LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 30, 2017) — Have a book lover on your holiday shopping list? Look no further than the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) 2017 Holiday Sale, going on now through Jan. 31, 2018, for that special gift. With more than 1,800 titles and discounts ranging from 20 to 50 percent off, the sale has a selection sure to fit your avid book reader — whether it be historic novels, new fiction, biographies, poetry or cookbooks.
For readers with a keen interest in fiction, UPK offers "Insurrections: Stories," winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction, by author Rion Amilcar Scott. The first title in the UPK New Poetry and Prose series, "Insurrections" centers on the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, an African-American community that was founded in 1807 by slaves after the only successful revolt in the United States. Grappling with the experiences of adolescence, brotherhood, mistaken identity, child raising, abuse and, particularly, hope, each story showcases Scott’s unique ability to flesh out intricately imagined characters and to narrate from a variety of perspectives, often revolving around children who display more wisdom, compassion and tact than their adult counterparts.
For the arts and entertainment lover in your family, two new works by UPK go behind-the-scenes to give readers background information on legends of the big screen. "He’s Got Rhythm: The Life and Career of Gene Kelly," by Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson, is the first comprehensive biography written since the star’s death. Not only do the authors examine Kelly’s contributions to the world of entertainment, they also consider his political activities — including his opposition to the Hollywood blacklist. The writers even confront Kelly’s darker side and explore his notorious competitive streak, his tendency to be a taskmaster on set, and his multiple marriages.
“Anne Bancroft: A Life,” by Douglass K. Daniel, offers new insights into the life and career of a determined Oscar, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress who left an indelible mark on the film industry while remaining true to her art. In the first biography to cover the entire scope of Bancroft’s life and career, Daniel brings together interviews with dozens of Bancroft’s friends and colleagues, never-before-published family photos, and material from film and theater archives to present a portrait of an artist who raised the standards of acting for all those who followed. The author reveals how, from a young age, Bancroft was committed to challenging herself and strengthening her craft. She went on to appear in theater, television productions and dozens of films, including her famous turn as Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” and many movies directed or produced by her husband, Mel Brooks.
If a regional story is more your reader’s style, try “Who Killed Betty Gail Brown? Murder, Mistrial, and Mystery” by Robert G. Lawson, emeritus professor of law at the University of Kentucky. “Who Killed Betty Gail Brown?” is the first book-length investigation into the murder and subsequent trial of one of Kentucky’s most legendary cold cases. Lawson served as one of the court-appointed lawyers who personally defended the only person to be charged with the crime, and he brings his intimate, firsthand knowledge of the case to bear. He supplements his knowledge of the events with courtroom testimonies, police records and news accounts to construct a chronological account of Brown’s famously unsolved murder and the trial of Alex Arnold Jr.
For lovers of Kentucky writers, two new UPK books offer new information related to lost voices of the Commonwealth. “The New and Collected Poetry of Jane Gentry,” edited by UK English Professor Julia Johnson, is a retrospective of the celebrated poet’s work. This volume, a Thomas D. Clark Medallion recipient, includes two previously published full-length collections of Gentry’s poetry in their entirety — “A Garden in Kentucky” and “Portrait of the Artist as a White Pig.” The final section includes Gentry’s unpublished work, from verses written for loved ones to a large group of recent poems intended for future collections.
“James Still: A Life,” by Carol Boggess, gives readers a peak into the life and work of the noted American poet, novelist and folklorist. This first-ever biography includes exclusive photographs and letter excerpts, as well as the insight of a scholar who knew Still personally. Boggess explores the many sides of the writer, who penned a lasting legacy of novels, poetry, short stories, children’s stories and folklore collections. Over his lifetime, Still published a total of 14 books including the enduring masterpiece, “River of Earth,” which was praised by Time magazine as a “work of art.”
Another book from UPK explores Kentucky writer and former UK faculty member and alumnus Wendell Berry’s vision for universities. “Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place,” by Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro, draws on Berry’s essays, fiction and poetry. Through their examination of Berry’s work, Baker and Bilbro conclude that institutions guided by Berry’s vision might cultivate citizens who can begin the work of healing their communities — graduates who have been educated for responsible membership in a family, a community or a polity.
For the home cook in your family, UPK has three new works that might tempt their taste buds. In “Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity,” award-winning author and chef Albert W. A. Schmid introduces readers to new and forgotten versions of favorite regional dishes from the time of Daniel Boone to today and uncovers many lost recipes, such as mush biscuits, Kentucky tombstone pudding and the original Kentucky whiskey cake. He also highlights classic bourbon drinks that pair well with burgoo and barbecue, like the moon glow, bourbaree, and the hot Tom and Jerry. Featuring cuisine from the early American frontier to the present day, this entertaining book is filled with fascinating tidbits and innovative recipes for the modern cook.
“The Beer Cheese Book,” by food writer Garin Pirnia, gives readers insight into this creamy appetizer with a kick. Through archival research and interviews with the restauranteurs who serve it and the artisans who created it, Pirnia brings together history, legend, bar stories and travel information that will entertain and enlighten. In addition, she includes recipes for several distinct beer cheeses and for a number of dishes that incorporate it, from beer cheese and mushroom risotto to beer cheese bagels.
And if your cook is a gardener as well, try the award-winning book “Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving” by Bill Best. “Kentucky Heirloom Seeds” is an evocative exploration of the seed saver’s art and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Best and Dobree Adams begin by tracing the roots of the tradition in the state to a 700-year-old Native American farming village in north central Kentucky. Best shares tips for planting and growing beans and describes his family’s favorite varieties for the table. Featuring interviews with many people who have worked to preserve heirloom varieties, this book vividly documents the social relevance of the rituals of sowing, cultivating, eating, saving and sharing.
For the nature lover in your family, "Water in Kentucky: Natural History, Communities, and Conservation," edited by Brian D. Lee, professor of landscape architecture at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Daniel I. Carey, retired hydrologist/geologist from Kentucky Geological Survey; and Alice L. Jones, of Eastern Kentucky University, highlights the intimate link between water and the physical, cultural and economics landscapes through essays from researchers, professionals and environmental advocates who give first-person accounts of the "how" and "why" of water degradation and reclamation. These stories deepen readers’ understanding of the problems surrounding water in Kentucky, but also dispel common myths and highlight unconventional paths to success.
Place orders by Dec. 1 to guarantee holiday delivery from the sale. For those worried about delivery deadlines, many UPK books can be found at bookstores throughout the state. Sale runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation through the UK Libraries.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue