Reediana Briefs

Mice take wing in I Wish I Had a Pet by Maggie Rudy ’80.

Doris Bailey Murphy

Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen, by Doris Bailey Murphy ’38 (iUniverse, 2013). Volume two of the Doris Diaries, edited by Doris’ great-niece Julia Park Tracey, covers the years 1927–29. Now 16, Doris is hospitalized, along with her brother Joe, for scarlet fever. She then catches diphtheria and remains in a vulnerable state, without the benefit of antibiotics, during a long and painful recovery. The Bailey family lives briefly in Los Angeles; pursues opportunities in Phoenix, Arizona; and is squarely hit by the Great Depression. Two years behind her friends, due to illness and family transitions, Doris later returns to Portland to complete her education at St. Helens Hall and embraces life on all levels, while forming a path for her future.

Dorothy Nehm Larco

Scheherazade: Confessions of a Romance Addict, by Dorothy Nehm Larco ’56 (CreateSpace, 2013). Dorothy’s second cruise ship romance involves Annette and Drew, who are together aboard ship and in travels in the Mediterranean, but part, unable to settle on a life together. Both have life-changing experiences in the year that follows, but readers will have to discover if the experiences lead them back to one another or keep them apart. Dorothy has also penned three other books, Poems for My Love, Fresh Horizons: A Love Story, and Becoming Cecily: A Cruise, A Romance . . . A Transformation. Her books examine the challenges of personal growth and the realization of one’s dreams.

John Bear

Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas, by John Bear ’59 (Prometheus, 2014). Every year in the United States, 50,000 fake PhDs are purchased, while only 40,000 PhDs are earned, and now the problem has moved onto the international stage. This updated edition of the book that John coauthored with Allen Ezell, founder and head of the FBI’s “DipScam” diploma mill task force, may serve as a reference book for personnel departments, reporters and investigators, or anyone concerned about the authenticity of a provider’s education.

David Casseres ’65 published his poem “Athena” in Arion magazine (issue 21.3, Winter 2014).

Steve Kahn

The Hollywood Suites, by Steve Kahn ’66 (Nazraeli Press, 2014). Forty years after photographing the images of rundown Los Angeles apartments while teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, Steve has produced a limited artist book of this series. Alternately provocative and haunting, the images were featured in solo exhibitions on the West Coast and in Europe and included in group exhibitions such as Exposing: Photographic Definitions at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art in 1976 and The Altered Photograph at P.S. 1 in New York in 1979. More about his work and book.

Deborah J. Ross ’68 served as editor and coeditor of the anthologies Mad Science Café and Across the Spectrum (Book View Café Publishing Cooperative, 2013). Recent books include Collaborators (Dragon Moon Press, 2013). Finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award, Deborah’s story takes place in an alien world, the scene of a cultural clash between those arriving on a spaceship in need of repair and the inhabitants who dwell there. The travelers’ advanced technology upsets the fragile power balance of the culture, which leads to violence and destruction. Those who suffer the deepest loss forge a path to reconciliation. Deborah worked with Marion Zimmer Bradley on several books in the Darkover series, and The Children of Kings: A Darkover Novel (DAW Hardcover, 2013), an action adventure, is part of the modern Darkover series. The Seven-Petaled Shield and Shannivar (DAW, 2013) are book one and two of the Seven-Petaled Shield trilogy, Deborah’s original epic fantasy series. Elemental magic existed before mankind was born, and some of this magic seeped into the world, eventually coalescing into a monstrous entity of Fire and Ice, a threat to all humanity.

An outtake from the book An Insider’s Guide To Publishing, by David Comfort ’71, ran in the Johns Hopkins literary magazine, the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, June to July 2014 ( “Save a Tree, Burn an Author: A Green History of Writer Recycling” appeared in six weekly installments. “This is a Hum 110/210-inspired account of the exiles, bannings, burnings, and decapitations of great subversives and rabble-rousers—Socrates and Cicero through Salman Rushdie,” says David. “Reedies, even math majors, should get a kick out of it.”

Thomas Owen

Every Night Our Devils Come: Darker Tales, by Thomas Owen ’73 (CreateSpace, 2014). Thomas and fellow writers James Gitschlag and James Sarjent venture into a darker genre with four tales of monsters, heroines, things that go bump in the night, and their victims. Inspired by Dracula, The Haunting of Hill House, and the Brothers Grimm, the authors asked “what if?” and then conjured up answers that have the potential to entertain, amuse, and even terrify readers of all ages. Books are available from Thomas or Amazon. 

Alison Baker

Happy Hour: Stories, by Alison Baker (Rilling) ’75 (Tickenoak Publications, 2014). Alison’s third collection of stories—“quirky and heart-breaking”—encompass individuals in midlife, in search for connection “in a world they never expected to inhabit.” The stories are told with her trademark humor and compassion “for the eccentric ways of the human heart” as they examine timeless issues of love and death, inevitable loss, and unexpected joy. Alison is the author of Loving Wanda Beaver and How I Came West, and Why I Stayed, both New York Times notable books of the year.

