Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 20, 2006
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3 TU Press books listed among best in academia

Already this year, Choice has named Literary Gestures: The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing, which was co-edited by Temple faculty member Sue-Im Lee, as an “essential” academic book.

Temple University Press recently proved, for the second consecutive year, that its books are recognized as top titles in the nation. Showing the great range and diversity of the Press, these award-winning books include everything from consumer capitalism to the political activism of the Roman Catholic Church.

Choice magazine has named its “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2005, and three Temple University Press books made the highly selective list. Each year, the influential magazine names the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice in the previous calendar year, based on “the reviewer’s evaluation of the work, the editor’s knowledge of the field and the reviewer’s record,” according to Choice. Approximately 10 percent of works reviewed — and only about 3 percent of some 23,000 total works submitted — receive this honor.

“This is just another indication that the Press continues to attract more and more excellent, award-winning books,” Temple University Press director Alex Holzman said.

Covering a wide range of subjects — economics, politics and literature — the three TU Press books to receive the honor were Hegemony: The New Shape of Global Power by John Agnew, Political Activism in the U.S. Catholic Church by Lara Medina and The World Next Door: South Asian American Literature and the Idea of America by Rajini Srikanth.

Published by the American Library Association, Choice provides reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources to librarians, faculty members and others in higher education, and reaches close to 34,000 readers.

In addition to being recognized by Choice as an outstanding title, The World Next Door was unanimously selected as the recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies 2004 Cultural Studies Book Award.

“Once again, Temple University Press has shown that it is at the forefront of publishing relevant, high-quality academic works,” Provost Ira Schwartz said. “Temple is fortunate to have a strong university press, which contributes important works to many faculty members’ fields of scholarship and enhances our reputation nationally.”

The Press isn’t finding success with just its academic titles, either. Currently, it is having trouble keeping the bookstores stocked with The Eagles Encyclopedia, which has sold more than 25,000 copies and is one of the best-selling books in Press history.

Other popular books to make its best-seller list include Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (15,000 sold) and Still Philadelphia (22,000 sold). The Press has also has many successful course books, including Cheap Amusements by Kathy Peiss and Classical Hindu Mythology, edited by Cornelia Dimmitt and J.A.B. van Buitenen (36,000 and 18,000 sold, respectively).

“Such high-selling books demonstrate the Philadelphia area’s interest in good books about the region and the need for university press books in college courses,” Holzman said. “They also are essential in helping us continue to publish the relatively low-selling scholarly monographs that form the core part of our mission to disseminate scholarship.”

With the reviews TU Press has already gotten this year, it looks as if it’s on the way to more critical acclaim.

Already this year, Choice has named Literary Gestures: The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing, which was co-edited by Temple faculty member Sue-Im Lee, as an “essential” academic book.

The magazine also highly recommended three other Press titles: Beyond Segregation: Multiracial and Multiethnic Neighborhoods in the United States by Michael T. Maly, Zora Neale Hurston and a History of Southern Life by Tiffany Ruby Patterson and Courts, Liberalism, and Rights: Gay Law and Politics in the United States and Canada by Jason Pierceson.

- By Karen Shuey