Books

Open Access Resources Available from Duke University Press

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It’s Open Access Week, a global opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. Duke University Press offers a variety of books, journals, and online collections in an open access format. To learn more about why we consider participating in these initiatives so important, read an interview with our previous director Steve Cohn from last year’s Open Access Week. This year we’re pleased to share some of our open access offerings.

Books

Duke University Press participates in two open access programs to make some of our books available in an open access format: Knowledge Unlatched and TOME. Each year we release about a dozen books that are open access. You may be able to read these books online via your own library. You can also find some of them on Project MUSE, OAPEN, and on our own website. Recent books that are available in an open access format include The News at the Ends of the Earth by Hester Blum, Anti-Japan by Leo T. S. Ching, and The Fixer by Charles Piot. 

Journals

Duke University Press’s journals publishing program offers several open-access journals and e-resources:

coverimage1-1Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, a new addition to our program, is an online journal sponsored by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs with the aim of foregrounding the form and global reach of contemporary critical theory.

Environmental Humanities draws humanities scholarship into conversation with natural and social sciences around significant environmental issues.

The Carlyle Letters Online provides access to an outstanding resource in Victorian literature, philosophy, and culture: the letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle.

In addition, many introductions to Duke University Press humanities and social sciences journal issues are available for free at read.dukeupress.edu. We also offer several free or low-cost journal access options to libraries in eligible countries.

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Duke University Press and Cornell University Library also jointly manage Project Euclid, a not-for-profit hosting and publishing platform for the mathematics and statistics communities. About 75% of Project Euclid’s hosted content is open access.

Check out some of our previous blog posts for Open Access Week here.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Reads

September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic American Heritage Month. To celebrate, we have selected several of our recent books and journal issues that explore Chincanx and Latinx studies, art, and history, as well as bring awareness to issues faced by the Latinx community.

978-0-8223-6938-7_prIn Eros IdeologiesLaura E. Pérez analyzes Latina art to explore a new notion of decolonial thought and love based on the integration of body, mind, and spirit that offers a means to creating a more democratic and just present and future.

Renato Rosaldo’s new prose poetry collection, The Chasers, shares his experiences and those of his group of twelve Mexican-American Tucson High School friends known as the Chasers as they grew up, graduated, and fell out of touch, conveying the realities of Chicano life on the borderlands from the 1950s to the present.

In Deported Americans, legal scholar and former public defender, Beth C. Caldwell, tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

Chicano and Chicana ArtChicano and Chicana Art, curated by Jennifer A. González, C. Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega, and Terezita Romo, is an anthology that includes essays from artists, curators, and critics and provides an overview of the history and theory of Chicano/a art from the 1960s to the present, emphasizing the debates and vocabularies that have played key roles in its conceptualization.

Pop América, 1965–1975, edited by Esther Gabara, is a bilingual, fully illustrated catalogue. It accompanies the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University’s exhibition Pop América, 1965–1975, which presents a vision of Pop art across the Americas as a whole.

coverimage-3Trans Studies en las Américas,” a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, is an unprecedented English-language collection by Latin American and Latinx scholars on trans and travesti issues. Contributors offer a hemispheric perspective on trans and travesti issues, expand transgender studies to engage geopolitical connections, and bring interdisciplinary approaches to topics ranging from policy to cultural production.

With roots in protest and social change, Latinx theater carries an artistic vitality and urgency that has only been augmented by resistance to the current wave of repressive white nationalism. In “What’s Next for Latinx?“, an issue of Theater, contributors ask where Latinx theater is going and what challenges it faces.

Disorienting Disability

Disorienting Disability,” the latest issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly, edited by Michele Friedner and Karen Weingarten, is available now.

This special issue examines the stakes of orienting toward or away from disability as a category and as a method. Building on Sara Ahmed’s conceptualization of “orientation” as the situating of queer and raced bodies, the contributors ask how the category of disability might also change how we think of bodies orienting in space and time. Are all paths, desire lines, objects, and interpellations equally accessible? How do we conceptualize access in different spaces? What kind of theoretical and empirical turns might emerge in disorienting disability?

