Monday, December 16, 2013

A Semester at the Press

By Kimberly Ring

When you are a junior in college something starts to change. A certain grace period begins to end and you suddenly have to answer the question “What do you want to do with your life?” The answer provided now has to be something other than a rock star, astronaut, or my personal answer--a Disney princess.  It has to be something real, and something with a steady income. This is what society expects of you. By the end of my sophomore year I had no idea what my answer was going to be. All I knew was that I wanted to do something in English and Communications.

I was different than most of my friends at Mizzou. I took classes to which I loved to go. I didn’t want to rip my hair out from confusion and stress in attempting to just pass my classes. I wasn’t in the pursuit of simply having a job that pays well. I wanted a job that I enjoyed. More importantly, I wanted to do something that gave me a reason to wake up in the morning, excited about what my day would bring. I was on the search for a lifestyle, and a career that would make me truly happy to go to work every day.

Last semester I received an exciting email informing me that I was chosen to be a Marketing Intern for the University of Missouri Press. After a few immediate phone calls to my parents, telling them the news, I began to worry. This is something that becomes second nature to a student in college under a large amount of pressure. This happens for multiple reasons, but especially because there are professors breathing down our necks, telling us the economy is bad and that none of us are going to find a job. I started wondering, “Am I going to be able to handle this? Would I be any good? What if I’m terrible and they think I’m an idiot?” After pondering these questions most of the summer, I came in for my first day as an intern in August. In all honesty, I remember thinking: “This stuff is just like school work. I do nothing but read and write the whole time and I’m not even getting a grade!” It took me a few days to remember that I loved school. I love reading and writing. Why am I complaining? I have a passion for learning, and reading and writing about works of literature.

It took me a few weeks to realize that this is the kind of work that I like to do. The hours that I spent there every week flew by, without even realizing that I had just been sitting at a desk for hours. Not only did I love the work I was doing, but my supervisor, Electronic Marketing Assistant Kirk Hinkelman, was probably the most intelligent, quirky, and easiest person to take orders from. I was receiving proper feedback from him about how to revise my writing. I learned what was good, and what needed to be changed, without feeling bad about my mistakes. I was encouraged to bring my personality to the things that I write, which has been mostly discouraged in many of my English classes. This was something new to me, and not to mention incredibly fun!

After a few weeks of writing copy and blog posts, we started having meetings about each step of the publishing industry. These meetings were run by the UMP’s Marketing Director, Kristi Henson. Every Tuesday Kristi would take an hour out of her busy work day to bring her energy, humor, and knowledge that only comes from experience to the table. All of the interns had the pleasure of hearing her input of what it’s really like being in the publishing industry. We learned about the ups, the downs, and the hard work and the dedication it takes to get a book from an idea, to the shelves of the bookstore. We met most of the people who work in the office, and they told us about what they personally do to get those books on the shelves. It was eye opening to see how much work these people do in their own way to serve a single purpose: create a book that is original, intelligent, and that readers will enjoy and purchase.

Throughout the semester, I was reading about books that were very informative and interesting. I was given The Chicago Manual of Style along with a marketing handbook written by publishers about how to use different techniques to sell a book. After learning more than I ever could in a classroom, I now am seriously considering publishing as a career path. I love the idea of bringing an idea to life through the pages of a book. I would love to one day help authors express themselves through their writing. Even though I am a member of the generation that is changing the world from a word based culture, to an image based culture, I want to help keep the world of literature alive. I want to help make sure that people continue to pursue reading as an important part of life, instead of staring at their phone or television screen.

To all the members of the UMP team--thank you for helping the world of literature grow, and for doing what you all do best! It was so great working with you all, you taught me so much!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Giveaway!

'Tis the season!  Who doesn't like to win free stuff?
Send me an email with the word "Giveaway" in the subject line for a chance to win one of our fall 2013 titles.  This will also add you to our mailing list if you haven't been added already. Three winners will be randomly selected and each will choose one book from the list below. The offer ends 12/16/2013.  

For great UMP special offers check out our sale page.

Prairie Sky: A Pilot's Reflections on Flying and the Grace of Altitude by W. Scott Olsen
Prairie Sky explores the reality as well as the metaphor of flight: notions of ceaseless time and boundless space, personal interior and exterior vision, social history, meteorology, and geology.  W. Scott Olsen takes readers along as he chases a new way of looking at the physical world and wonders aloud about how the whole planet moves in interconnected ways not visible from the ground.  While the northern prairie may call to mind images of golden harvests and summer twilight such images do not define the region. The land bears marks left by gut-shaking thunderstorms, hard-frozen rivers, sweeping floods, and hurricane-size storms. Olsen takes to the midwestern sky to confront the ordinary world and reveals the magic--the wondrous and unique sights visible from the pilot’s seat of a Cessna.

