Category Archives: Daily Notes

National Eat What You Want Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day! To celebrate, here are some sweet recipes from a few of our featured cookbooks. Check them out to find recipes for more tasty treats to enjoy all year long!

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book by Jennie C. Benedict

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is one of the iconic texts in Kentucky’s illustrious cookbook history—and few states have produced as many fine collections of recipes. In this sparkling lineup of food stars, none outshone Miss Jennie. She had it all: the kitchen touch, the business sense, the communication skills, the personality. Kentucky is renowned as a fountainhead of superior cookery in no small part because of Jennie C. Benedict’s impact in the food world generations ago. [… ] A timely collection…. Comprehensive, concise and easy-to-use recipes [offer] more than just a bit of Kentucky flavor.” —John Egerton, author of Generations

Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman

“For home cooks who like a cookbook that tells stories as well as it instructs, this is an excellent work. Both effective and entertaining, Bourbon Desserts is highly practical—welcoming to the amateur cook while challenging enough for the skilled cook.

A delicious and evocative exploration of the delights of Bourbon and all it’s many culinary uses. Ms. Hulsman speaks from the heart with a passion for her subject that only a true Kentuckian could. The recipes are as mouthwatering as they are informative and had me heading for the kitchen, bourbon in hand, after the very first chapter.” —Michael Harwood, The Guild of Food Writers (UK)

The Dessert Book by Duncan Hines

“A classic selection of dessert recipes from Duncan Hines’ private collection, ranging from cakes and biscuits, to soufflés, puddings, and cheese desserts.” —Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

Happy Kentucky Derby Day!

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

It’s the first Saturday in May, which means it’s Kentucky Derby Day! To celebrate the 148th Run for the Roses, the University Press of Kentucky is proud to present four titles that delve into the history and the grand tradition of Thoroughbred racing.

The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event by James C. Nicholson

“Many books have been published about the Kentucky Derby that deal with elements of the race such as the horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers. This book is much more than that—it places the Derby within the history of the Commonwealth and in the broader context of American culture.” —John Kleber, editor of The Kentucky Encyclopedia

“Nicholson has done a masterful job of researching the historical events that made the Derby the enthralling and significant event it is. You may never get to experience the thrill of entering the winners’ circle and smelling the wonderful aroma that emanates from the garland of roses that signifies the greatest achievement in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, but this wonderful book will take you on a journey that gets you as close as any piece of writing possibly could.” —Chris McCarron, two-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame inductee, from the foreword

The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell

“Nickell gives us the history and lore of the beverage as well as a travel guide to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. He adds plenty of recipes, both traditional and modern, and even a page for writing your own.” —Bloomsbury Review

“Presents information you will find nowhere else… The recipes run from the basic to fancy ones using champagne or added flavors, making it a great resource for entertaining. Any fan of the derby or mint juleps will find this book a charming addition to their shelf.” —

Racing for America: The Horse Race of the Century and the Redemption of a Sport by James C. Nicholson

“James Nicholson’s Racing for America is a captivating exploration of a critical moment in American racing and how a match race run nearly a century ago influences our era of horse racing. He weaves together the disparate forces and personalities that come together to bring post-war America the diversion of the Old World versus the New, and, in the process, creates a portrait of a sport overcoming its near-death experience to rival baseball for America’s favorite sport. Come for the story of this legendary horse race and stay for an engrossing examination of how modern spectacles like the Breeder’s Cup came to be.” —Jennifer S. Kelly, author of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown

“Nicholson once again has discerned and described the many ways the sport of Thoroughbred racing can respond to, reflect, and perhaps even advance American attitudes and ambitions. He provides another highly intriguing and lively narrative which will grasp and entertain readers, whether new to the subject of racing or already familiar with the historic sport.” —Edward L. Bowen, author of 22 books on Thoroughbred racing

The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy by Pellom McDaniels III

“We have waited a long time for a scholar to pull together the story of Isaac Murphy and nineteenth-century American and Kentucky life with the exquisite interpretation that Pellom McDaniels offers in this manuscript… This work is path-breaking for the detailed study it offers into the texture and layers of life in Lexington, particularly black Lexington, during the post-Civil War decades and into the Gilded Age.” —Maryjean Wall, author of How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders

