Coming of age novels and stories have reverberated with authors and writers for so long that a fresh telling is a rare creature indeed. In Sightings, B.J. Hollars manages to capture not one, but ten fresh tales of growing up and coping with loss in Indiana. Though the Indiana that Hollars describes is a mystical land populated with 21st century pioneers, clowns, Confederate soldiers, and robots, their experiences perfectly capture our own, passed along in the sage, but fanciful voice of a child.
In one story, a child describes his creation of Brady, a vacuum cleaner robot named for his dead brother, while in another, a benchwarmer helps Sasquatch prepare for a hot prom date. Though each of these stories can stand alone as an enjoyable read, Hollars weaves subtle connections between the stories, drawing the reader into this unbelievable world, populated with characters who have experiences reminiscent of our own, allowing us to reconnect with childhood, with the absurdity that we survived.
Though we have not all lost a brother at a young age and have not all suffered through an Oregon Trail re-enactment, complete with apple cider, venison, and no cell phones, we have all lost. We have all been thrust into the awkward and foreign world of adulthood, yet somehow we made it. Though we couldn't laugh about it then, Hollars ensures that we can now. And more importantly, by pulling us from our known adult world back into the alien and the absurd, he offers us the chance to reconnect with our past and to capture glimpses of insights we missed while we were caught up in the excitement and the terror of growing up and losing things and people we held dear—family, friends, childhood itself.
The truly rare quality of Sightings is that in addition to the opportunity presented for reflection and reconnecting with our past and our loss, this is the funniest book you will read all summer.
"Pursuing a tri-fold creative concept that unites poetry, art in the form of photography, and music is certainly not a light challenge. Norbert Krapf has mastered it with remarkable virtuosity and once again reinforced his reputation as the pre-eminent German-American poet of the English language."
We're pleased to announce that IUP staff members Laura Baich, Electronic Marketing Manager, and June Silay, Project Editor, were recently awarded professional developments grants from the Pat Hoefling Memorial Fund. This fund allows new and mid-career level staff to attend publishing conferences in order to learn about new technologies and practices within the industry. Baich and Silay will use their grants to attend the AAUP annual meeting in Boston this June.
The Pat Hoefling Memorial Fund, which is supported by donations, has helped send several IUP staff members to AAUP over the last few years. Past winners include Production Coordinator Dan Pyle, Sponsoring Editor Raina Polivka, and Trade Marketing and Publicity Manager Mandy Clarke.
Pat Hoefling was sales and marketing director at IU Press from November 2005 until her death in July 2010. During her tenure at the Press, she positively affected staff members by generously sharing her knowledge and encouraging them to learn new skills to advance their professional development.
Both of this year's winners spoke of how Pat’s legacy endures through these grants. "I'm very honored to receive this grant," Baich said. "Pat was a great advocate of my career development while she my boss, and it means a lot that she can still help me further my professional goals."
"I am pleased and grateful for this opportunity," said Silay. "It is gratifying to know that this memorial fund is stimulating more and more interest and applicants each year. In itself, this is a testament and a tribute to Pat's spirit."
To learn more about the fund or to make a donation, visit the Pat Hoefling page on our website.
Today is National Train Day! Learn more about railroad history and why trains still matter in these books:
Railroads and the American People H. Roger Grant
"With plenty of detail, Grant brings a bygone era back to life, addressing everything from social and commercial appeal, racial and gender issues, safety concerns, and leaps in technology. But Grant never loses sight of the big picture and the essential role the railroads played in American life. He writes with authority and clarity in a work that can appeal to both casual and hardcore enthusiasts." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Available July 2013 Off the Main Lines A Photographic Odyssey Don L. Hofsommer
In this visually stunning and comprehensive photographic essay, railroad historian and photographer Donovan L. Hofsommer records the end of branchline passenger service, the demise of electric railroads, the transition from steam to diesel power, as well as the end of common carrier freight service on the Colorado narrow gauge.
Available October 2013 John Frank Stevens Civil Engineer Clifford Foust
One of America's foremost civil engineers of the past 150 years, John Frank Stevens was a railway reconnaissance and location engineer whose reputation was made on the Canadian Pacific and Great Northern lines. Drawing on Stevens’s surviving personal papers and materials from projects with which he was associated, Clifford Foust offers an illuminating look into the life of an accomplished civil engineer.