WVU’s students returned to classes today, which means the quiet days and easy commutes through town have come to an official end. Suddenly those days of the holiday break—not necessarily easier than the regular routine, but full of possibility—seem far away. To bring us back to thoughts of relaxation and leisure, and to possibly inspire your next cozy-under-the-blankets winter read, WVU Press’s full-time staff have shared some of the books they were gifted with or read over the holiday break. We bring you nonfiction, poetry, and new novels (not to mention bookstore recommendations)—and “dishwasher” comes up in two ways. Happy new year and happy reading from everyone at WVU.
On a whim at the bookstore one night last year, I bought Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus. I’ve been intrigued by cephalopods, so intelligent and yet so alien, ever since I watched an episode of Nature featuring a deceptive cuttlefish. For several nights in a row, I interrupted my husband every few minutes to share whatever new fact I learned as I was reading. (Did you know that octopuses can regenerate their arms? Did you know they can see and taste with their skin?) My husband gifted me the perfect follow-up, and I’m looking forward to diving into this philosophical treatment of these creatures. Read More »
The holiday season brings two blurbs not for WVU Press books, but for the press itself. In the Journal for the Anthropology of North America, West Virginia is referred to as an “intellectually ambitious press that prides itself on placing regional issues in dialogue with global concerns.” And writing in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman says the press “has in recent years put itself squarely on the map as one of the finest university publishers anywhere in America.” Thanks to all of our partners and friends for their support as we wrap up a big year and look ahead to another!
The publication of three new titles in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education means a new wave of attention. John Warner’s gift guide for educators in Inside Higher Edstarts by recommending “All of the West Virginia University Press Teaching and Learning Series Books,” saying “the series, overseen by James Lang . . . is (as the kids used to say, but probably don’t anymore) killing it.” In other series news:Read More »
Sarah Munroe will join West Virginia University Press as marketing manager and acquisitions editor at the start of the new year, overseeing marketing and sales operations and acquiring a mix of literary and social justice titles. Sarah is currently at Temple University Press, and she has worked previously at the Pew Charitable Trusts and at WVU Press, where she was a graduate assistant while earning her master of fine arts degree. She received the Russ MacDonald Creative Writing Award from WVU’s Department of English. While at Temple, she has worked in literary studies, disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, and other fields.
We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Sarah back to Morgantown, and we invite you to get to know her in this blog post from the spring, in which she talks with Kat Saunders, another WVU Press alum, about graduate work at West Virginia University as preparation for a career in publishing.
We kicked off this blog two years ago with a roundup of the year’s highlights and—73 posts and 17,000 views later—we’re excited to once again provide a celebratory recap of a successful year. Our year-in-sixty-seconds feature makes room for all of 2019’s books, but necessarily leaves out a lot (including televisionappearances, bookstoresightings, and newspaper takeovers). Still, we hope this highlight reel captures some of the year’s energy, and provides a glimpse of the communities that have come together around our books. We’re grateful to them—to you—and we wish you all the best this holiday season.
At West Virginia University Press we publish books in our areas of specialization by authors around the world, including WVU faculty like Rosemary Hathaway and Travis Stimeling, both of whom have written for our blog. Other members of the WVU community, of course, work with different publishers. In this post we continue to feature authors at the university who publish with other houses—part of our effort to serve as a forum for all things book- and publishing-related at West Virginia University.
Last year I was proud to publish my book Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay through the University of California Press. The finished product readers view or hold is of course only a façade veiling a complex internal scaffolding of effort, time, and multistep stages involved in bringing a book to fruition. Here I outline the combination of perseverance and fortune that resulted in my book being accepted for publication, in addition to the steps, at once monumental and mundane, that got it into print.Read More »
Sadie Hoagland’s American Grief in Four Stageslands alongside books by Jia Tolentino, Jaquira Diaz, Sarah Elaine Smith, and others on the Electric Lit roundup of the best debuts of the second half of 2019. This fall Hoagland will read in Davis, Salt Lake City, and Lafayette, LA. Learn more at her website.
A Blue Ridge Public Radio piece about the Appalachian studies community and its reactions to Hillbilly Elegydraws on Appalachian Reckoning, quoting coeditor Meredith McCarroll and contributor Ivy Brashear. The book is also profiled in the Charleston Gazette Mail, and reviewed on the US Intellectual History blog, which praises it for “[uplifting] historically marginalized voices, such as LGBTQIA+ Appalachians and Affrilachians.”
Titles in our higher education series continue to attract attention. Joshua Eyler talks with Inside Higher Ed about How Humans Learn, his “incredibly well-received new book,” which also appears on the list of the 66 best education books of all time from Book Authority.Read More »
Sadie Hoagland is the author of American Grief in Four Stages, a new collection of stories from West Virginia University Press. Here she talks with Tessa Fontaine, the author of The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, a New York Times pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers choice, and an Amazon Editors’ Best of the Month featured debut.
Tessa Fontaine: Many of your stories are written in the first person, with characters who must reckon with a crisis. Though they may be surrounded by other people, they mostly wade through grief alone. Do you think the short story form lends itself particularly well to these kinds of stories?
Sadie Hoagland: I think the intense grief that is the subject of many of the stories does fit the short story form well. For one, the reader doesn’t necessarily want to be in that space longer than a short story. But in addition, the short story allows for a kind of reading that asks us to consider emotional territory and space over plot investments; we can’t know the characters as well as we can in a novel, but the glimpse we are given into their lives is incredibly intimate. I think the brevity makes it all more poignant.Read More »
Krista Eastman’s new bookThe Painted Forest—described by Publishers Weekly as “thoughtful and elegant”—is now available in West Virginia University Press’s series In Place. Here the author talks with series coeditor Jeremy Jones.
Jeremy: “What strangeness, I asked, is this?” This is the question you pose to yourself walking around the Painted Forest—the fraternal society hall covered in murals of, among other images, a man riding a goat. It’s a good question. So good, I’m pointing it back at you. There’s so much beautiful strangeness in your book. Were you looking for strangeness when you found places and experiences to write about? Was that a central criterion for these essays?
Krista: I hadn’t thought about it that way but the attraction to strangeness is definitely there. I do thrill to weird things. I look at something as deeply strange and antiquated as fraternal societies and I can’t look away, but mostly because I see in all of it this arresting proof of our collective strangeness, as well as proof of how bizarre and byzantine we will all look one day, how wrong we’ll have been, how obviously conflicted we all were (are). Read More »
In our third installment of this series, we hear from Sally Brown Deskins, the exhibits and programs coordinator for WVU Libraries. Sally is an artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on women and feminist artists.