Publicist Picks: Bowling, Chocolate, and other July Books
Tayler Lord and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP who share a cubicle currently filled with books for BookExpo. Today they also share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in July.
Tayler Lord: July! Can’t believe we’re already talking about July. My first pick is Vice Capades: Sex, Drugs, and Bowling from the Pilgrims to the Present by Mark Stein, who happens to be the author of How the States Got Their Shapes. Pretty cool, right? Vice Capades looks at the history of morality, and power in America and shows how vice has shaped our nation. Kirkus Reviews called it a “witty and opinionated insight on how ‘bad’ behavior can morph into, out of, and back into favor over the course of time.” My favorite example of “bad behavior”: bowling, which was banned in eighteenth-century Puritan Massachusetts. Bowling. It seems like such a wholesome activity now and not really even a vice, but I guess it wasn’t always that way!
What’s first for you, Anna?
Anna Weir: My first pick has also seen some acclaim already. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said that “the book delights and will make readers stop and notice the individual pieces of their everyday lives.” Rick Bailey’s American English, Italian Chocolate: Small Subjects of Great Importance is a collection of short, autobiographical essays (my husband called it a “memoir medley”), reflecting on life in the Midwest, travels to Italy, and all the unexceptional details in between that make life extraordinary. This is a perfect summer read, whether you’re travelling or trying new genres while school is out. Plus the table of contents is formatted in a way that reminds me of the cheat sheet inside a box of chocolates, and that just makes me happy. And a little hungry.
What’s next for you, Tayler?
TL: I’m excited about my next pick for very sentimental reasons. It’s Upstairs at the Roosevelts’: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor by FDR’s grandson, Curtis Roosevelt (1930–2016). Upstairs at the Roosevelts’ provides an intimate look at life inside the White House with one of its most famous residents. I’m feeling sentimental about it because I spent most of elementary school fascinated by the lives of various First Ladies, and Eleanor Roosevelt was my absolute favorite. The eight-year-old in me was thrilled when I found out we were publishing a book by a Roosevelt. I’m excited to read this firsthand account of life with Franklin and Eleanor.
What’s your second pick?
AW: Switching gears a little bit here—my next pick is Native South: New Histories and Enduring Legacies, edited by Tim Garrison and Greg O’Brien. A state‑of‑the‑field volume of Native American southern history, this book is tribute to scholarship and teaching. The editors worked closely with professors Theda Perdue (leading scholar of Cherokee studies) and Michael D. Green, whom the editors call “the godfather of historians of the Creeks.” The work itself is an important contribution to the ethnohistory of Southeastern Native Americans, and knowing that it stems from the admiration of two professors makes it stand out to me. After all, some of the most influential people I’ve known have been my teachers!
Tune in next month for more exciting titles from your friendly neighborhood publicists!