“A persuasive blend of storytelling and historical analysis, this is an enlightening account for horsemen, sports lovers, and historians of post Reconstruction-era American race relations. Pellom McDaniels’ success is that he brings into sharp relief the devolving social and cultural context of African-American jockey Isaac Burns Murphy’s childhood, apprenticeship, and career. The author convinces the reader of Murphy’s personal discipline and singular achievements—enabled despite an increasingly hostile environment by the support of family and the larger African-American community’s commitment to the project of self-advancement.” —Myra Young Armstead, Bard College

Teacher’s Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University of Kentucky

May 3rd is Teacher’s Day! The University Press of Kentucky would like to thank teachers everywhere for all that they do to educate and inspire our kids. None of us would be where we are today with the teachers in our lives.

To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history (and future!) of education in Kentucky.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, edited by Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and John A. Hardin

“Comprehensive and scholarly in scope, this tome is a model for future single-volume reference works about African Americans…. This work will be the standard on the subject and deserves consideration not only in Kentucky libraries but also in any setting where there is interest about African American history.” Library Journal

“Drawing inspiration from an African American teacher in Logan County, KY, who when called upon to teach a Kentucky history class in the 1930s lamented that not one of the textbooks referenced the contributions of African Americans, series editors Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin spent over a decade bringing this rich collection to print…. This is an important reference source that other states should emulate.” —Library Journal Best Print Reference

Tales From Kentucky One-Room School Teachers by William Lynwood Montell

“One-room schools once provided education to a majority of Kentucky citizens, and Montell’s book relates the characteristics and attitudes of those involved. It’s entertaining collection of memories allows the individual voices of the teachers to be heard once more.” Freda Klotter, teacher and co-author of A Concise History of Kentucky

“With the memories of one room schools fading as the number of individuals who experiences them first hand decreases, Tales from Kentucky One-Room School Teachers preserves a meaningful record for future generations of education’s evolution and life in general during this unique time.” —Manchester Enterprise

A History of Education in Kentucky by William E. Ellis

A History of Education in Kentucky is a comprehensive guide to the history of Kentucky schools, delving into the social, economic, and political factors that shaped their development. Ellis’s volume is a needed addition to literature on Kentucky’s history, providing a valuable account of events and decisions in Kentucky education, but also serving as an important resource for future educators and administrators.” —Kentucky Retired Teacher Association News

“Supplemented by published scholarship, oral history interviews, and personal experiences as a Kentucky educator, Professor William Ellis has provided a valuable history of the achievements and challenges connected with the Commonwealth’s schools and colleges from 1770 to the 21st century. A thoughtful, scholarly narrative with informed commentary, this study provides a long-needed, thorough and perceptive understanding of the history of Kentucky education.” —John A. Hardin, author of Fifty Years of Segregation: Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1904–1954

Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place by Jack R. Baker and Jeffery Bilbro

“Baker and Bilbro have written a thoughtful treatise about conceptualizing and implementing education as grounded, embedded wisdom formation rather than as instruction in dislocated knowledge acquisition. The primary enticement of this text is the interweaving of Wendell Berry’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writings into the process. This is a text for educators and citizens willing to take a hard look at current higher education’s pedagogical proclivities and ask whether we might not often be increasing socio-cultural harm rather than promoting good when we do not encourage that learning be tied to the particularity of place. Baker and Bilbro have written this work hoping to increase focus on learning that emphasizes social stability over social itinerancy.” —International Journal of Christianity & Education

“A masterful argument. Baker and Bilbro have given us a brilliant companion to Berry’s work that will guide readers—students, parents, professors, and administrators—to rethink educational values and institutional trajectories.” —Morris A. Grubbs, editor of Conversations with Wendell Berry

Arbor Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 29th is Arbor Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history and conservation of the beautiful trees of the Bluegrass.

