University Press Week: #ReadUP, the books that made a man/woman out of Mac

Back before the Internet or Oprah, people relied on comic books and pulp magazines for self-improvement. Charles Atlas challenged generations of boys and girls to get buff and deal with that bully who kicked sand in his/her face. Ads in tawdry detective magazines promised to provide crime-fighting skills while more mainstream publications pushed everything from speed reading to making friends to learning a foreign language in just 15 minutes a day.

whiskey flavored toothpasteUniversity presses won’t try to con you. We sell books. The kind without shortcuts. It’s just the way our evolution worked out. Had universities followed missions that involved happiness via whisky flavored toothpaste, we might today be telling you about how our aged tartar-fighting rye with the mint stripe could provide tasty dental health.

We’re in the midst of what we who love shorthand call #ReadUP, a University Press Book extravaganza that promises enlightenment, intelligence, new worldviews, and a lot of stuff to talk about at cocktail parties.

Look, we live in a B.S.-dominant age. The best way to inoculate against it is to search out some measure of truth, the more uncomfortable the better. We provide that. We can’t even publish a book without getting the approval of a bunch of scholars first. And it’s not just egghead stuff we’re publishing. The University of Nebraska Press wants you to read the definitive history of an obscure hockey team that wore white skates. Need a photo-heavy book on the history of bourbon? A #ReadUP press is all over that.

Our books are just like the other books you love. Available at stores. Check-outable at libraries. Beautifully produced and written by actual experts in their fields.

You’re smart enough to know you’re not smart enough. Same here. Every time you open a UP book you step into the light. Every time you open a UP book you make a fool angry. Every time you open a UP book you fill a sandbag against the rising tide of B.S.