Dr. Fred Johnson Lauded By NerdScholar

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NerdScholar recently named Dr. Fred Johnson as one of their 40 under 40: Professors Who Inspire. Dr. Johnson receives the award for his masterful teaching and for his dedication to “[carving] out time on the side to guide students through their college and post-college careers.”

It’s an honor well deserved. Congratulations!

Internship Spotlight: Jennifer Rudsit (’16) at She’s Charming

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Earlier this semester, Jennifer Rudsit (’16) gave us a snapshot of her internship. Here she is again, looking back on her spring semester as a blogger for She’s Charming:

Hello, again! I’m back, having finished my internship. She’s Charming, a blog centered on holistic living for women, was created by Katie Palmer and Dani Erickson, two Whitworth English department grads. Working with Katie and Dani was a unique and beneficial experience, because as recent grads, they understand the Whitworth experience and could give me a lot of advice about classes, internships, and post-college life.

While I’ve always known how influential other people’s writing is in my own life, it never occurred to me that words I write could possibly reach out to someone in the same way. Having my words published online was terrifying, but hearing how people connected with Katie and Dani’s posts, and even mine, reminded me how powerful words can be, and how cool it is that we have the ability to connect with people through writing.

Being a part of the She’s Charming team has also made me appreciate Spokane a lot more. Their Explore section on the blog features local coffee shops, restaurants, and stores, and exploring their recommendations has helped my displaced Western Washington heart enjoy this city in new ways. They emphasize community and investing in where you live, as opposed to passively living day to day in your city. You can’t love something until you give it a chance, and She’s Charming has laid great groundwork for anyone wanting to explore and fall in love with the major cities in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks for reading – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at She’s Charming, and I hope you’ll check out the blog.

Jennifer is a sophomore English writing and literature major, and theatre dance minor. In her free time she enjoys working at the HUB Info Desk, journaling, having nerdy conversations, and, of course, reading a lot of books.

EL Faculty Summer Reading Picks, Part II

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As summer inches closer, here are Professor Vic Bobb’s  and Professor LuElla D’Amico’s summer reading recommendations. Enjoy!

Professor Vic Bobb: Lazy Days…and Energetic Page Turning

So what are you going to read this summer?  There are a lot of books out there.  Not all of them feature characters with skin that sparkles in the sunlight.  In fact, most of them don’t.  And all of the best and most worthy among them…um…don’t.

Reading during the summer being a sacramental act, I’m suggesting books in accord with the sacrament of marriage.  What to read?  Here are Vic’s suggestions for the Marriage of True Minds:

Something Old:  I know, I know; some of you think that “Old” would refer to some character’s third year at Hogwarts.  I’m thinking of an older old.  Howsabout Tristram Shandy, published in chunks during the 1760s and, as far as I know, taught not even once at Whitworth in the past 28 years.  A person who wanted to proclaim Tristram Shandy the funniest book ever published was in a defensible position for more than a century and a half…but with the publication of Right-ho, Jeeves, in 1934, the question of the most truly pantswettingly funny book of all time was abruptly and finally settled, and partisans of the Reverend Mister Laurence Sterne were pleased to acknowledge that, because of P.G. Wodehouse, their idol was forever to be known as the second funniest writer in the history of the English language.  (Peace, Terry Pratchett fans…)

Your alternative (or additional) “something old” for this or any other summer: something by Dickens that you haven’t read recently.  And if you don’t have any Dickens in your past, go ahead and dive right in to Bleak House, simply one of the greatest novels ever written.  Read some Dickens; you’ll be glad you did.

Something New: How new is “new”?  Howsabout “this century”?  Penelope Lively’s The Photograph (2003) is a very fine (and sad) novel (and if it’s your introduction to Lively, next you can read all her novels except Heat Wave, which is thoroughly unworthy of her enormous talents); Ian McEwan started the century [2001-2007] with a pretty swell triad (Atonement, Saturday, On Chesil Beach); Pat Barker’s Another World is cheating because it’s 1998, but she’s worth reading in whatever century; Never Let Me Go continues the excellence that Kazuo Ishiguro began back in the 20th; and from this side of the Atlantic—not for the fainthearted—is Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men, about which I said in my reading journal, “Wow.  For action-suspense, McCarthy can make Mickey Spillane look like Jane Austen, and The Terminator look like a Teletubbies episode.  And Bell’s reflections on the state of our culture…gulp.”  Be warned.

