UW News

December 19, 2019

Mindful travel, Silicon Valley’s evolution, Schumann on viola, Seattle history — UW-authored books, music for the Husky on your list

UW News

A list of several UW-authored books and cds that might make good holiday gifts.


A teacher discusses respectful world travel, a historian explores Silicon Valley’s evolution, a professor and violist plays the music of Robert Schumann and a late English faculty member’s meditation on Seattle returns …

Here’s a quick look at some gift-worthy books and music created by UW faculty in the last year — and a reminder of some recent favorites.

O’Mara’s ‘Code’: History professor Margaret O’Mara provides a sweeping history of California’s computer industry titans in her book “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,” published by Penguin Press. Publishers Weekly wrote: “O’Mara’s extraordinarily comprehensive history is a must-read for anyone interested in how a one-horse town birthed a revolution that has shifted the course of modern civilization.” The New York Times called it an “accessible yet sophisticated chronicle.”  Nominated for a 2020 Pacific Northwest Book Award.

Seattle stories: University of Washington Press is republishing UW English professor Roger Sale‘s well-loved 1976 reflections on his city, its history and its possible futures, “Seattle, Past to Present.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly called the book “an exhilarating critique of Seattle’s birth, growth, sickness, health, promise and fulfillment. Any serious student of Seattle or of recent urban history will now read Roger Sale, and with good reason.” Sale, who taught at the UW for decades, died in 2017. The new edition has an introduction by Seattle writer Knute Berger.

Mindful travel: How can travelers respectfully explore cultures with lower incomes, different cultural patterns and far fewer luxuries? Anu Taranath, lecturer in English and the Comparative History of Ideas program, explores such questions in “Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World,” published by Between the Lines. Taranath has led student trip to India, Mexico and other locations. “Mindful travel in an unequal world,” she says, is about “paying attention, and noticing positionality in relation to each other. It’s about understanding that we are all living in a much longer history that has put us in different positions of advantage and disadvantage, and equipped us with very few tools to talk about it.”

Salish Sea fishes: Theodore Pietsch, curator emeritus of fishes at the Burke Museum and a professor emeritus of aquatic and fishery sciences, teamed with James Orr of the Alaska Fisheries Center for “Fishes of the Salish Sea,” the first-ever documenting of all the known species of fishes that live in the Salish Sea. Published by UW Press, this three-volume set represents the culmination of 40 years of work and features striking illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri and details about 260 species of fish, complete with the ecology and life history of each species.

Watras plays Schumann: Melia Watras, professor of viola, offers new music and a masterwork by composer Robert Schumann in “Schumann Resonances,” a CD released on Seattle’s Planet M Records. Schumann’s Märchenbilder (Pictures from Fairyland), Op. 113 is the centerpiece and artistic jumping-off point for the CD, which is inspired by fairy tales and folklore, and features UW faculty colleagues Cuong Vu and Richard Karpen. The music and culture blog An Earful wrote: “Besides having a burnished tone and monster technique, violist Watras has a gift for contextualizing the music of the past … with ‘Schumann Resonances,’ Watras continues to prove herself a curator, performer and composer of unique abilities.”

Solo cello, Icelandic composers: Assistant professor of music and cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir has a new release on the Sono Luminus label titled “Vernacular,” which features music for solo cello by several Icelandic composers and a return to an earlier composition, “Solitaire.” In liner notes, Thorsteinsdóttir writes: “This project is a compilation of pieces by composers that not only share my mother-tongue and culture, in language and music, but also bring their unique perspective and expression in their compositions … I couldn’t have asked for more generous artists to come into my life and allow me to explore my voice through their music.”

Fanfiction examined: Fan fiction has exploded in popularity in recent years. In their book, “Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth and New Forms of Mentoring,” Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis examine fanfiction writers and repositories and the novel ways young people support and learn from each other through participation in online fanfiction communities. Davis is an associate professor in the UW Information School; Aragon is a professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. Published by MIT Press.

Here are a few other notable 2019 titles from UW Press.

Seawomen, Icelandic waters:Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge” by Margaret Willson, affiliate professor of anthropology and a faculty member in the Canadian Studies Center has been released in a paperback edition. The book, first published in 2016, was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award.

Asian American voices: A new, third edition of “Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian American Writers,” published in 1974 and co-edited by Shawn Wong, UW professor of English. The New York Times Book Review wrote: “The stories are … strewn with new insights buried in the flesh of the narrative; they illuminate areas of darkness in the hidden experiences of a people who had been little more than exotic figments of someone else’s imagination.”

Haag remembered: A paperback edition of “The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design,” which explores the career of the founder of the UW Department of Landscape Architecture, best known in Seattle for his rehabilitation of Gas Works Park. Written by UW architecture professor Thaisa Way, who said Haag’s legacy is found in the places he designed, which “inspire students to think beyond what they know … they ignite civic engagement and public service, for Rich’s most important work was in the public realm.”

Staff discounts: UW Press is offering a 40% discount on all titles during the holidays. Staff and faculty get a 10% discount year-round when ordering through their website using the code WUWE.

  • Joanne De Pue, School of Music communications director, assisted with this story.

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