Maggie Rudy

I Wish I Had a Pet, by Maggie Rudy ’80 (Beach Lane Books, 2014). An original story, accompanied by delightfully detailed scenes created by Maggie in her Mouseland studio, I Wish I Had a Pet is designed for children 4–8 but will please all readers with its warm humor, elegant layout, and clear typography. “An extraordinary picture book that’s truly like no other!” says one reviewer. Maggie’s handmade mice consider the issues involved in choosing and caring for a pet in light of the creatures they yearn to own. Animation has made its way into Mouseland, and a trailer for the book, narrated by Maggie’s nephew, along with her beautiful and charming posts—some also animated—are at MousesHouses. Maggie’s work was recently featured in a U.K. publication, the Dolls’ House Magazine, issue 187.

David Harris

The Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires: How to Get Better Information for Better Decisions, by David Harris ’84 (I&M Press, 2014). Writing questionnaires is arguably one of the most challenging forms of writing. It is, in a sense, a conversation between you and hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of diverse respondents. The conversation may take 15, 30, or even 45 minutes. Every single question has to be written so that each of these diverse respondents understands each question exactly the same way, can recall the information you are asking about, will answer without bias, and is willing to answer each question accurately. Unlike a live conversation, however, you are not there to clarify ambiguities. The challenge is daunting! David decided to write this book because until now there has been no comprehensive, user-friendly guide on how to write questionnaires—essential work, because survey research shapes our understanding of the world and is used to guide key decisions for organizations and society. The Complete Guide begins with a discussion of how most applied research is conducted with some larger purpose in mind. Defining the decisions that the study will support is critical. The book then offers a discussion of the importance of doing qualitative research before writing the questionnaire. Quite simply, you don’t know what to ask or how to ask it until you have talked to people. On a deeper level, to develop a thorough understanding of a topic, you need the insights that only qualitative research can provide. The book also outlines the importance of planning the questionnaire before writing questions. This includes determining the information needed before actually writing questions. Additionally, there is a framework of guidelines on how to write questions—more specifically, guidelines on how to make questions clear, answerable, easy, and unbiased. There are also guidelines on how to ask respondents to select items from a list, rate things on a scale, and answer open-ended questions. Finally, this book offers a thorough review of how to properly pre-test a questionnaire—what academics call cognitive interviewing. This book is, in a sense, pulling the fire alarm on questionnaire design. Slight changes in how questions are worded have a significant impact on the results. If the questionnaire is too long, is too difficult, or asks questions that do not make sense to respondents, they drop out or just make up answers without much effort. The vast majority of questionnaires the author has seen over the years have questions that are biased, scales that are unbalanced, concepts that are unclear, questions that are double barreled, words and phrases that respondents don’t use, and the list goes on and on. How good is the data, really? To what extent are we forming inaccurate views of the subject matter and making unwise decisions? Although he wrote the book to help people write better questionnaires, David’s ultimate purpose is the same as the underlying purpose of most questionnaires: to help people get better information for better decision making.

Chris Greacen

From the Bottom Up: How Small Power Producers and Mini-Grids Can Deliver Electricity and Renewable Energy in Africa, by Chris Greacen ’91, coauthor (World Bank, Directions in Development Series, 2014). Most sub-Saharan African countries try to promote rural electrification through both centralized and decentralized approaches. This guide focuses on the decentralized approach, providing practical guidance on how small power producers and minigrid operators can deliver both electrification and renewable energy in rural areas. It describes four basic types of on- and off-grid small power producers, as well as several hybrid combinations that are emerging in Africa and elsewhere. The guide highlights the ground-level regulatory and policy questions that must be answered by electricity regulators, rural energy agencies, and ministries to promote commercially sustainable investments by private operators and community organizations. Chris also cowrote a publication of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, A Guidebook on Grid Interconnection and Islanded Operation of Mini-Grid Power Systems Up to 200 kW, in 2013. “The context was helping the Bhutan Power Corporation figure out how to interconnect a couple of formerly isolated community-scale hydropower projects that were now within striking distance of the Bhutanese grid. Unfortunately I did not manage to get a trip to Bhutan out of the gig.” 

Scott Ross

Prague: ARTEˇL Style, by Karen Feldman with Scott Ross ’93 (Artel Press, 2013). Named “Best Travel Guidebook” by the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards, the newly updated and expanded edition of Prague: ARTEˇL Style fills an important niche in the tour book market by focusing on the kind of local insider information that adventurous travelers seek. American author Karen Feldman moved to Prague in 1994 and launched ARTĚL, the globally renowned producer of luxury crystal couture, in 1998. In nearly two decades, she has sought out the city’s best hotels, spas, shops, restaurants, bars, and theatres, as well as other fun spots that are typically overlooked in other guidebooks. The new edition has improved maps, a new guide to Czech beer and local pubs (researched and written by Scott), and lots of cross-referenced information to make the book as practical and user-friendly as possible. 

