Monthly Archives: February 2014

Book Acquired Recently: David Luthy’s A History of the Printings of the Martyrs’ Mirror

Luthy, David. A History of the Printings of the Martyrs’ Mirror: Dutch, German, English 1660-2012. Aylmer: Pathway, 2013.

I acquired this book directly from Pathway Publishers as part of my research for a project on Stephen Beachy’s novel boneyard, which draws heavily on Thieleman J. van Braght’s Martyrs Mirror (note that this book’s title does not actually include an apostrophe after “Martyrs” although one would be correct, thus it is an interesting [and, frankly, I think an erroneous] choice on Luthy’s part to include one in his title, as this emendation is not normally made), thus I am trying to get my hands on all of the recent scholarship on van Braght’s book. I’ve briefly flipped through Luthy’s book, and it is lavishly illustrated and written in what looks to be a methodical, comprehensive style. It was delightfully inexpensive: only $8.95 despite being a hardcover.

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A New Book Review

I just had a review of Ewuare X. Osayande’s poetry anthology Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander published in Your Impossible Voice. As I say in the review, it is an important book, and its proceeds go to a worthy cause. You can buy the book here under the “Buy the Book” tab.

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Books Acquired Recently: W.W. Norton Edition

I recently received a visit from my local W.W. Norton representative, and just received a number of exam copies that I requested during our meeting.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. 2006. New York: Norton, 2007.

I have wanted to read this book since I saw Appiah speak in 2012. The world seems more and more fractious, thus I am excited to explore his ideas for how cultures can work to come together.

Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1962. Ed. Mark Rawlinson. New York: Norton, 2011.

I have also wanted to read this book for quite some time. Norton’s Critical Editions of older texts have always been excellent, and I am happy to see that in recent years they have begun expanding this series to include more recent texts.

Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. 2010. New York: Norton, 2011.

The loss of reading skills, intellectual curiosity, and print culture as a result of the rise of the internet is a constant worry of mine. I have tried to teach about this issue in my writing courses several times, but my students find many of the texts on this subject unengaging. Carr’s book looks like it might provide a solution to this problem.

Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year. 1722. Ed. Paula R. Backsheider. New York: Norton, 1992.

I love Defoe’s work, and have been wanting to read this book as a result of my recent explorations of psychogeography because it has been adopted as one of the foundational texts of the field.

Le Guin, Ursula K., and Brian Attebery, eds. The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990. New York: Norton, 1993.

When I told the Norton representative that I am interested in science fiction and sometimes teach it, he mentioned this anthology. I was aware of it, but was surprised to find that it is still in print. I like that it is organized year-by-year based on when the pieces it includes came out rather than by the birth dates of its authors as most Norton anthologies are. The former method allows readers to get a better sense of how the field has developed.

Lunsford, Andrea, et al., eds. Everyone’s An Author, with Readings. New York: Norton, 2013.

I am using another one of Lunsford’s anthologies in my current composition course, but this new one looks like it does a better job of encouraging students to claim their already-extant identities as writers.

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Ed. G.R. Thompson. New York: Norton, 2004.

I love Poe and normally teach him in my American Literature to 1865 course. However, most collections of his work focus only on one genre, whether poetry or short story. This edition includes a number of examples from each genre as well as Poe’s one novel. It is by far the most superior edition of his works that I have seen.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cole, Teju. Open City. 2011. New York: Random, 2012.

I recently taught the first chapter of this novel in one of my writing classes as an example of psychogeography. A colleague had passed it on to me, and I was completely enthralled, so I decided to buy the book, and I look forward to reading it soon. Cole has a reading scheduled for April 10 in Ithaca, which is less than two hours from Utica. It will be good to hear him in person after reading his book.

Janzen, Jean. Entering the Wild: Essays on Faith and Writing. Intercourse: Good, 2012.

Janzen is the godmother of Mennonite poetry, one of my scholarly interests, thus I expect this memoir to be a fascinating one. I got it new for only $0.65!

Lachman, Becca J.R., ed. A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation With William Stafford. Topeka: Woodley, 2013.

I’ve been feeling the need to read more poetry lately, and had heard that several poets whose work I enjoy (Jeff Gundy, Todd F. Davis, and Ann Hostetler, among others) have poems in this anthology. Lachman herself is an up-and-coming Mennonite poet, thus I’m interested to see what I can glean about her aesthetic proclivities from the poems she has selected.

These three books were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Luthy, David. Dirk Willems: His Noble Deed Lives On. Aylmer: Pathway, 2011.

My current research focuses on Stephen Beachy’s novel boneyard, which takes some of its essential elements from Thieleman J. van Braght’s 1660 collection of Anabaptist martyr stories, Martyrs Mirror. I’ve thus been reading a lot of the recent scholarship on van Braght’s text (there is a surprisingly large amount), and the acquisition of Luthy’s book is a part of this effort, as Dirk Willems’s story is by far the most famous one in Martyrs Mirror.

I acquired this book directly from the publisher.

Murphy, Yvonne C. Aviaries. Durham: Carolina Wren, 2011.

Murphy gave a reading at Utica College last week that was entertaining enough to entice me to buy her poetry collection. It includes a number of poems inspired by New York City that I have been enjoying.

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Books Acquired Recently

Arthur, Anthony. The Tailor-King: The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster. New York: St. Martin’s, 1999.

Queer Mennonite literature has been the primary focus of my scholarship over the last year and a half. I keep discovering more and more of it, and as I do, I realize that it is a much larger, longer-tenured tradition than I first thought, as is the queer Mennonite tradition in general. As I have been thinking about the deep-rootedness of queerness in the Mennonite community, I’ve begun to wonder about the Münsterites, a group of radical Anabaptists that practiced polygamy and took over the city of Münster in Germany in 1534. Present-day Mennonites disown the Münsterites because of their sexual transgressions as well as their use of violence, and as a result of this bias I know very little about the group. I am interested in learning more about their sexual rebelliousness, so I bought this book, which is the standard popular account of the group’s brief history.

Lipsky, David. Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace. New York: Broadway, 2010.

I am a huge fan of David Foster Wallace’s work, but I just recently found out that this book existed. I am very excited to read it, as it sounds like a Wallace-esque work (think “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”) about Wallace himself.

Scholder, Amy, Carla Harryman, and Avital Ronell, eds. Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker. London: Verso, 2006.

I’m only slightly less obsessed with Kathy Acker’s work than I am with Wallace’s, and I will be teaching Acker’s novel Blood and Guts in High School later on this semester, so I am in the process of reading criticism on Acker’s work. I acquired this book as a part of that endeavor.

All three books were purchased from independent sellers on amazon.com.

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Two New Book Reviews

I’ve just had two book reviews published, both on exciting new texts in the field of Mennonite literature.

The first is a review of Jessica Penner’s novel Shaken in the Water (pdf–scroll down to page 157), which appears in Mennonite Quarterly Review, the leading journal of Mennonite studies. It has been my goal to publish in MQR since I was in college, and Penner is a good friend of mine, so I am quite excited about this piece.

The second is a review of Jeff Gundy’s new collection of poetry, Somewhere Near Defiance, which appears in Your Impossible Voice, a crackling new literary e-journal. Gundy has been one of my favorite poets for years, and I am pleased that his new collection lives up to the high standard of his previous work.

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