Something Borrowed:  (These books needed an intermediary, someone to borrow the original language and transform it into eloquent English.)

Michel Quint, In Our Strange Gardens  (France, French, translated by Barbara Bray)

Cristina Peri Rossi, The Museum of Useless Efforts  (Uruguay / Spain, Spanish, translated by Tobias Hecht)

Slavenka Drakulić, The Balkan Express (Croatia, language-is-part-of-the-question, translated by Maja Soljan)

Victor Pelevin, The Yellow Arrow  (Russia, Russian, translated by Andrew Bromfield)

Pär Lagerkvist, Barabbas  (Sweden, Swedish, translated by Alan Blair)

Something Blue  Not blue as in the sitcom star’s stand-up routine that you’re really sorry you took your grandmother to for her birthday; not blue as in blue states, blue laws, blue-sky regulations, or blueberry pie, but blue as in These Are The Books Vic Listed Under “Blue” in order to round out the rather pointless and clunky theme of this list….

Florence King, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady  (Actually, this one is pretty blue as to language; herewith a Serious Vulgarity Alert.  But a very funny, and touching, memoir.)

Fanny Flagg, Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man  A sheerly delightful book.

Ron Hansen, Atticus  The final sentence.  Now you have to read the whole book again.

Bob Dylan, Chronicles (Volume One)  Only for people who are already favorably inclined toward Bob Dylan.  For those folks…a) you’ve never read anything like this in your life; b) maybe this is something like what it’s like to be inside Bob Dylan’s head; c) you won’t put it down, and you’ll wish it were twice as long as it is.

Philip Larkin, Selected Letters 1941-1985.  Hilarious, heartbreaking, insightful, utterly fascinating.  The correspondence with Kingsley Amis is, itself, worth whatever the book costs.  In fact, once you’re a quarter of the way into this collection, get Betterworld.com to send you the immense volume of Amis’s correspondence: that book is also an enormous pleasure to read.

Don’t forget sunblock.

I now pronounce you Reader and Book.

Professor LuElla D’Amico: First, of course I have to suggest one of my favorite nineteenth-century women writers, E.D.E.N. Southworth.  If you haven’t read the “gothic comedy,” The Hidden Hand, you should–and do so as soon as possible.  Bandits, thieves, madwomen, and lots of cross-dressing…what could be more fun?  And if you find you like Southworth, you should also check out Love’s Labour Lost, the book by her that I most recently read.  In fact, Love’s Labour Won, the sequel, is already on my personal summer reading list.  Warning:  Southworth like most nineteenth-century authors specializes in long, long books, but they’re quick and juicy reads, perfect for rainy Spokane summer days especially.

In terms of newer fiction, which I suppose you must delve into every once in a while, I suggest Paulo Coehlo’s Veronika Decides to Die.  It’s one of those books that made me remember why I love what I love (and perhaps will remind you why you love what you love as well).  Quite simply, Coehlo helps readers appreciate what I like to think of as the ever present, but often obscured, music of life.  And speaking of the music of life and remembering how to enjoy summer days fully, Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being is another perfect summer reading pick.  This book is especially good if you’re planning on traveling and need a good read for the plane or long car ride.  I promise it’ll make your trip all the better.  Happy break!

Image from here.

EL Faculty Picks for Summer Reading

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What better way to stockpile for summer than the Westminster Annual Book Sale? Be on the lookout for these reading recommendations tomorrow at the book sale, 11:30-1:00. Due to weather concerns, books will be in Lied Art Center, not the garden. Don’t worry, hot dogs and Laura’s List will still be available.

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Professor Casey Andrews: Not everyone’s idea of a beach read is to cozy up on a blanket with a World War I novel, but even skeptics will be taken with Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of George Sherston. Unlike other classics in the wave of Great War books that emerged in the late 1920s and early 1930s (e.g., Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Barbusse’s Under Fire, or Graves’ Good-bye to All That), Sassoon’s work stands out as a comic masterpiece. His presentation of foolishness in the English upper-crust reads like an even more sardonic E. M. Forster, and his depiction of trench life full of buffoonish officers and absurd situations anticipates the later antics of Thomas Pynchon and Joseph Heller. On top of all this, Sassoon’s book is a wonderful experiment in genre, being an “autobiographical novel,” a “fictional memoir,” or even an “exaggerated history.” That one of the greatest pieces of anti-war writing can be so experimental and witty has been a delightful discovery in my current research.

