Books Acquired Recently

July, Miranda. The First Bad Man. New York: Scribner, 2015.

I really enjoyed July’s short story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You, and thus probably would have bought this book eventually. However, what caused me to buy it immediately was Kaitlin Phillips’s review in the February/March issue of Book Forum. Phillips writes of the protagonist’s romantic difficulties “who needs compatibility when you have fantasy?,” which is an issue I have been thinking about a lot lately as I recover from my divorce. So I am hoping that the novel will, aside from being enjoyable, also offer some helpful advice on this topic.

Koestenbaum, Wayne. Hotel Theory. Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2007.

—. Humiliation. New York: Picador, 2011.

I recently finished Koestenbaum’s My 1980s and found his writing style refreshing and catchy, and decided that I wanted to read more of his work. I bought these two books because they are on subjects that I find intriguing; the former because hotels are such exciting, odd, and depressing places (often all at once), and the latter because of my interest in BDSM.

Wallace, David Foster. The David Foster Wallace Reader. New York: Little, Brown, 2014.

Wallace is one of my favorite writers, and I am somewhat of a completist regarding his books. I already own much of this collection in various other volumes, but there are some essays of commentary on his work that are new and a few obscure pieces of Wallace’s own writing that I have not read before.

I purchased all four books from amazon.com.

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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