Books Acquired Recently

Braun, Jan Guenther. Somewhere Else. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring,  2008.

A friend who knows that I like Stephen Beachy recommended this to me; apparently it’s another Mennonite novel dealing with queer issues. I will read it as soon as I have time, hopefully by the end of the week.

Califia, Pat. Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Cleis, 2000.

I’ve been reading as much as I can about BDSM lately for an essay I’m working on, and Califia’s work has attained “classic” status in the field, which is why I bought this book. I’ve already begun reading it, and while some of it is dated, it still has some very relevant ideas. The dated stuff is interesting, too, and even encouraging in a way because it shows how much progress has been made in the past decade in the area of LGBT rights and sexual freedom in general.

Both of these books were bought via amazon.com, but both came from bookstores from outside of the U.S., which is worth noting. The Califia came from the U.K. (I forget where exactly, because I already threw away the packing slip and packaging), and the Braun came from Russell Books in Victoria, British Columbia. Hurray for independent bookstores, even if they are forced to rely on amazon to sell their wares.

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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