An essay series from the members of AAUP

AAUP members publish many thousands of books—and journals, reference collections, shorts, apps—that matter. From documentary editions that are the foundation of further research to local ecological guides, the work published must contribute to scholarship and an informed society. “Mattering” is another way of describing the baseline requirement for publication by one of our member presses.

But in every publisher or editor’s career, there are books that come to mind as the ones that mattered deeply. The books that stand out because of their impact on politics or the economy, on our need for justice and social equality, on our understanding of history and culture, on our knowledge of the regional and national issues of the day—a book that changed a reader or a community or a discipline, and sometimes a book that changed its editor.

Those are the books that lift what we do everyday from a dry talking point on the value of university presses to a vibrant and exciting business that gets us all up in the morning.

In this new essay series, we’ve invited editors and publishers to tell the stories of those books. We begin with three very different books and different ways of mattering: from Peter Givler, we read of publishing an idea that became, quite literally, a matter of life and death in Justifiable Homicide, MaryKatherine Callaway reflects on what it meant to the LSU community to bring to print the story of a Louisiana civil rights leader, and Clair Willcox shares the story of what happened when a press meant as much an author as his book meant to the press.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll read more such narratives of the books that mattered, and invite all AAUP members to share those tales with us.

Books the Matter
Feng Menglong’s Short Story Collections
Sojourner Truth and The Spitting Image
The Fosse Style
What Comes Naturally
Growing Season
Head Off & Split
Justifiable Homicide
A More Noble Cause
Blue Highways Revisited