As part of our ongoing celebration of University Press Week, we’ve asked a few members of our spectacular staff to curate a list of their all-time favorite books from Texas A&M University Press.
Check back to the blog over the next few days to read about our favorite books, and why we can’t get enough of them!
Shannon Davies, Louise Lindsey Merrick Editor for the Natural Environment
1.. Called by one reviewer a “spectacular celebration,” Coastal Texas: Water, Land, and Wildlife by John L. Tveten (1982) confirmed the press’s commitment to the Gulf coast; established a foundation for books of fine nature photography and writing; and launched an author who would become one of the state’s most respected, prolific, and beloved naturalists. Two decades later, the press held another celebration with the publication of three volumes of Tveten’s essays written in his almost quarter-century tenure as the nature columnist for the Houston Chronicle. The forerunner to a wide selection of books on the coast, Coastal Texas helped pave the way for the long-running and successful series Gulf Coast Books, supported by Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
2. We are grass. From Frank Gould’s best-selling Common Texas Grasses (1979) to his classic books, The Grasses of Texas and Grass Systematics (with Robert Shaw) to Shaw’s own recently published, definitive Guide to Texas Grasses (2012), Texas A&M Press recognized early on what Texas ranchers had long admitted: they don’t raise cows; they raise grass. Grasses of the Texas Hill Country (2006) by Brian and Shirley Loflin was the first book to feature full-color photographs of Texas grasses, welcoming a lay audience into the beautiful and essential world of grass.
3. Chimney Swifts by Paul and Georgean Kyle represents to me the best kind of university press publishing: an authoritative book for the public, about something no other publisher would consider, by authors no one else would approach, on a topic that could change forever the way humans view the world they live in.
4. With the publication of Texas Wildlife: Photographs from Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine (1982) the press began a long relationship with TPWD that produced original best-selling and indispensable volumes such as Hummingbirds of Texas and Rare Plants of Texas as well as the forthcoming Texas State Parks and the CCC by Cynthia Brandimarte. This book was also the debut volume of the Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series, which has since supported almost 50 titles.