Publicist Picks: Nebraska Writers, the Soviet Union and Jim Crow, and Other December Books

Jackson Adams and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP. Today they share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in December.

Jackson Adams: I recently read Carol Anderson’s One Person, No Vote, a fantastic portrait of how Jim Crow laws continue to impact America’s disenfranchisement of minority voters. The book makes passing reference to how the Soviet Union included references to America’s racist Jim Crow laws as part of their state propaganda efforts. It’s why I’m excited to see Opposing Jim Crow: African Americans and the Soviet Indictment of U.S. Racism, 1928-1937 by Meredith L. Roman new in paperback. Roman digs into both the value of accurately pointing out America’s racist hypocrisies for the Soviet state as well as spotlighting the Black writers and thinkers who challenged America’s claims at being a bastion of freedom while it silenced minority voices.

What book are you into, Anna?

Anna Weir: The Federal Writers Project (FWP), as a subset of the New Deal program, gave writers, teachers, and librarians work: they were to create a guide book (including folklore, histories, interviews, songs, and more) for each state. As someone who has helped organize the Nebraska Book Festival for the past few years, a state-celebratory project on this level interests me, especially since Nebraska’s guide book was one of the more detailed and groundbreaking collections. Marylin Irvin Holt gives a detailed but approachable account in Nebraska during the New Deal, a breezy 208 pages that set the Cornhusker State a part from the then-forty-seven other U.S. states.

What else are you looking forward to, Jackson?

JA: The literary trope of the “bad mom” is one of the more pervasive recurring characters in literature and popular culture and it’s always interesting to dig in and see where these images comes from. Loïc Bourdeau’s Horrible Mothers: Representations across Francophone North America digs into this imagery across North American literature, examining how the mean mother reflects changing attitudes towards family, queer relationships and satire. It’s a fascinating look at how recurring imagery changes and twists over a century but still reverberates today.

What else are you excited for, Anna?

AW: As a bookish person who loves the classics and is married to a gamer, a study that draws connections between classic and contemporary literature and popular video games caught my eye. Tison Pugh examines the function and structure of how a story is told, games and game play, and how the two can challenge our perceptions of what is “normal” in terms of gender and age. Bringing Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda franchise, the Harry Potter series and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? into one ecclectic study, Pugh shifts understandings of the way their play, pleasure, and narrative potential are interlinked in Chaucer’s Losers, Nintendo’s Children, and Other Forays in Queer Ludonarratology.

Tune in next month for more reading suggestions from your friendly neighborhood publicists!

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