Books Acquired Recently

Castillo, Ana. The Mixquiahuala Letters. Tempe: Bilingual, 1986.

This is Castillo’s first novel, and wow have I missed out waiting this long to acquire and read it! I began reading the book this afternoon as soon as I unwrapped it from its shipping envelope (as C.S. Lewis writes in Surprised by Joy, there is really nothing like the happiness of receiving a package in the mail that one knows has a book inside), and not only is the writing up to Castillo’s usual beautiful standard, but it has a postmodern form as well! There is a note at the beginning of the table of contents which instructs readers not to read the book chronologically, and then gives them several options for how to read it depending on their personality type, as seen in these photographs:

“Dear Reader” / “For the Conformist”
“For the Cynic”
“For the Quixotic” / “For the reader committed to nothing but short fiction, all the letters read as separate entities. Good luck whichever journey you choose!”

I am reading the novel as a “cynic.”

I have enjoyed Castillo’s work for half a decade, but the new-to-me work that I have been reading the past few days has shown me that she is someone I must write scholarship about. It is wonderful to discover an author who fits my interests in ethnic literature, LGBT literature, and postmodern literature.

Delany, Samuel R. Starboard Wine: More Notes on the Language of Science Fiction. Rev. Ed. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 2012.

Samuel R. Delany is another rare author who fits my three primary scholarly interests. I have been looking for a copy of Starboard Wine‘s out-of print original 1984 edition for over two years without luck, and then found out a month ago that Wesleyan University Press, which has published or republished most of Delany’s literary criticism, was publishing a revised edition. It just came out, and I am very excited to finally have the chance to read it.

Both books bought on amazon.com.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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