Books Acquired Recently

Davis, James L. Legendary Locals of Greater Utica. Charleston: Arcadia, 2013.

I am still relatively new to Utica, and thus continue to seek out books about it to help orient me to the area. I’ve read some of Davis’s work on the city before and appreciated it, thus decided to buy this book. It will be a helpful resource for learning about the city’s personalities rather than its geography, which I am becoming more and more familiar with.

This and the Toews novel were acquired from amazon.com.

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2014.

I read a review of this book in the New Yorker and it sounded fascinating, so I ordered it from abebooks.com. It’s a book-length poem about continuing instances of racism in America. I’ve already read it, and it was fantastic. I had never encountered Rankine’s work before, but I would now recommend it to anyone.

Toews, Miriam. All My Puny Sorrows. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2014.

Toews is one of my favorite authors, and I am very excited to read her new novel. I’ve heard very good things about it, and normally wouldn’t have waited several months to acquire it, but the U.S. edition just came out and I was too lazy to try and track down a copy of the Canadian edition online.

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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