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Professor Laura Bloxham: Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland. Okay, let’s get the accolades out there: National Book Award Finalist. Shortlisted for the Man Booker 2013 Prize. Oh, and by the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning collection Interpreter of Maladies.   But to my mind it is just plain good reading. Engrossing. An epic story moving back and forth between Calcutta and Rhode Island. Highlighting two brothers and one woman. Their history. Politics and yearning for knowledge, self-fulfillment, but also finding an ethical basis for choices they make. Living with the consequences over a lifetime. I’ve already written “epic.” Epic, indeed.

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Professor Laurie Lamon: For poetry, The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa and The Great Enigma by Tomas Transtromer. For novels, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk and The Gold Finch by Donna Tartt, which just won the Pulizter for fiction. It’s astonishing.

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Professor Nicole Sheets: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters. How can I consider myself a Spokanite if I haven’t read a Jess Walter book? I began with Beautiful Ruins and found myself, against all pedagogical wisdom, staying up too late on a couple of school nights just to finish it. In Beautiful Ruins, it’s hard not to fall for Pasquale, whose capacity to dream far exceeds the economic potential of his remote, bedraggled, seaside hotel. When a beautiful movie actress arrives without warning, her distress sets into motion events that unfold across decades and continents. This novel is many things: a Hollywood romp, a commentary on modern courtship, a testament to the trials of the artistic temperament, a satire of self-help and memoir, and at its core, a love story.

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Professor Leonard Oakland: A wise person said, “When a new book comes out, read an old one.”

Read one of the Big Books:
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
James Joyce’s Ulysses
George Eliot’s Middlemarch

Newer Books:
Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland
Penelope Lively’s The Photograph
P.D. James’s Devices and Desires

Not so New:
Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth
William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom 
J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey
Rainer Rilke’s poetry

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Professor Doug Sugano: I like post-apocalyptic fiction as a genre, and my latest favorite trilogy is Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam group.  But that’s not my recommendation, although I do recommend reading Atwood’s.  Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea is a novel that fits into that post-apocalyptic genre, but not necessarily for the reasons that you’d think.  Yes, it’s in the future, but that future U.S. (Is it the U.S.?  In what way is it the U.S.?  Who is running the country?  What is there of the country beyond the planned communities?  Is this a post-racial U.S.?)  isn’t what most of us have imagined.  Rather, what appears to be the U.S. is a rigidly stratified, loose castellation of “cities” that are defined only by economic status and productivity—i.e., cities are known largely by what they produce.  And this future U.S. seems to be populated by newer Chinese immigrants.  Hence, the protagonist, Fan, is a resident of B-Mor (Baltimore), is known for her diving exploits (since B-Mor produces mostly seafood for the rest of the country).  The plot meanders about Fan and her quest to find her missing boyfriend, who has mysteriously disappeared out in the “counties,” where there is no government, no services, and few vestiges of civilization.  On her odyssey, Fan dives through many layers of the country’s social strata laid bare.  In a sense, she discovers the perverse social products of each stratum.  It seems that Lee is depicting what happens (or will happen) to all of us when corporations run everything—as if we are that far from that point, even now.

Listen to Your Mother, May 11

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Come out and support cast members Mackenna Kuehl, ’14, and Adjunct Professor Erin Davis in the Fourth Annual Spokane Listen to Your Mother show this Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11 at 7 p.m at the Bing Crosby Theater (901 West Sprague Avenue, Spokane)Tickets are $15 and can be bought at LTYM website or at the door. This national series focuses on themes of motherhood, whether you are a mother or have one.

Professor Nicole Sheets participated in the 2012 LTYM Spokane cast. Check out her reading of “Be Sweet” here.

Logo credit Sarah Fite.

An Afternoon of Words: Off-Campus Reading, May 10

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This Saturday, May 10, at 3 pm, there will be food, live music, and many many words. Join us for this off-campus reading at 9511 N. Wall St. between Mountainview Inn and Holland St.

Readers will be Josie Camarillo, Rowanne Fairchild, Mackenna Kuehl, Maggie Montague, Adam Reed, Kaitlin Schmidt, Olivia White, and more.

