This fantastic week began with a 7:30 meeting time at Catlin on Sunday morning. We loaded the bus and drove up to Alder Creek’s Jantzen Beach shop where we met up with Chris and Paul to try out various kayaks and dry suits for fit on land. Once we all found our dream Michelin-man suits, booties, and vessels, we drove north across the Columbia for our Basic Skills Class on benign Vancouver Lake.
Though perfectly placid, within ten minutes on the lake at least four of us succumbed to the difficulties of balancing and maneuvering barely eighteen-inch wide boats across water, and capsized! Thankfully, our dry suits kept us warm and toasty. After learning the basic strokes and practicing our edging and turning (and a few more capsizes), we all dove in the water in order to practice rescuing each other. Students adapted quickly to the importance of good communication, emptying teammates’ boats of water after flipping, and “rafting up” in order to increase stability and make for easier re-entries. After a game of Sharks and Minnows, we pulled ashore, loaded boats on the trailer, and enjoyed a quick brown bag lunch in the park before moving further north toward Seattle.
As soon as the Space Needle emerged on the horizon, we knew that Chris Potts and the Seattle Bouldering Project loomed nearby. “If you want to start a business, expect that it will take roughly six times more time and seven times more money to get going than you think,” Chris warned as he gave us a tour of the sprawling complex that he and a buddy opened a month ago, just east of I-5. His time and investment clearly paid off, and we enjoyed two hours of world-class indoor bouldering—the next best thing to an actual trip to Squamish or the Valley. Though most of us reveled in the creative route-setting and steep walls, Ian, Hannah, and Henry spent most of their time wrestling with Chris on the pole-vault-landing-style padded floor. Chris won, hands down. Visiting and playing with Chris definitely makes the highlight list for this trip, and future Catlin groups should not hesitate to go out of their way for a stop at SBP!
We then continued our journey northward, and finally met up with Chris and Dave at Washington Park in Anacortes for our first night. After a hearty taco dinner in the dark, we settled into a night of sleep on soft pine needles under a thick canopy and clear skies.
After an early Monday breakfast of peanut butter, Nutella, honey, and banana sandwiches, we loaded the bus and caught the 8:30 am ferry to Guemes Island. We drove to our launch site at the far north end of the island and began the tedious process of packing gear into dry bags and cramming it into our long skinny hulls for our sea voyage to Cypress Island. We learned to pay attention to the balance of weight not only from the front to the back, but also side to side while packing our kayaks.
Once fully locked and loaded, the previous day’s Basic Skills Class proved to be a valuable learning experience that enabled our entire group to confidently and immediately hit the open-ish sea. A two-hour paddle on calm water propelled us past dramatic wildlife such as porpoises, seals, eagles, oyster catchers, and more to Pelican Beach on the north end of Cypress Island—our new home for the next three nights. And…everyone stayed dry! We set up camp, explored the woods and beach, napped, went for short hikes and runs through the trees, skipped rocks, threw rocks and logs, built forts and fires, ate delicious Pad Thai for dinner, read our fortunes to one another (at six cents a piece, you can’t beat WinCo’s fortune cookies for the ultimate conversation starters), and went to sleep to the sound of pebbles echoing against one another at the edge of the water.
On Tuesday, we paddled our longest stretch of the week along the cliffs of the west side of Cypress Island, down through Rosario Strait to Strawberry Island. Though somewhat of a misnomer (we found many more wild strawberries on Cypress than on Strawberry), the 200-yard long island became the perfect spot to stop for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Students explored the island’s rocks and meadows and consulted a field guide for information on wildflowers such as wild roses and yarrow. Three students decided to join Erin and Dave for a short paddle to the south side of Cypress Island and a three-mile hike, and the rest of the group sunned for another hour on Strawberry before heading back north to our base camp.
Highlights of the remaining days include rafting seven boats together and creating a makeshift sailboat with a hammock and paddles (it worked!); finding dozens of bones, shells, pebbles, feathers, and other treasures; hiking seven and a half miles up and down the highest peak on Cypress Island; Dutch oven apple pie and polenta lasagna; learning about the incredibly complex currents, tides, topography, ebb and flood patterns, and weather variables of the San Juans; building drift wood fires and roasting marshmallows; playing silly games such as “hit the stick” and “launch each other off the log” on the beach; a nighttime paddle amongst billions of phytoplankton all lit up; sunny, clear skies and temps in the 60s and 70s; sleeping under the stars; a mixed-age group of students working extremely well together; and a windy and rough but exciting and satisfying paddle on our return to Guemes Island at the end.
