Books Acquired Recently

The problem with reading a lot like I do is that my reading suggests other books to me, whether directly via citations or indirectly via discovering new authors that I like, and of course I have to buy them! Those in this latest batch all fit within my two primary fields of study, queer literature and Mennonite literature. All of the books were purchased from amazon.com. I realize that I need to work to shop less with amazon, but it is difficult because they have the best selection and often the best prices, especially when one includes shipping costs. People tend to forget how difficult it used to be to find non-mainstream books (which is basically all I read these days) in bookstores or libraries before online shopping. My life would be so completely different in a negative way if I had been born ten years earlier because of how the books I’ve been able to buy online have affected all aspects of my life, and I just would not have had access to most of them otherwise.

Allison, Dorothy. Trash: Stories. 1988. New York: Plume, 2002.

—. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. 1995. New York: Penguin Books, 2017.

I recently read Allison’s book of essays Skin and absolutely loved it, so I decided that I need to read more of her work.

Brandt, Di. Glitter and Fall: Laozi’s “Dao De Jing” Transinhalations. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2018.

Brandt is one of my favorite poets (she’s the one Mennonite in this post) and has not published a new book in nearly a decade, so I am very excited to read these translations of the Dao, which is a text that I also have some interest in.

Martínez, Ernesto Javier. On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.

This book is right at the intersection of the queer/ethnic focus of my research.

Meneghetti, Monica. What the Mouth Wants: A Memoir of Food, Love and Belonging. Halfmoon Bay, BC: Dagger Editions, 2017.

I recently heard about this queer memoir and decided to buy it because food writing is another genre that I have also been exploring of late.

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Books Acquired Recently: Getting Paid Edition

I decided to spend some of the money I received for my recent New York Times article on a variety of books, some that I’ve been interested in for a while but have not gotten around to, a few that have recently been recommended to me, and a few that have recently been published by friends. Aside from Reed’s book, which I purchased from the publisher, I bought all of them from amazon.com.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 4th ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2012.

Baker, Nicholson. Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization. 2008. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Broder, Melissa. The Pisces. London: Hogarth, 2018.

Dearinger, Amber, ed. The Heart of Aces. Manteca, CA: Good Mourning Publishing, 2012.

Esquibel, Catrióna Rueda. With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

Fernandes, Fabio, and Djibril al-Ayad, eds. We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology. N.p.: Futurefire.net Publishing, 2013.

Hamilton, Jane Eaton. Weekend. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016.

Janzen, Rebecca. Liminal Sovereignty: Mennonites and Mormons in Mexican Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018.

Kaldera, Raven. Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM and the Ordeal Path. Hubbardston, MA: Asphodel Press, 2006.

Lemus, Felicia Luna. Like Son. New York: Akashic Books, 2007.

Reed, Ken Yoder. Both My Sons. Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press, 2016.

Ruti, Mari. The Ethics of Opting Out: Queer Theory’s Defiant Subjects. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

Shipley, Ely. Some Animal. New York: Nightboat Books, 2018.

Zimmerman, Diana R. Marry a Mennonite Boy and Make Pie. Newton, KS: Workplay Publishing, 2018.

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Books Acquired Recently: Ithaca Book Sale Edition

Today I attended the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library Book Sale in Ithaca, New York, for the first time. It is a huge semi-annual used book sale with ridiculously low prices (most of the books I bought–both hard- and softcover–were $0.25, and the mass market paperbacks [Amis, Knowles, and Zelazny] were $0.10, so eleven books for $2.30 plus tax). It was quite well attended by both adults and children, so much so that at times it was difficult to maneuver through the aisles, kind of like the Strand used to be before they renovated it about ten years ago.

My esoteric tastes combined with my already sizable library mean that used bookstores/used book sales are generally hit-or-miss experiences, so I was pleasantly surprised about how many books I found to buy. Some I bought because of the price, and some (the queer ones and some of the poetry) I would have happily paid much more for. I was also somewhat depressed thinking about all of the former owners of these books, wondering what happened to them to cause them to get rid of these books, and how a lot of them are probably dead. I also thought about what it would be like to be an author and to find one of your books for sale for such a low price. Both lines of thought are terrifying if you think about them too much.

Allison, Dorothy. Skin: Talking About Sex, Class & Literature. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1994.

I’ve encountered intriguing references to this collection of personal essays before, and was excited to find a copy of it.

Amis, Kingsley. One Fat Englishman. 1963. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1966.

How could I not buy a Penguin paperback with this title?

Berg, Stephen, and Robert Mezey, eds. Naked Poetry: Recent American Poetry in Open Forms. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969.

As I have written here before, I am obsessed with poetry anthologies. I have the sequel to this seminal (my gendered word choice is intentional: Denise Levertov and Sylvia Plath are the only women included) anthology, The New Naked Poetry, and was happy to find a first edition of its predecessor, albeit without a dust jacket.

Forest, Katherine V. Curious Wine. 1983. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, 1993.

I was very happy to discover that the book sale had an entire section of lesbian fiction (though not a corresponding gay fiction section) marked as such. There was an entire shelf of Naiad Press (R.I.P.) editions and I was tempted to buy the whole thing but thought it was important to leave them for others who might also be interested because I know I wouldn’t have time to read them all before the next book sale in May. So maybe I’ll buy them then if they are still around. But I decided to pick up Forest’s classic that, as its back cover says, had over 100,00 copies in print at the time this tenth anniversary edition was published.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

I enjoy Goodwin’s interviews in Ken Burns’s Baseball documentary and thus decided to buy her memoir about the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. In the documentary she identifies herself as now being a Red Sox fan, a switch which is a) justifiable because when a team abandons their city is perfectly acceptable for their fans to abandon them, and b) one that has paid dividends over the past 15 years. I wonder how she felt when the Dodgers and Red Sox met in the World Series two years ago, and how she feels about their matchup again this year?

Inés de la Cruz, Sor Juana. Selected Works. Trans. Edith Grossman. New York: W.W. Norton, 2014.

This book is in basically new condition, a complete steal!

Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. 1959. New York: Dell, 1961.

I thought to myself, “I’ve enjoyed the previous Knowles novels I’ve read, so of course I’ll pick up this pulp paperback (original price $0.50) that is in lovely condition.” Then I got home and realized I was thinking of John Fowles! So we’ll see what I think of Knowles.

Millet, Catherine. The Sexual Life of Catherine M. Trans. Adriana Hunter. New York: Grove Press, 2002.

I remember reading a review of this book when it first came out in English, and have encountered references to it here and there in the years since, so I was happy to find a copy of the hardcover in very good condition.

Schulman, Sarah. People in Trouble. 1990. New York: Plume, 1991.

Another find from the lesbian fiction section.

Strand, Mark, ed. The Contemporary American Poets: American Poetry Since 1940. New York: Meridian Books, 1969.

See my comments about being obsessed with poetry anthologies above. It’s always fascinating to see which poets have lasted and which ones have not.

Zelazny, Roger. Lord of Light. 1967. New York: Avon Books, 1969.

I’ve been wanting to broaden my reading of speculative fiction and found a copy of this Hugo Award-winning book in excellent condition. One of my favorite authors, Samuel R. Delany, speaks highly of Zelazny, so I am excited to encounter his work for the first time.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Alvarado, Leticia. Abject Performances: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

I am beginning to work more with Latinx literature in my scholarship, and thus have been working to build my library of criticism and theory in the field. This book looks relevant to that task, so I bought it directly from the publisher.

Hughes, Langston. I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey. 1956. New York: Hill and Wang, 1964.

A colleague gave me this and the Hughes and Bontemps anthology because she was de-accessioning some books and knows that I am interested in African American literature. I was very happy to receive them, partly because I love preserving old books and partly because, in the case of I Wonder as I Wander I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time and in the case of the anthology I am obsessed with poetry anthologies. The autobiography is stamped “The African-Caribbean Bookstore, 2319 E. 71st Street, Chicago, IL, 60649, (312) 288-0880” (which is apparently no longer in existence according to a quick Google search) and the anthology is inscribed “P.S. Kipp, Feb. 1963.”

