Books Acquired Recently

Over the past few weeks I’ve acquired several books with holiday money that I received.

Brackett, Leigh. The Long Tomorrow. 1955. Rockville, MD: Phoenix Pick, n.d.

I first heard about this science fiction classic several years ago because it has Mennonite characters. More and more Mennonite SF continues to appear, so I thought now would be a good time to read it.

This, Lima and Carmona’s anthology, and Vermette’s novel were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Driver, John. Life Together in the Spirit: A Radical Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century. Walden, NY: Plough Publishing House, 2015.

I received this book as a gift for renewing my membership to the Mennonite Historical Society. It’s not something I would normally read, but it might be interesting.

Lima, Rossy Evelin, and Christopher Carmona, ed. Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a 9/11 World.

I heard about this anthology because I have a friend with a poem in it, and decided to buy it now because the amount of injustice is only going to grow in the current political climate. It is bilingual, which I appreciate.

Wambach, Abby. Forward: A Memoir. New York: Dey Street, 2016.

I bought this autobiography (i.e., it’s yet another misnamed “memoir”) at Barnes & Noble for 50% off. I’ve already read it and I wish it went more in-depth about Wambach’s playing career. Her descriptions of significant matches are quite short; they feel rushed.

Vermette, Katherena. The Break. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2016.

I just heard about Vermette’s recent novel and ordered it right away because of her Mennonite connections.

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Books Acquired Recently: MLA Edition

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Last week I went to the annual Modern Language Association (MLA) convention, which was in Philadelphia this year. It was my third time attending MLA, and as usual one of the highlights of my trip was going to the Book Fair. It seemed like there were fewer publishers there this year, but I still managed to come away with ten books! All of the publishers had sales, and I actually got four of the books (Cisneros, Hass, Karr, McCloud) for free.

Cisneros, Sandra. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. 2015. New York: Vintage Books, 2016.

Random House was giving out free books in exchange for signing up for their email list, and this patchwork memoir was the most intriguing of the books eligible for the offer.

Cruz, Ariane. The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

BDSM is one of my major scholarly interests and it excites me how there are more and more academic studies of it being published.

Cvetkovich, Ann. Depression: A Public Feeling. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

I adored Cvetkovich’s An Archive of Feelings when I read it earlier this semester, so I decided to check out this newer volume.

Gillot, Alain. The Penalty Area. Trans. Howard Curtis. New York: Europa Editions, 2016.

This lovely little novel that I’ve already finished is about a French youth soccer team. Happily, not only is it about soccer, but chess also plays a significant role.

Gray, Mary L., Colin R. Johnson, and Brian J. Gilley, ed. Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

I have read very little on rural queer experience, and bought this new reader in order to help remedy this lack.

Hass, Robert. A Little Book on Form: An Exploration Into the Formal Imagination of Poetry. New York: Ecco, 2017.

I love both Hass’s poetry and his writing about poetry, and was thus excited to see that he has this new book (which, at over 400 pages, is not “little”) out.

Hoang, Nguyen Tan. A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.

I have been trying to read as much work at the intersection of race/ethnicity and queer theory as possible recently, but have not yet read anything about the Asian queer experience.

Karr, Mary. The Art of Memoir. 2015. New York: HarperPerennial, 2016.

I have been writing more and more creative nonfiction lately, but without reading much theory on how to do so. I thought reading this book would be helpful as I continue to pursue this writing.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: William Morrow, 1993.

It is terrible that I still haven’t read this classic text even though I have taught graphic narratives in a number of courses. But there’s nothing like the impetus of getting it for free!

Rabinowitz, Paula. American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

I love pulp paperbacks and was thus very excited to find this history of them and their influence.

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I love the holidays because not only do I get lots of books as gifts (some from others, some from myself), but I have lots of time off to read! Unless otherwise noted, all of the volumes below were presents I’ve received in the past week.

Carpenter, Steven P. Mennonites and Media: Mentioned in It, Maligned by It, and Makers of It: How Mennonites Have Been Portrayed in Media and How They Have Shaped Media for Identity and Outreach. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.

This book looks like an interesting overview of how Mennonites have been portrayed and have portrayed themselves through the years. Mennonites love to write about Mennonite subject matter, and this book fits perfectly in that trend.

Eby, Omar. Mill Creek. N.p.: Xlibris, 2010.

Eby taught English at Eastern Mennonite College/University for decades. I have read one of his other novels, A Long, Dry Season, and am excited to read this more recent effort.

Epstein, Robert, and Miriam Wald, ed. Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku. West Union, WV: Middle Island Press, 2016.

I have a poem in this collection (“confused birdsong / seventy degrees / in November”), so I bought a copy for posterity’s sake. For the record, while I respect vegetarianism, I love meat.

Friesen, Lauren. Prairie Lands, Private Landscapes: Re-framing a Mennonite Childhood. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing, 2016.

Friesen is an important scholar of Mennonite drama and music, and I look forward to reading this memoir of his to learn more about his journey.

Hart, Lynda. Between the Body and the Flesh: Performing Sadomasochism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

This book is a classic examination of BDSM that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet, but will do so soon.

Jordan, Hillary. When She Woke. 2011. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2012.

I’ve already finished this novel, which is like an updated version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s not as skillful as Atwood’s book, but was enjoyable nonetheless. In this age of political madness in the U.S. we need as many of these narratives as we can get.

Kurlansky, Mark. Paper: Paging Through History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2016.

I love books, and so of course I am intrigued by this history of paper and its role in shaping broader human history.

Musser, Amber Jamilla. Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

I am always interested in reading theorizations of BDSM, thus I ordered this book immediately when I came across a citation of it in my research. I purchased it and Wirzba’s book from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Weaver-Zercher, Valerie. Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

I was browsing in the Old Country Store in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, last week while visiting relatives and came across this book, which I had previously heard about. I decided to finally buy a copy with some money I had received as a gift.

Wirzba, Norman. Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006.

I struggle with living in the moment, enjoying the daily joys of life instead of constantly worrying about the future. I recently read about Wirzba’s book on making restfulness a daily habit and thought it sounded helpful.

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Books Acquired Recently

Doerksen, Paul G. Take and Read: Reflecting Theologically on Books. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2016.

Doerksen is a Mennonite theologian and I bought this book thinking it was him reflecting on pieces of literature. It turns out it’s him reflecting mostly on other works of theology, which is less exciting, but still somewhat thought-provoking.

This and Rodríguez’s book were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Grayson, David, ed. Full of Moonlight: Haiku Society of America 2016 Members’ Anthology. New York: Haiku Society of America, 2016.

I received this anthology as part of my Haiku Society of America membership benefits. I have one poem in it: “winter morning / lube beside the bed”

Rodríguez, Juana María. Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

I’ve been reading a lot of queer theory lately for a project I am working on, but have not yet read any from a Latinx perspective, and thus decided to buy Rodríguez’s book to help remedy that lack.

Rowling, J.K. [as Kennilworthy Whisp]. Quidditch Through the Ages. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2001.

I picked this book up at Barnes & Noble recently when doing some holiday shopping. I look forward to seeing how Rowling works in the genre of the sports book, albeit for a made-up sport.

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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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