Blog Archives

Fall #ReadUCP Book Club: Read an Excerpt from the novel “Papi”

September 5, 2019
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Fellow readers, we are excited to share that our Fall #ReadUCP Twitter Book Club pick is Papi, a novel by Rita Indiana and translated by Achy Obejas. Drawing on her memories of a childhood split between Santo Domingo and visits with her father amid the luxuries of the United States, Indiana mixes satire with a child’s imagination, horror with science fiction, in a swirling tale of a daughter’s love, the lure of crime and machismo, and the violence of the adult world. Expertly translated into English for the first time, Papi is furious, musical, and full of wit—a passionate, overwhelming, and very human explosion of artistic virtuosity. Chapter One Papi is like Jason, the guy from Friday the 13th. Or like Freddy Krueger. But more like Jason than Freddy Krueger. He shows up when you least expect him. Sometimes when I hear that scary music, I get really happy cuz I know he might be coming this way. That scary music is sometimes just Mami telling me Papi called and said he’s picking me up to take me to the beach or shopping. I pretend I don’t care, like I’m sure he’s not coming cuz you don’t get told ahead of . . .

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Reflections on “Young Men and Fire” by James Kincaid

August 2, 2019
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August 5, 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the Mann Gulch tragedy, when a crew of fifteen of the US Forest Service’s elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Two hours after their jump, all but three of the men were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean put together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy in his Young Men and Fire, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. In honor of the anniversary, we invited James Kincaid, who reviewed Young Men and Fire for the New York Times Book Review when it was first published, to offer his reflections on the book and its enduring significance. My first encounter with Mann Gulch came when my raucous, unpredictable editor at the New York Times Book Review called:  “Kincaid, got the best thing in years.  Homeric, positively Homeric.  I’ll send it on if you think you’re up for it.  I know you’re not up for it, but you probably think different.” I don’t know if I thought different, but within a few days, I was there, in my head . . .

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Remembering Vivian Paley (1929–2019)

July 31, 2019
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Vivian Gussin Paley worked for nearly forty years as a preschool and kindergarten teacher and was a dear friend to the Press. Her books about young children include The Boy on the Beach, Boys and Girls, and A Child’s Work. We were sad to learn of her passing this week, and we would like to share this obituary provided by her family. About Vivian Paley Vivian Paley was a keen observer of young children who defined a key tenet of how children should negotiate relationships at the Laboratory Schools and on the playground in general: You can’t say you can’t play. Ms. Paley, who spent most of her nearly four decades teaching at Lab, wrote a dozen books about children based on her experiences in the classroom. Paley was Lab’s most prominent example of Lab teachers who contribute to academic scholarship in the area of education.  Ms. Paley was recognized for her work with a 1989 MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding people from a variety of fields for their creativity. In Ms. Paley’s case, the prize recognized her special contributions to education, which included developing a “story playing” technique that . . .

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Summer Book Club Feature: Five Questions with Jennifer Jordan, Author of “Edible Memory”

July 16, 2019
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Now that the dog days of summer are truly upon us, we hope you’re staying cool lakeside or under a shady umbrella with our summer #ReadUCP Twitter book club pick, Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods by Jennifer Jordan. And if you haven’t picked it up yet, it’s not too late! We’re reading throughout July and August, so there’s plenty of time for reading in-between watering your tomato and pepper plants or checking out the latest at the farmers’ market. (And there’s a handy discount code below.) Though we’ll soon be announcing dates for our Twitter chats with Jennifer, we decided to get things started with a few questions about what inspired her interest in heirloom foods and what’s next on her plate. Where did your interest in heirloom fruits and vegetables come from? I’d say it came from two sources, one personal, one sociological. I’ll submit this photo as evidence of the personal part. I grew up in California in the 70s, and my parents (both teachers) had a cooperative garden when I was tiny. Amazingly, one of the babies I grew up with ALSO became a sociology professor! So my childhood was surrounded . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “Edible Memory,” Our Summer Book Club Pick

July 1, 2019
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Today is the first day of our seasonal Twitter book club #ReadUCP. For our first pick, we invite you to join us throughout July and August to read and discuss Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Vegetables and Other Forgotten Foods by Jennifer A. Jordan, while sharing stories and photos from our gardens, markets, kitchens, and plates. To get things started, here’s a little homegrown taste of what you’ll find inside the pages. Forgetting Turnips What kinds of changes have vegetables undergone over time? And what are the fates of particular vegetables in this era of heirloom food? When I began my search in mainstream food writing for coverage of forgotten turnips, celery, and other less glamorous vegetables, I found very little. Particular blogs, authors, and chefs zeroed in on particular heirloom vegetables at various moments, but there was no comparison with the coverage of heirloom tomatoes or apples. My initial inclination was to think that this silence reflected forgetting. But in fact these supposedly forgotten vegetables inspire extremes of devotion in some seed savers, gardeners, and farmers, and it is to these people (more than to urban diners and famous chefs) that they owe their survival. My research into . . .

