Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With Us!

Today is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month! It’s a month long celebration of Hispanic and Latino culture which runs from September 15 to October 15 in the U.S. We’re excited to learn more about it, and we hope you join us!

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Originally only a week long, it was to honor the contributions and sacrifices of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the U.S. President Ronald Regan expanded it to a month-long celebration in 1988. It begins on September 15th because five Latin American countries celebrate their independence today: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize also celebrate their independence during the month.

Why is Hispanic Heritage Month Important?

Hispanic Heritage Month gives people an opportunity to connect to their heritage that they may not have otherwise. Over 17% of the U.S. population is Hispanic or Latino, making Hispanic Americans the largest minority in the U.S., whether ethnically or racially. 9.4% of Georgians are Hispanic or Latino as of July 2016. The Latin American diaspora has separated many people from their homelands and identities. Hispanic Heritage Month allows them to reconnect with their communities and strengthen their cultural identity.

Ways to Participate

We believe that everyone has a right to their heritage and cultural identity. “Local is Global” after all. Each Hispanic Heritage Month, the University of North Georgia hosts a series of events for students and members of the local community. Dance performances, guest speakers, and a Day of the Dead presentation will all be occuring. These events are sponsored by the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) on the Dahlonega campus, the Latino Student Association (LSA) on the Gainesville campus, and the Spanish Club on the Oconee campus, as well as Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), directed by Dr. Robert Robinson.

UNG Reads will also be reading Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya for Hispanic Heritage Month. Project director Dr. Tanya Bennett says that this novel was chosen because of “its relatability to north Georgians with a Hispanic heritage.” UNG Reads will host campus events through October, including visiting author Daina Chaviano on October 25. More information can be found here.

Learn More

Each Wednesday during Hispanic Heritage Month, the Press will have a blog post featuring different Hispanic authors and books, as well as any updated information about the UNG events. Below are our first three recommendations. If you want to discuss these books, or have any other recommendations or requests, leave a comment, tweet us @UnivPressNG, or follow us on Facebook!

1. The Barbarian Nurseries — Héctor Tobar

The Barbarian Nurseries follows the Torres-Thompson family—half Mexican only in name—and their live-in Mexican employee, Araceli Ramírez. When the Torres-Thompson parents disappear, leaving behind two boys who Araceli has never spoken to, she must find a way to bring them to their grandfather. Tobar’s tongue-in-cheek tone creates a compelling narrative. The duality of American and Mexican identity follows each character in this book about humanity and what it means to belong.

 

2. The House on Mango Street — Sandra Cisneros

A classic. Taught byevery English teach, read by children and adults alike. The House on Mango Street is a bittersweet memory shared to the world. Told in a series of vignettes, Cisneros wrote a novel that “can be opened at any page and… still make sense.” Mango Street creates the universal ache of growing up, the pain of conflicting identities and forlorn hope that each person experiences. But in its sorrows, it reminds us that we are not alone in the world. “You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.” But you can still be free.

 

3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao — Junot Díaz

The de León family is cursed. The fukú has followed them for generations, in the Dominican Republic, in America, lurking in every corner. The story rotates between characters, following Oscar, his sister Lola, and their mother Beli. This novel is heart-wrenching. A dreaded tale where something always gets worse. Your heart breaks for the de León’s, but the multigenerational tale creates the feelings of being part of something greater than everyday life. The novel makes you unsure of your footing from the start, but the chaos is authentic, and as you’ll learn, ever family has their own fukú.

Sources:
National Hispanic Heritage Month 2017 (Gov)
National Hispanic Heritage Month 2017
U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Georgia
Latino Student Association connects UNG students to Hispanic culture
UNG reads “Bless Me Ultima”

If You Liked “The Southern Philosopher,” You’ll Love These!

John William Corrington is a man of letters whose writings were not limited to one subject. He discusses the humanities and science, gnosticism and religion, universities and the South. Many of his writings were verbal lectures or unpublished, his fame coming from his films rather than his literary works. But no matter the medium he worked in, Corrington’s speech is affable, a teacher sharing his insights until the very end.

To better understand philosophy, and thus, better understand Corrington, we have two book recommendations for you. We hope you enjoy all three books as much as we do!

The New Science of Politics: An Introduction by Eric Voegelin

Eric Voegelin was a German native but was raised in Vienna. He taught political theory and sociology at the University of Vienna and was an outspoken critic of Nazism. Forced to flee Austria after the Anschluss, he eventually settled in Louisiana. The chaos of the world at the time influenced Voegelin’s thoughts and led to his developed idea of gnosticism, which in turn influenced Corrington. The New Science of Politics are his lectures from 1951, and this introduction provides a clear insight to his teachings.

Philosophy Through Film (3rd edition) by Mary Litch and Amy Karofsky

Corrington is best known as the screenwriter of The Omega Man and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Even if he personally preferred his literary works, his films were not completely separate from his philosophies. Philosophy Through Film uses popular films to explore different concepts of philosophy. (Inception is Chapter 2: Skepticism.) Written in clear language, with classic philosophical texts as supplemental readings, this is a great guide to help you navigate the beginning of your philosophical journey.

Allen Mendenhall is the editor of The Southern Philosopher: Collected Essays of John William Corrington. He is associate dean of Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and executive director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty. He edits the Southern Literary Review and has authored hundreds of publications in law reviews, peer reviewed journals, magazines, newspapers, literary periodicals, and encyclopedias. His other books include Literature and Liberty (2014) and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Pragmatism, and the Jurisprudence of Agon (2017). He lives in Auburn, Alabama, with his wife and two children.

