Books Acquired Recently: Antique Edition

I received two antique books as belated holiday gifts from a relative who runs an antique shop. I am primarily interested in them as aesthetic objects, though the novel might be fascinating to read sometime.

Dale, Annan. Dwellers in Gotham: A Romance of New York. New York: Eaton, 1898.

This novel is actually still in print, though I was unable to find any information about the author during a brief internet search. The name could very well be a pseudonym. The front cover is quite elaborate for a hardcover.

The book is inscribed, though I wish “The Author” would have actually signed her or his name.

Russell, Daniel. Meditations for Men. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1945.

Aside from my secular nature, I dislike this type of devotional book because the genre tries to present religion as though it may be consumed via small, facile platitudes. Approaches such as this are how we get idiots who claim to be Christians, but are anti-gun control and anti-poor. But this volume has several quaint features to recommend it. I am fond of the “How to Use This Book” instructions, especially their exhortation to use it “in your lodge or club.”

I detest Thoreau, thus I love how the Foreword urges us to reject his example.

I will let this comparison between Jesus and Abraham Lincoln speak for itself. The book gets bonus points for coming with a sewn-in ribbon book marker!

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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