The drive home went smoothly thanks to a late lunch stop at Burgerville in Centralia. We listened to our theme song, “Brandy is a Fine Girl” by Looking Glass at LEAST six times on the way home, belting the lyrics out the windows. Our life, our love, and our lady, indeed, was the sea—at least for the last five days. Most students agreed that leaving the islands proved to be their principal “low” of the week. All agreed that they’d do this trip again, ideally for at least a full week. We will be back!
"I've never been this tired in my life...not even when I stayed up to watch Harry Potter 7 on opening night!"
The words of this wise student summed up how we all felt after the nearly 12 hours of hiking that went into the powerful experience of standing on top of a Cascade volcano and peering down into the smoking crater. All of us here in Portland orient ourselves by looking North to the snow-covered rise of Mount St. Helens, but few of us can claim to have been lucky enough to see the world from on top. Thirteen excited and newly-graduated 8th graders joined the company of one dedicated 7th grader, four adult climb leaders, and an increasingly heavy ironing board to try their hand at reaching the summit.
As most of the group was new to the wonders of mountaineering, the greater portion of Saturday was spent in the sun, learning about the fundamentals of a safe and successful climb. We talked about the essential clothing and personal equipment that one needs for an outing, as well as the importance of food, water, rest and paying attention to ones breathing and body. We learned the basic skills needed on a mountain climb at a short Snow School (on a less than impressive snow slope!) These techniques included the rest step, plunge step, walking with an ice axe, putting on and walking with crampons, and the theory behind a self-arrest.
Back at camp, we explored the edge of the lake, played some ridiculous games, and feasted on a "make-your-own burrito" spread. There is nothing like chorizo to power you up a mountain. We all went to bed early knowing that we would be awake again in only a few hours to start the climb.
By 4am everyone in the group was up and putting the final touches on their gear, and we were at the Marble Mountain trailhead and moving toward the mountain by 6:15. Our first break all together came at timberline where the sun greeted us in full force. The trail through the "Worm Flows" soon met up with Monitor Ridge, and the group worked its way up this prominent feature on the mountain. The shortest route to the top of the mountain starts at a trailhead known as the "Climber's Bivouac," but due to the heavy snow this year, the bivouac had not yet melted out, forcing our group to take the longer approach from Marble Mountain. The extra distance didn't slow us down, as our group easily kept pace with another Mazama party that was on the mountain that day.
The group tired as we neared the top, and a bit of fog covered the summit, but everyone pushed on. The first in our party reached the top at 1:11pm, and the rest of us trickled up to the rim before we all started the incredible glissade back to the forest. As the fog cleared, we had unbelievable views north to Mt. Rainier, and down to the impressive, and smoking lava dome.
The ironing board made it all the way up to the summit only for us to realize that somebody had forgotten the iron! Please enjoy these photos from this incredible weekend. It was an experience that we all will be able to draw from in many ways for years to come.
"Who forgot the iron?"
Teachers and students challenged one another to a lively Frisbee game on the day before school ended in June 2011.
Student panelists: seniors Henry Gordon, Rebecca Kropp, and Josh Langfus.
Alumni panelists: Leslie Nelson ’10, attending Pitzer College; Rivfka Shenoy ’09, attending Washington University St. Louis; Riley Gibson ’04, BS in business management from Babson College and co-founder and CEO of Napkin Labs; and Peter Bromka ’00, BA in anthropology from Tufts University and a design researcher at IDEO, a global design firm.
Moderator: Rukaiyah Adams ’91, BA from Carleton College, JD and MBA from Stanford University, consultant for Plum District and Regence Blue Cross/ Blue Shield.
Twenty-three members of the class of 2011 have attended Catlin Gabel since preschool, kindergarten, or first grade. They joined Beginning School students, teachers, and family members for a special Friday Sing and tribute to retiring kindergarten teachers Sue Henry and Betsy McCormick. The seniors shared memories, gave advice, and sang along to favorite Beehive songs such as "Old Dan Tucker," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and our favorite tear-jerker "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You."
The day dawned gray, with the promise of dampness ahead. Nevertheless, the intrepid hikers, 11 students and 2 leaders, gathered at Catlin to set off to climb Dog Mountain. All were present before the hour for departure, so the expedition left 5 minutes ahead of schedule. Driving through the Gorge the clouds thickened, the moisture condensed, and the wipers came on. In the distance much brighter clouds over Dog Mountain enticed us onwards.
