Favorite Book Series: Science Fiction, Double Feature

Science fiction and fantasy are the gateway into expressing some of our most creative and imaginative ideas. It’s exciting, intriguing, and a possible look into the what could be and what we want to be. We here at the University Press love to delve into those fascinating and surreal worlds. Here are some of our favorite sci-fi and fantasy books that you should add to your reading list! Leave us a comment, visit us on facebook, or follow us on twitter to share your thoughts about what other sci-fi and fantasy books everyone should be reading!

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, Offred reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain hierarchies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets. Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. Somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win.

 

World War Z – Max Brooks

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the record that preserves these horrifying accounts.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here, an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne. A child is lost in the twilight between life and death, and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: The Game of Thrones.

 

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blacklyfatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best.

 

 

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. This fantasy novel delves into a post-apocalyptic world with no government, no society, and not a lot of hope. With a very eclectic writing style and captivating storyline, Cormac McCarthy brings us to a new and different world from the one that we all know.

 

If You Liked “Floods and Fires,” You’ll Love These!

Dan Leach’s book Floods and Fires is a prime example of Southern Literature. If you enjoy Southern Literature, you’re certain to enjoy reading these novels and short stories written by authors who inspired Dan Leach! Here are a few book recommendations that capture the true essence of Southern Literature! Happy reading!

Nothing Can Stay Gold by Ron Rash

Ron Rash’s Nothing Can Stay Gold is a collection of fourteen short stories set in Appalachia, including “The Trusty”, which first appeared in The New Yorker. Taking place in various time periods, ranging from the Civil War to present day, the stories focus on the unforgettable lives of those whom have been haunted by violence, hope, and fear in Appalachia. Like Fire and Floods, these short stories cover a variety of topics such as family, tragedy, love, and trust, and you won’t want to put them down.

 

 

Calloustown by George Singleton

Calloustown is the seventh collection from Southern short story specialist, George Singleton, who was an inspiration to Dan Leach. In Calloustown, George Singleton explores the inhabitants of the small town in South Carolina, mostly through the perspective of an older male who often references his wife. Singleton explores families, religion, politics, and various other stories that range from deeply affecting to wildly absurd in the fifteen short stories that make up novel.

 

 

Facing the Music by Larry Brown

In Larry Brown’s first book, Facing the Music, he writes ten short stories about love. Love is often seen as a wonderful, cherished feeling, but in Brown’s short stories, he writes about the darker side this emotion brings. Brown writes how love can remain graceful, even if there maybe hardships involved, such as violence and drinking. Facing the Music’s brutally honest stories capture the struggles many loved ones experience and makes the reader stop and think about true meaning of love.

 

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides follows the forty-year story of Tom Wingo and his talented, but troubled, twin sister Savannah. Tom and Savannah struggle to overcome their family’s dark and tragic legacy into which they were born.  The Prince of Tides is considered one of Pat Conroy’s best novels as he describes the beauty of low country South Carolina, all the way to upstate New York. Conroy captures the burden that family can often cause but which is the true essence of love and struggle.

Student Worker Spotlight: Sam Young

Hey everybody! My name is Sam Young, and I am your average 20 something trying to make it in the world one step at a time. Currently though, I am a senior marketing major who is working as the marketing assistant here at the University of North Georgia Press!

I was born and raised in Georgia and have found a home at UNG. I love to spend my time doing a variety of activities that range from hiking to reading to chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. Like all the people here at the Press office, I have a passion for reading and storytelling of all kinds. I find that stories have a way of transporting us into a new worlds, new perspectives, and new ideas that we would not have without them. I love to read almost anything, so book recommendations are always welcome! Other than that, I’m like most UNG students and love to be outdoors! Hiking and camping are some of my favorite pastimes when I get the chance. I am also a huge TV watcher. My current favorites are anything HBO produces, and of course Parks and Rec. Outside of avid TV watching, I am actively involved in many of the organizations that we have here on campus. You can find me at any Nighthawks Entertainment event, SGA meeting, or any other of the myriad of campus activities that we have here. These organizations help me stay plugged into UNG life and given me the opportunity to serve the student body in some of my favorite ways: fun events and advocating for our community!

During my time here at UNG Press, I hope to learn a lot and use the wide variety of knowledge that I have about marketing, advertising, and graphic design to push our name out there. I am trying to absorb as much as I can at this internship, so that I can use my experiences here and apply them to the marketing industry once I graduate in May. I am excited to learn more about the publishing industry and whatever else I may discover during my time here!