Drawing on feminist studies, critical race studies, and queer studies, the contributors probe the meanings of the term disability and consider disability in relation to other categories of difference such as race, gender, and class. Essays challenge the historicity of disability; push disability studies to consider questions of loss, pain, and trauma; question the notion of disability as another form of diversity; and expand arguments about the ethics of care to consider communities not conventionally defined as disabled.

The issue’s Against the Day section, “Contentious Crossings: Struggles and Alliances for Freedom of Movement across the Mediterranean Sea,” brings together researchers and activists to reflect on struggles against the European border regime. All articles in this section are freely available for six months.

Browse the issue’s contents here, or read the introduction, freely available.

You might also find these recent books in disability studies of interest:

In this revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

In Black Madness :: Mad Blackness Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

Jane Gallop explores how disability and aging are commonly understood to undermine one’s sense of self in Sexuality, Disability, and Aging. She challenges narratives that register the decline of bodily potential and ability as nothing but an experience of loss.

Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, in Bodyminds Reimagined, Sami Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability, showing how the genre’s exploration of bodyminds that exist outside of the present open up new social and ethical possibilities.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

trafficking-logoToday is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a day to bring awareness to and encourage action against human trafficking. In honor of this international day, we’re featuring some of our recent journal articles (all available free for six months) and books that explore this global issue.

In the Trail of the Ship: Narrating the Archives of Illegal Slavery,” featured in the March 2019 issue of Social Text, delves into the strange, contradictory archives of the illegal transatlantic slave trade that flourished between Angola and Brazil in the mid-nineteenth century. The article’s author, Yuko Miki, follows the documentary trail of notorious slave ship Mary E. Smith, focusing on the list of the ship’s Africans who were “liberated” from captivity, most of whom were already deceased.

m_ddpos_25_4.coverAuthor Elena Shih explores why and how Thailand functions as a pivotal destination for US human-trafficking rescue projects in “Freedom Markets: Consumption and Commerce across Human-Trafficking Rescue in Thailand,” featured in the November 2017 issue of positions: asia critique. Basing her research on the global anti-trafficking movement in Thailand, China, and the United States between 2008 and 2014, Shih juxtaposes two distinct tourist encounters: a human-trafficking reality tour hosted by a US nonprofit organization, and a separate study-abroad gathering of US university students hosted at the office of a Thai sex worker rights organization.

m_ddglq_22_3_coverIn the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government engaged in a militarized campaign to clean up favelas, blighted areas, and red-light districts so that it could “develop” them. In his article “Evangelical Ecstasy Meets Feminist Fury: Sex Trafficking, Moral Panics, and Homonationalism during Global Sporting Events,” featured in the June 2016 issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Gregory Mitchell argues that by destroying safe and legal venues for sex work, host cities of such events create the very exploitation they purport to prevent.

You may also be interested in these books about human trafficking:

Street Corner Secrets

Street Corner Secrets is an ethnography of women in the city of Mumbai who look for  work at nakas, street corners where day laborers congregate and wait to be hired for construction jobs. Often chosen last, after male workers, or not at all, some women turn to sex work in order to make money, at the nakas, on the street, or in brothels. Svati P. Shah argues that sex work should be seen in relation to other structural inequities affecting these women’s lives, such as threats from the police and lack of access to clean water.

Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform.

Duke University Press Joins the NC LIVE HomeGrown Collection

Duke University Press and NC LIVE have partnered to add thirty of the Press’s e-books to the NC LIVE HomeGrown Collection, making them freely available to more than 200 libraries across the state with unlimited, simultaneous use: no holds, checkout limits, or waitlists.

Titles include bestsellers such as Living a Feminist Life, Vinyl Freak, Exile and Pride, and Spill, among others. The list also features several books in the World Readers and Latin America Readers series, such as The South Africa Reader, The Dominican Republic Reader, and The Chile Reader.

Subject areas include African American studies, Latin American studies, cultural studies, gender studies, art history and criticism, American studies, music, and poetry. All titles are currently accessible online through NC LIVE or via local NC library catalogs.