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide by Patricia Dalton Haragon

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville will take its place as an important contribution to the botany of the region, spotlighting the flora of a biologically and historically rich set of municipal parks, researched and presented by one of the very best botanists in the state.” —Rob Paratley, curator of the University of Kentucky Herbarium

“I admired Pat Haragan’s desire to awaken in others a love of plants—’key it, know it, name it and understand why it grows here. Then come back next year and notice how it’s grown, how far it’s spread. And most importantly why is it here? Tell me about the environment.’ She’s at it again with her botanical guide of the Olmsted Parks. It will be used far and wide among all ages of budding botanists. Pat continues to be a great teacher. Congratulations to photographers Susan Wilson and Chris Bidwell as well. Your photographs capture details that give amateur plant lovers confidence in sharing plant names they’ve learned using this incredible resource.” —Mary Witt, University of Kentucky Horticulturist

Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass by Tim Kimmerer

“While deeply grounded in science, this book is written with a general audience in mind. It is easy to understand and filled with interesting information and stories, plus useful maps, illustrations and dozens of Kimmerer’s beautiful photographs of the trees… Venerable Trees will likely become a classic among books about Kentucky’s natural history and environment, because it covers so much new information in such an accessible way… [T]his book will give you a greater appreciation of Kentucky’s oldest living residents.” —Lexington Herald-Leader

“This beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. [It] is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.” —Greater Louisville Sierra Club

Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky by Mary E. Wharton & Roger W. Barbour

“Indispensable… An outstanding series of illustrations.” —Choice

National Great Poetry Reading Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press Kentucky

April 28th is National Great Poetry Reading Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles from our poetry collection that we think you’ll love.

The Girl Singer: Poems by Marianne Worthington

“Lit up and melancholy, these poems inhabit and reanimate the old songs, the ballads and fiddle tunes of the original mountain music that has no beginning and shows no sign of ending soon. Murder ballads, roaming, and redemption are all here with pining refrain. But then the book opens like a dogwood blossom to capture the music of childhood and family, as if a life of learning and wonder, love and loss is bounded by song. And so it is. These poems hit the ear like rain on a tin roof and summon a world that’s heartfelt and true, because the things of that world, from the human music right down to the birds, belong to each other and to the wondrous world itself.” —Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter and One Man’s Dark

The Girl Singer is a praise song, love song, rage song, ballad, recitative, and lament for early country music singers costumed, renamed, packaged, and sold; for the poet’s mother, who filmed a teenage Dolly Parton singing in a gas station parking lot; the poet’s father, caught in paralysis and a fading mind; for the musicians—country and soul—who were the soundtrack of her growing up; and for the glory of being in the audience at the Ryman when Bobby Bare kissed Marty Stuart. Worthington reclaims these beloveds, along with her “maternal people” and her grandmothers, with whom she is “encircled now, all / living together.” She restores her parents to their beginning—and hers—as we go with them to the Opry on their honeymoon. Through multiple forms—fixed and invented—she renders these moments. And by turns her singing words dazzle and cleave our hearts.” —George Ella Lyon, former Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015–2016) and author of Back to the Light

The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry, edited by Julia Johnson

“Poetry is obliged to prove again and again that beauty may arrive from moments that are not pretty, just as grief may lead us to discover profound love. These are truths I’ve always taken from Jane Gentry’s poetry, and now, in this final collection of her work, one sees her long effort has been one of discovery and candor, to push through ordinary loss and the stinging shortness of life, in order to find the moments that endure or flash-out trying to endure. Here, without decoration or fanfare, is a gorgeous body of work wholly integrated to tell it like it is, without—and this is the heart-rending grace note—complaint. As Jane Gentry observes in one of the Late Poems in this collection, ‘A poem is a bird that flies on many wings.’ She’s right about that, and here is a lovely book filled with many birds and their poignant flights. What a treasure this is.” —Maurice Manning, author of One Man’s Dark and The Common Man, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

“Reading through her collected poems, I am again reminded that Jane Gentry was not only a master poet—but also a master teacher. The poems here, each sophisticated, precise, carefully composed, teach us how to be in the world, no matter if walking among Kentucky flowers or the fountains of Jardin du Luxembourg. In this collection, Jane continues to hold the lantern, leading us to dark well of the past, urging us to look down so that we may see our authentic lives shimmering on the water’s surface.” —Kathleen Driskell, author of Next Door to the Dead: Poems