As we approached the trailhead, the summit of our climb was shrouded in cloud. The trail at the base was clear and dry, so after introductions all around, we set off up the first steep pitch in high spirits. True to tradition, some students charged ahead, while others (and one leader) plodded up in the rear. With stops at each junction to ensure that everyone went the same way, the group was never overly stretched out. Despite the chilly, damp season we’ve had so far in the Northwest, the wildflowers were emerging colorfully. Yellow Balsamroot, red Indian Paintbrush, and, higher up, lilac Phlox were to be seen, along with many others.
The wind rose and the temperature dropped as we neared the summit. We were very glad of the extra layers and warm hats and gloves we’d brought along. As we huddled in the flower fields at the top, a light rain began to fall as the view alternated between the damp inside of a cloud, fleeting views of snowy slopes on the Oregon side of the Gorge, and spectacular panoramas westward over Wind Mountain and down the Gorge towards Portland. Living up to its name there were many dogs of all sizes on the trail. One even sported a doggy rain poncho.
The wet, windy and chilly weather didn’t dispose us to linger on the top, so we soon packed up our things and set off down the alternate route towards the base. The lower we descended the warmer it got. By the time we reached the trailhead the sun was out and it was a beautiful day.
The group came for many reasons: conditioning to climb Mt Hood or Mt St Helens, to build towards a summer of hiking, or just to have fun outdoors. Since all made it to the summit, the goals were achieved. We returned to Portland and Catlin 6 minutes ahead of schedule, tired but well satisfied with our efforts of the day.
Think outside the classroom this summer! Take home an armload of good books to read. Whether you’ll be lounging in a hammock, working as a camp counselor and reading after lights out, or flying on a plane to distant parts of the world, reading for pleasure would surely enhance your summer.
Summer Borrowing is Underway!
Now through June 10th @ 4pm
All returning Upper School students, and all returning faculty and staff may participate!
Here are some titles to tempt you. If you prefer, just browse the catalog at http://catalog.catlin.edu
Mama Day, by G. Naylor
Kate Vaiden, by R. Price
The Help, by K. Stockett
Delta Wedding, by E. Welty
Sound and the Fury, by W. Faulkner
Thirteen Moons, by C. Frazier
Foundations of Python Network Programming, by J. Goerzen
Beginning game development with Python and Pygame, by W. McGugan
Letters to a Young Mathematician, by I. Stewart
Feynman’s Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets around the Sun, by D. Goodstein
Beyond Measure: Modern physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory, by JE Baggott
Clear Light of Day, by A. Desai
Notes from Underground, by F. Dostoevsky
Moscow Sting, by A. Dryden
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by M. Haddon
Maltese Falcon, by D. Hammett
A Most Wanted Man, by J. Le Carré
Small Island, by A. Levy
Kalahari Typing School for Men, by RA McCall Smith
Blood Meridian, by C. McCarthy
Master and Commander, by P. O’Brian
Saga of the Swamp Thing, by A. Moore
A Drifting Life, by Y. Tatsumi
Complete Persepolis, by M. Satrapi
Black Hole, by C. Burns
Palestine, by J. Sacco
Brisingr, by C. Paolini
The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien
Powers, by U. LeGuin
The Wood Wife, by T. Windling
Memory & Dream, by C. DeLint
Far From Here
Iberian Worlds, by G. McDonogh
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris, by S. Turnbull
Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present, by P. Hessler
Under the Tuscan Sun, by F. Mayes
The Art and Craft of Handmade Books, by S. LaPlantz
Letters to a Young Artist, by A. Deavere Smith
Conversations with Frank Gehry, by B. Isenberg
Chuck Close: A Life, by C. Finch
Origami Paper Animals, by D. Boursin
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, by T. Wolff
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by A. Bender
The Runner’s Literary Companion, Ed. G. Battista
Nine Stories, by JD Salinger
Nick Adams Stories, by E. Hemingway
Stop by soon.
With good wishes,
Sue, Upper School Librarian
Catlin Gabel has helped found a new nonprofit organization called the Global Online Academy (GOA), a consortium of ten leading independent day schools that will offer online high school courses beginning this fall. We are honored that our own PLACE urban studies class, taught by George Zaninovich, has been selected as one of the five inaugural courses. Lakeside School in Seattle led the effort to found the academy and will hire the director.