“Having our content be broadly available and easily accessible has always been a main focus of Duke University Press’s mission. We are thrilled to partner with NC LIVE to share our books with the people of North Carolina and can’t wait to hear how folks use them in their book clubs and classrooms,” said Kim Steinle, Library Relations and Sales Manager at Duke University Press.

“NC LIVE’s HomeGrown e-book collection grows every year thanks to the generous donations of North Carolina’s libraries,” said Rob Ross, Executive Director of NC LIVE. “This year we are particularly excited to add e-books from a distinguished publisher partner in Duke University Press.”

NC LIVE is a statewide cooperative of 205 libraries that provides access to online articles, e-books, streaming videos, and digital newspapers. This content is freely available to all NC residents through their local library. The HomeGrown Collection contains more than 3,600 e-books from a variety of local publishers.

Duke University Press is a nonprofit scholarly publisher best known for publishing in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. The Press publishes approximately 140 books annually and over 50 journals, as well as offering several electronic collections and open-access publishing initiatives.

2019 Modern Language Association Highlights and Awards

This year’s meeting of the Modern Language Association was absolutely packed with awards, receptions, and events—and, like always, we had a wonderful time meeting authors, editors, and attendees and selling our books and journals.

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Congratulations to Melanie Yergeau, whose book Authoring Autism won the MLA Prize for a First Book, and Fred Moten, whose book Black and Blur won the William Sanders Scarborough Prize!

Several of our journals and books also received awards from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) and from the GL/Q Caucus for the Modern Languages:

CELJ Awards

Archives of Asian Art, the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and American Literature each received a CELJ award this year—congratulations to these journals!

coverimageThis year’s Best Journal Design Award was given to Archives of Asian Art. Upon joining Duke University Press in 2017, the journal was redesigned by Sue Hall, our now-retired journals designer of 23 years. The 2018 Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show also recognized the journal’s redesign: “The new design stands out because of the luxurious and well-placed illustrations and because it combines an elegant, versatile page design with fine-grained typographic sophistication,” wrote eminent typographer Robert Bringhurst.

The CELJ also recognized two of our journal issues with the Best Special Issue Award: “Queer about Comics,” an issue of American Literature (volume 90, issue 2) edited by Darieck Scott and Ramzi Fawaz; and “The Bible and English Readers,” an issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (volume 47, issue 3) edited by Thomas Fulton.

GL/Q Caucus Celebration and Awards

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Marcia Ochoa and Jennifer DeVere Brody with the 25th-anniversary issue of GLQ

This year, the GL/Q Caucus celebrated the 25th anniversary of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies with a panel on the journal and a reception. The caucus also awarded prizes to several outstanding books and journal articles:

The Crompton-Noll Award was given to Mary Zaborskis for the article “Sexual Orphanings,” published in GLQ (volume 22, issue 4), and Margaret Galvan for the article “‘The Lesbian Norman Rockwell’: Alison Bechdel and Queer Grassroots Networks,” published in American Literature (volume 90, issue 2).

The Alan Bray Book Award was granted to Jasbir Puar, author of The Right to Maim, and Ariane Cruz, author of The Color of Kink (NYU Press). Kadji Amin, author of Disturbing Attachments, received honorable mention, as did Tourmaline, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, editors of Trap Door (New Museum and MIT Press).

Eric A. Stanley and Andrew Spieldenner received the Michael Lynch Award for Service, which, in Eve Sedgwick’s words, serves “to publicize and celebrate—and as widely as possible—the range, the forms, the energy, and the history of queer activism by academics.”

Other Highlights

We enjoyed celebrating several new journals with a wine reception Friday afternoon: Critical TimesEnglish Language Notes, Journal of Korean StudiesMeridiansPrism, and Qui Parle.

It was also wonderful to see several of our authors who stopped by the booth:

Thank you to all who came by to see us! For those of you who weren’t able to make it out to MLA, or who didn’t have enough room in your suitcase to pack all the books you wanted, don’t worry—you can still take advantage of the conference discount by using coupon code MLA19 at dukeupress.edu through the end of February.

