From the Fall 2010 Caller
History teacher Pat Walsh recently sent a list to incoming Upper Schoolers of books that had inspired faculty and staff members when they were teenagers. This is just a part of that glorious list, in which J.D. Salinger reigned supreme, with Kurt Vonnegut a close runner-up. Maybe your inspirations will be found here, too.
Deirdre Atkinson, drama teacher
Chris Bagg, English teacher
“If I were a rapper, I’d freestyle an ode to Crime and Punishment: I like big books. Dostoyevsky’s character arcs and setting transported me in a manner far more profound that any cinematic experience I’d ever had. I went from a child who wore a white bathrobe and braided her hair into Leia’s signature cinnamon rolls, to a young woman who spent an inordinate amount of time at the kitchen sink trying to wash the stain of Raskolnikov’s guilt from her own hands.” —Nance Leonhardt, media arts teacher
Nancy Donehower, college counselor
Enrique Escalona, Spanish teacher
“In Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly, I was attracted to a uniquely American character who embraced the challenge of living a pure life in adherence to a simple set of altruistic principles. Mr. Blue is a radical idealist, a mystic, a poet, and his example has prompted me to think more deeply about the values implicit in many of the decisions I have made in my life.” —Art Leo, English teacher
Peter Green, outdoor education director & dean of students
“I read Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find with a teacher who was passionate about her work. He introduced me to her writing as a comment on the human condition, and I was both shocked and completely captivated. It was a powerful and formative experience.” —Michael Heath, Upper School head
Andrew Merrill, computer science teacher
Lark Palma, head of school
Sue Phillips, librarian
Peter Shulman, history teacher
Nichole Tassoni, English teacher
Becky Wynne, science teacher
By Tony Stocks
From the Fall 2010 Caller
Diverse, Challenging Reading Lists
Reading Through the Lens of Literary Terms
Reading as Active Response
Tony Stocks has been teaching English in Catlin Gabel’s Upper School since 1999. He is the proud father of Clarissa ’16 and Charlotte ’19 Speyer-Stocks.
By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School
From the Autumn 2010 Caller
The marvelous Billy Collins is coming to Catlin Gabel's Upper School on Wednesday, November 17th. If you would like a taste of his poetry before he arrives, here are a few resources for you.
• The Billy Collins Poetry Window in the US Library: We've posted several of his poems on the window just inside the US Library entrance. Stop by and browse for a brief introduction to his writing.
• Check out a book: There will be a good selection of titles in the library in a special book display beginning on November 1st.
• Visit the Poetry Foundation's Billy Collins page to listen to audio recordings of his poems, and to read a brief biography.
Enjoy the poetry!
As the leaves begin to turn and the nights grow chill, stop by the US Library to find some novels, short stories, and movies to suit your Halloween mood! We have classic fiction by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, a great assortment of Hitchcock and vampire DVDs, and plenty of mysteries. If you're busy and don't have much time, check out a story collection to enjoy your chills in bite-sized bits. Don't blame us if you have a little bit of trouble settling down to sleep...
Did you know that you can use your Multnomah or Washington County library card number to check out downloadable audio and ebooks? Now you can read or listen to all sorts of literature on your smart phone, ipod, laptop, etc. This is a service of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium.
Here's the link: http://library2go.lib.overdrive.com
Have a wonderful summer.
Summer Borrowing is your chance to check out books and magazines to enjoy all summer long. All returning students and fac/staff may participate. Beginning on Tuesday, June 1st, stop by to browse our big, big displays. We'll be glad to help you find something of interest, or an armload of good reading. This is YOUR chance to decide what you want to read.
See you soon! --Sue
Do you enjoy novels set in the past? We have hundreds of good choices. Whether you like stories from the Civil War era, ancient Egypt, India, or France during the Revolution, we've got something you will enjoy. Ask Sue for help if you need it!
If you need a little bit of inspiration from the big names in mathematics, or you love to solve difficult problems, browse these wonderful titles.
