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It’s International Book Week! Read one of these books in our Winter Reading issue and post the fifth sentence on page 52 …

Whoops. Spoiler alert: There is no International Book Week, though there is a United Nations World Book and Copyright Day, which was April 23, as well as a Banned Book Week back in September. But really, do you need a Facebook status update to remind you to share the joys of reading? Whether you are a solo peruser, a book club member or you only read when you are stuck on an airplane for three hours, we present to you our annual roundup of some of the books we enjoyed reading this year.

History is packed with grey cardinals and coups d’état, yet we often dismiss as fantasy the modern conspiracies of men. “Conspiracies do happen,” says Kris Millegan, owner of local publishing house TrineDay Books, which helps lend credence to suppressed topics.

Like finding a lost treasure trove of old Pulp magazines in your grandfather’s attic, 2013’s bounty of graphic novels injected a sense of wonder into the medium, presenting straight-ahead, two-fisted adventure that doesn’t shy away from message or nuance.

Picks from the Literary Duck and the Eugene Public Library.

For five years, Eugene’s Downtown Public Safety Zone exclusion ordinance allowed police to bar members of the community from the city center, without due process. About half the people excluded during that time were homeless.

The ordinance ended last week, but its broader imperative — clean up the retail environment at all costs — lives on. Two private security companies in Eugene, which act as extra muscle for more than 100 businesses spanning some 50 city blocks, take dubious shortcuts to achieve their goals, and have little oversight. I patrolled for Advanced Security, Inc. (ASI) in late 2012 and for the Downtown Guides in early 2013, before becoming a writer for EW.

The Hanford Site, also known as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, or most often, simply Hanford, is home to the nation’s largest nuclear waste dump. The 586-square-mile site on a plateau near the Columbia River is also the location of the Pacific Northwest’s only commercial nuclear reactor. Hanford was started in 1943 as a result of the Manhattan Project and America’s attempts to develop the atomic bomb. As Hanford’s own website puts it, “Hanford’s ultimate triumph came with the nuclear explosion above Japan in August 1945, effectively ending World War II.”

This year’s annual Project Censored list of the most underreported news stories includes the widening wealth gap, the trial of Chelsea (formerly known as Bradley) Manning for leaking classified documents and President Obama’s war on whistleblowers — all stories that actually received considerable news coverage.

So how exactly were they “censored” and what does that say of this venerable media watchdog project?

Project Censored isn’t only about stories that were deliberately buried or ignored. It’s about stories the media has covered poorly through a sort of false objectivity that skews the truth. Journalists do cry out against injustice, on occasion, but they don’t always do it well.

Just imagine: The year is 1777 and, after a long day commanding troops in the Revolutionary War, future first President George Washington just wants a brewsky. A striking figure with silver mane, ruffled collar and white culottes, Washington gallivants around the colonies swinging a bulbous vessel frothing with his compatriot Samuel Adams’ brew (most likely a porter). Maybe the vessel even has some old-timey hand lettering like “I’m number one!” When the beer runs dry, Washington is not above begging:

“Soldiers in the American Revolution drew a quart of beer each in their daily rations. When the supply ran short George Washington begged the Board of War in 1777 to rush the growler for more. Washington himself drank beer,” Hal Boyle writes in the 1949 Tuscaloosa News story “Of History And Beer.”

Thanks for voting, Eugene! Turnout for the 2013-14 readers poll was high, and so was the quality of your answers. (But thanks for all the “your mom” votes — our moms are The Best!) We had a chuckle at the “Art Robinson for Best Comedian” campaign. We were glad that more people voted for real Best Places to Eat with Kids instead of treating tykes like tiny pariahs and telling parents to stay home. And we loved hearing your thoughts on the past year’s best people and controversies. Read on to find more of Eugene to love.

Now it’s time to party. Meet us at Level Up Arcade, 1290 Oak St., from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 7. We’ll have free food from local restaurants, a DJ, live music and a video game photo booth for guests.

On the Billboard Hot 100 charts — ranking song popularity across genres — the top three slots are currently filled by Lorde (“Royals”), Katy Perry (“Roar”) and Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball”). On the radio, that trio plus Lady Gaga and Lana Del Ray all place in the top 10 played artists. Over the past year, other female-centric acts have made many more a top 10 list: Alabama Shakes, Beyoncé, Fiona Apple, Cher, Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Beach House, CHVRCHES. These trends, however, are not reflected in the Eugene music scene.

