Brighten the Holidays With the Gift of a Good Book

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2014) — University Press of Kentucky (UPK) makes gift giving a pleasure this holiday season with a wide variety of books.  The topics explore such interests from cookbooks and historical memoirs to publications on Appalachian culture and Kentucky basketball.


For those who love to cook, UPK has two great options focusing on Kentucky ingredients. "Kentucky's Cookbook Heritage: Two Hundred Years of Southern Cuisine", by John van Willigen, discovers some of the state's finest traditions through the history of its ever-changing food culture. Van Willigen, a professor emeritus of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, also shares the story of the original Aunt Jemima — the advertising persona of Nancy Green, born in Montgomery County, Kentucky.  


Another publication for those who enjoy baking is "Bourbon Desserts" by Lynn Marie Hulsman. "Bourbon Desserts" features more than 75 decadent desserts with Kentucky's favorite spirit. The delectable recipes include Bourbon Crème Brulee, Watermelon Julep Pops, Drunken Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Derby Morning Maple- Bourbon Hotcake Syrup and Grandma Rose's Big Race Pie.


Those who are more interested in historical figures of Kentucky would enjoy Maryjean Wall's publication, "Madam Belle: Sex, Money and Influence in a Southern Brothel." This book explores the true story of Belle Brezing, of Lexington. She is the woman who inspired the character of Belle Watling from Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind." An alumna of UK, Wall served 35 years as the turf writer for the Lexington Herald Leader before pursuing her doctorate at UK. She currently is a part-time instructor in the Department of History.


Another less controversial historical figure, Thomas Merton, a poet, social justice advocate and theologian, is explored in "The Letters of Thomas Merton and Victor and Carolyn Hammer," edited by F. Douglas Scutchfield, the Peter P. Bosomworth Professor of Health Services Research and Policy at UK College of Public Health, and Paul Evans Holbrook Jr., director of the King Library Press. Merton is known as one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. He resided at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a monastery near Bardstown, Kentucky. He wrote more than 70 books, however the public was not aware of the large number of letters that were exchanged between the Trappist monk and Lexington printers Victor and Carolyn Hammer. The collaborations between Merton and the Hammers reveal their shared interest in the convergence of art, literature and spirituality.


Another topic of interest, Appalachian culture, is explored in "Talking Appalachian" by Amy D. Clark and Nancy M. Hayward. The book explores the history and culture of Appalachian language. "Talking Appalachian" examines distinctive speech varieties and emphasizes their role in expressing the history and a shared identity of Appalachia. There are excerpts from essays, poetry, short fiction and novels to illustrate the unique Appalachian dialect.


The Appalachian renaissance is explored in "Every Leaf a Mirror: A Jim Wayne Miller Reader." This publication focuses on Jim Wayne Miller, the innovative poet, essayist and short story writer of Appalachian literature. Miller served 33 years at Western Kentucky University and assisted in developing programs in Appalachian studies.  "Every Leaf a Mirror" collects essential selections from the beloved author’s writing and is an intimate look at Miller's contributions as an artist and cultural scholar edited by Morris Allen Grubbs, assistant dean in the Graduate School at the University of Kentucky and Mary Ellen Miller, the widow of Jim Wayne Miller and professor of English at Western Kentucky University.


The Kentucky basketball fan will enjoy "Wildcat Memories", a book that illuminates the intimate connection between the UK basketball program and the Commonwealth.

Author Doug Brunk reflects on the program's greatest coaches, players and personalities and their stories about individuals who provided inspiration, guidance and moral support. The individuals who have coached, played for and inspired the Kentucky Wildcats are important figures in Kentucky history and motivate future athletes and passionate fans for the years to come.


"Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting" explores one of the first voices of the UK men's basketball and football programs. This book offers a heartfelt reflection of the sportscaster's life and broadcasting career covering Kentucky sports, as well as Cincinnati Reds Baseball, from the late 1940s through his death in 1967. Alan Sullivan, Claude Sullivan's son, teamed up with Joe Cox to create this publication.


UPK is currently offering more than 1,300 titles discounted up to 80 percent. There is no better time to share these publications full of history and the culture of the Commonwealth. The holiday sale will continue through Feb. 1, 2015. To order any of the titles mentioned above or to see the entire selection of publications, visit online at


UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation. 



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