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Word play

February 6, 2015


The opinions expressed below are those of intern Victoria Hittner and not necessarily those of OSU Press.


I despised the phrase “look it up in the dictionary” as a child. We’ve all seen it happen: intrepid young student asks teacher for spelling advice, only to be sent toward the giant tome on the shelf. A tome that’s alphabetized. With a student who’s questioning the letter arrangement of a word.


While the illogical practice may have infuriated the obstinate younger me, it also fulfilled the purpose my teachers had intended. Each time I shuffled to the shelf, I Dictionarybecame lost in the cadence and mystery of words I didn’t know. Flipping pages was no longer such a chore because I fell in love with the intricate English lexicon. The written word quickly became a personal fascination, one that has followed me into adulthood.


And so, to appease my inner logophile (and offer silent salute to my elementary school teachers), below is a brief list of words, inspired by our Spring 2015 new releases.* Each new title has been assigned a single descriptor. It’s like our very own Merriam-Webster, OSU Press special edition. Alphabetized and all.




connectivity (n): the quality, state, or capability of being connective or connected


For the Love of Rivers by Kurt Fausch


In his latest publication, Fausch explores more than just the ecology of stream environments. Expounding upon the beauty and mystery so entangled with our world’s water systems, Fausch uses his own field experience to link fact with emotion. For the Love of Rivers explores how science connects aquatic ecosystems to their streamside forests and the organisms found there—including humans.



consciousness (n.): the normal state of being awake and able to understand what is happening around you


Silviculture and Ecology of Western U.S. Forests, Second Edition by John C. Tappeiner, et al.


The modern concept of silviculture has grown to encompass a multitude of important topics, adding forest health and aesthetics to traditional ideas of reforestation and timber harvest. Four esteemed forestry professors combined research and passion to create an updated edition of this comprehensive reference—the only text that focuses on silviculture in western U.S. forests. Silviculture and Ecology adds a new dimension to conservation and consumerism, showing how contemporary silvicultural practices help prevent the two concerns from becoming mutually exclusive.



continuity (n.): something that is the same or similar in two or more things and provides a connection between them 


Environment and Society in the Japanese Islands, edited by Bruce L. Batten and Philip C. Brown


Brilliant thinkers from fields like history, geography, and climatology lend their knowledge to this compilation, exploring the historical connection between environment and the Japanese people. Through these essays, Batten and Brown introduce readers to the idea of continuity, challenging previous notions that pre-modern and modern environmental history cannot be compared in tandem.



drive (n.): an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing 


Money Trees by Emily K. Brock


What fostered the modern American conception of forests and their value? Emily Brock explores this question in Money Trees, following traditional political debates to the current wilderness movement. Using the forests of the Pacific Northwest as a guide, Brock provides an interdisciplinary history of industrial and public views of American forests, adding provocative commentary on the driving forces behind political currents and forest management practices.



essence (n.): the basic nature of a thing; the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is


Honey in the Horn by H. L. Davis


Beloved Oregon author H. L. Davis’s award-winning work returns to print in this new edition, containing an introduction by historian Richard W. Etulain. Honey in the Horn chronicles the adventures of Clay Calvert, a young ranch hand who journeys across Oregon in search of a new start. Along the way, he meets a score of fascinating characters from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. Perhaps even more poignant than when it was first released, Davis’s work captures the true essence of Oregon’s pioneer spirit in a way that avoids melodrama but smacks of veracity.



mold (v.): to give shape to; to determine or influence the quality or nature of 


Toward a Natural Forest by Jim Furnish


The verb, not the kind that grows in old, damp apartments! Jim Furnish’s memoir follows his rapid career rise through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service at the turn of the century. Working in a field mired in controversy, Furnish struggled balancing his growing passion for conservationism with loyalty to his employer. As the department as a whole was being shaped by changing public interests, so, too, was a man molded by his environment. Offering a unique inside view to the industry, Furnish explores the pitfalls—and important potential—of the Forest Service in global conservation efforts.



perseverance (n.): the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult


American Dreamers by Ken Austin, with Kerry Tymchuk


How did a kid from rural Oregon turn a tiny kitchen-based operation into a global manufacturer? Ken Austin and his wife, Joan, founders of dental equipment company A-dec, reflect on the journey of perseverance and dedication that led to their current business and philanthropic success. Following the renowned “A-dec way,” the Austins prove that good ol’ hard work and compassion truly do pay off.



purpose (n.): the aim or goal of a person; what a person is trying to do, become, etc.


Naked in the Woods by Margaret Grundstein


Utopia or dystopia? Or somewhere in between? Margaret Grundstein reflects upon her time in a hippie commune in the backwoods of Oregon, living off the land in harmony with the environment and other people—at least initially. Disillusionment, rifts, and reality eventually invaded the small community, tearing apart a settlement founded on unity. Naked in the Woods explores the interrelated ideas of human nature and social change, leaving readers with much to think about beyond the final page.



stewardship (n.): the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care


Building a Better Nest by Evelyn Searle Hess


Evelyn Searle Hess’s latest book explores sustainable living on a personal and detailed level, following the construction of Hess’s cabin in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. Throughout the process, Hess determined that a sustainable life involves more than just recycled products; it requires cooperative and healthy human relationships, too. Building a Better Nest asks readers to think outside the box to ponder whether the quality of the local watershed and quality of human life are truly separate issues at all.



syncretism (n.): the combination of different forms of belief or practice


At the Hearth of the Crossed Races by Melinda Marie Jette


Melinde Jette delves into the syncretic explosion that occurred within the French Prairie area of the Willamette Valley during westward expansion. Far from undeveloped during the 1850s, the French Prairie area teemed with a complex culture all its own: the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyan people and French settlers who lived in comfortable mingled communities. This synthesis of cultures fostered a hale and happy valley, which was later disrupted by the Anglo-American pioneers’ institution of settler colonialism and racial exclusion. At the Hearth of the Crossed Races provides a glimpse of oft-unseen Oregon history and underlines the complexity of differing social values and traditions.



trailblazing (adj.): making or pointing a new way


A Man for All Seasons by William G. Robbins


Go Blazers! And while we do root for the red-and-black adorned basketball team, we’re talking about political trailblazers here. In A Man for All Seasons, William G. Robbins documents the incredible career of politician Monroe Sweetland. A prominent Oregonian during the twentieth century, Sweetland left a lasting legacy upon the region through his involvement with the modern Oregon Democratic Party and National Education Association. A champion of those whose voices were often marginalized, Sweetland pushed for the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and successfully propelled the ratification of the twenty-sixth amendment in 1971. Robbins’s portrait shows a compassionate, yet conflicted, man whose passion helped shape the modern American political landscape.



universal (adj.): existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions


State of Giving by Greg Chaille and Kristin Anderson


Compassionate people and projects exist around every corner, yet very rarely receive adequate recognition. State of Giving follows the stories of numerous civic leaders, grassroots organizations, and volunteers who make a difference every day, all across Oregon. Covering topics like hunger and homelessness, the urban/rural divide, and education inequity, State of Giving demonstrates there are ways in which anyone, regardless of background, can give back to the community.





Want to learn more about our upcoming titles? You can browse our online Spring 2015 catalog or request a print copy here.



*All definitions taken from www.merriam-webster.com.

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