Fall 2013 Books

If you are an Eastern alum or faculty member and have written a general interest book or have released a CD/digital music for sale and would like to have it considered for inclusion in Eastern magazine’s On the Shelf section, please send it, along with your contact information, to: Eastern magazine, 300 Showalter Hall, Cheney, WA 99004-2445.


Godforsaken Idaho

By Shawn Vestal, ’08 MFA Creative Writing, ’05 BA Interdisciplinary Studies

In his book, Godforsaken Idaho, Vestal transports us to the afterlife, the rugged northwest and the early days of Mormonism through a series of short stories.

From “The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death,” an absurd, profound vision of a hellish heaven, to “Winter Elders,” in which missionaries calmly and relentlessly pursue a man who has left the fold, these nine stories illuminate the articles of faith that make us human.

The concluding triptych tackles the legends and legacy of Mormonism head-on, culminating in “Diviner,” a seriocomic portrait of the young Joseph Smith, back when he was not yet the founder of a religion but a man hired to find buried treasure.

Vestal grew up in a Mormon family in Gooding, Idaho, but he left the faith as a young adult. He is a columnist and reporter for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, where he’s worked for many years as a journalist and editor. His stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House, American Short Fiction, EcoTone, Best American Fantasy and other places.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


A Little Harmless Fun

By Colin Conway, ’95 BA Business Administration  

A Little Harmless Fun is a fast-paced crime novel from Spokane author Colin Conway. In the book, no one is innocent, not even police detective Wade Kellmer. Already investigating the suspicious death of a young man linked to illicit affairs, Kellmer is on the wrong side of truth and he’s faced with cleaning up the consequences of his own choices, or coming clean to his partner and losing his career.  Kellmer, melancholy and troubled by his relationships with women, is an authentic mess.

In A Little Harmless Fun, Conway explores the darker side of human nature and delivers an exciting, page-turning story that twists and turns and keeps you hooked until the surprising conclusion.

Colin Conway is a former police officer who works as a commercial real estate broker and investor in Spokane. His next novel, Where We Fall, is due for release in late 2013.  Conway’s last novel, Some Degree of Murder, co-authored with Frank Zafiro, was released in 2012 and has sold more than 10,000 copies to date.

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing


Half as Happy

By Gregory Spatz, EWU associate professor of English

The eight stories in Half as Happy reveal, with startling clarity, their characters’ secrets, losses and desires. These insightful portraits of the darkness and light within us reverberate long after they’ve ended.

The stories include a grieving couple who rent a desperate landlord’s house in an effort to recover lost intimacy, twins who are irrevocably separated by events both beyond and within their control, and a nighttime prank and its gruesome aftermath that forge human connections no one could anticipate.

Spatz is the author of Inukshuk, Fiddler’s Dream and No One But Us, and the story collection Wonderful Tricks. His short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines and he has published numerous book and music reviews for The Oxford American. He is the winner of a 2012 NEA Literature Fellowship as well as a recipient of a Michener Fellowship, an Iowa Arts Fellowship and a Washington State Book Award.

Spatz lives in Spokane, Wash., where he teaches in the MFA Program at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers, Eastern Washington University.

Publisher: Engine Books



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