September 8th is International Literacy Day!

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope…Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity…Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential,” said Kofi Annan.

We wanted to share this quote with you because today is International Literacy day! There are many reasons to support and promote literacy, but most importantly, because it is a fundamental right for all individuals.

To lead, one must read.

 To become a sophisticated leader, one must have the desire to continuously learn more. Reading allows a person to become enlightened on a subject that may have been foreign before. Also, reading generates conversations about foreign concepts which could lead to greater insight.

Literacy education is not offered to all individuals.

 Sadly, literacy education is not being taught in all areas of the world. According to Literacy Worldwide, 781 million people cannot read or write. On a smaller scale, the Literacy Project Foundation claims that 45 million Americans are illiterate and cannot read above a fifth grade level. These alarming statistics reveal the importance of promoting literacy so that all members of society have an equal chance of succeeding.

It is easy to get involved.

 One simple search on the Internet can provide several ways to get involved with the promotion of literacy education. An example of local scale opportunities is the Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition which encourages concerned individuals to become a tutor or volunteer at one of their events. The organization hosts several events throughout the year, one major event being the Dahlonega Literary Festival. The free festival is hosted in downtown Dahlonega and serves as a chance for readers to interact and mingle with several authors from all different genres.

The organization believes that literacy can solve a community’s issues, such as poverty, unemployment, and high school dropout rates.

Literacy is an all-inclusive concept, and if we all participated in its promotion, the world would be a happier and successful place.

What do you do to promote literacy in your community?

Today is Read a Book Day!

Envision a day, when bookworms, young and old souls, fast-paced and slow readers, mystery-junkies or passionate romantics, come together to celebrate books. Well, that day is the sixth of September, it is national Read a Book day!

We encourage all readers to not celebrate this day alone. Share the experience by reading aloud to a friend or loved one. Traipse through the aisles of your local library with a loyal confidant. Join a book club and share notes. Together, you can delight it the written word and have conversations about your feelings or opinions. Truth be told, humans learn by listening.

We wanted to share a couple of titles we publish at the University of North Georgia Press in case you were looking for something to read on this day.

Bombay in the Age of Disco by Tinaz Pavri, PhD.

 The novel Bombay in the Age of Disco serves as a personal and significant memoir of one young girl’s unremitting aspirations and experiences in a newly transformed city, Bombay. Follow her personal growth in the dazzling novel. For more information, click here.

 Travels in Greenland by Quentin Falk.

 Author, Quentin Falk examines all aspects of Graham Greene’s impact in the realm of film in this thorough novel. Delve into the mind of Greene and become immersed in two of his newest film adaptations. For more information, click here.

Over the Top by Arthur Guy Empey.

Over the Top is a compilation of Arthur Guy Empey’s experiences in World War I. The novel quickly became a best-seller after the United States declared war on Germany and the Central Powers. Follow one soldier’s enlightening and sometimes gruesome experiences in an event that most do not have to endure. For more information, click here.

If you don’t want to buy a book, rent one from your local library or borrow from a friend or relative. There are also several free books online. However, if you are interested in purchasing any of these titles or would like to browse our other novels at the UNG Press, click the link here.

However you choose to spend your day, make sure it is with a book.

What are you planning on reading? Share your personal favorites in the comments below, you never know who you could inspire!

 

The 5 Books You Need for Fall

It might be hard to believe, but Fall is in the air—despite the 90 degree Georgia heat! Students are returning to classes, the days are growing shorter, and more than a few stores have Halloween decorations up. If you’re tired of the sun, if you’re ready to bundle up with a blanket and watch the leaves change, then you should take these 5 books with you on your Autumn journey.

1. The Graveyard Book — Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens is as far from normal as his name implies. Given the Freedom of the Graveyard as a toddler, he was raised by the ghosts and spirits and other supernatural creatures that lived there. Gaiman’s tale weaves a world of supernatural magic, capturing readers and refusing to let them go. This dark but endearing tale is the perfect lead-in to Fall.

2. Persuasion — Jane Austen

Any Austin novel is an excellent choice, no matter the season, but Persuasion is particularly perfect. Autumn is such a tender symbol within it. Anne Elliot’s everlasting love for Captain Wentworth, and his ultimate commitment to her, renews one’s faith and joy in love. It is what twilit Autumn nights dream of.

3. The Diviners — Libba Bray

Do you love H. P. Lovecraft? Die whenever you read “The Fall of the House of Usher?” Shiver if a raven crosses your path? Then read The Diviners. Set in the bright and shiny 1920s, Libba Bray creates a world that any horror-fan will love. The rise of occultism under the peeling facade of glamor in New York City causes an unstoppable supernatural horror to be released, and there’s no guarantee to stopping it.

4. Maid Marian — Elsa Watson

The tale of Robin Hood has long lived in any reader’s heart, but it is Maid Marian who deserves a grand adventure this season. Watson’s retelling brings forth a vivd image: Marian is imaginative and clever and determined to live her own life. Under Queen Eleanor’s threat, Marian will marry her departed husband’s brother, but she knows she’ll likely disappear once she does. Marian seeks Robin Hood’s aid, yes, but she proves to everyone she is so much more than a girl needing help.

5. Dreamcatcher — Stephen King

Everyone knows King in some form. His works are legendary, and he is a true master of horror and suspense. If you haven’t read Dreamcatcher, do so immediately. But fair warning: you probably shouldn’t read it at night. Or at a cabin in the woods. Or during a blizzard. You never know what sinister creature might innocently ask for your help in the middle of the dark and lonely night.