Reediana Briefs

Contagious City

Prof. Simon Finger [history 2011–] has written The Contagious City: The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia (Cornell University Press, 2012). The book details how early Americans struggled to preserve their health against both the perils of the colonial environment and the dangers of the traditional city, through a period of profound transformation in both politics and medicine. “The Contagious City offers an insightful analysis of how the collective struggles to prevent disease helped create the political and cultural history of Philadelphia, in particular, and early America, in general.”

The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Prof. Lois Leveen [English 2000–04] is the author of The Secrets of Mary Bowser (William Morrow, 2012). Based on a true story, Mary Bowser is an inspiring tale of one woman’s willingness to sacrifice her own freedom to change the course of history. Sent away from her family and her life as a slave in Richmond, Virginia, Mary goes to Philadelphia to be educated. The education unforseeably leads her into the abolition movement. With the nation edging toward war, she defies Virginia law by returning to Richmond to care for her ailing father—and to fight for emancipation. Posing as a slave in the Confederate White House in order to spy on President Jefferson Davis, Mary deceives even those who are closest to her to aid the Union command.

The Mystery Call Girls Riot

Richard Stafford ’54 has a new novel, The Mystery Call Girls Riot: And Other Sad Events Relating to the Incarnation of Mystery Call. The story takes place in heaven, with narration of curious events that take place on earth, including at Reed, done by Pistol, a thuggish handyman. Richard would like classmates to know that though he previously published a number of books using his own name, recent publications by other similarly named writers have forced him to adopt a pseudonym, Aka Lockord. “This does not mean I am hiding. I am not.”

A review of recent Korean war books by Michael Munk ’56 appears in the March 2012 issue of Critical Asian Studies. See Michael's website for more information.

The novelette Marie Eau-Claire, by Caroline Miller ’59, MAT ’65, is available as an e-publication. The story is set in modern-day France and describes the relationship that grows between a former prima ballerina, who is now in her 70s, and her great-nephew, a troubled young artist who arrives from Boston for a visit.

Coyote Bush

Peter Nash ’60 is the author of Coyote Bush: Poems from the Lost Coast (Off the Grid Press, 2012) and the recipient of the first annual Off the Grid Poetry Prize. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Carl Dennis selected Peter’s work for the award: “Nash’s poems of rural life are deeply moving, whether as elegy or celebration. They develop their themes through inspired description that is both true to the immediate occasion and deeply resonant. This is a rich, wise, and delightful book.” Peter is semiretired from his 40-year career in family medicine. He writes most mornings, occasionally helps his wife in the garden, boards two old mares, and wanders along the Mattole River with his dog Henry. He lives in northern California on the Lost Coast, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline in the continental U.S. [Thanks to Thomas Rosin ’60 for this news about his old Reed roommate.]

Human Thought and Social Organization

Murray Leaf ’61 and Dwight Read ’64 are coauthors of Human Thought and Social Organization: Anthropology on a New Plane (Lexington Books, 2012). Human beings have two outstanding characteristics compared to other species: the apparently enormous elaboration of our thought through language and symbolism and the elaboration of our forms of social organization. The view taken in this book is that these are intimately interconnected. To understand this connection, the book compares the structure of the systems of thought that organizations are built upon with the organizational basis of human thinking. An experimental method is used, leading to a new science of the structure of human social organizations. Murray is professor of anthropology and political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dwight is distinguished professor of anthropology at UCLA.

Origins, Glory & Decline of the Humanistic Cursive in Italy 1400–1650

Stephen Herold ’63 has published a new book about the Early Writing Collection in the Hauser Library special collections, The Origins, Glory & Decline of the Humanistic Cursive in Italy 1400–1650 (Serif & Pixel Press, 2012). The book is illustrated with wonderful historical examples and also reprints a difficult-to-find article by Stanley Morison, “Early Humanist Script and the First Roman Typeface.” Typography and design for the book were done by Stephen, with a cover photo by Gay Walker ’69. The book is available through the Reed bookstore.

Ann Parker Littlewod

Ann Parker Littlewood ’68 brings zookeeper Iris Oakley back to the crime scene in Endangered, the third book in her zoo mysteries series, which was published by Poisoned Pen Press in July. Called in to rescue exotic animals from a remote farm in Washington state after a drug bust, Iris finds herself thrust into unusual circumstances. She finds smuggled parrots and tortoises in deplorable conditions and determines to break the criminal pipeline that moves rare animals from their native settings into those of neglect. In the process, she uncovers much more and is forced to run for her life.