A Girl’s Gun: Poems by Rachel Danielle Peterson

“Rachel Danielle Peterson’s collection, A Girl’s A Gun, reads as part tall tale, part bildungsroman, part geode. These are poems meant to be enclosed in a palm and pressed against the heart. Peterson’s strengths are in her cinematic depictions of women, her vibrant imagery, and the precision with which she code-switches into the tongue of the mountains. The heady combination leaves the reader a bit breathless and we plummet with her into a line that feels like proverb, such as in ‘Birthday,’ ‘The heart is cruel/an organ with no song.’ These poems do not balk at their own content, circling around love that is tough or risky or absent or misplaced. They press on, lead the way, suggest that there’s no way around but through.” —Bianca Lynne Spriggs, author of Call Her by Her Name: Poems and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor and coeditor of Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts, and More and Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets

“With a mouth full of sticky mountain laurel, Appalachian soul liquor, exclamatory verve, iconoclastic Biblical gospel, and tender purchase, Rachel Peterson’s A Girl’s A Gun cross-talks with a prodigious and prodigal personal and poetic tribe that includes family members, figures from mythology, Jeanne d’Arc, Apollinaire, and a host of hymns and rock ballads. ‘Home is in the vocal chords— / the sound,’ she writes in ‘Harlan County.’ By turns vernacular and soaring with lyricism, Peterson’s foray into the emotional violence, Eros, and beauty of the places that hold us, and that we hold inside, evokes another American innovator, Emily Dickinson, who not only felt her life to be a loaded gun but who also, like Peterson, puts language under such unique psychological pressure that it almost seems to be its own tongue.” —Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Vanitas, Rough and Orexia

When Winter Come: The Ascension of York by Frank X Walker

“When Winter Come is an astonishing collection of poems that ushers Frank X Walker into the company of other memorable poets like Roethke, Hugo, Clifton, and Dove but he also recollects the powerful narrative voice of Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Frank X Walker magically captures York, not the flat historical figure represented in Lewis & Clark’s journals—Walker has tapped into the true voice of York and conjured him on the page. This is not just a book of poems—this is a book of spirits and shimmering apparitions.”—Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red

“Beginning with Buffalo Dance and continuing with the groundbreaking When Winter Come, Frank X Walker’s lyrical and stunning resurrection of York is an unparalleled creative discourse. The poet, in stanzas probing and revelatory, opens the slave’s life wide, not examining York as much as inhabiting him, laying bare the complications, frailties and triumphs that history dims and denies. There is much here that we do not know, and we are blessed that it is Walker who has taken on this chronicle of York’s ‘other life’—with the same unflinching passion, the same deft characterization and the same undeniable courage.”—Patricia Smith, author of Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the National Poetry Series

Next Door to the Dead: Poems by Kathleen Driskell

“I’ve always loved Keats’s phrase “the mighty dead,” but I never understood it fully until I read Kathleen Driskell’s quietly explosive meditations on life and death. There’s a somber beauty to these poems; in them, the dead and living visit each other easily, singing of the rich mysteries on both sides of the divide.” —David Kirby

“With Next Door to the Dead, Kathleen Driskell has written her path to the Kentuckian sublime. And she has found her own access to the many ghosts of the south there, and has bodied those ghosts forth in poems that are heartbreaking, wary, and local in the best sense—she sees the world in the local, and communicates the world faithfully, one life at a time, giving a voice to everyone from a Egyptologist who has been abandoned in death by their soul, to Wanda, ‘who, were she still / living, might have said, / ‘if I hadn’t answered the call, / would I still be dead?'” —Shane McCrae, Spalding University and Oberlin College

Earth Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

Earth Day serves as a yearly reminder to appreciate the importance and beauty of the natural world around us, and learn more about steps we can take to protect our planet. Here are a few titles from the University Press of Kentucky that showcase the natural wonders of Kentucky, as well as conservation efforts in the state.

Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass by
Tim Kimmerer

“While deeply grounded in science, this book is written with a general audience in mind. It is easy to understand and filled with interesting information and stories, plus useful maps, illustrations and dozens of Kimmerer’s beautiful photographs of the trees…. Venerable Trees will likely become a classic among books about Kentucky’s natural history and environment, because it covers so much new information in such an accessible way…. This book will give you a greater appreciation of Kentucky’s oldest living residents.”—Lexington Herald-Leader

“This beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. It is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.”—Greater Louisville Sierra Club

Kentucky’s Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity, edited by Greg Abernathy, Deborah White, Ellis L. Laudermilk and Marc Evans

“An incredible resource for readers interested in the physiographic and biological facets of the state and should serve as a model for conservation groups that desire to promote awareness and understanding of the natural heritage within other regions or states.” —Emerald Journal

“Between its covers, readers will find details of Kentucky’s vanished natural areas and catalogue of the increasingly rare animal, plants and unique habitats that urgently need protection.” —Louisville Courier Journal

Water in Kentucky: Natural History, Communities, and Conservation, edited by Brian D. Lee, Daniel I. Carey, and Alice L. Jones

“Simply outstanding! Water in Kentucky offers an exciting close-up view of what happens to the water that falls on the Commonwealth. You’ll be fascinated by the many innovative projects your neighbors are implementing to clean polluted runoff and to restore attractive wetlands and streams. This volume will guide you in taking action to improve water quality in your community for the benefit of people, plants, and wildlife.”—Thomas R. Biebighauser, author of Wetland Drainage, Restoration, and Repair

“This collection of 23 essays expertly covers the intricate relationship between water and our daily lives. These essays could easily serve as springboards for conversation in conservation and policy implementation for the future. This book stands as an important addition to the study of water resources in Kentucky.”—Kentucky Libraries

Confronting Ecological Crisis in Appalachia and the South: University and Community Partnerships, edited by Stephanie McSpirit, Lynne Faltraco, and Conner Bailey

“This book inspires because it brings together accounts of effective citizen action and productive partnerships with academic institutions and personnel in response to environmental assaults and degradation; corporate greed and irresponsibility; and bureaucratic and regulatory collusion, neglect, and inaction. This volume makes a strong case for democratic participation in all arenas, whether in the community or the university, with activism not relegated to one or the other.” —Journal of Appalachian Studies

“Each of the 11 short chapters chronicles a collaborative project, is extensively documented, and is well written by both activists and academics, making for interesting reading.”— A.A. Hickey, Choice

Kentucky’s Last Great Places by Thomas G. Barnes

“This isn’t a memorial to lost places; it’s a call to action, a reminder to readers of what exactly there is to lose if economic development continues to take precedence over the environment in both social and political arenas.”—Back Home in Kentucky

“With over 100 glorious full-color photographs and insightful text, Kentucky’s Last Great Places highlights the incredible natural beauty found in the Commonwealth’s old-growth forests, prairies, wetlands, and other distinctive biological habitats. Kentucky’s Last Great Places is both a stunning collection of nature photographs and a means for increasing our understanding of the fragile beauty of Kentucky.” —Kentucky Books Blogspot

World Art Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 15th is World Art Day! The University Press of Kentucky would like to take this opportunity to feature a few titles centered on the work and stories of local artists, as well as art history in the Bluegrass State.

The Watercolors of Harlan Hubbard by Bill Caddell and Flo Caddell

“Harlan Hubbard painted a world blazing with colors and charged with energy, as if the movement of his brush were powered by the soil, waters, and sky. Even human artifacts, from barns to riverboats, shimmer with vitality, as if they might burst into bloom, offering those of us who live here in the Ohio Valley a dynamic and cherishing vision of our home ground.” —Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of Imagination

“This book offers a beautiful and refreshing journey through the stunning visual poetry of Harlan Hubbard’s watercolors and the eloquent prose of the contributing authors, uniting the art and life of Hubbard into an inner vision centered on nature, beauty, and harmony. The well-founded and insightful analysis of the watercolors in the context of contemporary American art and traditional East Asian art reveals their significance and warrants a reevaluation of the artistic stature of Hubbard.” —Dr. Xiaolong Wu, professor of art history at Hanover College and author of Material Culture, Power, and Identity in Ancient China

Enid Yandell: Kentucky’s Pioneer Sculptor by Julie Decker

“Enid Yandell was a prolific sculptor who helped blaze the path for other female artists. Although several pieces of her work are well known, unfortunately Enid is not. This full-length biography will help Kentuckians (and others) become acquainted with this very talented and influential artist.” —Nancy D. Baird, author of Luke Pryor Blackburn: Physician, Governor, Reformer

