Books Acquired Recently: More Birthday Goodies

I recently received these two books as birthday gifts from my sister and brother-in-law. I’ve been wanting to read both since I read reviews of them in recent months.

Block, David. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2005.

I have been interested in the early roots of baseball since coming across a reference to “base-ball” in Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which was first published as an essay in 1843, several decades earlier than I had thought the term existed in widespread usage. I am looking forward to learning more about how the game began creeping into the public consciousness before its explosion onto the scene in the 1860s.

Eisner, Shiri. Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. Berkeley: Seal, 2013.

As someone who is attracted to men and women amongst other gender expressions, I am excited to encounter some new thinking about bisexuality and its potential for sparking social change. While I have used the term “bisexual” to describe myself in the past, and sometimes still use it because it is more broadly understood than my current preferred term, “queer,” I have grown uncomfortable with it because it implies that there are only two genders that one may be attracted to. I am thus intrigued to see what Eisner thinks about the continued usefulness of this term (which, let me make clear, is still a legitimate and important one for people to use if they feel so inclined) and what it can signify.

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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