Books Acquired Recently

Ayala, César J., and Rafael Bernabe. Puerto Rico in the American Century: A History Since 1898. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007.

I have been wanting to learn more about Puerto Rico’s history for a while as a way to help me better understand my Puerto Rican roots. This book looks like it does a good job covering the different facets of Puerto Rico’s perplexing relationship with the United States.

Barth, John. Lost in the Funhouse. 1968. New York: Anchor, 1988.

I’ve been thinking about buying this book for years, and found it for a good price. Barth isn’t my favorite postmodern fiction writer, but he’s an essential voice in the field, and Lost in the Funhouse is his masterpiece.

Waugh, Patricia. Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. London: Routledge, 1984.

I am hoping to teach a course on postmodern fiction in the near future, and Waugh’s book is one of the important early critical examinations of the genre. Postmodern fiction rarely gets taught these days (virtually all of it I’ve read–and I’ve read a lot–has been on my own rather than in classes), but I think it has something valuable to say even though many people view it as a gimmicky phase.

All three books were 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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