Prime Numbers: The Most Mysterious Figures in Math--D. Wells
A look at the math and mystique of prime numbers bringing to life the strange attraction of primes, from their current use in codes and cryptography to the Fermat and Fibonacci numbers, Goldbach's Conjecture, the Mersenne primes, and the number mysticism of old Pythagoras; from prime records and mathematicians' ingenious efforts to find primes (including a 2002 breakthrough algorithm), all the way to the unproven Riemann Hypothesis and the extraordinary zeta function.
Knotted Doughnuts and other mathematical entertainments--M. Gardner
Do you like Scientific American? This book is a collection of Martin Gardner's Scientific American columns including mathematical games, problems, paradoxes, teasers, and tricks.
Rock, Paper, and Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life--L. Fisher
Game theory reveals various aspects of social behavior, with an analysis of how social norms and peoples' sense of fair play can create cooperative--rather than competitive--solutions to problems, and shows how mathematics applies to daily dilemmas.
The Jasons: The Secret History of Sciences' Postwar Elite--A. Finkbeiner
Reveals how a highly secretive team of scientists known as Jason have been working since 1960 to solve highly classified problems for the American government.
The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics--C. Pickover
If you want the big picture in short entries, check out this anthology of descriptions of 250 significant achievements in the history of mathematics, arranged chronologically from circa 150 million BC to 2007. Now that's coverage!
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature--T. Siegfried
This book examines Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash's game theory and the ways it has shaped evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and quantum physics, linking the three sciences in a way that could lead to a science of human social behavior, or "Code of Nature."
|The Millennium Problems: The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of our Time--K. Devlin
Solving one of these problems is the hard way to obtain $1,000,000.00, but you could try! The book tells the stories behind seven extraordinarily difficult mathematical problems, the solutions for which the Clay Foundation of Cambridge, Massachusetts is offering one million dollars each, and discusses what they mean for the future of math and science.
==Rebels, Pirates, and Gangsters==
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates--D. Cordingly
Johnny Depp didn't really give us the whole story. This book takes a closer look at the real lives of historical pirates.
Gang Leader for a Day--S. Venkatesh
The author, when a first year graduate student in Sociology, managed to work his way into one of Chicago's must brutal crack-dealing gangs. This is the story of learning about gang life from the inside.
|The Motorcycle Diaries--C. Guevara
Guevara's book documents his 1952 motorcycle road trip from Buenos Aires through South America. This is the Che before he became a famous Cuban revolutionary.
American Mafia: A History of its Rise to Power--T. Reppetto
A fascinating account of the rise of the American Mafia from the 1880s to the 1950s, discussing the political, governmental, bureaucratic, economic, and social conditions that facilitated the success of the crime syndicate.
On the Road--J. Kerouac
A fiftieth anniversary edition of Jack Kerouac's thinly fictionalized autobiography chronicling his cross-country adventure across North America on a quest for self-knowledge as experienced by his alter-ego, Sal Paradise and Sal's friend Dean Moriarty--Kerouac's real life friend Neal Cassady.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--K. Kesey
Quite famously made into a film, this story is a classic. Here's the official description: The tale is chronicled by the seemingly mute Indian patient, Chief Bromden; its hero Randle Patrick McMurphy, the boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who encourages gambling, drinking,and sex in the ward, and rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorial role of Big Nurse. McMurphy's defiance which begins as a sport-develops into a grim struggle with the awesome power of the "Combine", concluding with shattering, tragic results. In its unforgettable portrait of a man teaching the value of self-reliance and laughter destroyed by forces of hatred and fear.
==Graphic Novels & Nonfiction==
The Complete Persepolis--M. Satrapi
The author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime.
This is an Alan Moore classic, which Time magazine called "a masterpiece." Two generations of superheroes, including Dr. Manhattan, who deals with the responsibility of his powers, and Nite Owl, who wrestles with letting go of the past, dissect their collective histories while trying to determine who is methodically killing them all off.
The Photographer--Guibert, Lefevre and Lemercier
This amazing books documents a visit into Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders. If you are interested in current events, graphic novel-style storytelling, and or medicine, check it out.