“Juilee Decker’s deeply researched and richly textured biography provides a fresh, lucid prism on the life of Yandell, and makes a significant contribution to American art history, southern and women’s studies. The author creates an indelible portrait of Yandell’s magnificent strength of character in crafting a professional identity, and pays overdue homage to her accomplishments as a ground-breaking sculptor, entrepreneur, and feminist.” —Peter Morrin, Director Emeritus, Speed Art Museum

Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture, edited by Andrew Kelly

“Layers of Kentucky history unfold in the illustrations of ingeniously designed everyday objects in this luxurious volume. The accompanying essays disclose stories of their provenance and purpose. Together, they focus in to reveal something about a uniquely American design during the centuries leading up to the early 1900s.” —Lexington Herald-Leader

Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture offers the first comprehensive examination of the objects from the Commonwealth featured in the Index of American Design as part of the Federal Art Project. Using more than 200 color photos and illustrations, it showcases a wide array of offerings, including architecture, furniture, ceramics, musical instruments, textiles, clothing, and glass and metal works. Edited by Andrew Kelly, [it] provides unique and valuable study into an important chapter in both United States and Kentucky design history.” —UKNow

National Gardening Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 14th is National Gardening Day! If you’d like to pick up gardening as a hobby or learn more about how you can contribute to conservation efforts in your own backyard, check out these featured titles!

Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving by Bill Best with Dobree Adams

“This book delves into how our ancestors saved seeds and gives tips on how you can save yours. Filled with interesting personal stories—from master gardeners to just home gardeners who saved seeds—it is an inspiring read.” —Kentucky Monthly

“In the expanding contemporary world of heirloom seed savers, Bill Best is already a legend with over 700 varieties of discrete beans and hundreds of tomatoes stockpiled and catalogued at his farm outside of Berea, Kentucky. Best is distinguished not only for his collection of seeds, but for his keen interest in the stories that accompany them and his ability to weave those stories into the history of a people and a region, the Appalachian South. At a time of growing attention to and focus on American foodways as history, Best’s book is a valuable resource that will be used across the discipline.” —Ronni Lundy, author of Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes and Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken

Gardening for the Birds by Thomas G. Barnes 

“Barnes has created a step-by-step guide to help city dwellers develop their own wildlife-friendly environment that will attract birds, butterflies, and other outdoor life to urban and suburban backyards.” —Better Homes and Gardens

“Offers lots of Kentucky-specific and regional information about anything and everything that could help our fellow creatures feel at home in our yards. Native wildflowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, host plants of Kentucky butterflies, native trees, shrubs, grasses, and ferns—its all still there.” —Kentucky Native Plant Society

Plant Life of Kentucky: An Illustrated Guide to the Vascular Flora by Ronald L. Jones

“Offers a wealth of data. This 834-page work covers all of the documented vascular plants in the state as well as 250 others thought possibly to occur in Kentucky…. Jones’s volume should go a long way towards bringing Kentucky floristics into the modern era.” —Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences

“The most comprehensive guide ever written on Kentucky’s plant life…. A useful book for any Kentucky citizen who needs to know what a plant is and what role it plays in the ecosystem.” —Southeastern Naturalist

International Children’s Book Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day! Did you know that reading to your child for 15 minutes a day can help promote a lifelong love of literacy and learning? Here are a few featured children’s books that you and your little one might enjoy.

Ring Around the Moon: Mommy Goose Rhymes by Mike Norris, Illustrated by Minnie Adkins

“What a wonderful celebration of language! Wit and wordplay abound, and the distinctive mountain phrasing makes these poems sing even beyond the sharp rhyme. But the language is always wrapped around the tale — tall, humorous, and full of critters who explain the wonders of the world. And the illustrations bring such a world to full life. Here is a book of outlandish affection, for young and longer-in-the-tooth readers alike. One suspects it was made in a fit of delight, or a lifetime of it.” —Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter and Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry

