Books Acquired Recently

Castillo, Ana. Give It To Me. New York: Feminist, 2014.

I read the first draft of this book when Castillo and I were colleagues at Westminster College for a semester and loved it. It is sexy, humorous, and scandalous. I bought it as soon as I found out it had been released.

This, Plett’s, and Samatar’s books were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Hanh, Thich Nhat. You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment. Boston: Shambhala, 2010.

I have been struggling to stay in the present recently and was feeling the need for some guidance about how to do so. I came across this book in the “Eastern Religions” section of my local Barnes & Noble and decided to buy it in part because it sounded like what I was looking for and in part because I have had a number of friends recommend Hanh’s writing to me. I have read the first few chapters, which have been fantastic.

Larkin, Philip. Collected Poems. Ed. Anthony Thwaite. New York: Farrar, 2004.

I’ve been meaning to read Larkin for quite some time, and have not read any poetry for a while, so earlier this week when I was in the campus bookstore checking to see whether the books for my courses had come in and I saw that one of my colleagues has assigned this book for one of his courses I bought it.

Pashley, Jennifer. The Conjurer. Syracuse: Standing Stone, 2013.

I received this as a belated holiday gift. I really enjoyed Pashley’s other collection of stories, States, so I am eager to read this one.

Plett, Casey. A Safe Girl To Love. New York: Topside, 2014.

I was super-excited to buy this book, as I have read and enjoyed several of Plett’s short stories. I read through it in one sitting last night. It is excellent writing, though emotionally draining (which are not necessarily mutually exclusive characteristics).

Samatar, Sofia. A Stranger in Olondria: Being the Complete Memoirs of the Mystic, Jevick of Tyom. Easthampton: Small Beer, 2013.

I recently heard about this book via my alma mater Goshen College’s alumni magazine. Samatar is also a Goshen grad. Very little Mennonite literature (Goshen is a Mennonite school and Samatar was raised Mennonite) is written in the fantasy genre, so this is an important addition to the field.

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Books Acquired Recently: Desk Copy Edition

I already had the most recent editions (and thus the ones that are in print that the campus bookstore can order for students) of most of the books that I’ll be teaching this semester. The Harper and Larsen are for an African American literature course, and the Whitehead is for a Literature of New York course.

Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins. Minnie’s Sacrifice. c. 1868. N.p.: Kessinger, 2004.

Larsen, Nella. Passing. 1929. New York: Penguin, 2003.

As always, Penguin paperbacks are the best!

Whitehead, Colson. Sag Harbor. 2009. New York: Anchor, 2010.

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I’ve acquired a number of books over the past few weeks. Most of them (the ones without their provenance listed) have been gifts, though a few I’ve bought for gifts to myself to read over the semester break.

Ballard, J.G. Cocaine Nights. 1996. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1998.

Ballard is an author that I love to read in my spare time because of his fiction’s cynical view of society, which I tend to share. I’ve never attempted a systematic investigation of his oeuvre (which is rare for authors that I enjoy as much as I enjoy him), but I buy one of his books every once in a while when I come across them and am never disappointed.

This and the books by Cha, Rechy, Rhys, and Walker were acquired with a gift certificate that I received to DogStar Books in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung. Dictee. 1982. Berkeley: U of California P, 2001.

I remember reading about this book, which is classified as poetry, in a book about postmodern fiction at some point. It has all sorts of visual elements–photographs, facsimiles of handwriting, drawings–that I love in text-based books. My knowledge of Asian American literature is also lacking, so I am excited to read it.

Keogh, Theodora. Street Music. 1952. N.p.: Olympia, 2009.

I love Keogh’s fiction because of its subtle queer bent, but haven’t had the time to read any of her novels in a while, thus I was glad to receive this as a gift.

Kuper, Simon. Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe’s Darkest Hour. New York: Nation, 2012.

Growing up in the 1990s as a soccer fan in the U.S. I always felt the lack of available books on soccer history (and especially European soccer history) keenly. I am happy that with the sport’s recent rise in popularity here this lacuna is being filled.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Rev. ed. New York: TCG, 2013.

Angels in America is my favorite play, and I teach it often. I just recently discovered that a revised edition has been published, which, frankly, worries me (what if Kushner’s meddling with the play is along the lines of George Lucas’s with Star Wars?). However, it is an essential enough text that reading the new version at least once is a necessity.

This and Miller’s Eyes at the Window were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Mass, AJ. Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots. New York: Rodale, 2014.

Mass used to be Mr. Met. I read an excerpt of this memoir when it came out a few months ago and enjoyed it, so decided to put it on my wish list.

Miller, Evie Yoder. Everyday Mercies. Milton: Big Girl, 2014.

I’ve been asked to review this novel for Mennonite Quarterly Review. I had heard of Miller, but have not read any of her fiction before. It is good to see more Mennonite writers from the U.S. working in the genre.