Flight Guide for Success

Karen Kahn ’69 is the author of Flight Guide for Success: Tips and Tactics for the Aspiring Airline Pilot, now in a third edition by Cheltenham Publishing Company. Flight Guide covers a wide range of topics, from getting started and finding a first job to creating successful personal marketing and preparing for interviews. Karen guides readers through the complex business of becoming a pilot and answers tough pilot-career questions. Karen dedicated a copy of the book destined for the Hauser Library to “Reedies, who are setting off on their own adventure of life. Just substitute your ‘passion’ for ‘flying’ and learn some tips on making it happen.” Learn more about her work.

Of Earth

Of Earth: New and Selected Poems, by John Daniel ’70, is his first book of poetry in 18 years. Reflecting his deep affinity for the land and lives of the given world, Of Earth offers poems of praise that do not deny suffering and death but find them essential to the vast, intricate, and mysterious territory of being. John writes, “Like all true literature, nature poetry belongs to the ongoing conversation the human community is conducting through time about who we are and where we have come from, about where we are and who our kinfolk are, about how we live and how we might live, about how our lives should matter.” Copies of the book may be ordered directly from Lost Horse Press.

Island Apart

Steven Raichlen ’75 has written his first novel, Island Apart (Forge, 2012), which he describes as “a story of love, loss, redemption, and really good food.”  The characters include a New York book editor who is recovering from cancer; a mysterious local hermit; a disaffected teenager and her biker boyfriend; and the real-life, iconoclastic psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich. “I dreamed of writing fiction from the day I came to Reed. It just took me 35 years to get around to it!” Forge calls it a provocative, beautifully written, and wildly entertaining smart love story. Steve has also written 29 cookbooks.

Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul

Jonathan Boyarin ’77 is the author of Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul: A Summer on the Lower East Side (Fordham, 2011). The Stanton Street Shul is one of the last remaining Jewish congregations on New York’s historic Lower East Side—a gathering of vibrant, imperfect, indisputably down-to-earth individuals coming together to make a community. Jonathan, who is both a member of the congregation and an anthropologist, follows the congregation of “year-round Jews” through the course of a summer when its future must be decided.


Prayer Chain, a novel by Scott Lazenby ’77, was published by CreateSpace in 2011. Strange things are happening in the small town of Cedar Creek. A patient barely escapes having the wrong surgery performed, happily married couples split up, unusual illnesses strike, and through it all the weather is terrible, even by the standards of the Oregon Cascades. Nancy McKay owns a café in the town, and through conversations with her customers, she starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together. She discovers that—in a game of real-life telephone—prayer requests from a local church’s congregation are becoming garbled as they pass from one person to the next, and the people at the end of the chain are praying for the wrong things. More about Scott's writing.


Diane LevKoy Morgan ’77, who has written more than 15 cookbooks, created a comprehensive guide and collection of recipes using root vegetables in Roots (Chronicle Books, 2012). Discover the fascinating history and lore of 29 major roots from the familiar (beets, carrots, potatoes) to the unfamiliar (jicama, salsify, malanga) to the practically unheard of (cassava, galangal, crosnes). The best part? More than 225 recipes—salads, soups, side dishes, main courses, drinks, and desserts—that bring out the earthy goodness of these intriguing vegetables. From Andean tubers and burdock to yams and yuca, this culinary encyclopedia will help home cooks reach a new level of taste and sophistication.

Write Outside the Lines

Cathy Altman Nocquet ’78 has published the e-book Write Outside The Lines: A Creativity Catapult. The book provides more than 300 offbeat, original writing exercises that develop creative thinking; valuable insights into the writing process; and a close encounter with Nardo, the “snake within,” who is out to discourage everyone’s productivity. The book leads readers through every phase of the writing experience with humor and understanding, and serves as a creative guide for aspiring writers of any age.

40 Weeks

The chapbook 40 Weeks, by Brittney Corrigan (McElroy) ’94, was published by Finishing Line Press in July. 40 Weeks is a collection of 36 short poems, one for each week of pregnancy from week 4 to week 40. See Brittney's website for more information.

Graham Leuschke ’95 is coauthor of the textbook Cohen-Macaulay Representations (American Mathematical Society, 2012). Graham has been teaching mathematics at Syracuse for nearly a decade. His wife, Moira McDermott, is also a mathematician, and they have a five-year-old son, Conor.

