Monthly Archives: April 2015

Books Acquired Recently

Coverley, Merlin. The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker. Harpenden: Oldcastle, 2012.

Dorsey, Candas Jane. Black Wine. New York: Tor, 1997.

—. Machine Sex and Other Stories. London: Women’s, 1990.

I bought these three books (all from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers) as a result of reading Greg Bechtel’s collection of short stories Boundary Problems. Many of Bechtel’s stories are infused with psychogeographical themes, which is a topic that Coverley has written about at length. As a result of my interest in psychogeography I have thought about reading The Art of Wandering in the past, and decided that this summer would be a good time to do so.

Similarly, I have been wanting to read some of Dorsey’s fiction since I read an article by her on Samuel R. Delany’s work called “Being One’s Own Pornographer” about five years ago. One of Bechtel’s stories has a quotation from this essay as an epigraph, which I took as a kind of sign that it was time for me to explore Dorsey’s work.

Tytell, John. Writing Beat and Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem. Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 2014.

I was randomly sent an exam copy of this book by the publisher. I am excited to read it soon because I enjoy the Beats and because I am hoping to do lots of writing this summer and the book looks like it offers some helpful meditations on the subject.

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Books Acquired Recently: Desk Copy Edition

Over the past few weeks I’ve received desk copies of several novels that I’ll be teaching in the fall. They are all books that I already own which have been reprinted with different pagination than previous editions, hence the need for new copies.

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. 1969. New York: Random, 2009.

Dick, Philip K. The Man in the High Castle. 1962. Boston: Mariner, 2011.

Winterson, Jeanette. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. 1985. New York: Grove, 1987.

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Books Acquired Recently: Nostalgia Edition

My parents have recently been completing some house renovations, and in the process of moving furniture around to accommodate these changes my mother has been de-accessioning some books. She asked whether I wanted any of them and I took a few, some because I have fond memories of them from childhood and some because I am interested in their Mennonite subject matter.

MacDonald, Betty. Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. 1957. New York: Scholastic, 1987.

When I was little my mother would read the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books to my sister and me after school, and I loved them for their humor. This copy has my mother’s name scrawled on the front cover in my crooked elementary school handwriting.

—. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. 1947. New York: Scholastic, 1987.

Like the previous book, this one is falling apart, with tape everywhere and some dog-eared pages–they are well-worn because we loved them so much. I also wrote my mother’s name in this volume. Apparently I’ve always been concerned about which books belonged where.

Reed, Kenneth. Mennonite Soldier. Scottdale: Herald, 1974.

This book is a retelling of the prodigal son story set during World War I, a war in which many American Mennonites were persecuted for their pacifist stance and German heritage. It is a fascinating early example of Church-sanctioned (Herald Press is the official publishing house of Mennonite Church USA) Mennonite literature.

Smucker, Barbara Claassen. Days of Terror. Scottdale: Herald, 1979.

We had several of Claassen’s fictional retellings of Mennonite persecution in Russia when I was a child. This book also has a price tag from Provident, this time on the back cover, $7.95.

Wenger, John C. Glimpses of Mennonite History and Doctrine. Scottdale: Herald, 1947.

Wenger was a well-know Mennonite theologian in the mid-twentieth century, and I have several of his other books on Mennonite thought. I love that the title humbly claims to only offer “glimpses” of Mennonitism rather than claiming to be definitive.

Wiebe, Rudy. Peace Shall Destroy Many. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962.

I already have several copies of Wiebe’s seminal novel, but wanted this copy because it belonged to my mother. Before I was old enough to read it I would often stare at its spine on the shelf and wonder what it was about because I found the title haunting. I love thinking about the history of copies of old books (i.e., thinking about the object itself), and thus it makes me very happy that the original price tag is still with the book on the first page (the design of the book’s famous cover leaves no room for a price tag there). The book was bought at a Provident Bookstore (Provident [Which is now, alas! defunct. Shopping at the Provident in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was how I learned to love browsing for books.] was Herald Press’s official bookstore chain) for $1.95.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cecconi, Mike. This is My Inside Voice. Utica: VBLP, 2015.

Cecconi is a regular reader at the Tramontane Cafe’s poetry nights here in Utica, which I frequent occasionally. His chapbook came out a few months ago, and I finally got around to purchasing it (only $5.00!). I read it last night and it is fantastic.

Plimpton, George. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

I enjoy Plimpton as a writer, and I have read the shorter version of this novel about the Mets’ mysterious pitching phenom several times. After seeing grantland.com’s recent short documentary on the story I decided to buy the novel, which I found from one of amazon.com’s independent sellers for $0.15!

Wright, David. The Small Books of Bach. Eugene: Wipf, 2014.

This book of poems (which is not by the David Wright that plays third base for the Mets) is inspired by Bach’s music. I rarely like collections of poems that are about a single subject, but I’ve read Wright’s previous work and enjoyed it, so I decided to buy this volume. It was especially enticing because Wipf & Stock offered it on their website for only $8.00.

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