Students may choose to take an online class to pursue academic study in a subject that we do not offer, to study with students from other parts of the country and the world, or to experience a format of instruction that they are likely to encounter in the future.
We will explore the potential for online learning in a Catlin Gabel education, while investing modest resources and enrolling only a handful of students at first. Upper School department chairs will determine student eligibility requirements and course credit policies. We expect the academy to grow quickly, as new member schools join and more students enroll in classes.
Catlin Gabel will play a special role in the online academy by demonstrating our brand of experiential education, which we have honed over decades. “Learning through experience” may form the foundation of the best quality of online instruction.
Albuquerque Academy | Albuquerque, NM
Catlin Gabel School | Portland, Oregon
Cranbrook Schools | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The Dalton School | New York, New York
Germantown Friends School | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Head-Royce School | Oakland, California
King's Academy | Madaba-Manja, Jordan
Lakeside School | Seattle, Washington
Punahou School | Honolulu, Hawaii
Sidwell Friends School | Washington, D.C.
Thanks go to our faculty and staff who are leading the way
Lark Palma, head of school: GOA director search committee
Michael Heath, Upper School head: academic policy committee
Richard Kassissieh, IT director: GOA board member and Catlin Gabel liaison to GOA
Dan Griffiths, science teacher: curriculum and accreditation committee
Jim Wysocki, math teacher: technology and professional development committee
George Zaninovich, PLACE director: instructor of an inaugural GOA course
Lauren Reggero-Toledano, Spanish teacher: attended the academy conference
Paul Andrichuk, Middle School head: attended the academy conference
The mission of the Global Online Academy is to translate into online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its members schools to foster new and effective ways, through best practices in online education, for all student to learn; and to promote students’ global awareness and understanding
Sophomore Perla Alvarez has been elected co-chair of the Multnomah Youth Commission. She has volunteered more than 300 hours serving on the commission for two years, is a member of the youth gang violence task force, and works closely with Mayor Sam Adams and city commissioners. Junior Ramtin Rahmani has been elected co-chair of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board of Beaverton. The board promotes youth involvement in civic affairs such as volunteering and participating in government-sponsored actions.
Level 1 – EighthGrade
Eva Jahanshir, 1st in state, silver nationally
Annika Carfagno, 2nd in state, silver nationally
Garet Neal, 2nd in state, silver nationally
Maya Banitt, bronze
Ford Brown, bronze
Lauren Fogelstrom, bronze
Zach Allen, honors
Max Armstrong, honors
Brendan Attey, honors
Lily Burns, honors
Nico Hamacher, honors
Arielle Schnitzer, honors
Walter Sherry, honors
Lauren Shoemaker, honors
Level 2 – Eighth Grade
Kellie Takahashi, 1st in state, gold nationally
Matthew Bernstein, 3rd in state, gold nationally
Larissa Banitt, gold
Sarah Norris, silver
Daniel Chang, bronze
Evan Chapman, bronze
Conner Hansen, bronze
Andrew Lee, bronze
Nick Miller, honors
Dylan Gaus, honors
Emma Marcus, honors
Collin Moore, honors
Ally Rossi, honors
Simon Schiller, honors
Elli Wiita, honors
Walker Andrews, bronze
Peter Smith, bronze
Camille Fairbairne, honors
Spencer Hotchkiss, honors
Liban Sheikh, honors
Samara Michaelson, 2nd in state, gold nationally
Michael Elliott, gold
Kyra Finley, gold
Libby Grant, silver
Tess Michaelson, silver
Alexis Shoemaker, silver
Anisha Adke, honors
Qiddist Hammerly, honors
Rachel Caron, honors
Ali Corwin, honors
Ellie Lezak, honors
Maya Rait, honors
Jordan Riddle, honors
Lukas Stracovsky, honors
Elise Thompson, honors
Katie Zechnich, 2nd in state, silver nationally
Rahul Borkar, 3rd in state, bronze nationally
Allyson Foltyn, bronze
Ramtin Rahmani, bronze
Curtis Stahl, bronze
Kenny Woods, bronze
Ben Shmulevsky, honors
Kenny Yu, honors
Lurana Crowley, honors
Margaret Fossand, honors
Mira Hayward, honors
Will Schneiger, honors
Mckenzie Spooner, honors
Will Bishop, honors
Naomi Iverson, honors
Zoe Frank, 2nd in state, gold nationally
Casey Currey-Wilson, gold
Owen Chapman, bronze
Jackson Morawski, bronze
Andrew Salvador, bronze
Brooke Edelson, honors
Kanaiza Imbuye, honors
Grace McMurchie, honors
Grant Phillips, honors
Hannah Rotwein, honors
Maggie Weirich, honors
Jeremy Wood, honors
Koby Yudkin, honors
Lauren Ellis, gold
Jade Chen, silver
Jenna Rolle, silver
Taylor Smith, silver
Jenny Faber, bronze
Rebecca Garner, honors
Nina Greenebaum, honors
Julianne Johnson, honors
Esichang McGautha, honors
Logan Smesrud, honors
Cydney Smith, honors
Holly Kim, honors
Andrea Michalowsky, honors
Kudos to our Spanish language department: Enrique Escalona Fuentes, Spencer White, Wally Wilson, Ron Sobel, Lauren Reggero-Toledano, and Roberto Villa.