Reading Resolutions from Our Staff

Happy New Year! In 2019, why not make your resolutions literary? Our staff share their reading resolutions for the coming year. What are yours? Let us know in the comments!

Maria Volpe, Assistant to the Director:  “My book resolutions are to read three books published by Duke University Press, and to find a book that my two boys will look forward to reading with me every night!”

Nancy Sampson, Production Coordinator: “This year I realized that screen-based entertainment had taken over my leisure time and I hadn’t been reading as many books as I used to. I set a goal to read eight books in 2018 and surpassed it. My tactic was to read every other night instead of automatically going to social media, news, or playing games. I intend to set a higher goal for 2019 and look forward to getting back to one of my favorite pastimes.”

norse godsKatja Moos, Digital Collections Sales Manager: “I would like to read more books on ancient history and world mythology. Norse mythology, Greek gods and goddesses, rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the Silk Road, the Age of Exploration, and the Mayans are all fascinating to me. How did ancient cultures shape our world today?”

Kasia Repeta, Digital Marketing Coordinator: “Korean ancient legends, Korean pottery, Korean migration, Korean pop… This year I am going to take a journey to the Korean Peninsula through its literature. My dearest friend from South Korea recommended to me her favorite contemporary South Korean novelists, Ji-Young Gong and Young-ha Kim, with works translated into English.”

lose wellAmy Walter, Production Coordinator: “I have a two-part reading resolution this year. The first is to read more old fashioned print books (don’t tell anyone, but I may be spending too much time reading romance novels on Kindle Unlimited). One of the first on my list is Lose Well by comedian Chris Gethard, currently sitting untouched on my bedside table.”

Joel Luber, Assistant Managing Editor: “After somehow dramatically exceeding my 2016 goal of 120 books by reading an even 200, I’ve since set my goals to 150 books (missed by reading only 129 in 2017, currently on pace to read 152 in 2018), and I think I’ll go for that again next year.”

Laura Sell, Publicity and Advertising Manager: In 2018 I just barely missed my goal of reading 40 books (though shouldn’t two 800 page Outlander books count as four books?!) so I think I’ll try again to read 40 books. I also resolve to post full reviews and social media photos for any books I get for free (a nice perk of being a publicist).

Top Blog Posts of 2018

Before we ring in the new year, we’re taking a look back at some of our most viewed blog posts of 2018. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to sharing more news, ideas, and scholarship with you in 2019!

8. New Article Looks at the Rise and Fall of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board

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“‘Technocratic Dreams, Political Realities: The Rise and Demise of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board,’ an article by Jonathan Oberlander and Steven B. Spivack in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 43, issue 3), offers a groundbreaking, in-depth look at the troubled history of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), enacted as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and repealed in February 2018 when President Donald Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.”

7. The Labor Beat

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“The most recent issue of Labor, ‘The Labor Beat,’ edited by Max Fraser and Christopher Phelps, is now available.

This issue considers the transformation of labor journalists’ working conditions across time, from the days of the small printer-publisher to the mid-century newspaper conglomerate and today’s cable-news, Internet-propelled 24-hour environment.  Even journalists brimming with the best of intentions do not write news under conditions of their own choosing, given the power of publishers, editors, and advertisers. That makes it all the more impressive that so many have covered the labor beat with alacrity, including those profiled in this issue: John Swinton and Joseph Buchanan in the nineteenth century; Heywood Broun, Benjamin Stolberg, Trezzvant Anderson, and Barbara Ehrenreich in the twentieth; and Steven Greenhouse, Jane Slaughter, and Sarah Jaffe today.”

6. End of an Era at The Regulator Bookshop

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“Local heroes Tom Campbell and John Valentine, who have carried the torch for independent bookselling in Durham for the past 40 years, are retiring today, March 1, and turning The Regulator Bookshop over to new owners.