Yes, indeed, your teachers love poetry. As one in our occasional series of poetry readings, here's an audio recording of Pat Walsh, US History teacher, who reads a selection of short poems by Richard Brautigan. Brautigan (1935-1984) is one of those quirky voices who had one foot in the Beat poets' movement, and one foot in 60's counterculture. He wrote a number of novels and books of poetry, and came to the attention of Kurt Vonnegut in the late 1960s, who helped him find a national audience of readers.
If you enjoy them, stop by, and pick up a copy of his work. We have Trout Fishing in America, as well as a collection of poems that may interest you.
The Upper School Library and Pegasus are jointly celebrating National Poetry Month.
(Swans on St. Stephen's Green, Ireland. Photo by Sue)
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
--excerpt from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats (1795-1821)
Come see the transformation of the windows as students write their favorite poems on the glass. Pick up a volume of poetry from one of our book displays, and revel in the beauty of poetry.
We’ve got some great new titles…
At last! You’ve got some free time, and we’ve got some great new titles as well as some old friends. Here’s an overview of just a few of the new arrivals:
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
If you followed the Obama/McCain election with interest, you’ll love this zippy read. Described by a reporter for the Associated Press as “the hottest book in the country,” (http://tiny.cc/dXAYC)Game Change will make the members of the History department giddy with excitement. The book is based on numerous interviews with the political teams and candidates, with some dialogue invented to help get inside the heads of the participants. It’s a book that falls somewhere between fact and fiction, and it’ll feed your curiosity.
Food Rules, by Michael Pollan
At last, a wise, commonsense little book by a well-respected writer about food. Pollan's advice is at times hilarious: "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car." Another chapter quips, "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." This is a quick, bracing little book.
Secrets of Eden, by Chris Bohjalian
Do you relish a good murder mystery? According to a reviewer for Booklist, Bohjalian "drops bombshell clues...and weaves subtle nuances of doubt and intrigue into a taut, read-in-one-sitting murder mystery." ( http://tiny.cc/zSP5M )
Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld
Into Steampunk lit? School Library Journal writes,"This is World War I as never seen before. The story begins the same: on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, triggering a sequence of alliances that plunges the world into war. But that is where the similarity ends. This global conflict is between the Clankers, who put their faith in machines, and the Darwinists, whose technology is based on the development of new species. After the assassination of his parents, Prince Aleksandar's people turn on him. Accompanied by a small group of loyal servants, the young Clanker flees Austria in a Cyklop Stormwalker, a war machine that walks on two legs. Meanwhile, as Deryn Sharp trains to be an airman with the British Air Service, she prays that no one will discover that she is a girl. She serves on the Leviathan, a massive biological airship that resembles an enormous flying whale and functions as a self-contained ecosystem. When it crashes in Switzerland, the two teens cross paths, and suddenly the line between enemy and ally is no longer clearly defined. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, and that's a good thing because readers will be begging for more. Enhanced by Thompson's intricate black-and-white illustrations, Westerfeld's brilliantly constructed imaginary world will capture readers from the first page. Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic." (http://tiny.cc/YdHr3 ).
Cheever, by Blake Bailey
This new biography is receiving enthusiastic reviews from a wide range of critics. John Updike writes for the New Yorker, "A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal." Publishers Weekly exclaims that "This Ovid in Ossining, who published 121 stories in the New Yorker as well as several bestselling novels, has probably yet to find a definitive position in American letters among academicians. This thoroughly researched and heartfelt biography may help redress that situation." ( http://tiny.cc/dBBkw)
Get Me Out! A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank,by Randi Hutter Epstein
The cover will make you laugh, but the contents will give you the shivers. Health care and obstetrics have come a very long way over the centuries. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as “[A] sharp, sassy history of childbirth…. The author’s engaging sarcasm, evident even in a caption of an illustration of an absurd obstetric contraption—’Nineteenth-century Italian do-it-yourself forceps. The fad never took off’—lends this chronicle a welcome punch and vitality often absent from medical histories. Roll over, Dr. Lamaze, and make room for Epstein’s eyebrow-raising history.” (http://tiny.cc/IsMzt)
Stop by, and we'll help you find something to enjoy over the break. --Sue
Handsome Pet Portraits, People, and Places…
Laurie Carlyon-Ward’s photography class has posted a few dozen photographs on the bulletin boards in the US Library. Just inside the foyer you’ll find some marvelous pet portraits. On the bulletin board near the elevators, and behind the reference desk you’ll find lots more gorgeous photos of people and things. Stop by and take a look at this beautiful work!