Middle School French awards
Level 01A (7th grade) 6,817 participants nationally
Iris Ellenberg, bronze, 1st in Oregon, 8th in nation
Nina Miller, 2nd in Oregon
Janelle Gowgiel, 3rd in Oregon
Nicolas Bergen, 4th in Oregon
Calissa Spooner, 5th in Oregon
Abby Hungate, 6th in Oregon
Emily Rodriguez, 6th in Oregon
Kendall Goodlett, 7th in Oregon
Solomon Hammerly 8th in Oregon
Hanna Alomair, 9th in Oregon
Dariush Sabi, 9th in Oregon
Ethan Hanson, 10th in Oregon
Level 1A (8th grade) 24,874 participants nationally
Victoria Michalowsky, bronze, 1st in Oregon, 7th in nation
Jillian Rix, 2nd in Oregon, 8th in nation
Jarod Gowgiel, 3rd in Oregon, 9th in nation
Raina Morris, 4th in Oregon
Simon McMurchie, 4th in Oregon
Nicole Nelson, 5th in Oregon
Nicolas DeStephano, 8th in Oregon
Kallan Dana, 9th in Oregon
Nicolas DeStephano, 8th in Oregon
Mary Gilleland, 10th in Oregon
Finn Schneider, 10th in Oregon
Hanna Sheikh, 10th in Oregon
Upper School French awards
More than 100,000 students participated in the Grand Concours National French Contest. Eight Upper School students placed among the top 10 nationally in three proficiency levels.
Erin Wynne, bronze, 2nd in Oregon, 8th in nation
Mary Whitsell, 6th in Oregon
Olivia Streb, 7th in Oregon
Tapwe Sandaine, 9th in Oregon
Madison Lee, 9th in Oregon
Lewis Fitzgerald- Holland, 10th in Oregon
Emmarose John, bronze, 1st in Oregon, 10th in nation
Ella Bohn, 2nd in Oregon
Kelsey Hurst, 2nd in Oregon
Gabriele Chodosh, 3rd in Oregon
Dina Zaslavsky, 3rd in Oregon
Ian Smith, 4th in Oregon
Yelena Blackburn, 5th in Oregon
Mark Van Bergen, 7th in Oregon
Emily Tuchman, 8th in Oregon
Emily Siegel, 10th in Oregon
Zoe Frank, 1st in Oregon, 3rd in nation
Lynne Stracovsky, 2nd in Oregon
Flora Field, 3rd in Oregon
Jeremy Howard, 4th in Oregon
Benji Lin, 4th in Oregon
Ilana Cohen, 5th in Oregon
Genevieve Gideonse, 5th in Oregon
Evan Brandaw, 7th in Oregon
Brandon Wilson, 7th in Oregon
Allie Weston, 8th in Oregon
Anne Gilleland, 9th in Oregon
Tucker Gordon, 9th in Oregon
Devon Utter, 9th in Oregon
Annika Berry, 10th in Oregon
Hunter Ray, bronze, 1st in Oregon, 9th in nation
Nicholas Rhodes, bronze, 1st in Oregon, 9th in nation
Fiona Noonan, bronze, 2nd in Oregon,10th in nation
Neil Badawi, 3rd in Oregon
Thalia Kelly, 4th in Oregon
James Furnary, 5th in Oregon
Schuyler Brevig, 6th in Oregon
Rachel Caron, 6th in Oregon
Sarah Ellis, 6th in Oregon
Cameron Edwards, 8th in Oregon
Mona Corboy, 9th in Oregon
Rachel Savage, 3rd in Oregon
Ko Ricker, 3rd in Oregon
Alexandra Corey, 5th in Oregon
Eli Wilson Pelton, 5th in Oregon
Jemma Pritchard, 6th in Oregon
Sarah Macdonald, 7th in Oregon
Alex Liem, 8th in Oregon
Henry Gordon, 9th in Oregon
Three cheers for our French language teachers: Francine Chough, Monique Bessette, Veronique de la Poterie, and Madeleine Girardin-Schuback!
