University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Contrary to the saying, you can judge a book by its cover. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into designs for book covers, Angelica Calderon at the University of Texas Press has an in-depth look at the design process, from idea to execution.

Oxford University Press has a fascinating collection of 2013’s most important words, as determined by dictionaries, linguists, and enthusiasts. At the top (for English): “selfie,” “privacy,” and “bitcoin.” The list isn’t limited to English, though. For the sinophiles out there, a Chinese poll determined “dream” was the most popular Chinese word and “reform” its most popular phrase.

Poet, playwright, and firebrand Amiri Baraka died yesterday at the age of 79. “‘Find the self, then kill it’: such was Baraka’s prescription for a more vibrant black music and a more vital black community, and he began with himself. ” writes Scott Saul in an excerpt from “Freedom is, Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties” from Harvard University Press. The excerpt discusses how Baraka celebrated John Coltrane’s music as a major shift in black consciousness. For more Baraka, you can read his essay “Jazz and the White Critic” in “The Jazz Cadence of American Culture” edited by Robert G. O’Meally.

University of Chicago Press is giving away an ebook in the month of January as part of their “Chicago Shorts” program. “Murder in Ancient China” features two short stories by Robert van Gulik, a historian and diplomat. Both feature van Gulik’s most enduring creation: the mystery-solving Judge Dee, as he attempts to restore order to the Tang Dynasty.

Are you keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions? It’s only been as week and a half, but getting out to exercise in this weather is getting more and more difficult. Luckily, AMACOM has a list of resolutions for the bibliophile, which are certainly easier than going to the gym or putting down the junk food.

“The credit crunch which continues to affect families and businesses in Europe—and now also China and other emerging economies—threatens the economic recovery, and with it the reduction of unemployment in Europe and the resumption of wealth-creating growth in the emerging world. Never so few (in the financial sector) did so much to damage the many. The issue is that the many now need a well-functioning financial system more than ever.” 2014 hasn’t started with very good news on the economic front—just 74,000 jobs were added in December—and fifteeneightyfour has an interesting discussion on the prognosis for the world economy.

The University of Nebraska press recently published the first biography of Pulitzer Prize-winning former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. “To earn the love of just about anyone is as high an honor as we are permitted in this life, though nothing is ever quite so fine as to offer somebody a poem that they look at for a minute or two, then fold into a pocket and carry away,” he writes in a dispatch about life, love, and the importance of place in poetry on the University of Nebraska Press blog.

“The onset of the industrial age has liberated many persons from terrible physical labor but it has also resulted in terrible environmental degradation which could have catastrophic effects that linger for centuries,” writes Chris Anderson in a year-end list like no other. At Yale University Press, Anderson compiles the sins committed in 2013 that still linger into the new year, as well as some historical sins that we still feel to this day. And on that note, that will wrap things up for today!

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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