Nothing says death and destruction like climate change. Actually, for most of us the effects of climate change seem like something that will happen in the distant future, a tragedy for our grandchildren but not us. If we are going to think about planetary annihilation and devastation, we focus on Sharknado-like scenarios of wild hurricanes and tsunamis. And here in Oregon we tend to not to think about catastrophic natural disasters at all — it seems like earthquakes, tsunamis and deadly floods happen to other people, in other places.

Día de los Muertos is not “Mexican Halloween.” No matter how many times Latino and Chicano communities explain why co-opting the holiday’s religious-based imagery is offensive, the commercialization and uninformed appropriation of the holiday proliferates, from plastic masks at the mall to Disney’s attempt to trademark the holiday last May.

The walls are rising all over Eugene, from Courtside and Skybox apartments (built in 2011) to the 13th and Olive Capstone complex under construction to the towering future Core Campus development at East Broadway and Ferry. Another big student housing project is being proposed for the Laurel Hill Valley neighborhood. Now real estate and development experts are wondering: Is Eugene’s student housing market a bubble destined to pop?

Eugene’s student housing development market mirrored the nation’s during the recession: Even as other investments tanked, high-end, private student housing penciled out. It didn’t hurt that before the recession, Eugene’s student housing market was squeezed nearly to capacity. Big firms based in places like Georgia and Texas thrived and grew, collecting rents previously sent to local landlords. Nationwide, student housing developments were called “recession-proof” — but if local supply surpasses demand and leads to a bursting bubble, more than just student housing will be in trouble.

Interviews by Silas Valentino. Photos by Trask Bedortha.

As the school year starts up, the Oregon Legislature is discussing an idea that could swell the average Oregon community college classroom size and make higher education accessible for more students.

When it comes to density of fun per square foot, your best bet for entertainment is walking, biking or riding the EmX to Eugene’s downtown (free with your student ID). Explore the fun bubble that stretches from Pearl to Charnelton and 7th to 11th, where you’ll find some of the city’s best places to eat, drink, consume culture and shake it into the night.

The University of Oregon is known for the Ducks football team, but varsity sports aren’t the only ones making noise on campus. Of the UO’s 43 club sports, 38 are currently either in-season or practicing, and many end up competing both locally and nationally.

Not everyone comes to the UO because they want to be a Duck. Some come for, you know, the education, and some because Eugene is damn fine place to live if you like the outdoors and don’t mind a little rain. EW’s got some recommendations for you who maybe don’t know the area well and want to get out and explore.

The University of Oregon has long been known for its leadership in green chemistry and responsible product design. A new course taught by Senior Instructor Julie Haack aims to share that philosophy with business students, journalists, marketing students and lawyers. 

It’s a well-known fact that most full-time professors are paid not just to teach but also for research. And while we all know the “publish or perish” cliché, it’s not often that we get to see the research happening right under our noses. Here are just a few of the projects coming out of the UO.

The Tiger of the Senate. The Conscience of the Senate. Mr. Education. Maverick. The principled stances of the late Oregon Senator Wayne Lyman Morse earned him these nicknames and more. Morse’s uncompromising positions on the Vietnam War, civil rights, free speech, the powers of Congress and putting people before corporations also earned the beetle-browed orator the undying respect of some and the ire of others. 

Quintessential Oregon author Ken Kesey once said of Morse, “When he looked at you, you felt pinned against the wall, like a bug with a pin in it.” 

Only a fool will tell you how to experience art. But in the interest of EW’s inaugural visual arts issue, Arts Hound, I’m willing to play the fool. You see, in the past year as arts editor, I have encountered a widespread epidemic in Eugene: artphobia. “I just don’t get art,” people tell me, avoiding galleries, museums, art walks like the plague for fear of being, or being seen as, out of their element. 

Profiles of local artists Jerry Ross, Analee Fuentes, Bryan Putnam and Jenny Kroik

At 80 years old, the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is one of the hippest places to see art in the city. But it’s also a cavernous place with nooks and crannies rotating thousands of pieces that can overwhelm the senses. So, where to start? Here, we asked five curators at the JSMA to pick their favorite pieces currently on view and tell us why the works are special.