—. Eyes at the Window. Intercourse: Good, 2003.

I bought this book to read to get a sense of Miller’s work before I read Everyday Mercies.

Rechy, John. Bodies and Souls. New York: Carroll, 1983.

I have enjoyed the couple of Rechy’s novels that I have read, and he is a foundational queer Latino writer, so I was excited to buy this book when I found it in my browsing at DogStar.

Rhys, Jean. Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels. New York: Norton, 1985.

I have been wanting this volume since 2005 when I saw a graduate school classmate’s copy during a discussion of Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. I have looked for it in used bookstores since then and was thrilled to finally find a copy. I have grown a fondness for twentieth century female British-ish writers (Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, etc.) over the past year or so, and look forward to reading Rhys’s corpus as a furthering of this interest.

Walker, Alice. In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women. San Diego: Harcourt, 1973.

I wrote about this excellent book in my dissertation, but did not actually own a copy. I’ve been looking for it in used bookstores recently and was happy to find a copy in very good condition for only $4.00.

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Book Acquired Recently: Jennifer Pashley’s States

Pashley, Jennifer. States. Lewiston: Lewis-Clark, 2007.

Pashley gave a reading of her fiction at Utica College last week, and it was one of those experiences where literature provided exactly the message I needed to hear at the time. I am always amazed and grateful when this happens. The reading was powerful enough that I was happy to buy her first book of short stories.

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Books Acquired Recently

Davis, James L. Legendary Locals of Greater Utica. Charleston: Arcadia, 2013.

I am still relatively new to Utica, and thus continue to seek out books about it to help orient me to the area. I’ve read some of Davis’s work on the city before and appreciated it, thus decided to buy this book. It will be a helpful resource for learning about the city’s personalities rather than its geography, which I am becoming more and more familiar with.

This and the Toews novel were acquired from amazon.com.

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2014.

I read a review of this book in the New Yorker and it sounded fascinating, so I ordered it from abebooks.com. It’s a book-length poem about continuing instances of racism in America. I’ve already read it, and it was fantastic. I had never encountered Rankine’s work before, but I would now recommend it to anyone.

Toews, Miriam. All My Puny Sorrows. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2014.

Toews is one of my favorite authors, and I am very excited to read her new novel. I’ve heard very good things about it, and normally wouldn’t have waited several months to acquire it, but the U.S. edition just came out and I was too lazy to try and track down a copy of the Canadian edition online.

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Book Acquired Recently: Rudy Wiebe’s Come Back

Wiebe, Rudy. Come Back. Toronto: Knopf, 2014.

Rudy Wiebe has been an important author in my life, and of course he is one of the most influential Mennonite writers ever, so when his new novel came out I was eager to purchase it. It hasn’t been published in the U.S. yet, but I was able to find a copy of the Canadian edition on amazon.com. Wiebe is at an age where one must wonder whether each new book will be his last, but it is gratifying to see him still working.

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Books Acquired Recently

The Laurel Poetry Series.

The Laurel Poetry Series.

Blake, William. Blake. Ed. Ruthven Todd. New York: Dell, 1960.

Browning, Robert. Browning. Ed. Reed Whittemore. New York: Dell, 1960.

Herbert, George. Herbert. Ed. Dudley Fitts. New York: Dell, 1962.

Herrick, Robert. Herrick. Ed. William Jay Smith. New York: Dell, 1962.

Jonson, Ben. Ben Jonson. Ed. John Hollander. New York: Dell, 1961.

Keats, John. Keats. Ed. Howard Moss. New York: Dell, 1959.

Marvell, Andrew. Marvell. Ed. Joseph H. Summers. New York: Dell, 1961.

Whitman, Walt. Whitman. Ed. Leslie A. Fiedler. New York: Dell, 1959.

I was at the grocery store yesterday, and they were having a used book sale to benefit a local charity. A set of books that was rubber-banded together immediately caught my eye because the cover of the top volume was clearly an illustration of Walt Whitman, one of my favorite writers. The books turned out to be selections from the Laurel Poetry Series. The set only cost $1.00, so I bought it because the books are so aesthetically pleasing. It was definitely an instance of appreciating books-as-furniture. While I enjoy the work of Whitman, Blake, and Herrick, I’m not sure if I will actually read any of the books, but they deserve a good home, which I will give them. They are all in very good condition despite being from the 1960s. Several volumes have a stamp on the first page that reads “Dave Harralson English Department,” and a Google search quickly turned up a Dave Harralson who worked at Utica College (which is where I currently teach), so their provenance is established.

Waters, Sarah. The Paying Guests. New York: Riverhead, 2014.

The New Yorker had a brief review of Waters’s latest novel last week, and I bought it (on amazon.com) immediately, as she is one of my favorite writers. It is nearly 600 pages long, but I hope to find time to read it soon.

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