Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Inspires Journey to Other Side of the World

TAMU Press authors Walt and Isabel Davis could not have known that the contents in their book Exploring the Edges of Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2010) would inspire an adventure taken halfway across the world. One particular reader, Christopher Poteet, found certain interest in a story about the Red River Meteorite, which was found in Texas in the 19th century. As legend goes, chunks of the Red River Meteorite somehow found their way to Calcutta, India. Fascinatingly, reader Poteet was traveling to Calcutta the following week, and decided to try and track down the missing pieces of rock.

As Poteet explains in an email sent to the Davises: " . . . thus an adventure was born. And so, using your research as a road map, I contacted Yale University, gathered a little more info, and was soon on the teeming, filthy, glorious streets of Calcutta in search of a sacred rock stolen from an indigenous tribe in Texas almost 200 years ago. I had very few leads and no actual contacts, but with a sense of purpose and a capacity for drinking lots of milky sweet tea, I was confident that I would close this Circle. (Though the actual logic of why I was looking for this meteorite, and what exactly this Circle was, got more twisted with each telling.)
And so, to cut to the chase; Mission Accomplished. Pics attached.”

Poteet found what he was looking for, and authors Walt and Isabel Davis can take the credit for inspiring his adventure!

--Madeline Loving

Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas Book Festival Featured Author and Artist: Margie Crisp, author of River of Contrasts

Margie Crisp has traveled the length of Texas’ Colorado River; which rises in Dawson County, south of Lubbock, and flows 860 miles southeast across the state to its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay. She lives and works near Elgin, Texas, and is both a writer and artist whose lithographs, hand-colored linocuts, drawings, and paintings are in private and public collections throughout Texas, the United States, and Mexico. She is a former writer in residence at the Thinking Like a Mountain Foundation in Fort Davis, Texas.

TAMUP: What or who inspired your paintings?

MC: The art work in my book River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado are all original prints: linocuts and lithographs.  This sounds confusing at first but by original prints, I mean traditional hand-pulled prints (not giclee or offset commercial printing).  Another reason for creating prints is that I wanted to reference the rich tradition of natural history printmaking.  From Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to John James Audubon's lithographs and engravings, artists and scientists have created prints that not only contained important details about habitat and life history, but also were stunningly beautiful works of art at the same time.  While I can't predict how people will react to my art, I am satisfied that I created a portrait of the Colorado River, in both word and image, that can be referred back to--whatever the future holds for the river.

TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about having your art featured at the Texas Book Festival?

MC: Honestly the greatest pleasure I've had as the 2012 Texas Book Festival artist has been the attention it has brought to my book and to TAMUP.  The talent, support, and enthusiasm of the Press and the River Series (supported by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University) made the book possible.  Second to that, is that it has given me additional opportunities to talk to the public about the Colorado River of Texas and its future.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Texas Book Festival Featured Author: Thomas Kreneck, author of Del Pueblo: A History of Houston's Hispanic Community

Thomas Kreneck is associate director for special collections and archives at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and Joe B. Frantz Lecturer in Public History at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. He is also the author of Mexican American Odyssey: Felix Tijerina, Entrepreneur and Civic Leader, 1905–1965, published in 2001 by Texas A&M University Press.

TAMUP: What or who inspired you to write your book?

TK: A lifetime of interest in the Mexican American experience, my experiences as founder and head of the Mexican American Archival component at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), and a profound belief that everyone should have a basic understanding of Houston's Hispanic community as the fourth largest concentration of Hispanics in the United States compelled me to write this book.

TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about being one of the 200+ authors featured at the Texas Book Festival?

TK: I look forward to reviewing the other literature at the TBF, meeting the other authors, and especially interacting with those persons interested in my book.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Texas Book Festival Featured Author: Ron Rozelle, author of My Boys and Girls Are in There: The 1937 New London School Explosion

Ron Rozelle is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and author of several previous books including Into That Good Night, A Place Apart, Sundays with Ron Rozelle, Touching Winter, and The Windows of Heaven. He currently resides in Lake Jackson, Texas.

TAMUP: What or who inspired you to write your book?


