The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP). Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.
UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.
Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in July and August, 2022:
Journey into Christmas, and, Star Across the Tracks, by Bess Streeter Aldrich.
The true meaning of Christmas emerges in Bess Streeter Aldrich’s two enchanting stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. The head may tell the heart all sorts of things, but at Christmastime the heart is stronger, so take a journey back through Christmases when something quite ordinary turns out to be miraculous. Both heartfelt and genuine, the stories “Journey into Christmas” and “Star across the Tracks” remind us to cherish the holidays with those we love, the ways we grow, and the memories we make throughout life.
Mummy Eaters, by Sherry Shenoda ; Series: African Poetry Book
Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Sherry Shenoda’s collection Mummy Eaters follows in the footsteps of an imagined ancestor, one of the daughters of the house of Akhenaten in the Eighteenth Dynasty, Egypt. Shenoda forges an imagined path through her ancestor’s mummification and journey to the afterlife. Parallel to this exploration run the implications of colonialism on her passage.
The mythology of the ancient Egyptians was oriented toward resurrection through the preservation of the human body in mummification. Shenoda juxtaposes this reverence for the human body as sacred matter and a pathway to eternal life with the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European fascination with ingesting Egyptian human remains as medicine and using exhumed Egyptian mummies as paper, paint, and fertilizer. Today Egyptian human remains are displayed in museums. Much of Mummy Eaters is written as a call and response, in the Coptic tradition, between the imagined ancestor and the author as descendant.
If This Were Fiction : A Love Story in Essays, by Jill Christman ; Series: American Lives
If This Were Fiction is a love story—for Jill Christman’s long-ago fiancé, who died young in a car accident; for her children; for her husband, Mark; and ultimately, for herself. In this collection, Christman takes on the wide range of situations and landscapes she encountered on her journey from wild child through wounded teen to mother, teacher, writer, and wife. In these pages there are fatal accidents and miraculous births; a grief pilgrimage that takes Christman to jungles, volcanoes, and caves in Central America; and meditations on everything from sexual trauma and the more benign accidents of childhood to gun violence, indoor cycling, unlikely romance, and even a ghost or two.
Playing like a lively mixtape in both subject and style, If This Were Fiction focuses an open-hearted, frequently funny, clear-eyed feminist lens on Christman’s first fifty years and sends out a message of love, power, and hope.
Vanished : Stories, by Karin Lin-Greenberg ; Series: The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction
Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Vanished tells the stories of women and girls in upstate New York who are often overlooked or unseen by the people around them. The characters range from an aging art professor whose students are uninterested in learning what she has to teach, to a young girl who becomes the victim of a cruel prank in a swimming pool, to a television producer who regrets allowing her coworkers into her mother’s bird-filled house to film a show about animal hoarding because it will reveal too much about her family and past.
Humorous and empathetic, the collection exposes the adversity in each character’s life; each deals with something or someone who has vanished—a person close to her, a friendship, a relationship—as she seeks to make sense of the world around her in the wake of that loss.
Under My Bed and Other Essays, by Jody Keisner ; Series: American Lives
Jody Keisner was raised in rural Nebraska towns by a volatile father and kind but passive mother. As a young adult living alone for the first time, she began a nighttime ritual of checking under her bed each night, not sure who she was afraid of finding. An intruder? A monster? Her father? Keisner’s fears mature as she becomes a wife and mother, and the boogeyman under the bed shape-shifts, though its shapes are no less frightening—a young aunt’s drowning, the “chest chomp” in the classic horror movie The Thing, a diagnosis of a chronic autoimmune disease, the murder of a young college student, an eccentric grandmother’s belief in reincarnation and her dying advice: “Don’t be afraid.”
In Under My Bed and Other Essays, Jody Keisner searches for the roots of the violence and fear that afflict women, starting with the working-class midwestern family she was adopted into and ending with her own experience of mothering daughters. In essays both literary and experimental, Keisner illustrates the tension between the illusion of safety, our desire for control, and our struggle to keep the things we fear from reaching out and pulling us under.
Cotton Candy : Poems Dipped Out of the Air, by Ted Kooser
“Poems dipped out of the air” describes the manner in which Ted Kooser composed the poems in Cotton Candy, the result of his daily routine of getting up long before dawn, sitting with coffee, pen, and notebook, and writing whatever drifts into his mind. Whether those words and images are serious or just plain silly, Kooser tries not to censor himself. His objective is to catch whatever comes to him, to snatch it out of the air in words, rhythms, and cadences, the way a cotton candy vendor dips an airy puff out of a cloud of spun sugar and hands it to his customer. Poems written in fun and now shared with the reader, Kooser’s playful and magical confections charm and delight.
**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.