Off the Shelf: Winter 2006
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: January 29, 2006

Dreaming A Life

By Katherine Cargill-Willis ’85, PublishAmerica, Baltimore, 2005.

The novel Dreaming A Life tells the story of Grace and Olivia, twins born in a fictional eastern Washington town in 1963. Olivia has cerebral palsy and is institutionalized when she is three. When their mother dies, Grace and her family move to Seattle, leaving Olivia behind. Although Grace prospers in her new life with a loving stepmother, she is haunted by dark, fuzzy dreams. As time passes, the lives of the sisters draw closer out of the dream mode and into cold reality.

Maiden of Pain: The Priest

By Kameron Franklin ’03, Wizards of the Coast, Renton, Wash., 2005.

Kameron Franklin was chosen from more than 500 writers around the world to pen the fourth volume in the Forgotten Realms series, which is based on the Dungeons & Dragons game. He has played the game of make-believe worlds and characters for more than 20 years. Applicants had to submit a story outline and sample chapters in 2003. He was named the winner that year and worked on the book through most of 2004. Today he continues to write short stories and is working on a second novel.

The Elephant Walk

Written and illustrated by Joe Spooner ’68, Arnica Publishing, Portland, 2005.

Local cartoonist and illustrator Joe Spooner first wrote this story over 20 years ago for his daughter, Norah. That original handmade book has evolved into a crisp, colorful hardback for toddlers and grade schoolers. Children will love to find the hidden elephant on each page. Spooner’s work has appeared in many Northwest and national publications, including PSU Magazine. He writes and illustrates a weekly feature, “Mr. Portland,” for The Oregonian.

Lizard Music and Other Arias

CD by Hamilton Cheifetz and Bryan Johanson (music faculty), Gagliano Recordings, Portland, 2005.

As a duo, Hamilton Cheifetz, cello, and Bryan Johanson, guitar, have worked together for more than 15 years. Johanson’s original compositions and transcriptions have allowed for a balance and blending of their two instruments that is lyrical, classical, energetic, and at times weird—but always compatible. Included on the CD are three sonatas by the celebrated baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti; music from French composers Eric Satie and Gabriel Faure; and five Hungarian-flavored miniatures by Bela Bartok. The title piece, “Lizard Music,” and “A Simple Serenade” are original compositions by Johanson.

Iron Maidens: The Celebration of the Most Awesome Female Muscle in the World

By Kristin Kaye MA ’04, Thunder’s Mouth Press, New York, 2005.

This is the first book authored by an alum of PSU’s graduate writing program. Kristin Kaye gives a behind-the-scenes look at a Broadway performance she scripted and directed in 1992. It featured 25 of the world’s strongest women. The book, which Kaye originally wrote as her thesis, alternates accounts of the show with an exposé of women’s bodybuilding, including the use of steroids and the lucrative side business of women wrestling men for money.

Tales of a Tea Leaf: The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine

By Jill Yates ’86, Square One Publishers, Garden City, N.Y., 2005.

Tales of a Tea Leaf is a complete guide to the intricacies of tea lore, tea brewing, and tea cuisine. Jill Yates explores tea’s regal history as well as its mysterious age-old relationship with rebels and smugglers. There are recipes for iced and spicy brewed tea drinks in the book and other creations, such as Apricot Tea Bread and Pumpkin Chai Pie. With nearly 3,000 varieties steeped in almost 5,000 years of history, tea makes a fascinating story.

The Survival League

By Gordan Nuhanovic and translated by Julie Busic ’75, MA ’91, Ooligan Press, PSU, 2005.

The Croatian Ministry of Culture approached Portland State’s small Ooligan Press several years ago with a proposal to publish three best-selling works of Croatian literature. The first book off the press is The Survival League, a collection of seven stories that probe the human condition through the commonalities and idiosyncrasies of everyday life. In Croatia, Gordan Nuhanovic, 37, is an award-winning writer and journalist, a TV show host, and former lead singer for a punk rock band. Julie Busic, a Portland native, who now resides in Croatia, was responsible for introducing Ooligan Press to Croatian leaders.

Reviews are of faculty and alumni books, recordings, and Web publications. To have a work considered for this page, please submit pertinent information to PSU Magazine via email to, or fax to 503-725-4465, or mail to PSU Magazine, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751.