Books Acquired Recently

Ahmed, Sara. Living a Feminist Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Duke University Press, purveyors of a plethora of significant queer texts, were having a summer sale, so I got this and Sedgwick’s book for fifty percent off. I’ve been thinking about buying Ahmed’s book on and off since it came out a few months ago, and the sale made it the right time to do so.

Eggers, Dave. The Circle. 2013. New York: Vintage Books, 2014.

I was given this book as a gift by a friend after we saw the film version together last week. I enjoyed the film, and also enjoyed the book (the film is generally a good adaptation, but with a very different ending), which I finished a few days ago. However, I think I would have liked the book less if I had read it first, and I’m not sure how to feel about that. Normally the book is always better than the movie, but in this case it might be the other way around. Also, the dystopia that Eggers tries to portray in the book sounds like paradise in comparison to the U.S.’s current political reality.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

Sedgwick is one of the most important figures in the development of both queer theory and affect theory. Touching Feeling keeps getting cited in my recent reading of queer theory as a part of my current writing project, so I thought I should go ahead and read it myself.

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Books Acquired Recently

I have had a flurry of book acquiring this past week. I had several people recommend books to me that I ordered and received, and then yesterday I visited the excellent bookshop Dove & Hudson Old Books in Albany for the first time (unfortunately the store does not have a website), where I bought a few more.

Anker, Elizabeth S., and Rita Felski, ed. Critique and Postcritique. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

I ordered an exam copy of this essay collection from the publisher because, as its blurb claims, it “outlines the state of contemporary literary criticism,” a field that is obviously important to me as an English professor. I certainly feel like there is much less attention actually paid to literature these days in literary criticism than there should be, thus I look forward to seeing what the contributors have to say on the subject.

Hall, Donald. Old and New Poems. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1990.

I enjoy Hall’s prose and generally enjoy the poems of his that I have come across in various anthologies, though I dislike the devotion to form in his early work. My first encounter with his writing was when he gave a reading on campus my first year of college before I knew who he was or was interested in poetry. I enjoyed the reading, but did not think it remarkable at the time. Ever since I got into poetry about two years later I have regretted not buying one of his books and getting it signed. I bought this collection of selected poems from Dove & Hudson for $4.50, a steal.

Harrison, Kathryn. The Kiss: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1997.

A colleague recommended this memoir to me. I recall reading a review of it in either Newsweek or Time when it first came out (my mother would switch between the two publications, so it was whichever one she was subscribing to at the time) and being scandalized that it involved incest. I read it earlier this week in one sitting. It is a beautifully-written book. I purchased it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Highsmith, Patricia. Carol. 1952. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015.

This book, also known as The Price of Salt, is a lesbian pulp classic that I have been meaning to read for quite a while. I found a like-new copy at Dove & Hudson for only $4.00!

Proust, Marcel. Remembrance of Things Past. 1913-1927. Trans. C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. 3 vols. New York: Random House, 1981.

I first saw this boxed set of Proust on a neighbor’s shelf in 2004 and the image has stuck with me because of the beauty of the set and how serious it looks. Each volume is about 1100 pages long, bound in black cloth. Though I love the genre of the novel and thus should read Remembrance of Things Past, one of the genre’s most significant texts, I was never sure whether I would because it is a big commitment to spend time reading 3300 pages of something that is not in my field of study, American literature. But when I saw this set in good condition sitting on the shelf at Dove & Hudson for only $25.00 (I probably would have been willing to pay twice that much, in part because I believe in supporting independent bookstores) I had to have it, which means that I will be reading Proust this summer. If I get through fifty pages a day it will take me about two months.

Quiñonez, Ernesto. Bodega Dreams. New York: Vintage, 2000.

I had this novel recommended to me by Ben Garcia, who gave a poetry reading at Utica College this past Wednesday. It takes place in New York City, my favorite locale for literature. I bought it on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mast, Carrie A., and Gerald J. Mast, ed. Human Sexuality in Biblical Perspective: A Study Guide. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2016.

I bought this book because I am slowly working on a book about queer Mennonite literature, and while the book has a literary focus rather than a theological one, it is also important for me to be aware of the current state of theological Mennonite discussions about sexuality. Cascadia has published several books on this issue over the years and they have generally been thought-provoking, so I look forward to reading this text.

Samatar, Sofia. Tender: Stories. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2017.

Samatar is one of the most prolific of the younger generation of Mennonite writers. I enjoyed her two novels (especially her second, The Winged Histories), and was delighted when I heard that she was coming out with a book of short stories. I pre-ordered it from amazon.com (where I also got the Masts’ book) and it arrived a few days ago.

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Books Acquired Recently

Friesen, Bernice. The Seasons Are Horses. Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1995.

