Give Books: Staff Recommendations

Give Books—Staff Gift Recommendations

The giving season is upon us and we like to give books. We know that book recommendations are always welcome, so we asked our staff, “What book published by the University of Texas Press are you planning to give as a gift this year?” But we didn’t stop there. We also asked, “What book published by another university press is on your wishlist?”

Our colleagues answered and we’re delighted to share a variety of university press reads that would make great gifts. Each UT Press gift book is paired with another #ReadUP title and has a theme, a vibe! We hope y’all enjoy these pairings and get some great gift book ideas to support university publishing this holiday season.


We have a holiday sale! Use the discount code UTXGIFTS during checkout for 40% off any book.

Gift Theme: Changing Cities

Gift BookMaking Plans: How to Engage with Landscape, Design, and the Urban Environment by Frederick R. Steiner

Wishlist: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona (University of California Press)

“These books are a small ray of hope showing how we can help make our cities more sustainable for an uncertain future.”

Andrea Blatz, Acquisitions and Rights & Permissions Fellow

Gift Theme: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Gift BookFriday Night Lives: Photos from the Town, the Team, and After by Robert Clark and Earl Campbell: Yards after Contact by Asher Price

Wishlist: Tony Romo: A Texas Sports Hero by Jorge Iber, illustrated by Connie Noble (Texas Tech University Press)

“Gridiron glory and nostalgia is the theme of my gift giving this year and we’ve got some outstanding reads that pull back the curtain and reveal the people that made it happen on the field and off it. There’s also a great YA bio of Cowboys LEGEND Tony Romo from Texas Tech University Press (Horns up, Guns down! 🤘) I wish we had put out. Grab one or all three and give your friends and family something to root for!”

—Uriel Pérez, Advertising and Exhibits Coordinator

Gift Theme: Sense of Place

Gift Book: Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas by Stephen Harrigan

Wishlist: Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna by Billy Wilder (Princeton University Press)

“I like to give books about places and worlds I want to share with people, be they literary or physical or both, like Texas.”

—Courtney Thomas, Marketing and Editorial, Design & Production Fellow

Gift Theme: Memories/Memoirs

Gift Book: I’ve Had to Think Up a Way to Survive: On Trauma, Persistence, and Dolly Parton by Lynn Melnick

Wishlist: The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, and Piper Kendrix Williams (University of Wisconsin Press)

“I’m a voracious reader of memoirs, since there’s nothing as intriguing or captivating as getting a peek into the lives of others.”

—Lynne Ferguson, Senior Manuscript Editor

Gift Theme: New Americana Music

Gift Book: Maybe We’ll Make It: A Memoir by Margo Price

Wishlist: Americana Portrait Sessions by Jeff Fasano (Vanderbilt University Press)

“Margo Price is phenomenal, and she’s fearlessly pushing the boundaries of country music and Americana. Vanderbilt’s new photography book features Margo Price as well as other artists like Sheryl Crow, Rhiannon Giddens, Lucinda Williams, and others that embody the breadth of the genre.”

—Gianna LaMorte, Assistant Director, Marketing & Sales Manager

Gift Theme: Texas, and the only other legitimate state

Gift Book: How to Be a Texan: The Manual by Andrea Valdez

Wishlist: Bourbon 101 by Albert W.A. Schmid (University Press of Kentucky)

“Andrea Valdez’s book is a great guidebook to Texan activities and provides background for some classic Lone Star lore. When I moved here from my home state, it was invaluable to learning Texan customs and culture! As a committed Kentuckian, I’ve written several books about my favorite state. For gifting this year, I’d recommend Bourbon 101—the Texans haven’t quite learned about great bourbon (yet) and Albert W.A. Schmid’s book is an excellent primer (until my own new book on how to be a Kentuckian comes out!)”

—Cameron M. Ludwick, Assistant Marketing Manager, Publicity and Communications Manager

Gift Theme: “Woahhhh” Moments in Music

Gift Book: Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary by Sasha Geffen

Wishlist: Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City by Shanté Paradigm Smalls (New York University Press)

“We have so many books that deepen and expand how we listen to music, and Sasha Geffen’s book introduced concepts that I still think about from time to time. Plus, the book’s playlist is phenomenal! I’m interested in reading queerness into the music that I’ve been listening to for a long time, so this book on New York hip hop scenes promises to make me appreciate those sounds in new and exciting ways.”

Bailey Morrison, Website Content Manager, Social Media Strategist and Direct Promotions Manager