Lucky That Way, a nuanced, richly engaging memoir, chronicles the joys and tribulations of a daughter who rediscovers her father as he nears the end of his life.  Ernie Gerhardt, an artist and teacher, is largely estranged from his five children, but when he suffers a debilitating stroke, his daughter Pamela must fly to Las Vegas to tend to him. When she arrives to find Ernie newly and shockingly fragile, she is hit by an unexpected wave of tenderness.  Pamela Gerhardt’s heartfelt story about a family coming to terms with their aging father’s illness and imminent death takes readers on an emotional roller coaster that highlights love, loss, humor, and sadness. 

In They Raised Me Up, Carolyn Marie Wilkins juxtaposes her personal story as an up-and-coming musician and single mother in the 1980s with the histories of influential women from her family’s past. This poignant and telling narrative not only offers insights on the travails of a musician and single mother but also humanizes the struggles of black and biracial women from the early twentieth century into the 1980s.   The interweaving of memoir with family history creates a cohesive, entertaining, informative, and engrossing read that will appeal to anyone with an interest in African American Studies, Women’s History, Ethnomusicology, or simply looking for an intriguing story about music and family.

American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War tells the story of the political campaigns to raise aid for the Spanish Republic as activists pushed the limits of isolationist thinking. Those concerned with Spain’s fate held a range of political convictions (including anarchists, socialists, liberals, and communists) with very different understandings of what fascism was. Yet they all agreed that fascism’s advance must be halted. With labor strikes, fund-raising parties, and ambulance tours, defenders of Spain in the United States sought to shift the political discussion away from isolation of Spain’s elected government and toward active assistance for the faltering Republic.

In the midst of the Philippine-American War, twenty-two-year-old Robert Dexter Carter served in Manila as a civilian quartermaster clerk. Through his letters to his family, he provided a vivid picture of army life in Manila—the sights, the smells, and his responses to the native culture. In addition to his letters, his diary, and several related articles present a firsthand account of the historic voyage of the United States Army Transport Grant through the Suez Canal to Manila in early 1899. Carter’s writings not only tell of his sometimes harrowing experiences but also reveal the aspirations and fears of a young man not quite sure of his next steps on life’s journey.  Enhanced by photographs from collections at the Library of Congress and the Military History Institute, as well as many of Carter’s own whimsical drawings, the book will appeal to armchair historians and scholars alike.

Ozarks in Missouri History: Discoveries in an American Region, edited by Lynn Morrow is a collection of 15 previously published essays that originally appeared in the Missouri Historical Review, the journal published by the State Historical Society.  Interest in scholarly study of the Ozarks has increased markedly in recent years, and this collection of old and new essays is directed at the growing audience for work on the history, culture, and geography of the region. These essays demonstrate that mainstream trends in national and state histories shape the character of the Ozarks region, while the oft-quoted Ozarks traditionalism adjusts to play significant roles locally. Historians and Ozarks enthusiasts alike will find these micro-studies an enjoyable read.

Protest and Propaganda: W. E. B. Du Bois, the Crisis, and American History edited by Amy Helene Kirschke and Phillip Luke Sinitiere

In looking back on his editorship of the Crisis magazine, W. E. B. Du Bois said, “We condensed more news about Negroes and their problems in a month than most colored papers before this had published in a year.” Since its founding by Du Bois in 1910, the Crisis has been the primary published voice of the NAACP.  Born in an age of Jim Crow racism, often strapped for funds, the magazine struggled and endured, all the while providing a forum for people of color to document their inherent dignity and proclaim their definitive worth as human beings. The contributors show how the essays, columns, and visuals published in the Crisis changed conversations, perceptions, and even laws in the United States, thereby calling a fractured nation to more fully live up to its democratic creed.

Under the broad umbrella of the Christian religion, there exists a great divide between two fundamentally different ways of thinking about key aspects of the Christian faith. Eugene Webb explores the sources of that divide, looking at how the Eastern and Western Christian worlds drifted apart due both to the different ways they interpreted their symbols and to the different roles political power played in their histories. Previous studies have focused on historical events or on the history of theological ideas. In Search of the Triune God delves deeper by exploring how the Christian East and the Christian West have conceived the relation between symbol and experience.
Theodore Roosevelt was a man of wide interests, strong opinions, and intense ambition for both himself and his country. When he met Leonard Wood in 1897, he recognized a kindred spirit. Moreover, the two men shared a zeal for making the United States an imperial power that would challenge Great Britain as world leader. For the remainder of their lives, their careers would intertwine in ways that shaped the American nation.  Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood: Partners in Command  is a revealing and long overdue look at the dynamic partnership of this fascinating pair and will be welcomed by scholars and military history enthusiasts alike.

Richard Wright and Haiku by Yoshinobu Hakutani

In the last years of his life, Richard Wright, the fierce and original American novelist known for Native Son and Black Boy, wrote over four thousand haiku. In Richard Wright and Haiku, Yoshinobu Hakutani considers Wright the poet and his late devotion to the spare, unrhymed verse that dwells on human beings’ relationship to the natural world rather than on their relationships with one another, a strong departure from the intense and often conflicted relationships that had dominated his fiction.  Richard Wright and Haiku is a valuable addition to the critical discussion of the life and works of Richard Wright as well as a welcome contribution to scholarship on haiku in the West.