Books Acquired Recently

Abramović, Marina. Walk Through Walls: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype, 2016.

Abramović is my favorite artist, and I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it via her Facebook page. I love how she inserts her body into her work, insisting that art is always in some way autobiographical. I am excited to see how she handles the genre of written autobiography. Judging from the dust jacket blurb, the book is more properly spoken of as autobiography rather than as memoir, as its subtitle claims, but memoir is so marketable these days that it is understandable (though not necessarily justifiable) why the publisher would choose to mislabel it.

This and Smith’s book were purchased from amazon.com.

Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed: “The Tempest” Retold. London: Hogarth, 2016.

I recently received this book, which is signed by the author, as a gift. Hogarth has a series of retellings of Shakespeare’s plays by contemporary authors. This is a genre Atwood has worked in before, and I enjoy the writing of hers that I’ve read, so I am optimistic that the book will be an enjoyable one.

Johnson, E. Patrick, ed. No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Johnson’s anthology Black Queer Studies is an essential book in both the queer and African American literary critical canons, and a book that has had a significant impact on me as a scholar. Therefore, when I first heard about No Tea, No Shade, a follow-up collection, I ordered an examination copy from the publisher immediately.

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2016.

I have loved Smith’s fiction since I first read White Teeth in a graduate school course eleven years ago. She is one of a select group of authors whose books I buy immediately without question (Nicholson Baker, Di Brandt, Samuel R. Delany, Don DeLillo [though he might be off the list now because his last book was so poor], Jonathan Safran Foer, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Miriam Toews), and thus I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Lois Braun Edition

Baker, Nicholson. Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2016.

Baker is one of my favorite authors, and when I saw a short review of his latest book in the New Yorker I went out and bought it right away at my local Barnes & Noble (only because there are no independent bookstores nearby). His nonfiction always makes me think, and as an educator I am looking forward to what he has to say about his brief teaching experiences.


I was recently re-reading Douglas Reimer’s book Surplus at the Border on Canadian Mennonite writing, and in the last chapter where he briefly discusses a few lesser-known writers he mentions that Lois Braun’s short stories have some queer themes. I’ve never read any of Braun’s work before, but Reimer’s description of it was intriguing enough that I decided to buy her four short story collections, and they have all arrived over the past few days. I ordered them from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Braun, Lois. The Montreal Cats. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1995.

—. The Penance Drummer and Other Stories. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2007.

—. The Pumpkin-Eaters. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1990.

—. A Stone Watermelon. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1986.

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Books Acquired Recently

Keillor, Garrison. Liberty: A Novel of Lake Wobegon. New York: Viking, 2008.

I enjoy Keillor’s fiction and almost bought this book when it first came out. There have been a number of times in the intervening years when I wished I had bought it, and then yesterday I was browsing in the public library in Old Forge, New York, and they had a book sale of discarded volumes. Liberty was among them, and I purchased it for $1.00. So I was able to both get it for much cheaper than I would have in 2008 and support a good cause as well.

Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals. 1980. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1997.

I love Lorde’s autobiography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, and have been wanting to read more of her nonfiction. The Cancer Journals recently came up in another book that I was reading and I decided it was time to acquire it. I purchased it from amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently

Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina. 1992. New York: Penguin Books, 2016.

I had heard of this novel before, but did not become interested in it until I recently read Ann Cvetkovich’s discussion of it in An Archive of Feelings. I did not realize that Allison is a queer writer, and I look forward to investigating her work.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Here I Am. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

I love Foer’s first two novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and have been awaiting his latest with baited breath. I am terrified that it will not live up to the lofty standards of his previous work, much like how I love Jonathan Franzen’s early work and cannot stand to read a word that he currently writes. We shall see.

Waters, Sarah. Affinity. 1999. New York: Riverhead, 2002.

I love Waters’s work and have read Affinity before, but did not have my own copy. I’m currently writing about another novel, Christina Penner’s Widows of Hamilton House, that also deals with spiritualism, and decided I wanted to read Waters’s novel again.

All three books were purchased from amazon.com. I feel increasingly guilty about my amazon shopping, but I do not live near any good bookstores (because the likes of Barnes & Noble killed them all off, sigh).

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Books Acquired Recently

Lin-Greenberg, Karin. Faulty Predictions. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014.

Lin-Greenberg gave a reading of her short stories at Utica College this afternoon, and I enjoyed it enough that I decided to buy her collection. She seems like a good person and her stories do a great job picking out quirky moments in regular people’s lives, so I look forward to reading the book.

Tarrant, Shira. The Pornography Industry: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

I read a review of this book in the New Yorker a few weeks ago and decided to buy it because it gives an overview of the rapidly-changing pornography industry, which is one of my research interests. It vexes me that even though pornography is a part of so many people’s lives (e.g., the old joke that surveys show that 90% of men look at porn and that 10% of men are liars!) and is a major economic industry very few people take it seriously as an object of public discourse. This needs to change, and I’m glad that such a prestigious publisher as Oxford University Press realizes that fact. I bought the book from one of amazon.com’s independent booksellers.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

I have become very interested in the concept of the archive recently. As part of my reading about it I encountered a citation to Cvetkovich’s book and it sounded interesting, so I decided to buy it. It, along with Kauffman’s and Dangarembga’s books, were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Dangarembga, Tsitsi. The Book of Not. Banbury, UK: Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006.

I recently taught the prequel to this novel, Nervous Conditions, and realized that I had forgotten how good it was. It is good enough that it sequel deserves a read, as well.

Kauffman, Janet. oh corporeal. N.p.: Coldwater Press, 2010.

I have read much more of Kauffman’s fiction than of her poetry. In my slow move toward remedying this state of affairs I decided to buy this chapbook.

Suzanne, Miriam [as Eric M. Suzanne]. Riding Sidesaddle*. Denver: SpringGun Press, 2015.

I just recently found out about Miriam Suzanne, a trans Mennonite author, and bought her novel right away in part because queer Mennonite literature is my primary scholarly interest and in part because it is an unbound book that comes in a box! The reader can read the story in whatever order they choose. In this way it is similar to B.S. Johnson’s novel The Unfortunates (which is one of my favorite books), but even more so because every single page is unbound rather than being bound into chapters. I can’t wait to read it! You can buy it here.

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Books Acquired Recently

Bergen, David. Stranger. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.

David Bergen has been one of my favorite writers since I first encountered his work in college, and I have all of his books. While I have not liked much of his recent work in comparison to how I feel about his early books, he is still someone whose books I buy as soon as I hear about them no matter what. I bought this book from amazon.ca because it has not yet been released in the U.S.

Epstein, Robert. Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku. West Union, WV: Middle Island Press, 2016.

I haven’t been reading much haiku lately, but this book sounded interesting, in part because I am interested in haiku (and poetry in general) about social justice issues. I was able to get it from the author for $12.00, three dollars less than the cover price.

King, Michael A., ed. Stumbling Toward a Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2007.

This book is a collection of essays by prominent Mennonites on homosexuality, which is still sadly seen as a theological issue by many Christians. I thought it would be worth reading since my primary research interest is queer Mennonite literature and it is helpful to know what the discourse around the topic is in the broader Mennonite community, but I must admit that even looking at some of the names in the Table of Contents makes my blood boil. I acquired it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

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