American Sunshine

Daniel Freund ’98, assistant professor of social sciences at Bard High School Early College, is the author of American Sunshine: Diseases of Darkness and the Quest for Natural Light (University of Chicago, 2012). In the second half of the 19th century, American cities began to go dark. Buildings, pollution, glass, and smog screened out the sun, and medical professionals claimed that a rising tide of diseases stemmed from darkness, including rickets and tuberculosis. In American Sunshine, Daniel follows the sunshine obsession into the 20th century, looking at the remedies proffered by social reformers, medical professionals, scientists, and a growing nudist movement, shedding light on important questions about the commodification of health and nature and making an original contribution to the histories of cities, the environment, and medicine.

The Mark Inside

Amy Reading ’98 has just published The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con (Knopf 2012). The book tells the true story of J. Frank Norfleet, a Texas rancher who was swindled out of his fortune in 1919 and then went undercover to try to catch the five men who deceived him. He posed as a mark, getting himself swept up into the big con so many times he learned it better than his enemies. Amy uses Norfleet’s story as a kind of X-ray of American economic development, showing the centrality of gambling and speculation, not to mention fraud and deception, to the growth of the nation. David Mamet said, “Most scholarship reads like a trip to the dentist. The Mark Inside reads like a trip to the track.”

The Little Woods

The Little Woods, a first novel by McCormick Templeman ’98, was published this year by Schwartz & Wade. The history of St. Bede’s Academy is one of excellence and rigor, tarnished only by a single event: the night that Clare Wood disappeared from her bed, vanishing without a trace. Ten years later, Clare’s disappearance is still unsolved, and for many people it is nearly forgotten, but when her sister, Cally, arrives at St. Bede’s, everything begins to change. While Cally struggles to navigate social etiquette and burgeoning romance, her presence is awakening old ghosts, and soon Cally finds that St. Bede’s is not what she expected, and that the woods behind it whisper of another night, of another girl gone missing, and of a horrifying secret that festers deep within the heart of the school.

Songs of Hestia

Stuart Bousel ’00 served as editor for Songs of Hestia: Five Plays from the 2010 San Francisco Olympians Festival (EXIT Press, 2012). Five playwrights adapt some of Western culture’s oldest stories to illuminate our present-day concerns with imagination, creativity, curiosity, and passion. These are plays that ask the hard questions and that explore our humanity through exploring the myths that make us who we are. Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, is variously an ex-nun who runs a Hollywood hot dog cart (Aphrodite: A Romance in Infomercials by Nirmala Nataraj); a barista who serves as the play’s moral conscience (Hermes by Bennett Fisher); a sharp-tongued spinster (Juno en Victoria by Stuart); a crazed, childlike wraith (Demeter’s Daughter by Claire Rice); and a nurturing but ultimately ineffectual goddess (Hephaestus and the Three Golden Robots by Evelyn Jean Pine).

Ethan Rafal ’07 has produced a limited edition of his original, handmade journal, Shock and Awe.

Ethan Rafal ’07 has produced a limited edition of his original, handmade journal, Shock and Awe.

Ethan Rafal ’07 has produced a limited edition of his original, handmade journal, Shock and Awe. A 10-year autobiographical project examining the relationship between protracted war and homeland decay, Shock and Awe is a meticulously crafted journal of image, text, and found-object that blurs the line between author and subject, and personal and authoritative histories. For this edition of 1,000 books, Ethan has produced something between the artist’s book and the photographer’s monograph, maintaining the look and feel of the original journal—canvas cover meets leather corners and strap, with archival printing on heavyweight paper. Learn more or order a copy online.

Numbers and Notes

Numbers & Notes: An Introduction to Musical Signal Processing, by Gina Collecchia ’09 (Perfectly Scientific Press, 2012). This engaging look at the mathematics of music explores a dazzling array of topics, from the physics of waves to tuning and temperament, the acoustics of musical instruments, musical synesthesia, perfect pitch, and digital analysis. It is of special value to readers seeking deep understanding of the legendary Fourier transform, the mathematical concept at the heart of signal processing. Gina lives in San Francisco, works for Sennheiser Innovation and Technology, and attends the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford. More at Gina's website

True Believer excerpt
True Believer

True Believer, by Lucy Bellwood ’12 (2012), is a 36-page autobiographical comic about having the guts to do what you believe in. “It’s got art, religion, love, death, and all those other Big, Juicy Things, but thankfully also features a healthy amount of sneezing, slapstick, and swear words— just so we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Lucy, an intrepid former Reed magazine intern, who is also an accomplished artist, writer, dancer, and sailor. (See and Twelve from ’12.)