Friesen is one of Rhubarb‘s editors and I thought it would be helpful to check her own work out. I decided to buy her first book, a collection of interrelated short stories.

Keefe-Perry, L. Callid. Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.

Since college I have been interested in the intersection between literature and theology, and in recent years many Mennonite writers have been examining how the field of theopoetics is a helpful tool for analyzing this intersection. I encounter references to this field enough that I thought it would make sense for me to do some of my own reading on the subject.

Both books were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

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Books Acquired Recently

Flowers, Stephen E., and Crystal Dawn Flowers. Carnal Alchemy: Sado-Magical Techniques for Pleasure, Pain, and Self-Transformation. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2013.

I encountered a reference to another book about the intersection between BDSM and spirituality in Ariane Cruz’s (no relation) excellent book The Color of Kink, and while reading about it online came across the Flowers’s book. Theirs sounded more interesting than the other one, so it is the one I ordered.

This and Serano’s book were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Foster, Clarise, ed. “Mennonite Poets.” Special issue of Rhubarb 40 (2017).

Although I normally do not document journal issues that I acquire, I am making an exception in this case because it is the first anthology of Mennonite poetry since Ann Hostetler’s 2003 A Capella. It has the potential to become a significant text in the field of Mennonite literature as the field continues to balance the importance of “first generation” authors who began publishing in the 1980s and 1990s and the younger “second generation” whose work has appeared in the past decade.  Foster’s anthology is also fascinating because she herself is not a Mennonite, so it is interesting that Rhubarb (the journal of the Mennonite Literary Society) chose to get this outsider perspective on the field.

Lewis, Sinclair. It Can’t Happen Here. 1935. New York: New American Library, 2005.

I came across this book while browsing at the Norfolk, Virginia, airport’s newsstand earlier this week. I had just finished reading Paula Rabinowitz’s book American Pulp and was thinking about how books used to be sold in many more places than they are today. This put me in the mood to buy a book to keep the tradition of buying something to read while one is traveling alive. I chose Lewis’s book because when I found out that it is about a Fascist regime taking over the United States I thought to myself that the way the current administration is going such books will not be legal for long.

Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2016.

I have been writing about trans fiction lately and have been feeling the need for more trans theory to help guide my thinking, so I decided to order the new version of Serano’s classic text.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Birthday Edition

My birthday is this week and I have already received several books as gifts. There is no gift better!

Brady, Frank. Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall–from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2012.

I am a recovering chess addict who has always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer, the greatest American chess player ever. Brady’s first biography of Fischer, Profile of a Prodigy, is one of my favorite books ever, and I look forward to reading this sequel.

Castro, Jennifer, ed. All You Need is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology. Elkhart, IN: Mennonite Church USA, 2016.

I am friends with several of the contributors to this book, which collects essays from the 2014 Women Doing Theology conference. Mennonite theology needs all the help it can get from those on the margins, thus I am excited to see what ideas the book’s writers have to offer.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Haunted. 2005. New York: Anchor Books, 2006.

This is one of the few Palahniuk books that I have not read. His books are either brilliant or terrible.

Shigekuni, Julie. Unending Nora. Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2008.

Shigekuni gave a reading earlier this week at the local Barnes & Noble. She was very personable and chatted at length with the students present after the reading. I decided to buy this novel rather than a more recent one because a colleague told me that it involves autoerotic asphyxiation and I am always looking for new fictional representations of kink.

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Books Acquired Recently

Clare, Eli. Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Clare’s book Exile and Pride is an essential disabilities studies text, and when I saw that his new book had come out I ordered it immediately.

Cunningham, Agnes, and Gordon Friesen. Red Dust and Broadsides: A Joint Autobiography. Edited by Ronald D. Cohen. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.

Friesen wrote the first important Mennonite novel in the U.S., Flamethrowers, and then fell off of the literary map until some relatively recent scholarly efforts to examine his work. I just found out that he co-wrote this autobiography with his wife, who was an important folk singer. My obsession with Mennonite literature compelled me to buy it right away.

Halberstam, J. Jack [as Judith Halberstam]. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

I enjoyed Halberstam’s book The Queer Art of Failure and frequently encounter citations of In a Queer Time and Place, so I thought I should finally buy it and read it for myself.

Lowrey, Sassafras. A Little Queermas Carol. Brooklyn, NY: PoMo Freakshow Press, 2016.

—. Roving Pack. Brooklyn, NY: PoMo Freakshow Press, 2012.

I immediately ordered all of Lowrey’s fiction after seeing hir read at AWP a few weeks ago. I loved hir novel Lost Boi, a BDSM retelling of Peter Pan, and I’ve already read and enjoyed A Little Queermas Carol, which is a BDSM retelling of A Christmas Carol.

McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

I received this book as a Valentine’s Day gift. I have heard of McInerney, but never read any of his work, so I look forward to experiencing it.

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