University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We know that many of our readers are heading off to Germany for the Frankfurt Book Fair next week, so we’ll start things off this week with a couple of helpful Frankfurt posts from the AMACOM books blog. First, AMACOM Rights and International Sales Associate Lynsey Major gives advice for Frankfurt rookies and veterans alike. Then Therese Mausser, Director of Rights & International Sales, gives a quick introduction to German pronunciation and a few essential phrases to help international travelers navigate their way around Frankfurt. Best of luck to everybody going to the book fair!

In the non-publishing world, discussions of the upcoming book fair are taking a back seat this week to discussions of the October 3rd presidential debate in Denver. At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, guestposter Robert Cherry breaks down how Mitt Romney won the debate, while mentioning that Romney’s move to the center may not sit well with the Tea Party.

A great deal of the debate hinged around job creation. In the MITPressLog’s continuing Election Tuesday series, Robert Pollin claims that job creation has to come from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Written before today’s (improved?!) job numbers and before the debate, Pollin’s post offers advice to both candidates that Romney was able to take advantage of during the debate and that Obama will surely be hoping to take advantage of in light of the numbers release.

At the Harvard University Press Blog, the topic of conversation this week was representational religious art and the Islamic faith. The question of whether Islam can accept any artistic representation of the Prophet Mohammed in particular came to the forefront recently after the worldwide riots in response to the film “The Innocence of Muslims.” In an excerpt from his forthcoming book Aisha’s Cushion, Jamal Elias attempts to explain the complex and contentious history of iconography in Islam.

“Forward.” “Believe in America.” These are the campaign slogans of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney respectively. At the JHU Press Blog, guestposter Peter Filkins takes issue with the campaign rhetoric used this election season by both candidates as exemplified in these slogans, claiming that “what is extraordinary about the rhetoric is not how bad it is, but how empty it is.” Filkins claims that we could do worse than turn to poetry in order to return to more meaningful campaign language.

One political term we haven’t heard a ton this election season is “Main Street,” a description of small businesses and the middle class that “conjure[s] up nostalgic images of American small-town life.” At the UNC Press Blog, Miles Orvell breaks down the idea of “Main Street” and discusses how modern malls are attempting to invoke the small-town charm of “Main Street” while offering the choice and comfort of a megamall.

As I’ve admitted before, I’m a sucker for interesting posts on the history of the blues in America, so I was thrilled this week to see a post by Alan Greenberg at the University of Minnesota Press Blog that starts a series of posts on his attempt to make a movie based on the mysterious life of the legendary Robert Johnson.

From the blues to bluegrass: this week the University of Illinois Press blog offered the full introduction from Bluegrass Bluesman, the memoir of Josh Graves, in two parts. In this introduction, editor Fred Bartenstein explains the long and complicated journey of compiling the book, starting with a set of interviews originally done in 1994. Bartenstein believes Graves “would be pleased to know that the story of Josh Graves the son, husband, father, friend, and mentor—as well as Uncle Josh the musician—has been preserved in his own wonderful words.”

The recently released film Won’t Back Down has taken a good deal of flak due to what many see as an oversimplification of the complex issues surrounding education in America. At Beacon Broadside, guestposter Nancy Schiedewind explains how Won’t Back Down goes wrong, particularly in the film’s support of “parent trigger laws.”

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of fellow “CUP” Cambridge University Press, the recent and controversial work of James R. Flynn on changes in IQ levels between generations is the topic of discussion. This week, Marie C., of the Cambridge library marketing team, challenges Flynn’s opinion that young people, despite their increasing IQ scores, are less verbally adept than their parents.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a fantastic post on the OUPblog by Jon Burlingame, in which he has created a Spotify playlist of all of the themes from James Bond films over the last fifty years. I strongly recommend listening to this playlist while finishing up the week’s work. Warning: doing so may make the most pedestrian of tasks seem thrilling and dangerous.

As always, we really appreciate you reading! Please leave any comments, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below.

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