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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Book Acquired Recently: Keith Miller’s The Sins of Angels

Miller, Keith. The Sins of Angels. Hornsea, UK: PS Publishing, 2016.

Keith Miller is one of the first, if not the first, Mennonite writers to write speculative fiction (since he began publishing a few others–Sofia Samatar, Corey Redekop, André Swartley–have also ventured into the speculative realm). His two previous novels, The Book of Flying and The Book on Fire, are both excellent, thus when I saw that his new book was available for pre-order I purchased it immediately. It came this week.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Books Acquired Recently: Desk Copy Edition

With the new semester set to start in little more than a week, I have acquired desk copies from publishers for some of my courses. In the case of Abeng and Nervous Conditions I have older editions that are now out of print (they were texts that I was assigned as a student and am now myself assigning), but the other three are books that I do not own. This is nice because the storing of duplicate copies can be a hassle. In the case of Gilman’s and Kerouac’s works I have them in anthologies but not as standalone volumes, and Haddad’s novel just came out a few months ago, so I am doing the rare (for me) thing of assigning a text that sounds fascinating without having previously read it myself.

Cliff, Michelle. Abeng. 1984. New York: Plume, 1995.

Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous Conditions. 1988. Banbury, UK: Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2004.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Other Stories. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997.

Haddad, Saleem. Guapa. New York: Other Press, 2016.

Kerouac, Jack. The Dharma Bums. 1958. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Books Acquired Recently: More Mennonites Edition

I’ve spent the entire summer reading, thinking, and writing about Mennonite literature, which I have come to realize is now my primary field of study. As a part of this studying I’ve been reading a lot of Mennonite literary criticism, which has been tremendously enriching. The one problem with reading literary criticism, though, is that there are always books cited that I haven’t read before which sound interesting, so of course I have to buy them. These two books were acquired as a result of this process.

I have mentioned before how I strongly dislike the new MLA formatting, and most Mennonite studies journals use Chicago Style, so I have decided to start using Chicago Style in all of my writing, including here.

Vermette, Katherena. North End Love Songs. Winnipeg: The Muses’ Company, 2012.

Vermette is of mixed Mennonite and First Nations heritage, which makes her one of the very few Mennonite writers of color. Her work is thus right in my scholarly wheelhouse. This poetry collection was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, which is the Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, so it should be a good read.

Weaver-Zercher, David L. “Martyrs Mirror”: A Social History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016.

Thieleman J. van Braght’s Martyrs Mirror is the ur-text of Mennonite literature, and is a book that has fascinated me ever since I was a teenager. It remains an influential book in both the field of Mennonite literature and Mennonitism as a whole. I was thus especially excited to hear about Weaver-Zercher’s book, which is a history of both van Braght’s book itself and how readers have interacted with it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Books Acquired Recently

My book-buying habit continues unabated despite my stuffed “To Read” shelf. Here is what has come in recently.

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2013.

I have been studying the intersection between queer theory and disability studies recently for a paper that I am writing, and came across a citation of this book, which looks interesting because of its efforts to be intersectional.

Mulvany, Nancy C. Indexing Books. 2nd. ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2005.

I bought this book as a resource for a bibliography that I am currently working on. I must say that it is a very handsome book–a colorful yet not garish cover, sturdy hardback, thick creamy pages–which pleases me since books about books should be beautiful to match their subject matter.

Munson, Peggy. Origami Striptease. San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press, 2006.

I encountered a citation for this novel in some of my aforementioned research on disability studies and found a copy for a good price, so decided to buy it. I read it last week and enjoyed it overall. It’s worth checking out because it is one of the very few depictions of a disabled person’s sex life out there. My guess is that twenty or thirty years from now it will be viewed as a classic work.

Perryman, Mark, ed. 1966 and Not All That. London: Repeater Books, 2016.

This is a collection of essays about England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, the only major soccer trophy the English men have ever won despite England being the sport’s birthplace. From the time I was just a fledgling soccer fan twenty years ago I have had a sense of the 1966 team being swathed in myth and glory. (Which, I think, says something about how influential English soccer culture has been for American soccer culture. This is one of the few areas where the U.S. could still be considered a postcolonial context.) As a result, I have been thoroughly enjoying and consuming as much of the fiftieth anniversary celebration and retrospective as I can, thus it was an instant decision to buy the book when I read a review of it a few weeks ago.

