Monthly Archives: December 2015

Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I received a number of books as holiday gifts this year, and have ordered some others with holiday cash as well. Here is what has come in thus far:

Beary, Roberta. Deflection. Lexington: Accents, 2015.

This short poetry collection of mostly haiku is by one of today’s premier haiku writers. I read it a few days ago and it is magnificent.

Ebershoff, David. The Danish Girl. 2000. New York: Penguin, 2015.

My partner and I have adopted the Icelandic tradition of giving each other books on Christmas Eve (the Icelandic term for this practice translates as “Christmas Eve book flood,” which has to be the best word ever), and this is the one they gave me this year. I am close to halfway through it and it keeps getting more and more compelling.

Jackson, Helen Hunt. Ramona. 1884. New York: Signet, 2002.

A colleague recommended this book to me. I am intrigued to observe how Jackson depicts the mix of cultures in the Old West.

Ozeki, Ruth. A Tale for the Time Being. New York: Penguin, 2013.

I have not read any of Ozeki’s work before, but my brother-in-law recommended this novel, and in reading some about Ozeki she sounds like a fascinating person. I am especially intrigued by her practice of Zen Buddhism, as I have been exploring Buddhism lately as part of my recent obsession with haiku.

Reichhold, Jane. Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide. New York: Kodansha, 2013.

As noted above, I have become obsessed with haiku. I thought it would be helpful to read a manual about writing it, and this one has had good reviews.

Rushdie, Salman. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. New York: Random, 2015.

I love Rushdie’s work and am excited to have acquired his new novel. It is rather short compared to most of his books (286 pages), which means that it would be possible to teach it to undergraduates. I have taught The Satanic Verses before and while it is a wonderful book, it is very difficult to keep a class’s attention for as long as it takes to read and study it (about a month).

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Books Acquired Recently

Lee, Catherine J.S., ed. A Splash of Water: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2015. New York: Haiku Society of America, 2015.

Each year the Haiku Society of America publishes an anthology of work by its members on a specific theme, and each member receives a copy. This year’s theme was water. I’ve read about half of it thus far, and despite the repetition of subject matter a number of the poems are compelling.

Zacharias, Robert, ed. After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. University Park: Penn State UP, 2015.

I was very excited to receive this book in the mail today because it is my contributor’s copy! My essay, “Queering Mennonite Literature,” appears on pages 143-58. The book is a collection of revised essays from a 2013 symposium at Penn State on identity issues in Mennonite literature. My essay is nestled between chapters by Di Brandt and Jeff Gundy, two poets and  critics whose work has played a major role in my life, and it is a dream come true to be published alongside them. Another of my favorite poets, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, also has an essay in the volume.

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