Happy Birthday to the original champion of “simple living”, Henry David Thoreau!

Henry David Thoreau, born 199 years ago today, was an essayist, political philosopher, poet, tax resister, naturalist and abolitionist, whose writings and methods anticipated modern day environmental and “simple living” movements by well over a century. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, he died of Tuberculosis at only 44 years old. In spite of his passionate positions on various issues of the day, from nonviolent resistance to taxation, his political writings made little impact in his short lifetime. Today of course, the transcendental author is one of the most widely studied and taught; his hugely influential memoir, Walden: Life in the Woods and as his social criticism alike continue to resonate deeply with modern readers.

thoreauThoreau’s life story is full of fascinating bits of color—he worked at a pencil factory, was influenced by Indian spiritual thought, and followed various Hindu customs. Few writers have been as widely quoted, from the famous, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”) to the obscure (“Who are the estranged? Two friends explaining”). Thoreau’s thoughts on topics ranging from sex to solitude, manners to miracles can be found in The Quotable Thoreau, edited by Jeffrey Cramer. The book contains over 2,000 passages, thematically arranged, and a true treasure for students of the famous minimalist.

Happy birthday to Henry David Thoreau, a man as witty as he was profound, and well ahead of his time.

University Press Week Blog Tour Day 5: Author Conversations

thanks to authorsThe final day of the University Press Week blog tour focuses on presses in conversation with their authors. Here at Princeton we would like to take a moment to thank all of our wonderful authors across many disciplines, without whom our esteemed publishing program could not exist. In the past year, PUP has been fortunate enough to publish multiple Nobel Prize winners, up-and-coming stars, renowned scholars and cultural critics. Our authors range from game theorists to astrophysicists, from art historians to professional ornithologists.

Each week on the PUP blog, we feature conversations with our authors about our books. These conversations, such as this one with n+1 co-founder Mark Greif, this one with classics professor Josiah Ober, or this one with biologists and bee experts Olivia Messinger Carril and Joseph Wilson, always provide wonderful behind-the-scenes glimpses of the writing process the origins of our authors’ research.

Today, these university presses share conversations with their own authors:

Temple University Press
Columbia University Press
University of Virginia Press
Beacon Press
University of Illinois Press
Southern Illinois University Press
University Press of Kansas
Oregon State University Press
Liverpool University Press
University of Toronto Press

Introducing a Collection of Essays by Some of Today’s Best Writers and Journalists

From a Swedish hotel made of ice to the enigma of UFOs, from a tragedy on Lake Minnetonka to the gold mine of cyberpornography, The Princeton Reader brings together more than 90 favorite essays by 75 distinguished writers. This collection of nonfiction pieces by journalists who have held the Ferris/McGraw/Robbins professorships at Princeton University offers a feast of ideas, emotions, and experiences–political and personal, light-hearted and comic, serious and controversial–for anyone to dip into, contemplate, and enjoy.

The volume includes a plethora of topics from the environment, terrorism, education, sports, politics, and music to profiles of memorable figures and riveting stories of survival. These important essays reflect the high-quality work found in today’s major newspapers, magazines, broadcast media, and websites.

The book’s contributors include such outstanding writers as:

• Ken Armstrong of the Seattle Times
• Jill Abramson, Jim Dwyer, and Walt Bogdanich of the New York Times
• Evan Thomas of Newsweek
• Joel Achenbach and Marc Fisher of the Washington Post
• Nancy Gibbs of Time
• Jane Mayer, John McPhee, Alex Ross and John Seabrook of the New Yorker
• Alexander Wolff, senior writer at Sports Illustrated
• Michael Dobbs, formerly of Washington Post, now a Cold War historian and author
• Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times‘ Beijing Bureau Chief
• James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post, Pulitzer prize-winner
• Roberta Oster Sachs, formerly ABC, CBS, and NBC news and Emmy Award winner, now University of Richmond School of Law
• Joel Stein, columnist and a regular contributor to Time
• Claudia Roth Pierpont, staff writer at New Yorker
• Greil Marcus, music and culture critic, author, has been a columnist for the New York Times, The Believer

For a complete listing, visit:
http://press.princeton.edu/TOCs/c9322.html

The perfect collection for anyone who enjoys compelling narratives, The Princeton Reader contains a depth and breadth of nonfiction that will inspire, provoke, and endure.

John McPhee’s many books include Annals of the Former World, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. Carol Rigolot is executive director of the Humanities Council at Princeton University.

We invite you to read chapter one online:
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9322.pdf

The Princeton Reader:
Contemporary Essays by Writers and Journalists at Princeton University

Edited by John McPhee & Carol Rigolot