What to read: Books by alumni, faculty, and staff
Here’s a round-up of reading recommendations featuring titles by WSU alumni, faculty, and staff—including one to watch for later this spring.
Anything and everything by Buddy Levy. The celebrated author of seven books, Levy specializes in historical narrative, particularly epic adventures and survival stories—perfect for the pandemic, which makes us all armchair travelers. Levy’s taught writing at WSU for more than 30 years, and his own writing—meticulously researched, masterfully organized—simply sings. His riveting narratives make readers feel like they are right there with protagonists, experiencing everything they’re going through.
“Buddy Levy: Historical investigator” from the Summer 2011 issue
Labyrinth … » More …
Salmon Eaters to Sagebrushers: Washington’s Lost Literary Legacy
Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition
St. Martin’s Press: 2019
Lt. Adolphus W. Greely, commander of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, assessed the situation from the edge of the ice floe upon which he and his men were stranded.
It was dire.
They were adrift on a raft of ice, and it was 11 degrees Fahrenheit—cold for the time of year but not as low as the sub-zero temperatures they regularly experienced during their two years of exploration and data collection, … » More …
Writing pools, movie stars
The New York Yankees were establishing their dominance over America’s favorite pastime. The Golden Era of Hollywood was in full swing. And a nation recovering from the sacrifices of World War II had begun to heal and find itself.
It was a world of big cars and even bigger personalities. A world that sportswriter John D. McCallum, a U.S. Army veteran and former pro baseball player, found he could navigate with surprising ease.
McCallum resumed his English and journalism studies at Washington State after returning from the war, and briefly played for the Portland Beavers in 1947. But it was after he hung up his … » More …
A night at the Barnsley house on Monroe Street guaranteed that the guest would be entertained, enlightened, and well fed. For the couple of decades following his joining the English faculty at WSU in 1966, Alan and Edwina Barnsley hosted the liveliest salon in Pullman. Both were erudite and funny, full of wit and counsel. Dina died just last year, and Alan in 1986.
But Alan lives on as Gabriel Fielding, the pen name under which he wrote many marvelous novels. Three of those novels—Pretty Doll Houses, The Birthday King, and In the Time of Greenbloom—were released in digital form this August by Bloomsbury Publishing. … » More …
Reading in the Genres
Experts from WSU share their opinions on what constitute the landmark works across literary genres.» More ...
Patrick Rothfuss ’02—World Builder
Fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss (’02 MA) enters the sleek atrium of the Chicago Hyatt with aplomb—passing through a lobby packed with weird characters. A human-sized rabbit taps away on a laptop, a steampunk Victorian-era archaeologist hunts for her friends, a green-haired space alien stands in line for a latte.
These are Rothfuss’s people. Or as he calls them, “Geeks of all creeds and nations.”
Rothfuss also looks weird. He hails from another time or place—maybe 1970s America, since Simon and Garfunkel peer out from his black t-shirt, or maybe the Middle Ages where his unruly beard would suit him in any village. Or maybe sometime … » More …
Buddy Levy: Historical investigator
In a fabulously snide review of the first episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel, a reviewer for The New York Times refers to investigator Buddy Levy, “who could be a bus driver but who is in fact an English professor at Washington State University and a freelance writer of magazine articles about adventure sports.”
Levy himself thinks that’s pretty funny.
“I’m cool with that,” he says. “I’m a bus driver who can write a narrative history of the Amazon.”
That narrative history, which our charming reviewer neglected to mention, is Levy’s latest book, River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of … » More …