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Book cover with mushroom
Fall 2020

Shroomin’ – A mushroom reading list

Mushrooms, like the very forests in which they are found, are sources of both danger and wonder.

And not all embrace them.

For many, mushrooms—used in sacred rituals and as sustenance since ancient times—contain an aura of mystery. They’re often associated—especially in literature, poetry, and fairytales—with malevolence, supernatural powers, darkness, death, and decay. Mushrooms were fairy food, the way witches caused trouble for gardens and crops, and ingredients in poisons and potions, enchantments and aphrodisiacs.

Famous scribes—from Percy Shelly, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, and Ray Bradbury—all wrote about menacing mushrooms. Emily Dickinson insulted them: Had Nature … » More …

Fall 2010

Tree Top: Creating a fruit revolution

Book review

In the September 10, 1951, issue of Life magazine is a picture of a bulldozer mounding apples in the Yakima dump. Seven acres of apples worth $6 million dollars rotted as pigs rooted through them, the result of failing foreign markets and high tariffs. At the time, if Washington’s apples didn’t sell, orchardists paid $5 a ton to have their culls hauled off to rot.

Culls are rejected from the fresh fruit market due primarily to shape, size, or color, but they are perfectly sound for such traditional uses as juice. The photograph aptly illustrated the need for a processing company like Tree … » More …

Spring 2004

Poor farm kid makes good

Sherman Alexie likes to remind people that attending Washington State University presented him with a real challenge. As a Spokane Indian, a liberal, and a writer, he did not fit the prevalent mold of students attending WSU in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Regardless, on October 10, 2003, WSU president V. Lane Rawlins presented Alexie with the University’s highest alumni honor, the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Since leaving WSU in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies, Alexie has published nine books of fiction and poetry and has written and directed two award-winning movies. Widely popular, his short stories appear in the nation’s … » More …

Summer 2003

A tale of many cities

As a boy Clint Borgen dreamed of having an interesting life, radically different from the humdrum sleepiness of Anacortes, Washington, his commercial-fishing-oriented hometown. He played spy games with a seemingly fearless older brother and best friend. At 20, Borgen became a firefighter. No small wonder that the next year (1999) he hopped a flight to Macedonia for a month of volunteer service, simply because he had watched television images of Albanian refugees and wanted to see the war zone for himself.

Returning safely to another somnolent community, this time Pullman, Borgen (’03 Comm.) published a book late last year about his four-year, 13-country marathon of … » More …