University presses are treasure troves of books for everyone, not just of scholarly and research topics. University presses publish general interest books, gorgeous art books, nature field guides, books on the presses’ state and region, fabulous cookbooks, books on off-beat topics, overlooked subjects, and books the major publishing houses wouldn’t touch because they might not contribute enough to the bottom line. You may not find university press-published books anywhere else.
You may not be aware of these treasures, as the marketing budgets at university presses are extremely limited. If you like books for yourself and for gift ideas, check out University presses. Christmas is creeping up.
Here are links to the major Southern university presses, a few of which have blogs, that hold membership in the American Association of University Presses (AAUP):
l University of Alabama Press (http://www.uapress.ua.edu/ )
*Note the difference in the addresses of the Alabama and Arkansas presses
l University of Arkansas Press (http://www.uapress.com/ )
and blog (http://uapress.blogspot.com/ )
l Duke University Press (http://www.dukeupress.edu/ )
and blog (http://www.dukeupress.typepad.com)
l University Press of Florida (http://www.upf.com/ )
l University Press of Georgia (http://www.ugapress.uga.edu/ )
and blog (http://ugapress.blogspot.com/ )
l University of Kentucky Press (http://www.kentuckypress.com/ )
l Louisiana State University Press (http://www.lsu.edu/lsupress/ )
and blog (http://lsupress.typepad.com/lsu_press_blog/ )
l University Press of Mississippi (http://www.upress.state.ms.us/ )
and blog (http://upmississippi.blogspot.com/ )
l University of North Carolina Press (http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/
and blog (http://uncpressblog.com/ )
l University of South Carolina Press (http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/ )
l University of Tennessee Press (http://utpress.org/ )
l Vanderbilt University Press (http://www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com/ )
l University of Virginia Press (http://www.upress.virginia.edu/ )
Peter Givler, executive director of AAUP (http://aaupnet.org/ ), wrote in a 2002 article originally appearing in Scholarly Publishing: Books, Journals, Publishers and Libraries in the Twentieth Century, edited by Richard E. Abel and Lyman W. Newman, Wiley, 2002:
The history of university presses in the twentieth century largely has been one of growth: growth in both the number of university presses and the number of books and journals they publish. It has also. . . seen growth against the odds, growth against a pattern of declining support for universities generally. Through this process, university presses have become tough and resourceful, adaptable to changing market conditions.
In perusing university presses on line, a few books caught my eye.
Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues by William Ferris, Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and coeditor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. The book is the 2009 Okra Pick: Great Southern Books Fresh Off the Vine, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. It is illustrated with Ferris's photographs of the musicians and their communities; it includes a CD of original music and a DVD of original film and features interviews that relay narratives about black life and blues music from the American South. Celebrities such as B. B. King and Willie Dixon, along with performers known best in their neighborhoods, express a range of human and artistic experiences.
American Conservatism: Thinking It, Teaching It by Paul Lyons, professor of U.S. history and social policy at Stockton College and author of five books, deals with how a scholar's teaching informs his research, in this case an examination of the nature of American conservatism. In it, Lyons reflects on some of the most difficult issues in higher education today, such as how to handle racism and political passions in the classroom, as well as how a teacher presents his own political convictions.
The UNC Press is also having a half-off fall sale: http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/622
“The storm has entered the Gulf” can strike fear in the residents all along the Gulf Coast, especially now, after the horrific hurricane strikes in recent years, including Charley and Wilma in southwestern Florida and Ivan, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike along the northern Gulf coast from Panama City to near Galveston. Climatologists Keim and Muller also examine the big picture of Gulf hurricanes—from the 1800s to the present and from Key West, Florida, to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula—providing an extraordinary compilation and interpretation of the entire region’s hurricane and tropical storm history.
Letters to My Father by William Styron and edited by James L. W. West III, is part of the LSU Press Southern Literary Studies series, edited by Fred Hobson. From 1943 to 1953, Styron wrote over one-hundred letters to William C. Styron, Sr., detailing his adventures, his works in progress, and his thoughts on the craft of writing. In 1952 the twenty-six-year-old budding author wrote to his father, “I’ve finally pretty much decided what to write next—a novel based on Nat Turner’s rebellion,” Styron would not publish his Pulitzer Prize–winning The Confessions of Nat Turner until 1967, but this letter undercuts those critics who later attacked the writer as an opportunist capitalizing on the heated racial climate of the late 1960s. Letters to My Father collects this correspondence for the first time, revealing the early, intimate thoughts of a young man who was to become a literary icon.
University Press of Kentucky
The Oprah Phenomenon by editors Jennifer Harris, assistant professor of English at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, and Elwood Watson, associate professor of history at East Tennessee State University, looks at Oprah as an icon and as a brand built on her personal style. Contributors examine the origins of her public image and its influence on politics, entertainment, and popular opinion; they also look at criticism from detractors and admiration from supporters. Authors assert that the foundation of Winfrey’s message to her vast audience is her belief in self-actualization, which says that anyone can be a success regardless of background or upbringing.
The Philosophy of Popular Culture Series, edited by Mark T. Conard, assistant professor of philosophy at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, publishes books that explore philosophical themes and ideas that occur in films of well known directors like Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, the Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg and others; the series also includes book on football, basketball, science fiction films, and other topics. One goal of the series is to look at how philosophy intersects with popular culture in the entertainment media, such as movies, TV shows, and music. The authors attempt to elaborate on connections between traditional philosophical ideas and the ever-expanding world of popular culture.