Welcome to our new monthly post. Each month Yale University Press London staff members will recommend their favourite Yale titles on a different theme. This month the theme is summer reads.
August’s Staff Pick: Blooming Flowers by Kasia Boddy
Production Executive, Percie Edgeler recommends Blooming Flowers as your perfect summer read.
“Blooming Flowers really interestingly pulls on different parts of literature. songs and art to build a picture of flowers in popular culture. Particularly relevant now while many people are working from home and getting into gardening, as we often pick our gardens without knowing much about why, or being able to articulate what it is that interests us so much about certain plants.
Kasia is lovely and I helped her choose the artwork for this. Together we choose between a variety of Tiffany lamps and Russian propaganda postcards – places where the flowers discussed appear that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. It’s surprising how much the subjects come up across so many different cultures, transcending many societal boundaries.
Kasia also touches on this, particularly in the daffodil chapter – where she discussed much of the colonialised African school reading material touching on daffodils when they don’t grow there – and how Kew’s cotton involvement contributed to the slave trade. I think we sometimes risk being eurocentric in our history, but this book actively avoids doing so.”
Senior Commissioning Editor, Joanna Godfrey recommends Culture in Nazi Germany.
“I’m currently reading Michael Kater’s Culture in Nazi Germany – not the most cheerful of summer reads but a fascinating look into the ways in which the arts interacted with politics in Hitler’s Germany. Kater covers all aspects of the arts – from music to theatre to film to fine art – and paints a vivid picture of the myriad ways a totalitarian state can use culture to disseminate propaganda.”
Academic Marketing Manager, James Williams recommends Mescaline.
“A slice of psychedelia for the summer. I started reading Mike Jay’s book during a break at the New Scientist Live exhibition last year where it was one of the bestsellers on the Yale stand. The book is a fascinating history of Mescaline, the first psychedelic drug with an excellent cast of characters including Aldous Huxley and Hunter S. Thompson. The cover is fantastic too.”