UW News

December 13, 2018

Hark! UW talents — on page and disc — for the good Dawgs on your holiday shopping list

UW News



An architect argues to stay the wrecking ball and reuse older buildings, a historian recalls Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeless economic message, a master storyteller brings a new set of tales, an engineer conjures a children’s book with a robot’s-eye view of the deep ocean …

But hark! — yet more. Personal essays on nature spanning a biologist’s career, a best-selling author’s take on America’s unprecedented president, and a thoughtful book about books themselves, their past and their unwritten future. Plus jazz and classical recordings from faculty in the UW School of Music.

As the year comes to a close and festivities abound, some University of Washington faculty creations can make great gifts for the thinking Dawg on your giving list. Here’s a quick look at some gift-worthy books and music created by UW talents in the last year or so.

Michael Honey, “To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice.”

Fifty years have passed since King’s 1968 assassination. In a new book, Honey, a UW Tacoma historian, notes that economic justice and labor rights were always part of King’s progressive message. “He said in Memphis, ‘It’s a crime in a rich nation for people to receive starvation wages,’” Honey says. “That remains a basic issue right now across the country, where it seems like the economy is doing really well but there are millions of people in poverty.” Published by W.W. Norton.

Ropos_coverDana Manalang, “Ropos and the Underwater Volcano.”

After years working on a cabled observatory that monitors the Pacific Northwest seafloor and water above, Manalang, an engineer with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, decided to share the wonder of the deep sea with younger audiences. The result is this new children’s book published by Virginia-based Mascot Books, which combines images of the deep ocean captured during UW School of Oceanography research cruises with rhyming couplets and a cartoon robot illustrated by UW designer Hunter Hadaway.

Charles Johnson, “Night Hawks.”

A prolific author and UW professor emeritus of English, Johnson spins a dozen yarns in this new story collection, from realism to light science fiction and beyond, laced gently with humor and philosophy. Calling him a “modern master,” Kirkus Reviews said his stories “can be as morally instructive as fables, as fancifully ingenious as Twilight Zone scripts, and as elegantly inscrutable as Zen riddles.” Asked how he knows when a story is done, Johnson said: “When I can’t add another line (or word) to it without disturbing the delicate balance of music and meaning, sound and sense that comes from relentless revisions.” Published by Simon & Schuster.

Kathryn Rogers Merlino, “Building Reuse: Sustainability, Preservation, and the Value of Design

Tearing down buildings and discarding the energy and materials embodied in them is contrary to the values of sustainability, writes Merlino, an associate professor of architecture in the UW College of Built Environments. We avidly recycle and compost, but have no cultural ethic about reusing our largest manufactured goods — our buildings. “We quickly demolish buildings in the name of new, ‘green’ structures, rather than looking for the possibilities of how we can work with what exists,” Merlino says. To me there is an inherent conflict in there, and I think we can do better.” Published by UW Press.

David Shields, “No One Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention.”

In his latest release, Shields, a UW professor of English and New York Times best-selling author, deconstructs the mind of the current president of the United States. The book, is “at once a psychological investigation of Trump, a philosophical meditation on the relationship between language and power,” publisher’s notes say, “and above all a dagger into the rhetoric of American political discourse — a dissection of the politesse that gave rise to and sustains Trump.” He calls it “a manual for beating bullies.” Published by Thought Catalog.

Kenneth Pyle: “Japan in the American Century

After the United States ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it then conducted “the most intrusive international reconstruction of another nation in modern history,” writes Pyle, a UW professor emeritus of international studies. Only now, amid geopolitical changes of the 21st century, is Japan pulling free from American dominance and constraints placed on it after the war. The book, distilling a lifetime of research, examines how Japan, with its conservative heritage, responded to the imposition of a new liberal order and tracks the now-changing relationship between the two nations. Published by Harvard University Press.

thebookAmaranth Borsuk, “The Book

Borsuk, a UW Bothell assistant professor as well as a poet and book artist, explores the book, its past and possible futures in this compact volume. “Rather than bemoaning the death of books or creating a dichotomy between print and digital media,” she writes, “this guide points to continuities, positioning the book as a changing technology and highlighting the way artists in the 20th and 21st centuries have pushed us to rethink and redefine the term.” Published by MIT Press.

Jim Kenagy, “Everyday Creatures: A Naturalist on the Surprising Beauty of Ordinary Life in Wild Places

Kenagy, a professor emeritus of biology, presents a collection of 13 nature essays set in time across his life, from freshman field trips through his  dissertation and career at a major university. “These stories are not the scientific reports of a research professor, nor are they an attempt at popular science,” state publisher’s notes. “These are personal essays that spring forth from observation and discovery of what nature has to show anyone who is willing to pay attention.” Published by Dockside Sailing Press.

Pimone Triplett, “Supply Chain

In her new book of poems, Triplett, a UW associate professor of English and creative writing, says she explores “the thinning lines between responsibility and complicity, the tangled ‘supply chain’ that unnervingly connects the domestic to the political, personal memory to social practice, and our age-old familial discords to our new place in the anthropocentric world. Published by University of Iowa Press.

Multiple authors, “Flora of the Pacific Northwest

This reference book was first published in 1973 and became an instant classic for its innovative style and comprehensive illustrations. Now, botanists at the UW Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture have created this updated second edition, which includes the reclassification or renaming of about 40 percent of the taxa covered by the first edition. Published by UW Press.

And to accompany your reading, here are some recent recordings from faculty in the UW School of Music:

ChangeinAir-CuongVu_coverCuong Vu 4-Tet, Change in the Air

The latest CD by Vu, trumpeter and UW Jazz Studies professor and chair — created with his “4-tet” — is landing on critics’ best-of lists for 2018. Guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Ted Poor, bassist Luke Bergman and Vu all contribute new music on this follow-up to the group’s 2017 album. A London Jazz News critic called the results “uniformly excellent.” Released by RareNoise Records.

Craig Sheppard, Bach: The Art of Fugue” and “Brahms: The Late Piano Works

Sheppard, UW professor of music, released two CDs this year, documenting live performances at Meany Hall. For one, he presents the revised score of Bach’s master work, left incomplete upon the composer’s death. The other is a deluxe collection of Brahms’s four sets of lyrical piano miniatures,
Opus 116 through 119. Released by Romeo Records.

Michael Partington, “A Romantic Potpourri: Music of Carulli, Coste, Giuliani, Mertz, and Sor

An artist in residence at the UW School of Music, Partington returns to the 19th century repertoire that formed the basis of his early musical development in this collection, performed on a mid-1800s French Romantic guitar. Released by Rosewood Guitar.