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I love the smell of bookstores in the morning
This has been a big year for Lewis Buzbee ’79. He’s published both a memoir destined to win a place in the hearts of book lovers (and lovers of bookstores) and a collection of short stories thick with the stuff of family, love, and loss. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Graywolf Press, 2006, $17) is for those enticed by the smell and touch of books, and the satisfying hunt for just the right read. Beyond telling stories from Buzbee’s years as a bookseller and publisher’s rep, it explores the history of bookmaking and bookselling itself.
On the fiction side, as the title of the collection After the Gold Rush (Tupelo Press, 2006, $14) suggests, these are tales that cope with life in the wake of big changes—for good and bad. Anchoring the book is the novella “An American Son,” an absurd tale of a 17-year-old who, after reading Solzhenitsyn, defects to the Soviet Union, becomes a writer, and marries his Russian translator—who ultimately leaves him for America.
As for Buzbee and his family, they live in San Francisco, where he teaches writing at USF.
Trick-or-treating on the Rock
You knew Alcatraz Island was once home to Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly—but did you know the island had kids on it, too? Claire Rudolf Murphy ’73 has written Children of Alcatraz: Growing Up on the Rock (Walker & Co., 2006, $17.95), which tells stories from military families stationed there in the 19th century to Native Americans who reclaimed the island as Indian land in 1968. And, of course, there are tales of prison guards’ kids and their adventures. Amply illustrated with archival photos, and sprinkled with anecdotes and personal stories, Children of Alcatraz is easy enough going for young readers, and fascinating enough to draw in grown-ups.
Murphy received her B.A. in history from SCU and is the author of more than a dozen books for children and young adults. She lives in Spokane, Wash.
The ancient ways are not lost
After decades of civil war, Guatemala returned to civilian rule 20 years ago. Since then, one of the profound changes has been the possibility for the Maya—who comprise half the country’s population—to again express their traditional spiritual beliefs and practices openly. In Contemporary Maya Spirituality: The Ancient Ways Are Not Lost (University of Texas Press, 2006, $35), Jean Molesky-Poz, who lectures in religious studies at SCU, offers a fascinating study of contemporary Maya worldviews and of how they are grounded in ancient beliefs and spiritual practices. In-depth dialogues with Maya Ajq’ijab’ (keepers of the 260-day ritual calendar) explore sacred geography, sacred time, and ritual practice.
If you’re heading for the ruggedly gorgeous Oregon coast, you might want to take a gander at a quick reference guide compiled by Oregon native and SCU alumnus Dick Trout ’53. Oregon’s Best Coastal Beaches (Frank Amato Publications, 2005, $14.95) offers nuts-and-bolts info (is there camping? surfing? bathrooms?) and ratings on more than 100 coastal beaches and parks, from Astoria to the Winchuck River. Trout now calls Ashland, Ore., home, and he is a member of Oregon Shores Coastwatch, a volunteer organization that seeks to protect Oregon’s beaches. Back-to-back MVP in the NBA, Steve Nash ’96 returned to campus in September for a ceremony retiring his Santa Clara jersey. He also offered a convocation message for students and alumni alike: Look deeper. Understand for yourself. Get involved. And keep Santa Clara taking over the world.