountaineering explores the rivalries that developed between daring, upstart climbers from the West, especially the Sierra Club, and their more traditional, upper-class eastern counterparts. Maurice dedicates his work to “those Oregon friends in whose company, in younger days, I first encountered mountains.”

Thomas Owen

The Fortunes of Olaf Shorthand 
By Thomas Owen ’73 
(CreateSpace, 2015)

Olaf Shorthand, the Jarl of Boknfjord, is a Viking lord—rich, powerful, favored by the weavers of men’s fates, the Norns. But all that changes on a frigid winter’s night. Now Olaf and his followers must battle a black nemesis, a beast that cannot be wounded. Blood will be shed. Men will die. Everything Olaf loves may be destroyed. This short story was originally published in Fiction in 1974. Thomas also wrote Sherlock Holmes and the Modern Cinderella; Little Bit; and My “New Yorker” Stories. A longtime resident of Boston, he has helped edit several magazines and worked at the Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop.

Bradley Nicholson

A Sense of the Oregon Constitution 
By Bradley Nicholson ’83

(Vandeplas, 2015)

An analytical and scholarly treatment of some of the Oregon Constitution’s most important provisions, this exhaustively researched work offers novel insights into the document, frequently leading to revelatory conclusions that are at odds with opinions issued by the Oregon Supreme Court. Since graduating from Reed, Bradley completed his J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and has authored several articles on the subjects of legal history and intellectual property.

Amber Michelle Cook

Night of the Victorian Dead, Book One: Welcome to Romero Park 
By Amber Michelle Cook ’92 
(Unchangeling Press, 2014)

The unwitting attendees of a country ball are all too busy hiding secrets and making matches to notice the foreboding signs that the dead are rising, until it’s almost too late! Amber’s love of period pieces and great literature shines through in this whimsical 19th-century fantasy. Amber lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she produces art and photography, leads improv writing tables, and heads National Novel Editing Month.

Mark Bitterman

Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters & Amari 
By Mark Bitterman ’95 (Andrews McMeel, 2015)

The most comprehensive handbook available on selecting, understanding, mixing, and, cooking with bitters. Complete with tasting notes, profiles of important makers, and brand photography, the guide gives everyone from pro bartenders to home cooks a solid foundation for buying and using these concoctions. Mark, who won a James Beard Award for his first book, Salted, has traveled the globe relentlessly in search of culinary and personal inspiration, including a multi-year motorcycle tour roaming the European countryside and its local markets.

Megan Prelinger

Inside the Machine
By Megan Shaw Prelinger ’90 
(Norton, 2015)

Megan’s new book focuses on the hidden history of the 20th century’s brilliant innovations, as seen through art and images of electronics that fed the dreams of millions and our collective visions of the future. The history of electronics in the 20th century is not only one of scientific discoveries carried out in laboratories across America, she argues, but also a story shaped by a generation of artists, designers, and creative thinkers who gave imaginative form to the most elusive matter of all: electrons and their revolutionary powers. As inventors learned to channel the flow of electrons, starting revolutions in automation, bionics, and cybernetics, generations of commercial artists moved through the traditions of futurism, Bauhaus, modernism, and conceptual art, finding ways to link art and technology as never before. Megan, an archivist and cultural historian, is cofounder of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco and author of Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957–1962. —Sam Smith ’13

Erica Kohl-Arenas

The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty
By Erica Kohl-Arenas ’91 

(UC Press, 2015)

Can philanthropy alleviate inequality? Do antipoverty programs work on the ground? This eye-opening analysis bores deeply into how these issues play out in California’s Central Valley, which is one of the wealthiest agricultural production regions in the world and also home to the poorest people in the United States. Through the lens of a provocative set of case studies, The Self-Help Myth reveals how philanthropy maintains systems of inequality by attracting attention to the behavior of poor people while shifting the focus away from structural inequities and relationships of power that produce poverty. Erica is an assistant professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy and is the first recipient of the New School award in Outstanding Achievements in Diversity and Social Justice Teaching.  —SS

Valley Files
By Paul Koubek ’96 
(Rock and Ice Magazine, October 2015)

Paul’s thoughtful series of profiles on “lifers” in the Yosemite Valley climbing scene documents an eclectic ensemble of characters, each of whom has made elemental contributions to the valley’s legacy as a global hub for the climbing community. Paul, a U.S. Antarctic Program Lead Mountaineer, worked alongside photographer Yuri Shibuya to produce the feature. As Paul tells it, “members of the class of ’96 may appreciate that all climbing ‘lifers’ featured in the article are 40 or above.”

Alexander Dickow

Le Poète innombrable: Blaise Cendrars, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob
By Alexander Dickow ’02 
(Hermann, 2015)

Emphasizing questions of authorship and identity, Alex’s new French-language book critiques three influential 19th century poets, thought to have shaped the work of contemporaries ranging from Walt Whitman to Henry Miller. An associate professor at Virginia Tech, Alex has published poetry, translations, and scholarship in dozens of journals abroad and in the U.S., and is author of a bilingual collection of poems titled Caramboles.

“Honey Bunny”
By Julianne Pachico ’08
(The New Yorker, November 2015) 

A young Colombian woman meets a man in a New York nightclub, telling him, “I’ve got some goodies, if you’re interested.” We soon learn that the “goodies” consist of cocaine, the culturally and politically loaded fulcrum around which this work of short fiction turns. A thought-provoking meditation on urban diasporic identity, “Honey Bunny” is part of Julianne’s forthcoming collection The Lucky Ones, which explores the social, personal, and political ramifications of the Colombian drug trade. Julianne, who left Colombia when she was eighteen to attend Reed, began writing the collection in 2012 while pursuing her master’s in creative writing in England. —SS