Hosted by members of EL 444: Advanced Writing Workshop.

For more information or if you would like to get involved, contact Josie Camarillo at jcamarillo14@my.whitworth.edu

Creative Writing Sampler: “Desire”

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by Emily Mangum (’14)

Desire is a word, and a concept, that has held a personal fascination for me since I was a child.

Desire is both a verb and a noun.

The first definition in the Oxford English Dictionary for the noun desire is: “The fact or condition of desiring, that feeling or emotion which is directed to the attainment or possession of some object from which pleasure or satisfaction is expected; longing, craving; a particular instance of this feeling, a wish.”

The definition that interests me more is an obsolete one, “Longing for something lost or missed; regret,” because it implies that desire does not need to be fixed on a concrete, attainable end. We can desire what we cannot ever possess. We can even desire what we cannot name.

Jack Gilbert, in his poem “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart,” compares desire to a giraffe.

I do not know what this means.

A few months ago I listened to a guitar piece titled “Flight of the Lovers through the Valley of Echoes,” and those words, to me, meant desire.

At the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when the Pevensies have come into their own and arrived at the castle of Pair Caravel where they are to be crowned kings and queens, Lewis addresses the reader. He writes, “And oh, the cry of the seagulls! Have you heard it? Can you remember?”

Desire, I thought when I read those words as a child, is the cry of the gull at the shore of the sea.

“Where there is desire,” sings P!nk, “there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.”

In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis writes, “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them…For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”

“What we feel most has,” Gilbert finishes,

“no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses and birds.”

Emily Mangum is a senior Writing major who hails from Clarkston, Washington. When she was six or seven she wrote a story about an orange bear named Tangerine and she’s wanted to be a writer ever since. In May 2014 she will have two degrees to her name, A.A. and B.A., before she is legally old enough to drink. 


Seagull photo is from here.

 

Sneak Peek (#2) into Laura’s List

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Here is another taste of what is to come from Laura’s List. This book honoring Laura Bloxham’s 35 years of Summer Reading Lists will be released Friday, May 9 at the Westminster annual Book Sale which will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the garden between Westminster and Lied.

To donate books to the sale, contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu or (509) 777-3253 and arrange a pick-up.

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The Stones of Mourning Creek
by Diane Les Becquets (2012)

I fell in love with The Stones of Mourning Creek my freshman year of high school. It’s one of those books I could read over and over again and get some new meaning from each time I read it. The element of mystery forced my fingers to turn each page the first time I read it.

I can’t remember if the writing was even “good” and I can barely recall the storyline. But I do remember the feeling I got from reading the book –a kind of aching in my chest and throat, like I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.

Despite the title, this book is not just a young adult romance novel, a genre that perpetually lived on my bookshelf at the time. Rather, it follows the story of a young Caucasian girl who finds herself battling a racist society when she befriends an African American girl in 1960 Alabama. The novel portrays unlikely friendships, complicated familial relationships, death, racism, and heartbreak.

Ivy Beck is a sophomore at Whitworth who is studying English and French, and has taken to writing creative nonfiction.

May and All That It Brings

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As of today, there are 18 days until the end of finals week. To help energize you for the last three weeks, we have lots of activities coming your way.

Thursday, May 1

Writing Awards at 4 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. This year’s Writing Awards have a surprise in store for you. Check out the video featuring Annie Stillar and Ryan Stevens on The Whistle’s facebook page.

Writing in the Community Reading at 6 p.m. at Indaba Coffee (1425 W Broadway, downtown Spokane) as seen in poster above made by Rowanne Fairchild. Come out and support Nicole Sheets and her class EL 396: Writing in the Community Practicum.

All semester we have been working closely with different community groups from Mountainside Middle School to Cooper George. Join us for the chance to hear our workshop members read the materials they have been working on for the past eight weeks. And there will be cake!

Friday, May 2

Annual Westminster Round BBQ at 5 p.m. in the garden between Westminster and Lied. Celebrate the end of the semester with friends and burgers (and veggie burgers)!

Next week Friday, May 9

Westminster’s Annual Book Sale and the release of Laura’s List. The book sale will be from 11:30-1:00 in the garden between Westminster and Lied. Donations are still welcome. Contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu or (509) 777-3253 to arrange a pick-up.