Books Acquired Recently

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., and Valerie A. Smith, eds. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 3rd ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 2014.

I recieved an exam copy of these books from my local W.W. Norton representative. It took quite a while for Norton to update the first edition, so I am glad that they are now updating the book on a frequent basis. I am keeping my copy of the first edition, though, for sentimental reasons: I used it to study for my Ph.D. exams. This is one reason why I have so many books. I value them as pieces of my history, not just as sources of enjoyment or information.

Witkowski, Michal. Love Town. Trans. William Martin. 2010. London: Portobello, 2011.

I learned about this novel depicting the LGBT community in Communist Europe during the 1970s and 1980s from a colleague, and found a copy of it on sale from Better World Books for less than $4.00, so decided to buy it because my knowledge of queer literature outside of the U.S. and England is sorely lacking. The book has a pricetag from the Strand on it, which makes me happy.

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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