Google has narrowed down their search out of more than 7,500 entries from around the world. Vighnesh is one of five finalists in the 17-18 age category. Vighnesh and the other finalists will be flown to Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters in July for the final judging round. The panel of judges includes “Nobel Laureates, tech visionaries, and household names.” Vighnesh's project is titled Foundational Algorithms for Music Analysis with Wide Applicability in Signal Processing.
More news about Vighnesh: his paper titled Improved Frequency Estimation in Sinusoidal Models Through Iterative Linear Programming Schemes has been accepted for publication and presentation at the international Sound and Music Computing Conference in July. The Department of Information Engineering at the University of Padova and the Conservatory "Cesare Pollini" of Padova, Italy, jointly organize the conference.
Students of all grades of Catlin's Upper School ventured up the windy roads of the Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument for a weekend of backpacking along the beautiful Siouxon Creek. Three seniors took a break from their end-of-the-year, senior projects to join us on one of their last Outdoor Program trips. After loading up our packs at the trailhead, we headed down the trail in perfect sunshine. Mary quickly led the pack past multiple waterfalls and impressive rapids along the creek. The trail crossed the full stream over bridges and we stopped multiple times to sit in the sun and enjoy being outside. A long lunch at a rocky beach quickly turned into a rock throwing contest, with Max proving to be MVP.
The weathered turned around dinner time, and we cooked our food, played cards, and turned in for bed all while trying our best to stay dry. After a long night's rest, we cooked our breakfast and packed up camp to start the pretty hike back to the bus. We stopped at the Dollar Tree in Battle Ground, WA on the way home to pick up a random assortment of gifts for Peter Green who had to stay home for the weekend due to a knee surgery.
Please enjoy some photos from our weekend.
Every summer, the US Library likes to send its books on interesting vacations with students, faculty and staff. Everyone from the bus drivers to students to teachers and administrators likes to stop by to carry off something interesting to read.
Over the course of the coming weeks, I'll be adding all sorts of recommendations to this list. After Memorial Day weekend, Summer Borrowing begins! Returning students, staff and faculty may check out an armload of good books that won't be due until mid-September.
So, let's begin...
A Taste of the Arts
We've added some new titles on filmmaking, animé, origami, modern architecture, and music. Here's a sampling.
Didier Boursin: Origami Paper Animals
Barbara Isenberg: Conversations with Frank Gehry
Maria Lafont: Soviet Posters
Shereen LaPlantz: The Art & Craft of Handmade Books
Steven Mithen: The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body
Chris Patmore: Movie Making Course
Simon Richmond: The Rough Guide to Animé
Bee Shay: Collage Lab
Stuart Shea and Robert Rodriguez: Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know about the Beatles...and More!
Anna Deavere Smith: Letters to a Young Artist: Straight0up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts
Some are political, some are futuristic, and many of them are becoming classics of the genre.
Charles Burns: Black Hole
Alan Moore: Saga of the Swamp Thing; Watchmen
Joe Sacco: Palestine
Marjane Satrapi: The Complete Persepolis
Hot, still afternoons, complex prose, solitude, thunderstorms, lemonade on the porch, and smoldering post-Civil War tensions are just a few of the characteristics of some of these books by southern authors.
William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury; Light in August
Charles Frazier: Cold Mountain; Thirteen Moons
Sue Monk Kidd: The Mermaid Chair
Carson McCullers: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Toni Morrison: A Mercy
Gloria Naylor: Mama Day
Reynolds Price: Kate Vaiden
Kathryn Stockett: The Help
Eudora Welty: Delta Wedding; Selected Stories
These books are filled with other worlds, elves, teenagers with magical powers, hobbits, daemons, and fine storytelling.
Charles de Lint: Memory & Dream
Ursula LeGuin: Powers
Christopher Paolini: Brisingr (part of a series)
Philip Pullman: The Golden Compass (part of a series)
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit (the prelude to a great series)
Keep checking back for more recommendations!