Give the Gift of a Good Book

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2010) —  If you are looking for a book to give as a special present this holiday season or just to read during your break—the University Press of Kentucky (UPK) may have just what you desire.

UPK is in the midst of its annual holiday book sale, which runs through Feb. 15, 2011. The book sale has discounts ranging from 20 to 75 percent for a variety of old and new books from the press. The selection includes fiction titles as well as books on nature, cooking, the Civil War, music, history, art and folklore.

This year's sale also includes a wide variety of new books that highlight the Bluegrass state. Two recent books have authors who are affiliated with the University of Kentucky. "How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders," by recent doctoral history graduate Maryjean Wall, looks at the post-Civil War world of Thoroughbred racing, before the Bluegrass region reigned supreme as the unofficial Horse Capital of the World. Another looks at one of Kentucky's music legends. "I Wonder as I Wander: The Life of John Jacob Niles," by Ron Pen, associate professor of music and director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and the Appalachian Studies Program, is the first biography of the famed musician and tells the story of John Jacob Niles and his rise from farm boy to songwriter and folk collector extraordinaire.

Three other new books on the sale list focus on the history of Kentucky. Civil War buffs might be interested in "My Old Confederate Home: A Respectable Place for Civil War Veterans" by Rusty Williams, which frames the history of the Kentucky Confederate Home with the stories of those who built, supported and managed it. Another offering, "Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America's Greatest President," edited by Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, examines Lincoln’s law practice and the effect it had on his presidency and the country. While "New Covenant Bound," by noted poet T. Crunk, looks at the Tennessee Valley Authority. In this fictional account, the pain and anger of a central narrator who is forced from her homeland on the Tennessee River in the 1930s explores the upheaval and destruction caused by the creation of the Land Between the Lakes.

At least three new selections on the holiday regional sale list examine different elements of Kentucky culture. "Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920" by Estill Curtis Pennington, charts the course of regional artists as they painted everyone from statesmen and business magnates to country people living far from the city center. And, bourbon is the topic of two other works on the list. "The Social History of Bourbon," by Gerald Carson, looks into the impact of bourbon's presence and role during America's early development. While "The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook," by Albert W. A. Schmid, provides readers with recipes that use the famous spirit of the Bluegrass.

Finally, for those readers interested in the state's beautiful landscape, check out "Kentucky's Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity." This book by Greg Abernathy, Marc Evans, Ellis L. Laudermilk and Deborah White provides evidence of the remarkable natural history of the Commonwealth.

To take advantage of this season's sales, call (800) 537-5487. A print version of the holiday sale mailer is available upon request. Kentucky residents will be charged six percent sales tax on their order. For those purchasing books as gifts as part of the sale, orders made by today, Dec. 3, are ensured Christmas delivery. Additionally, these books can be found at most regional bookstores.

Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of UPK are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.