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Cover image from “The Unknowns” by Gabriel Roth

A Nerd's Education
Eric Muller, the narrator of Gabriel Roth’s (M.F.A., ’09) debut novel, makes a quick path to financial success in Silicon Valley. The computer programmer’s quest for a girlfriend, however, involves a longer and more arduous journey. Eric’s needy parents don’t help him (“I’m self-invented. I had no one to learn from.”), nor does his unease with small talk (Asked how it’s going, Eric replies, “Not much,” confessing to readers, “I always get the easy ones wrong.”). But his scientific mind proves to be his greatest obstacle. When the woman of his dreams finally comes along, she arrives with a past Eric cannot decode, and he must decide if he can find “some way to love her that can coexist with ignorance.”

Critical praise for “The Unknowns” (Reagan, Arthur/Little, Brown & Company), including a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, comes as no surprise to Professor and Chair of Creative Writing Maxine Chernoff. As Roth’s thesis advisor, she saw the book in its infancy. “The first time I saw his writing, I told him to find an agent,” says Chernoff, who describes the novel as “a tale for our time, told with great wit and humanity.”



A River Closely WatchedCover image from “A River Closely Watched" by Jon Boilard

Macadam/Cage Publishing

“Bobby was taught early and often that a son should fear his father” writes Jon Boilard (B.A., ’90; M.F.A., ’95) in his evocative first novel, a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. The fugitive tale follows Bobby DuBois, a teenager stuck in small town Stillwater, as he struggles to escape a violent past.




Cover image from “Cover image from "Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons" by David Pollock

Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons

Applause Theatre and Cinema Books

David Pollock (B.A., ’62) traces the careers of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding from radio to television, film to Broadway. The duo, whose deadpan parodies made them a favorite of Johnny Carson and Groucho Marx, outlasted many of their more famous peers — a remarkable feat for “two introverts trapped in an extrovert’s business.”




Cover image from “Cover image of "Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge” by Peter OrnerLast Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

Little, Brown, and Company

Creative Writing Professor Peter Orner examines the power of memory in a short story collection filled with characters who struggle to understand their past, including a woman who relays to a reluctant partner the details of an ex-lover’s gruesome suicide, and a couple who tell an elaborate lie about escaping an historical fire.




Cover image from “Hiking and Backpacking Big Sur” by Analise Elliot HeldHiking and Backpacking Big Sur

Wilderness Press

Environmental educator Analise Elliot Heid (M.A., ’10) has written a guide to the 90-mile coastal stretch from Carmel to San Simeon. Along with essential details — like hike length, difficulty level and trail conditions — Heid covers Big Sur’s natural history and cultural lore, including hidden gold and haunted beings in the Santa Lucia Mountains.



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