Stafford, William. Down in My Heart. 1947. Swarthmore: Bench Press, 1985.

The Tramontane Cafe in Utica is currently have a book sale of some of Roger Smith’s books, who was a regular at the Cafe and at the Utica Poets Society, which meets there (he died a few months ago). I picked up this memoir by William Stafford about his time as a conscientious objector to military service during World War II because I have a general interest in CO experiences since many Mennonites were also COs.  Stafford is a kind of celebrity among Mennonites because of his pacifism, but I am unfamiliar with much of his work, thus I look forward to learning more about him from this book.

All of the books except for Stafford’s were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Sports

Books Acquired Recently

Dykstra, Lenny. House of Nails: The Construction, the Demolition, the Resurrection: A Memoir of Life on the Edge. New York: Morrow, 2016.

As I have said here before, I am obsessed with the 1986 Mets, so I buy every book I can find about them. Dykstra’s second memoir (after Nails, which was published after the 1986 baseball season) was just published, and I bought it right away and read it this past weekend. It is an interesting book (and has blurbs from Jack Nicholson and Stephen King, which is quite impressive), and I learned some fascinating things about both the Mets and Dykstra (his discussion of Davey Johnson as a manager is especially revelatory), but my primary takeaway from the book is that Dykstra is a terrible person. He claims to have learned from his mistakes, but this supposed growth is nowhere evident in the tone of the book.

King, Michael A. Fractured Dance: Gadamer and a Mennonite Conflict Over Homosexuality. Telford: Pandora Press U.S., 2001.

As I do more and more scholarship on queer Mennonite literature, I thought it would be helpful to read this book, one of the first explicitly dealing with LGBT issues and Mennonitism. It approaches the subject from a theological perspective rather than a literary one, but the theological aspects of Mennonite literature are inescapable (as much as some in the field would like to get away from them), thus one must be somewhat conversant with theological texts to write about the literature.

Oliver, Mary. Thirst. Boston: Beacon, 2006.

I read a few poems by Oliver in an anthology as an undergraduate and didn’t like them, but then recently found out from a friend that Oliver is queer, and that some of her more recent poetry is explicitly so. Therefore I decided to give her another reading. I am interested to see how or whether my poetic tastes have changed in the intervening fifteen years.

Talese, Gay. The Voyeur’s Motel. New York: Grove, 2016.

I read an excerpt of this book several months ago in the New Yorker and was hooked. The book was just published this week, and I can’t wait to read it. It might be suitable for my  course on obsessions.

All of these books were bought on amazon.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Sports

Books Acquired Recently

Although I have more than enough books on my “To Read” shelf for the rest of the summer, I’ve acquired five new books over the past week.

Klosterman, Chuck. But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past. New York: Blue Rider, 2016.

I love Klosterman’s writing. I didn’t realize he had a new book out, but it was displayed on the very first shelf at RiverRead Books in Binghamton (where I also bought Spark’s novel) when I walked in. I decided to buy it right away. It was probably my record for quickest time picking a book to buy in a bookstore–about five seconds.

Lander, N [sic] Maxwell. Carnal Anomaly. Berkeley: Threel Media, 2016.

I received this and Niffenegger’s book as anniversary presents from my partner. Carnal Anomaly is a collection of BDSM-themed photographs, some of which are very extreme. I look forward to perusing it.

Niffenegger, Audrey. The Night Bookmobile. New York: Abrams, 2010.

I don’t know much at all about this graphic novel, but it involves books so I am assuming I will enjoy it!

Ruth, John L. Branch: A Memoir with Pictures. Lancaster: TourMagination, 2013.

John Ruth is one of the most important Mennonite storytellers of the past fifty years, and his influence is still felt throughout the field of Mennonite studies. I have been wanting to buy his memoir since I read a review of it a few years ago, but it has been difficult to track down (amazon.com doesn’t even have it!). I was finally able to find a copy on the website of Masthof Bookstore, a Mennonite publishing venture that I was previously unaware of.

Spark, Muriel. Memento Mori. 1959. New York: New Directions, 2014.

I love Spark’s writing and when I saw this paperback on the shelf I picked it up immediately.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature