Book Acquired Recently: J. Denny Weaver’s Education with the Grain of the Universe

Weaver, J. Denny, ed. Education with the Grain of the Universe: A Peaceable Vision for the Future of Mennonite Schools, Colleges, and Universities. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2017.

I have an essay in this book about the Canadian Mennonite writer Greg Bechtel’s “Smut Stories” from his book Boundary Problems. My author’s copy came in the mail a few days ago. The book is fascinating because it is a collection of essays by mostly youngish Mennonite Studies scholars from a number of disciplines, including literature, theology, history, and the sciences.  You can purchase a copy here.

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Books Acquired Recently

Lo, Malinda. Adaptation. 2012. New York: Little, Brown, 2013.

I read about this book in an interview that was recently posted on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, and it sounded interesting–most notably because it has “a bisexual protagonist”–so I decided to buy it.

Rohrer, Jane. Life After Death: Poems. Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY: Sheep Meadow Press, 2002.

I have only previously read Rohrer’s work in anthologies. Julia Spicher Kasdorf did a presentation on her at the recent Mennonite/s Writing VIII conference, which made me decide that I need to explore Rohrer’s work more fully.

Both books were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

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Books Acquired Recently

Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1968. New York: Del Rey, 2017.

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. The only Dick I’ve read previously is The Man in the High Castle, which I love, so I’ve been meaning to explore more of his work. Today while I was grocery shopping I happened to be in the aisle where they have a book rack and I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of literature is currently viewed as popular enough to be worth stocking in such a venue. I was not expecting to find anything of interest, but there were two copies of the Blade Runner 2049 tie-in mass market paperback of Dick’s novel. The actual book title is in small print at the top of the cover, and “Blade Runner” is written in large red letters in the middle of the cover and on the spine, which also has the actual title in very small letters. So the book is a fascinating piece of marketing as well as, presumably, literature.

Wiebe, Rudy. Where the Truth Lies: Selected Essays. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2016.

Although this book came out last year, I did not hear about it until Paul Tiessen mentioned it last weekend in his presentation at the Mennonite/s Writing VIII conference. I ordered it immediately and it came in the mail today. It spans his entire career, so should be a rich reading experience.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mennonite/s Writing Edition

This past weekend was the eighth Mennonite/s Writing conference. This year it was held at the University of Winnipeg. As usual, I came back from the conference with a number of new books!

Bergen, David, ed. 9 Mennonite Stories. Winnipeg: Mennonite Literary Society, 2017.

This book, which I got free in lieu of another author’s copy of Tiessen’s book, is the second of the trilogy of anthologies put out by the Mennonite Literary Society this year (Tiessen’s is the third and the first was one of poetry). It isn’t new work, which is a little disappointing, but is still valuable as a kind of “greatest hits” of Mennonite short fiction.

Funk, Carla. Gloryland. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2016.

I won a book of Funk’s poetry in a raffle way back at the 2002 Mennonite/s Writing conference in Goshen, Indiana, and really enjoyed it. I have been meaning to read more of her work ever since, but just have not gotten around to it. I was browsing in McNally Robinson during the tour of Winnipeg that concluded the conference, and came across this recent volume. I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with Funk’s work.

Rempel, Byron. Truth is Naked: All Others Pay Cash. Winnipeg: Great Plains Publications, 2005.

I’ve encountered bits of Rempel’s work in Rhubarb, but have not read any of his books. I came across his memoir while browsing at McNally Robinson and it sounds fascinating.

Tiessen, Hildi Froese, ed. 11 Encounters with Mennonite Fiction. Winnipeg: Mennonite Literary Society, 2017.

This book is a set of essays on various pieces of Mennonite fiction by leading literary critics in the field. I got a free copy because I have a chapter in it. I read through most of it on the plane home yesterday and it’s a thought-provoking book.

Wiebe, Dallas. Monument: Poems on Aging and Dying. Kitchener, ON: Sand Hills Books, 2008.

Tiessen gave me a copy of this book, which was published by her and her husband Paul’s publishing company, because she knows that I love collecting Mennonite literature. I’ve read a lot of Wiebe’s fiction, but none of his poetry, so I look forward to checking it out.

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Books Acquired Recently: Poetry Edition

Keillor, Garrison, ed. Good Poems: American Places. 2011. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.

Kelly, Donika. Bestiary. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2016.

I have been feeling the need to read more poetry lately–it’s one way of coping with the horrible U.S. political situation–and was therefore glad that the poet Donika Kelly was giving a reading at my local Barnes & Noble this past Friday evening. It was exactly what a poetry reading should be: well-attended, with some good poetry delivered by a speaker who is engaging and realizes that making a connection with the audience through their commentary on the poems is just as important as the poems themselves. Kelly was clearly happy that there were a lot of students in attendance, and she did a good job trying to make her work accessible to them.

Before the reading, I did some browsing in the poetry section and came across Keillor’s book. I own and like the first in his series of anthologies, Good Poems, and was excited to find that there is a volume focused specifically on place, which is one of my research interests. I have read about a quarter of it this weekend and have not been disappointed.

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Books Acquired Recently

Amin, Kadji. Disturbing Attachments: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

I got a promotional email about this newly-released book from the publisher and ordered a copy right away. It’s an investigation of queer theory through examining the reception of Jean Genet’s work. I have keen interests in both of these subjects. There is a drawing of a naked man in bondage on the cover, so I know the book will be right down my alley.

Rak, Julie. Boom! Manufacturing Memoir for the Popular Market. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013.

Rak, a life writing scholar, is going to be one of the keynote speakers at the Mennonite/s Writing VIII conference in Winnipeg next week. I bought Boom! in order to get an introduction to her work. I finished it last night and enjoyed it.

I ordered this book directly from amazon.com, and it took them a week and a half to ship it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Fitzpatrick, Cat, and Casey Plett, ed. Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. New York: Topside Press, 2017.

I received a review copy of this book a few months ago and it is a fantastic selection of stories. I ordered a copy of the published book as a way of supporting Topside Press, who publish excellent, necessary trans literature. This is a book that should get taught in queer literature courses for the next few decades (I’ll be assigning it in mine next semester). You can order it here. At $22.95, it is a steal.

Herrera, Juan Felipe. Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008.

Negrón, Luis. Mundo Cruel: Stories. 2010. Trans. Suzanne Jill Levine. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013.

I ordered these two books from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers after reading about them in Michael Dowdy’s article “Ten Must-Read Latino Books” from the September 2017 issue of The Writer’s Chronicle. I haven’t read either author before. I read Negrón’s collection a few nights ago and it is heartbreaking and beautiful. I will be teaching it in my queer literature course as well.

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