VOL. 9 NO. 2 THE MAGAZINE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH FALL 1999
One Can Make a Difference-a book that was 30 years in the making-outlines the role of rural development facilitators among impoverished people in villages of third-world countries. James B. Mayfield BS'58 MA'59, professor emeritus of political science at the U, defines rural development as a process that is about people, about their strengths and weaknesses, their feelings, hopes, and dreams. He emphasizes "the various programs, strategies, and interventions that have been successful in confronting the tragedies of world poverty" (Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank), and does so with a sense of optimism. (1997; University Press of America, Inc., Lanham, MD 20706; paper, $46.50; hard, $69.50)
High in Utah: A Hiking Guide to the Tallest Peaks in Each of the State's Twenty-nine Counties is a book designed for "peak baggers"-people who want to climb the highest peaks-and for recreational hikers. Michael R. Weibel, writer, and Dan Miller, photographer, experienced each of the peaks, and their book guides hikers first to the trailhead, then from the trailhead to the summit. Included is the time required for the hike (for both slower and faster hikers), the distance and difficulty of the trails, tips and precautions for each route, maps, and camping possibilities, with emphasis on preserving the "wildness" of these mountain trails. (1999; University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; paper, $14.95)
IN HER WORDS
Survival Rates, a collection of short stories by Mary Clyde MS'77, is the winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Clyde, who spent her childhood in Utah and now lives in Arizona, chatted with Continuum about her insightful and quirky collection. (1999; University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Drive, Athens, GA 30602-4901; hardcover, $24.95)
Continuum: How would you describe Survival Rates?
Clyde: Survival Rates is unified by the question of how we survive. Survive may be too prosaic. What I've tried to explore is the way we hack out purpose, pleasure, and hope from that very bedrock of our existence: sorrows, failures, and startling changes. I was pleased by a comment in one review of the book that called it "curiously uplifting."
Continuum: Do you have a favorite story in the collection, or one you are especially satisfied to see in print?
Clyde: I hate to claim any story as a favorite. I like the form one story took or a particular character in another. But I suppose I'm happiest for the success of "A Good Paved Road" (published originally in Quarterly West). I feel as if it's a quiet story, and yet for me it has the poignancy tinged with courage that is the stuff of making it through life.
Continuum: Has winning the award changed things for you?
Clyde: Winning the award has given me the one thing writers hope for: readers.
Continuum: You received your MA in English from the U of U. What are your memories of your time at the U?
Clyde: My time at the U was completely rewarding. I recall with particular gratitude Dr. William Mulder. He taught me about making connections in the broadest sense. His was not a mere interpretative approach, but he showed how literature is integral to the deepest of man's concerns as well as to the rest of art.
Continuum: What advice, if any, do you have for new fiction writers?
Clyde: It's trite, but I absolutely believe the most important thing a writer can do is also the most obvious. He should write. He should observe and wonder. He should listen to what is said about his writing, and then he must write more, trying to avoid inner and exterior discouragement.
Continuum: What are you currently working on?
Clyde: I'm at work on a novel that incorporates the last story in Survival Rates.
ON THE NIGHTSTAND
What authors and/or books have you recommended to your friends lately?
I am currently reading Lincoln, an autobiography of one of my personal heroes by Pulitzer Prize- winning author David H. Donald. Other recent favorites have been A History of Knowledge by Charles Van Doren and Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond.
-Sam Shomaker, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology
The novel I'm reading and enjoying right now is Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet. I'm also reading a book about the American folk music tradition-Greil Marcus' Invisible Republic (by far the best writer on popular music), and I'm reading another on the nature of new media, Remediation by Grusin and Bolter. Since I teach 19th and 20th century American lit, I'm always rereading something from this period; the two novels I recommend the most: Willa Cather's The Professor's House and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.
-Stuart Culver, Assistant Professor, English
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