How Do I Cite That?
Now there’s a question I hear often. Save yourself some time and hassles by going to some very helpful links, and choose from the MLA or Chicago options.
We subscribe to Noodle Tools. You can set up a free account, and as you write your essay, Noodle Tools will prompt you through the process of citing every book, article, DVD, speech, or soup can you discuss. Not sure how to use it? Stop by and ask Sue or Margy to show you how to get started. Noodle Tools is great for both MLA and Chicago styles!
Zombies, Schools, and Artists! New Books Keep Arriving.
We've got lots of new books. Why not choose what YOU want to read and think about during your free time? Here are a few good suggestions:
Letters to a Young Artist, by Anna Deavere Smith
Those of you in Chris Bagg’s Modern Drama class have encountered this brilliant author’s work. School Library Journal writes: ”From a role on the popular TV show The West Wing to a MacArthur Foundation Award, Smith has attained success as an actress, a playwright, and a director. Her letters are filled with anecdotes and stories about her own successes and failures, giving the book an accessible, conversational feel. While the author primarily focuses on the joys of an artistic life, she also points out how much hard work, persistence, and even luck are necessary to succeed. She gives especially tender advice for those times when progress seems slow or when the review is bad. The book reads breezily front to back but is also divided into categories so it can be easily used as a reference when needing inspiration in specific areas.” (http://tiny.cc/BNeKB)
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks
Thanks to Toby Alden for the recommendation. Here’s a snippet from a Booklist review:
”Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and author of The Zombie Survival Guide, 2003) has taken it upon himself to document the “first hand” experiences and testimonies of those lucky to survive 10 years after the fictitious zombie war. Like a horror fan’s version of Studs Terkel’s The Good War (1984), the “historical account” format gives Brooks room to explore the zombie plague from numerous different views and characters. In a deadpan voice, Brooks exhaustively details zombie incidents from isolated attacks to full-scale military combat: “what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t!” With the exception of a weak BAT-21 story in the second act, the “interviews” and personal accounts capture the universal fear of the collapse of society–a living nightmare in which anyone can become a mindless, insatiable predator at a moment’s notice.” (http://tiny.cc/KsRBP)
Image from Random House website: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307346605
The Help: a Novel, by Kathryn Stockett
This was recommended by two faculty members. This segment of a review was printed in the Washington Post: ”Southern whites’ guilt for not expressing gratitude to the black maids who raised them threatens to become a familiar refrain. But don’t tell Kathryn Stockett because her first novel is a nuanced variation on the theme that strikes every note with authenticity. In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide. Newly graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in English but neither an engagement ring nor a steady boyfriend, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan returns to her parents’ cotton farm in Jackson. Although it’s 1962, during the early years of the civil rights movement, she is largely unaware of the tensions gathering around her town.” (http://tiny.cc/sHF0w)
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by Greg Mortenson
One of the Upper School Library’s most popular nonfiction titles in recent years has been Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea. The book jacket explains, “Just as Three Cups of Tea began with a promise-to build a school in Korphe, Pakistan–so too does Mortenson’s new book. In 1999, Kirghiz horsemen from Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor rode into Pakistan and secured a promise from Mortenson to construct a school in an isolated pocket of the Pamir Mountains known as Bozai Gumbaz. Mortenson could not build that school before constructing many others, and that is the story he tells in this dramatic new book.” Here’s a link to Mortenson’s website if you want to learn more about his work.
From the Fall 2009 Caller
By Sue Phillips