Student Worker Spotlight: Emilee Hawkins

Hello there, curious readers! If you clicked on this post, you’re more than likely curious to learn more about me! If not, well you’re here now, so sit back, relax, and let’s get to know one another! My name is Emilee Hawkins, and I am one of the new student workers at UNG Press. I graduated with honors from Fannin County High School in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and I am currently a sophomore at the University of North Georgia. I am honored and excited to be given the opportunity to work with the Press, and put my skills to the test!

Writing and posting blogs has always been an interest of mine. Being the youngest of two sisters meant I was the guinea pig of new hairstyles and makeup trends, so I would often run away and hide, which gave me a lot of free time to read and practice my writing. The more I wrote, the more I fell in love with it. That is one of the reasons why I was so excited to be able to work at the Press—I would finally get to do what I honestly loved doing as a job. When I found out, I immediately called my mother to tell her the good news. I may have also done a little dance outside the building, but there is no proof to confirm that occurred…except for that elderly couple who just so happened to drive past me and witness the whole one-woman-shindig. Based on their cackling, I am fairly confident they enjoyed it, much to my embarrassment and horror.

On a personal level, there isn’t much that is too exciting about me—possibly a bit weird or strange, but we’ll use the term unique for the sake of my pride and self-esteem. Outside of the Press, you can usually find me reading or writing, stressing over tests, making terrible puns, singing, and watching some sort of horror movie or conspiracy theory. I have a (un)healthy relationship with Netflix (the lock-screen on my phone is Netflix if that tells you anything), and I frequently find myself staying up into the early hours of the night, lying to myself as I say I’ll only watch one more episode before I go to sleep. Thankfully, this only occurs during the summer, so I am able to focus on my schoolwork in the fall and spring semesters. It is a vicious cycle, but it is the burden I bear.

In all seriousness, I am highly honored to be on the UNG Press team. They are all very welcoming and kind, and it is so humbling and amazing to have the opportunity to work with all of them. Now that you’ve learned a little about me, please check out the Press’s other social media! You can find us on Facebook (@UnivPressNG), Twitter (@UnivPressNG), and Instagram (@ung_press)! Give them some love and support; they all deserve it! Until next time, curious readers! Have a wonderful fall!

Richard Bishirjian Reviews The Southern Philosopher: Collected Essays of John William Corrington

Richard Bishirjian recently wrote an in-depth review of the University of North Georgia Press’ book, The Southern Philosopher: The Collected Essays of John William Corrington. This text was edited by one of our own authors, Allen Mendenhall, to help encapsulate Corrington’s accomplishments as both an academic and a philosopher. Bishirjian, much like Allen Mendenhall, found Corrington through academia while translating the concepts Corrington had discussed in his writings for his dissertation. This launched a twelve-year friendship between the two of them before Corrington’s death. During that time, they corresponded through letters and developed a close relationship. Many of their letters can be found in The Southern Philosopher. They discussed many of the concepts that are in this book and even held a seminar together about one of the key themes of Corrington’s work: Gnosticism.

Now, Gnosticism was not the only interest Corrington had. After multiple years of teaching at Loyola University, he pursued law at Tulane University. From there, he learned about the writings of Eric Voegelin, a southern philosopher himself who discusses the religious community of the South. Corrington thought of Voegelin as the one who truly hit the nail on the head on how to examine the shared experiences of religious sects in the South. Through their joint work, Corrington was able to research and better conceptualize the ideas that he had been pondering.

Corrington was also known as a sort of rebel in whatever environment he placed himself in, whether that be as an academic or as a writer. Many of those communities had differing ideals than Corrington, as he wanted to be free of petty academic politics and the narrow-mindedness of other southern literary critics. Through the works of Voegelin and others, he found his own philosophy in politics, historical consciousness, and modern Gnosticism that is free of the confines that his colleagues developed for themselves.

Through all of these complex concepts, Richard Bishirjian weaves an interesting look into some of the concepts that can be found in Corrington’s collections. Corrington said it best that “What my work really represents is the openness, the ambiguity, the vastness of the possibilities of human being in the mode of existence as it realizes itself in the South in my time.” You can find all of this and more as you delve into Bishirijian’s review and The Southern Philosopher.