William H. Waller Brings the Stars to The Huffington Post

William H. WallerWilliam H. Waller, astronomist and author of The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide, recently wrote an article that was picked up by The Huffington Post for their blog. Based on this bio page that was also posted for Waller on HuffPost, we’re hoping this means he will be writing regularly about science and the stars, especially with some of the amazing pictures included in the article.

The post, which focuses on our ability to visibly see the Milky Way with all of the light pollution in the air, starts by saying:

The Milky Way“For most of human history, the night sky demanded our attention. The shape-shifting Moon, wandering planets, pointillist stars, and occasional comet enchanted our sensibilities while inspiring diverse tales of origin. The Milky Way, in particular, exerted a powerful presence on our distant ancestors. Rippling across the firmament, this irregular band of ghostly light evoked myriad myths of life and death among the stars. In 1609, Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope heavenward and discovered that the Milky Way is “nothing but a congeries of innumerable stars grouped together in clusters.” Fast forward 400 years to the present day, and we find that the Milky Way has all but disappeared from our collective consciousness. Where did it go?”

To read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post, click here.

This book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy’s structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems–some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species.

Waller makes the case that our very existence is inextricably linked to the Galaxy that spawned us. Through this book, readers can become well-informed galactic “insiders”–ready to imagine humanity’s next steps as fully engaged citizens of the Milky Way.

William H. Waller is an astronomer, science educator, and writer. He lives with his family in Rockport, Massachusetts, where he can still see the Milky Way on dark moonless nights.

HuffPo shows love for PUP in “17 Most Innovative” UP’s

Anis Shivani got in touch with us several weeks ago to ask PUP publicity for the buzz on fall’s new releases.  We knew he was writing a big UP roundup piece but hadn’t anticipated such extensive title-dropping – or such an earnest appeal to the media to pay attention – to which we say snaps, Anis, and thank you!

It’s always a small victory to see appreciation – and review coverage – for academic books in the mainstream media.   We know that big names on important topics stand more of a chance at a mention than other equally worthy books in the catalog.  That’s not news to us.   But the Huffington Post piece which ran this past Saturday is bursting at the seams with enthusiasm for both our VIP releases and lesser-known authors.  What a nice change of pace.

Princeton University Press was featured along with 16 other UP’s distinguished as the most “innovative” academic publishers.  Shivani’s piece points to the disconnect between quality of material and media exposure.   The main distinction of a UP book is, naturally, meaty content.  A UP book is the filet mignon to trade’s burger patty in the realm of non-fiction: unprocessed, high-quality, muscle-building protein.   We may not be dressed up with condiments and bursting with aggressive flavor but we’re lean, unadorned steak.  Why eat beef if you can’t taste the cow?

Meat metaphors aside, why is the media so hesitant to bite?  Why don’t we get more reviews?  Our authors work just as hard – if not harder – than anyone signed with a major trade house for less quantifiable return.  Ask a friend in academic publishing – better yet, find a publicist, and I’m sure she or he would be happy to wax on about the injustice of being overlooked by the heavy hitters in the entertainment industry.  But this is not a rail-against-review-neglect post.  This is a thank you to our friends at HuffPo and a “Hey, look at us!  We’ve earned this attention” occasion.

We can only hope that a few key members of the media read Shivani’s piece and take it to heart:  “university presses do not publish boring or excessively weighty or arcane books. They may not be into showmanship and high-stakes publicity maneuvers, but their steady, unrelenting focus on particular subject areas creates vast bodies of new knowledge that the mainstream reviewing community makes a great mistake in ignoring.”