Founded in 1976, The Regulator has been a vital part of Durham’s cultural life, hosting events for too many Duke University Press authors for us to count. Just in the past couple of years, John and Tom have provided a platform for Charles Cobb, Alexis Gumbs, Ambassador James Joseph, Howard Covington, Brad Weiss, Orrin Pilkey, and many others. Tom and John let us turn their downstairs into a pop-up university press bookshop for University Press Week. They have served as sounding-boards for our ideas and given us insight into the community of booksellers.”

5. Palestine Beyond National Frames: Emerging Politics, Cultures, and Claims

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“The most recent issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, ‘Palestine beyond National Frames: Emerging Politics, Cultures, and Claims,’ edited by Sophie Richter-Devroe and Ruba Salih, is now available.

The ‘national’ has functioned as the affective and symbolic frame for the political project of liberation for Palestinians and has also been the underlying grid of most of the scholarly work on Palestine. This issue goes beyond those national frames to disclose a different dimension of the Palestinian politics of liberation. It sheds light on an indigenous population engaged in ongoing and everyday collective resistance to protect their ‘home’ and defend their ‘land’—as these are constantly reconfigured and imagined across place and time—rather than a memorialized homeland or national territory.”

4. Top Ten Most Read Articles from JMEWS

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“We’re excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, as well as Women’s History Month, by spotlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (JMEWSthroughout March. JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.”

3. Narrative Theory and the History of the Novel

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“The most recent special issue of Poetics Today, ‘Narrative Theory and the History of the Novel,’ edited by Paul Dawson, is now available.

What is a novel, how did the genre emerge, and how has it changed throughout history? This special issue addresses these perennial questions by bringing the formalist approach of narrative theory into dialogue with the historical approach of novel studies. It identifies and interrogates the convergences between current scholarship in both fields in order to shed new light on English, French, Danish and American fiction from the seventeenth century to the present.”

2. Q&A with Martin Duberman, Author of The Rest of It

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Photo by Alan Barnett

“Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, at City University of New York, where he founded and directed the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. He is the author of numerous award-winning histories, biographies, memoirs, essays, plays, and novels, which include Cures: A Gay Man’s OdysseyPaul RobesonStonewallMidlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade, 1971–1981Black Mountain: An Exploration in CommunityThe Worlds of Lincoln KirsteinJews/Queers/Germans; and more than a dozen others. His latest book, The Rest of It: Hustlers, Cocaine, Depression, and Then Some, 1976–1988, is the untold and revealing story of how he managed to survive and be productive during a difficult twelve-year period in which he was beset by drug addiction, health problems, and personal loss.”

1. The Trouble with White Women

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“Today’s guest blog post is written by Kyla Schuller, author of the new book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century.

Broad swaths of the left and liberal-leaning U.S. public newly dedicated themselves to political activity in the wake of Trump’s ascension to the White House and the GOP’s control of the Senate and the House. Amidst the awakening of a liberal grassroots, a new enemy crystallized: the white woman voter. She emerged as the victim of a kind of false consciousness forged not in the factory, but in the college classroom and suburban mall. In dominant media narratives, her ubiquity came as a shock. The stats are repeated as incantation: 53% of white women voted for Trump a mere four weeks after video emerged of Trump bragging about sexual assault. 63% of white women voted for Roy Moore in December’s Alabama Senate special election, despite mounds of credible evidence of Moore’s molestation of young teen girls. Why, the narrative muses, would white women betray their own interests? And why are black women—98% of whom voted for Moore’s opponent Doug Jones—seemingly immune to electoral self-sabotage?”

Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema

The most recent issue of Camera Obscura, “Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema,” edited by Hester Baer and Angelica Fenner, is now available.

cob_33_3_99_coverSince German unification, many of the gains achieved during the feminist film movement of the 1970s have been undone, not least as a result of the dismantling of redistributive funding policies in the face of the global free market. Yet the rise of the Berlin School, the development of production collectives fostering women’s filmmaking, and the Pro Quote Film movement promoting gender parity in the film industry through quotas make the time ripe for a reconsideration of the relations between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in Germany.