 RR: I became interested in the New London school explosion because I had heard about it all my life. My hometown of Oakwood is just 80 miles away. My father, who was the school superintendent in Oakwood, went there to help the night of the disaster.

TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about being one of the 200+ authors featured at the Texas Book Festival?


RR: I really look forward to meeting readers face to face at the Book Festival; this is my third one, and, of course, to seeing old friends and meeting other authors.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Texas Book Festival Featured Author: George Bristol, author of On Politics and Parks

George Bristol, of Austin, was a consultant on the Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The 2009 winner of the Pugsley Medal honoring champions of parks and conservation, he was also a writer-in-residence at the Thinking Like a Mountain Foundation in Fort Davis, Texas. Bristol was also winner of the 2000 PEN Texas Literary Award for Poetry, the First Annual Texas Land & People Award (2007), the Terry Hershey Award (2008), and the Nature Conservancy of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). In 2008, he received a leadership award from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
TAMUP: What or who inspired you to write your book?
GB: The inspirational who is a list as numerous as the chapters in the book. From childhood to the present I have been blessed with people and places that added something special to the mix that is George Bristol. But, specifically I must give credit to Dick and Joanne Bartlett who set up a writer-in-residence program in the remoteness of West Texas. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a two month stent. That gave me the time to pull a number of pieces I had written over a period of time into a coherent whole with a stated goal of tying them to my work on parklands, national and state, and conservation. That was easy to do, because I have felt over time that events, mentors, places and people all contributed to my concentrated work in conservation over the past 15 years or so. What success I have had is because I was given and taught the tools to compete in any situation that called for a solid knowledge of organization, fundraising and respect for ideas of others.
TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about being one of the 200+ authors featured at the Texas Book Festival?
GB: To be able to move freely among the many great writers who will > attend the Texas Book Festival in 2012 is gratification enough for being selected as a featured author. I have gone to most of the Festivals over the years and often longed to go up to a writer, but was thwarted by time and schedule. Now I will have many opportunities to do so and I plan to take full advantage of the situation.

Study Examines Cases of Executive Branch Corruption

Can Justice Department officials effectively investigate wrongdoing within their own administrations without relying on an independent counsel?
In Prosecution among Friends political scientist David Alistair Yalof explores the operation of due process as it is navigated within the office of the attorney general and its various subdivisions.
The attorney general holds a politically appointed position within the administration and yet, as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer, is still charged with holding colleagues and superiors legally accountable. That duty extends to allegations against those who had a hand in appointing the attorney general in the first place: Even the President of the United States may be enmeshed in a Justice Department investigation overseen by the attorney general and other department officials.
To assess this fundamental problem, Yalof examines numerous cases of executive branch corruption—real or alleged—that occurred over the course of four decades beginning with the Nixon administration and extending up through the second Bush administration.
All of these cases—Watergate, Whitewater and others—were identified and reported to varying degrees in the press and elsewhere. Some garnered significant attention; others drew only limited interest at the time.
In all such cases the attorney general and other officials within the executive branch were charged with initially assessing the matter and determining the proper road for moving forward. Only a handful of the cases resulted in the appointment of a statutorily protected independent counsel.
Yalof, associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, won the 1999 Richard E. Neustadt Award for the Best Book on the Presidency with his title, Pursuit of Justices: Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees (University of Chicago Press).
Get your copy now here!
--Paige Bukowski

Friday, October 19, 2012

Texas Book Festival Featured Author: Krista Schlyer, author of Continental Divide

Krista Schlyer, a writer and photographer based in Washington, DC, has undergone an investigation into the places most people would not want to travel. Her work has appeared in National Parks, Defenders, High Country News, Ranger Rick, National Geographic News, Audubon, and Outdoor Photographer. She is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the North American Nature Photographers Association. She traveled around the areas surrounding the US-Mexico border, photographing, documenting, and recording the teeming wildlife around it. Schlyer presents a twist about the long debated conflict over the Border Wall. She presents a new perspective on an old topic—her concerns for the delicate ecology and wildlife surrounding the wall.

TAMUP: What or who inspired you to write your book?