Alex Golub

Leviathans at the Gold Mine: Creating Indigenous and Corporate Actors in Papua New Guinea, by Alex Golub ’95 (Duke University Press, 2014). Hailed as a “breakthrough book, a tour de force of the sort that comes along only rarely,” Leviathans at the Gold Mine is an ethnographic account of the relationship between the Ipili, an indigenous group in Papua New Guinea, and the large international gold mine operating on their land. Alex examines how the mine and the Ipili were brought into being in relation to one another, and how certain individuals were authorized to speak for the mine and others to speak for the Ipili. A unique juncture of personal relationships and political circumstances created a propitious moment during which the dynamic and fluid nature of Ipili culture could be used to full advantage. The Ipili now struggle with the extreme social dislocation brought about by the massive influx of migrants and money into their valley. Alex is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and cofounder of the anthropology blog Savage Minds.

The short story “God,” by Ben Nugent ’99, which appeared in the Paris Review issue 206, was selected for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories of 2014, set to publish in October.

Heather Houser

Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect, by Heather Houser ’01 (Columbia University Press, 2014). In this work of environmental literary criticism, Heather demonstrates that a new literature of sickness has emerged since the ’70s. “Ecosickness fiction,” she argues, uses emotions like wonder and disgust to bring audiences to environmental consciousness through the ill and medicalized body. The book examines U.S. novels and memoirs by Jan Zita Grover, Marge Piercy, Richard Powers, Leslie Marmon Silko, David Foster Wallace, and David Wojnarowicz.

Cathy Linh Che

Split, by Cathy Linh Che ’02 (Alice James Books, 2014). Winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, Split is Cathy’s first publication. The poetry in this collection follows her personal account of sexual violence against the backdrop of cultural conflict, deftly illustrated through her parents’ experiences of the Vietnam War, immigration, and its aftermath. “By looking closely at landscape and psyche, Split explores what happens when deep trauma occurs and seeks to understand what it means to finally become whole.” Her poetry is described as heartbreaking and stunning, expressed through an exquisite voice. Cathy earned an MFA in creative writing from New York University and is founding editor of the online literary arts journal Paperbag. [Update, December 2014: The Academy of American Poets selected Split as one of the 12 standout poetry collections of 2014.]

Miriam Rigby

The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Presentations and Perceptions of Information Work, by Miriam Rigby ’02 and Nicole Pagowsky, coeditors (Association of College & Research Libraries Press, June 2014). Miriam’s new book addresses librarian stereotypes and the identity politics of the profession. Miriam and Nicole coauthored the first chapter, which is available, open access, via ACRL Press (pdf). Erin Pappas ’02 authored a chapter in the volume, “Between Barbarism and Civilization: Librarians, Tattoos, and Social Imaginaries.” The Librarian Stereotype serves as a response to passionate discussions regarding how librarians are perceived. The book reignites an examination of librarian presentation within the field and in the public eye, employing theories and methodologies from throughout the social sciences. Miriam states, “The ultimate goal of this volume is to launch productive discourse and inspire action in order to further the positive impact of the information professions. Through deconstructing the perceived truths of our profession and employing a critical eye, we can work towards improved status, increased diversity, and greater acceptance of each other.” The book may be ordered through the ACRL Press and at the American Library Association bookstore.

Margaret E. Boyle

Unruly Women: Performance, Penitence, and Punishment in Early Modern Spain, by Margaret E. Boyle ’05 (University of Toronto Press, 2014). In the first in-depth study of the interconnected relationships among public theatre, custodial institutions, and women in early modern Spain, Margaret explores the contradictory practices of rehabilitation enacted by women both on and off stage. Pairing historical narratives and archival records with canonical and non-canonical theatrical representations of women’s deviance and rehabilitation, Unruly Women argues that women’s performances of penitence and punishment should be considered a significant factor in early modern Spanish life. In “Behind the Book with Margaret E. Boyle,” an interview published in the Toronto Press site at, Margaret says she became engaged with early modern Spanish literature at Reed, in “close-knit and engaging seminar classes,” which allowed her to deeply explore the period’s culture and theatre. Margaret is a big believer in the transformative experience of the small liberal arts college, she says, and brings that experience into focus in the personalized learning opportunities she provides her students at Bowdoin College.

Caitlin Wood

Criptiques, by Caitlin Wood ’05, editor (May Day, 2014). Criptiques is a groundbreaking book of essays by authors exploring the often overlooked, provocative sides of disability. While there’s a dynamic and thriving disability arts culture, there remains a lack of literature devoted to spotlighting the many voices of the disabled community. The anthology seeks to help rectify this problem by providing the much needed space for compelling, thought-provoking discourse on disability. The book explores provocative ideas around culture, identity, and marginalization in essays by 25 authors, including Robin Tovey ’97.