This special issue reframes the legacies of the feminist film movement of the 1970s and 1980s in the context of the resurgence of film feminism in the 2010s. Arguing that German cinema constitutes a key site for theorizing women’s film authorship and feminist film production today, contributors to the issue investigate the relationship between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in light of neoliberalism and post-feminism.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

You may also find these titles on international women’s cinema interesting.

Womens_Cinema_World_Cinema_coverWomen′s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms, edited by Patricia White, explores the dynamic intersection of feminism and film in the twenty-first century by highlighting the work of a new generation of women directors from around the world:  Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf, Nadine Labaki, Zero Chou, Jasmila Zbanic, and Claudia Llosa, among others. The emergence of a globalized network of film festivals has enabled these young directors to make and circulate films that are changing the aesthetics and politics of art house cinema and challenging feminist genealogies.

Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, tells a full story of African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades. In essays on filmmakers including Angela Robinson, Tina Mabry and Dee Rees; on the making of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman(1996); and in interviews with Coquie Hughes, Pamela Jennings, and others, the contributors center the voices of black lesbian media makers while underscoring their artistic influence and reach as well as the communities that support them.

In The Battle of the Sexes in French Cinema, 1930–1956, by Noël Burch and Geneviève Sellier, adopt a sociocultural approach to films made in France before, during, and after World War II, paying particular attention to the Occupation years (1940–44). The authors contend that the films produced from the 1930s until 1956—when the state began to subsidize the movie industry, facilitating the emergence of an “auteur cinema”—are important, both as historical texts and as sources of entertainment. Citing more than 300 films and providing many in-depth interpretations, Burch and Sellier argue that films made in France between 1930 and 1956 created a national imaginary that equated masculinity with French identity.

The Best Books We Read in 2018

From literary fiction to graphic novels, we love to read at Duke University Press! In this post, our staff members share their favorite reads from the past year. We hope you enjoy their suggestions, and maybe find a few gift ideas for the holiday season.

Akwaeke_EmeziElizabeth Ault, Acquisitions Editor, recommends two books this year: “The best book I read in 2018 is definitely Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, the story of an Igbo-Tamil person whose bodymind is host to several ancient spirits/gods. It’s a stunning, poetic exploration of Igbo cosmologies, as well as of migration, gender, and dis/ability. The multiple voices in the book are brilliantly realized and distinctive, until they aren’t. I can’t wait to read it again.”

Alexander_MastersLiz Beasley, Managing Editor, recommends a biographical detective story: “I loved A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters. When Masters finds a large collection of diaries in a dumpster, a very slow (five-year) chase ensues as he tries to find their author. At turns fascinating, dull, and suspenseful, and full of charming Britishisms, this memoir/detective story is a delight. Spoiler alert: illustrations and photographs are included, so avoid the temptation to flip through the pages for clues!”

Jordy_RosenbergCourtney Berger, Executive Editor, recommends a debut LGBTQ-themed novel: “I tore through Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox during my summer vacation. A salty and smart retelling of the life of Jack Sheppard as a trans man, Rosenberg shows us an 18th-century London in the throes of imperial expansion and where the violences of racism, gender normativity, and class hierarchy are being countered by resistance. The book is framed by the story of Dr. Voth, whose discovery and annotation of Sheppard’s narrative likewise reveals the brutally extractive world of the corporate university as well as ongoing defiance to it. Great read for folks who love fiction and scholarly footnotes!”

Claudia_RankineJocelyn Dawson, Journals Marketing and Sales Manager, recommends the subject of a recent DUP staff book discussion: “The Press’s Equity and Inclusion group selected Citizen by Claudia Rankine for discussion in November. This beautifully written book intersperses art, poetry, and short essays to create a chilling portrait of racial aggression in the US. The book topped ‘best of the year’ lists for 2014 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the L.A. Times Book Prize, among many other awards.”