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Honoring Kenneth J. Northcott (1922–2019)

June 24, 2019
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The University of Chicago Press mourns the loss of translator, scholar, and stage actor Kenneth J. Northcott, who died in Chicago on June 4, age 96. Northcott was professor emeritus of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago and the translator of numerous German-language books for the University of Chicago Press. He is especially known for his inspired translations of works by the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, all of which remain in print: The Voice Imitator, Walking, Three Novellas, and Histrionics: Three Plays. His other translations for the Press include a volume of essays by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and two books on Goethe by Siegfried Unseld, the late head of the distinguished German publishing house Suhrkamp Verlag. “Kenneth was always the first translator we approached when considering a work in German,” recalls editorial director Alan Thomas. “Although he was a medievalist by training and translated several specialized studies for us, Kenneth’s greatest achievement was his brilliant translations of the twentieth-century writer Thomas Bernhard. Kenneth’s linguistic resourcefulness, sly humor, and experience with the theater made him a perfect match for Bernhard.” Northcott was born on 25 November 1922 in London. His father was a gardener for the City of London’s parks, his . . .

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Join Our New Twitter Book Club

June 24, 2019
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Looking for smart, engaging, and somewhat offbeat reading recommendations? Want to be a part of a community of readers who are curious and sharp? Want to have the opportunity to chat directly with authors, editors, and translators about their work? Then the #ReadUCP Book Club is for you! This July we are launching our seasonal Twitter book club. We know you are already avid readers with many books on your bedside and crammed into your satchel, so we’re keeping it pressure-free with just four selections a year (July, October, February, and May) that promise to be fun, thought-provoking, and a little unconventional for a book club pick. Each season we invite our @UChicagoPress Twitter followers to join us in reading and discussing our selection. We’ll share inside information on our blog and check-in via Twitter to share our thoughts and progress along the way. In turn, we invite you to send questions as you read and to join us for virtual book club meetings. Just use #ReadUCP when you tweet. To follow the conversation, you can use Twitter’s search tool or a tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck to filter by #ReadUCP. Our Summer Pick Is: Edible Memory by Jennifer A. . . .

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Celebrating the Staff of the CDC

June 14, 2019
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Celebrating the Staff of the CDC

This week, the Association of University Presses has been hosting a special blog tour celebrating the many individuals whose intelligence, passion, and creativity fuel university presses, in honor of Mark Saunders, the late director of the University of Virginia Press. In this spirit, we would like to send an enormous public thank you to the customer service and warehouse staff of the Chicago Distribution Center (CDC). They are the unsung heroes of not only the University of Chicago Press but the many university presses whose books are distributed by the CDC. They are the ones who ensure our books find their way directly into the hands of readers, which is our most important goal. Thank you Cindy Bastion, Cynthia Beverly, Jameel Brewer, James Daniels, Louis DeLeon, Samuel DeLeon, Eric Durham, Jimmie French, Marcus Frierson, Ashley Garcia, Christina Garcia, John Gonzales, John V. Gonzalez, Karen Hyzy, Shawn Injeski, David Jagla, Mark Jefferson, David Johnigan, James Johnson, Bernedette Koonce, David Kubiak, Jill Larkins, Louis Luera, Abe Maldonado, Veronia Marcano, Gordana Markotic, Mate Markotic, Felipe Martinez, Deon McClinton, Tia Mendez, Joshua Messer, Laura Metzcus, Erica Nelson, Tiffany Petty, Michael Pietrusinski, Troy Price, Eric Pritchard, Brandon Riley, Jennifer Schmid, Kevin Shumpert, Sandra Sons, Theo . . .

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Recommended Readings to Celebrate Pride

June 6, 2019
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Recommended Readings to Celebrate Pride

It’s June and LTBTQ Pride is in the air. Whether you’re waving a rainbow flag parade-side or pausing to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, there is much progress to celebrate. We’ve put together a little summer reading list of books that are out and proud and give a sense of this shared history and the distance yet to go. “An absorbing, funny, and astonishing memoir of a man with many talents and many identities: Samuel Steward, university professor; Phil Sparrow, tattoo artist; Ward Stames, John McAndrews, and Donald Bishop, writing ground-breaking essays in the first European gay magazines; Phil Andros, explicit novelist; and a man who lived life to its fullest.” 2019 Over the Rainbow Recommended Book List | American Library Association “The Book of Minor Perverts remakes the history of sexuality. Kahan illuminates what is missing: the stories told since the eighteenth century, and peaking during the Modernist period, about how people become homosexual. This is brilliant, upending, field-changing work, which will take its place beside groundbreaking projects from major historians of sexuality such as Michel Foucault and David Halperin, and leading LGBTQ literary critics such as Eve Sedgwick and Valerie Traub.” Elizabeth Freeman, author of Time . . .

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5 Questions for Robin Wolfe Scheffler, author of “A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine”

May 16, 2019
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5 Questions for Robin Wolfe Scheffler, author of “A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine”

In his new book, A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine, Robin Wolfe Scheffler explores the United States’s century-long search for a human cancer virus and reveals the ways in which the effort, while ultimately fruitless, profoundly shaped our understanding of life at its most fundamental levels. We sent Scheffler a few questions to learn more about his research, his motivations for writing the book, his recent reads, and more.  How did you wind up in this academic field, and what do you love about it? A British scientist named CP Snow once claimed that the sciences and humanities were two separate cultures, but I’ve never felt that way. I studied history and chemistry as a student at the University of Chicago. I was drawn to these two subjects because they each connected things—chemistry bridged biology and physics, history bridged the humanities and the social sciences. I explored everything from the economic geography of grain elevators to the mathematical modeling of dimerization before a professor suggested to me that studying the history of science might allow me to connect all of my interests. He was right!   Years later I still enjoy working in . . .

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