Hughes, Langston, and Arna Bontemps, eds. The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1949: A Definitive Anthology. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1949.

This anthology, which is in excellent condition, was ahead of its time in that it includes poetry from all over the world rather than just from the U.S. Unfortunately, only one poet from Africa is included, which indicates just how unexplored African literature was at the time, but there are numerous poets from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kitano, Christine. Birds of Paradise. Spokane, WA: Lynx House Press, 2011.

Kitano gave a poetry reading at Utica College last week, and I decided to buy her first collection because she said it has a lot of poems about ghosts, and it was the third time in less than a week that ghosts had come up for me, which felt significant because of the rule of threes. I had dinner with her and her husband after the reading and she seems like quite a nice person.

Morales, Ed. Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture. London: Verso, 2018.

I received a promotional email about this book several weeks ago and ordered an exam copy immediately. It came in the mail at the end of last week and I hope to begin reading it later today.

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Books Acquired Recently: Albany Book Festival

Yesterday I went to the first Albany Book Festival. It was an enjoyable event with a mix of panels, author signings, and authors selling their books, many at reduced prices. I ended up spending about $85.00 total for the seven books I acquired, so about $12.00 per book, which is not bad. I had heard of Whitehead, Ostriker, and Dentz before (and was able to have them sign their books), and discovered the other authors as a result of the event. Parks’s and Whitehead’s books are fiction, Dentz’s is a mixed-genre memoir, and the rest are poetry.

Amador, Nico. Flower Wars. Austin, TX: Newfound, 2017.

Dentz, Shira. door of thin skins. Fort Lee, NJ: CavanKerry Press, 2013.

Gette, M.J. The Walls They Left Us. Austin, TX: Newfound, 2016.

Lynch, Michael. Underlife and Portico. Boston: Aforementioned Productions, 2013.

Ostriker, Alicia Suskin. Waiting for the Light. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.

Parks, Robin. Egg Heaven: Stories. Albany, NY: Shade Mountain Press, 2014.

Whitehead, Colson. Zone One. 2011. New York: Anchor Books, 2012.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cuevas, T. Jackie. Post-Borderlandia: Chicana Literature and Gender Variant Critique. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018.

I just heard about this book, which is at an intersection (queer+Latinx) I am beginning to explore in my work, so I decided to buy it. I acquired it, Maurensig’s, and Shapiro’s books from amazon.com.

Maurensig, Paolo. Theory of Shadows. 2015. Translated by Anne Milano Appel. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.

I greatly enjoyed Maurensig’s 1993 chess-themed novel The Lüneburg Variation when I read it about a decade ago, thus when I heard he had published another novel on the game I put it on my list.

Shapiro, Laura. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women & the Food That Tells Their Stories. 2017. New York: Penguin Books, 2018.

I assign a food essay in my first-year composition course, and am always looking for good food-related books to read alongside it. I received a promotional email about Shapiro’s book from the publisher and decided to buy an examination copy for $3.00 to see whether it might be worth teaching.

Shawl, Nisi. Everfair. 2016. New York: Tor, 2017.

Shawl is an author I have been wanting to read as part of my continuing exploration of speculative fiction by people of color. Everfair was recommended to me as a good place to start.

Toews, Miriam. Women Talking. Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2018.

I bought Toews’s newest novel as soon as it was published. It won’t be out in the U.S. until next year, so I had to order the Canadian edition from amazon.ca. I read it as soon as I received it and it is amazing, powerful, an absolute must-read.

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My Article in the New York Times

About a month ago I was contacted by an editor from the New York Times who asked whether I would be interested in writing an article to accompany a photo essay about Mennonites in Belize. I said yes, and the article was published today. You can read it here.

Aside from several pieces in the Goshen College Record when I was in college, this is the first time I have written for a newspaper, and it was an interesting experience. I had to think about a very different kind of question when writing for a general audience than when writing for a scholarly one. It is also fascinating to me that the online headline, “A Simple Life,” is different from the one in the print edition, “Mennonites in Belize.” I am grateful to have had this opportunity to grow as a writer.

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