“Mommy Goose is back, as sprightly and spry as ever, with a whole new batch of winsome country-flavored rhymes, jingles, tall tales, and tuneful ditties in her poke. Accompanied by her official interpreter (and alter ego) Mike Norris and brought to three-dimensional reality in the antic wood carvings of Minnie Atkins, Mommy once again graces the barnyard with her gentle, timeless wit and wisdom. Welcome home, Mommy!” —Ed McClanahan, author The Natural Man, Famous People I Have Known, and other books

Appalachian Toy and Games from A to Z by Linda Hager Park, Illustrated by Pat Banks

“Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z is delightful, uplifting, and free of stereotypes. This book goes beyond facts; it brings history alive!” —Nancy Allen, author of Trouble in Troublesome Creek

“Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z celebrates a time when fun was powered by imagination and creativity rather than by batteries and electricity. This book will inform and inspire young readers and will remind adults of simpler times when they played outside with siblings and friends, making their own fun.” —Skirt Magazine

A is for Appalachia!: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager Park, Illustrated by Park Banks

“This book is a delight from beginning to end. I believe I love it as much as my two daughters do, and they adore it. A is for Appalachia! is entertaining, informative, and a perfect read. I can’t recommend it enough.”—Silas House, author of Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, and Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal

“She touches on the foods, music and customs peculiar to the Southern Appalachians….A good primer about a much stereotyped and ridiculed culture that has persevered despite challenges from technology and tourism.” —The Advocate

World Theatre Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

March 27th is World Theatre Day! Established by the International Theatre Institute in 1961, this holiday promotes theatre and its impact around the world. To celebrate, here are a few of our titles on the rich history of theatre in the Bluegrass and beyond. 

Actors, Audiences, & Historic Theaters of Kentucky by Marilyn Casto

“Will appeal to anyone interested in culture as well as lovers of theater and architecture. Well researched, it is full of interesting facts and photographs that will have you look at old theater buildings with new appreciation.” —Kentucky Monthly

“Readers will enjoy an entertaining examination of the history of drama in the Bluegrass state through diverse lenses (economical, design, technological, and moral attitudes, to name just a few).”  —Vernacular Architecture Newsletter

Broadway Goes to War: American Theater during World War II by Robert L. McLaughlin and Sally E. Parry

Broadway Goes to War fits well with the existing literature concerning World War II and popular culture, and successfully connects popular culture to the complicated politics of the period. In contrast to Hollywood films, McLaughlin and Parry argue that wartime theater productions took a nuanced approach to exploring new possibilities in the interest of promoting social change. In the process, such plays also highlighted some of the challenges faced by ordinary people during the war, along with their attempts to overcome and create a better postwar world.” —Ralph W. Brown III, professor of history at the University of Louisiana, Monroe

“McLaughlin and Parry have taken on much impressive research to accomplish this project, revealing a fascinating depiction of connections among theatrical history, culture, and politics.” —Hometowns to Hollywood

Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance by Brent Phillips

“It’s a treat that readers (like me) will have the opportunity to discover the underrated director-choreographer who created some of the most defining screen numbers for Garland, Astaire, Kelly, Crosby, Sinatra, and others. “Get Happy,” “We’re a Couple of Swells”, “Well Did you Evah?” The numbers in his films have been some of my favorites since I was a teenager—this book is for anyone who loves Broadway and Hollywood musicals.” —Casey Nicholaw, Tony Award-winning Broadway director-choreographer of The Drowsy Chaperone, The Book of Mormon, and Disney’s Aladdin

“Chuck Walters was Hollywood’s best kept secret. Thankfully, his days as an overlooked and underappreciated artist are finally over. In this informative and engaging biography, Brent Phillips examines the life and legacy of the multi-talented director, dancer and choreographer who brought his special brand of showmanship to every production. From Fred Astaire and Judy Garland strolling along Fifth Avenue in Easter Parade to an invincible Debbie Reynolds on the road to somewhere in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Walters was responsible for some of the most beloved images in American film. Through careful consideration of Walters’s work on Broadway and in Hollywood, Phillips reclaims a life and career worthy of much greater attention.” —Mark Griffin, author of A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli

John Gay and the London Theatre by Calhoun Winton

“A concise, useful, and lucid book that delivers what it promises.” —Modern Language Review

“Winton is a meticulous scholar. His book will be of real value as an introduction for those unfamiliar with Gay’s drama and the London stage of the period.” —Reviews in English Studies