KS: My greatest inspiration for Continental Divide was the wildlife of the US-Mexico borderlands. Having studied and photographed hundreds of these wild creatures over the past five years, and knowing the impact border policy and the border wall were having on their future survival, I couldn't not write this book. Species like the American bison, black-tailed prairie dog, kit fox, jaguar and many others continue to be my main motivation for working to raise awareness about the plight of borderlands ecosystems. I dedicated the book to the transboundary bison herd in New Mexico/Chihuahua, but also to the thousands of migrants who have been lost during their borderlands travels, and to US Rep. Raul Grijalva, who has been the one consistent voice in the US Congress fighting to return the force of environmental and other laws to the borderlands region.

TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about being one of the 200+ authors featured at the Texas Book Festival?

KS: I'm looking forward to everything at the Texas Book Festival! It is a great honor being invited to participate. But specifically, I'm looking forward to sharing Continental Divide with book lovers; to learning about all of the other works written by the amazing list of authors invited to the festival; and to visiting with the folks at Texas A&M Press who will be there that weekend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Calling All Book Fanatics! Texas Book Festival, October 27-28

Do you love reading and anything book-related? Mark your calendars because on the last weekend in October, the 27th-28th, over 250 Texas authors will be featuring and signing their books at the Texas Book Festival. The Texas Book Festival will be held in the State Capitol Building in Austin, TX.

Look for the TAMU Press tent which will be selling the books of our 5 featured authors:

1.       George Bristol, On Politics and Parks (TAMU Press 2012)

2.       Tom Kreneck, Del Pueblo (TAMU Press 2012)

3.       Ron Rozelle, My Boys and Girls are in There (TAMU Press 2012)

4.       Krista Schlyer, Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall (TAMU Press 2012)

5.       Ralph Yznaga, Living Witness (TAMU Press 2012)
As well as the artwork of Margie Crisp, author of River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado, this year’s Texas Book Festival featured artist!

First established in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush, the annual festival was held in 1996 in Austin at the State Capitol Building. Bush, a former librarian and author of Spoken from the Heart, has always been a strong believer in literacy and the importance of reading. She set up the non-profit festival as a way to honor Texas authors, promote the significance of reading, and benefit libraries across the state. Since its inception in the 90s, Bush has pointed out that the festival has raised a total of $2.5 million for libraries.

This year the festival is expected to be a huge hit again, prepared to attract 40,000 people over the course of the book-filled weekend. There will be book signings, author presentations, panel discussions, and—because it is in the live music capitol of the world—musical entertainment.

Make sure to check out our website, http://tamupress.com, under the Upcoming Events drop-down for more information on the event and our wonderfully talented authors being featured!

Also, in honor of the Texas Book Festival, each day on the blog we will be highlighting one of the six authors leading up to the event. Be sure to check back to the blog for more info!
--Madeline Loving

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Get a Spine! New Navy Reading Program Encourages Sailors to Read

In celebration of the Navy’s 237th birthday, directors of the Navy staff have released a new program to encourage reading amongst Navy cadets, featuring "Execute Against Japan: The US Decision to Conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare by Joel Ira Holwitt(TAMU Press, 2009) and many other books. They have launched a professional reading platform that will not only encourage reading but make books more accessible to sailors while at sea.

The program’s specific changes include: “a movement away from rank-based recommendation to a simplified division of books into two main categories. Eighteen books, categorized as ‘essential reading,’ will be distributed during the last quarter of the calendar year 2012 in hard-copy format to commands throughout the navy.”

In addition to these “essential reading” books, the Navy has provided a list of 24 books entitled “recommended reading” that will be available online and downloadable at no cost to the sailors. All of these books selected have relevance to the Navy, war fighting, and being at sea.

The program promotes further initiative when it states that, “Reading, discussing, and understanding the ideas found…will not only improve our critical thinking skills, but will also help us become better sailors, citizens, and most importantly, leaders. This list is not intended to limit professional reading in any way, but merely to provide easy access to a few of the many titles that will benefit our service.”

You can learn more about naval military history, Pearl Harbor, and World War II in "Execute against Japan."

If you would like to check out the entire list of Navy books, check out their website: www.navyreading.navy.mil.

--Madeline Loving