Alexandra_RowlandJessica Malitoris, an intern in Books Marketing, recommends a fantasy novel: “Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths is a fantastic tale about the power of stories, for good or ill. Chant, a traveling storyteller, finds himself on trial in a strange country for witchcraft. His desperate attempts to talk his way out of execution have repercussions not just for himself but for the entire country. Rowland’s writing—forceful, full of personality, and yet delicate—is a joy to read. I heartily recommend this book to any lovers of fantasy and perhaps even those who might not normally enjoy the genre.”

Patrick_NathanMichael McCullough, Books Marketing and Sales Senior Manager, recommends three LGBTQ-themed books this year: “Patrick Nathan’s Some Hell is the sad and powerful story of how a Minnesota family comes apart in the wake of a suicide. The focus is on the gay teenaged son and the mother, who are both—separately and in secret—reading through and protecting each other from the deceased father’s obsessive journals/notebooks, trying to understand his life and figure out how to keep going. It is hard to believe that this is a first novel, given the pinpoint control and maturity Nathan displays.

Andrew_Sean_Greer“On a much lighter note, I also read Less, Andrew Sean Greer’s hilarious novel about a minor gay novelist who puts together a deranged book tour to avoid his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. In a similar vein, My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley (one of my favorite writers) also features a middle-aged gay man who decides to flee San Francisco to escape the consequences of a failed relationship. McCauley’s three main characters are so funny, so appealing, so human, and so beleaguered by life that I was praying for a happy ending.”

Laurent_BinetChris Robinson, Copywriter in Books Marketing, recommends a book of literary fiction: “The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet is part detective caper, part alternative history, and a completely hilarious send-up of critical theory. Following the quest for Roman Jakobson’s mythical ‘seventh function of language’—which gives its possessor the ability to dictate the actions of other—readers learn the ‘real’ reason Althusser killed his wife, the motivations of the driver of the laundry truck that killed Barthes, Kristeva’s spycraft, a secret debate society, and a surprise revelation about Barack Obama. Anyone who has read even a bit of French theory should love this book.”

Emil_FerrisDan Ruccia, Designer in Journals Marketing, recommends a debut graphic novel: “My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris is a totally engrossing graphic novel about childhood, fitting in, Chicago in the late 1960s, monsters of various sorts, a mysterious murder, and so much more. The artwork is so vibrant and active, down to the lovingly recreated monster comic book covers that appear throughout. Can’t wait for the second volume!”

Celeste_NgLaura Sell, Publicity and Advertising Manager in Books Marketing, recommends a 2017 novel: “My favorite read of 2018 was Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. It’s the story of the apparently perfect Richardson family who live in apparently perfect Shaker Heights. Their perfect world is shattered when their close friends adopt a Chinese-American baby. The compelling story and carefully written characters bring up some uncomfortable truths for ‘liberal’ white readers without being overly preachy. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day and a half!”

Gerard_ReveMatt Tauch, Book Designer, recommends The Evenings by Gerard Reve: “I wasn’t aware of this author or his ‘Dutch postwar masterpiece’ before chancing upon a review in the Guardian some time ago. It was one quote from that review—‘I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again.’—that made me think ‘this sounds perfect.’ And, for me, it nearly was. Dry, dark (morose, occasionally to the point of macabre), and quietly hilarious, The Evenings follows our man Frits through ten droll days and damp Amsterdam nights leading up to New Year’s Eve 1946, his persistent neuroses forever in tow (others’ creeping baldness is of particular concern). But books aren’t all about content, right? Please consider also that this is the first and only English translation, and Pushkin has packaged it beautifully: wrapped in a gorgeously illustrated uncoated jacket and tucked in between the most precious light pink end papers.”

Oyinkan_BraithwaiteErica Woods Tucker, Production Coordinator, recommends My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: “This is such a smart, funny book that takes on themes of feminism while taking you through a wild romp into the lives of two sisters, one of whom obviously has the better end of the relationship. It’s a short book, so you can read it in one sitting. But since it’s short, I can’t give much away; but I will say, ‘This isn’t your average serial killer book.’ So if you like mystery-thrillers that make you think and laugh a bit, this one is for you.”

Thanks to our staff for another year of great reads and recommendations! We look forward to expanding our collective literary minds in 2019.