Monthly Archives: March 2016

Books Acquired Recently

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve gone a little wild buying books lately. Here’s what’s come in over the past week or so.

Campbell, W. Joseph. 1995: The Year the Future Began. Oakland: U of California P, 2015.

I received this book as a birthday gift. I am excited to read it because I remember 1995 quite clearly, and it’s weird to me that I am old enough now to be having history written about times when I was alive. I look forward to seeing why Campbell argues that it was 1995 specifically that began a new era in America rather than, say, 2001.

Frank, Arthur W. Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology. 2010. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012.

I have been interested in the theory of narrative since taking a course on narrative theology my last year of college nearly fifteen years ago. I’ve been looking to incorporate more of this theory into my own scholarship, and in doing some research on the subject came across this book, which sounds intriguing. I purchased it from one of amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Loeppky, Lynette. Cease: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Desire. Fernie: Oolichan, 2014.

I read a review of this book in Rhubarb magazine, and decided to buy it because it is in a genre, queer Mennonite writing, that is a primary focus of my scholarship. I bought it from one of abebooks.com’s network of booksellers, which is where I end up buying a lot of books that have been published in Canada, but not the U.S. Sadly, this is often the case for Canadian Mennonite writing.

Plimpton, George. One More July: A Football Dialogue with Bill Curry. New York: Harper, 1977.

I read about this book a few months ago in Nelson Aldrich’s oral history of Plimpton’s life, George, Being George. There was an interesting story told by Curry about how he made Plimpton take out the story of Curry learning about how to use the word “motherfucker” from Bubba Smith. Last weekend I was browsing at the Rose and Laurel Bookshop in Oneonta, New York, and found this copy in good condition for just a dollar, so I decided to buy it. I’m really sad that it does not have the motherfucker chapter, though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Sports

Books Acquired Recently

I’ve been letting my book-buying addiction get the best of me lately, as I’ve ordered about ten books in last week or so. Here is what has come in thus far:

Clare, Eli. Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. 1999. Durham: Duke UP, 2015.

Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham: Duke UP, 2011.

I have been wanting to read more queer theory lately, and then I received an email from Duke University Press (the premier academic publisher of queer texts) that they were have a 30% off sale. Both of these books sounded interesting and relevant to some projects that I’m working on, so I decided to buy them.

Mukherjee, Neel. A Life Apart. 2008. New York: Norton, 2016.

I read a review of this novel in the New Yorker last week and it sounded quite fascinating (apparently much of it takes place in men’s restrooms as the narrator tries to find partners for sex). A few days ago a friend took me book shopping for my birthday, and this is what I chose.

Samatar, Sofia. The Winged Histories. Easthampton: Small Beer, 2016.

Samatar is one of the few Mennonite writers writing speculative fiction. Her new novel just came out and I can’t wait to read it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Mennonites Edition

I’ve gone a little crazy (even for me) buying books the past few weeks. The primary reason for this is that I’ve been reading a lot of literary criticism (primarily from the Journal of the Center of Mennonite Writing), and whenever I do this I find out about books (both primary sources and other works of criticism or theory) that sound fascinating and that I have to buy. All of the Jean Janzen books, the Dallas Wiebe collection of stories, the Thomas King novel, and the Dominique Chew and Kolton Nay chapbooks were purchases stemming from this recent reading. The other two purchases were helped by the fact that I was in book-buying mode, which is a dangerous state!  Unless otherwise noted, all of these books were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Chaudhuri, Amit. Odysseus Abroad. 2014. New York: Knopf, 2015.

I have not read any of Chaudhuri’s work before, but was intrigued by a review I read of this novel because it takes place in London and involves wandering around the city, a topic that I find fascinating in general. I decided to buy it now (and will read it over Spring Break a week from now) because I am going to London for the first time this coming summer and thought it would be helpful to read a story about it.

Chew, Dominique. The Meaning of Grace. Goshen: Pinchpenny, 2015.

I read about this and Kolton Nay’s book in Ann Hostetler’s recent article about teaching Mennonite literature (which, incidentally, references my 2001 edited collection [that was also published by Pinchpenny], How Julia Kasdorf Changed My Life: Reflections on Mennonite Identity). Both sound interesting because they deal with issues of Mennonite identity, an issue that I think and write about frequently, and Chew’s book is especially intriguing because she, like me, has one ethnic Mennonite parent and one non-Mennonite, person of  color parent. I bought both books directly from Pinchpenny Press, which is a chapbook publisher run by the Goshen College English Department.

Erdrich, Louise. The Master Butchers Singing Club. 2004. New York: Harper, 2005.

I love Erdrich’s novels about the Ojibwe community, and recently watched an interview with her where she talked about this novel, which is about the German-American community that her father was from. It sounds fascinating, and since I am also German-American on my mother’s side (though I usually speak of her heritage as Mennonite, which in our case is a very specific kind of German-American) it seems like a book I should read.

Janzen, Jean. Paper House. Intercourse: Good, 2008.

—. Piano in the Vineyard. Intercourse: Good, 2004.

—. Snake in the Parsonage. Intercourse: Good, 1995.

—. The Upside-Down Tree. Winnipeg: Henderson, 1992.

—. What the Body Knows. Telford: DreamSeeker, 2015.

Along with Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Jeff Gundy, Janzen is one of the Big Three of Mennonite poets, but I’ve only ever read one of her poetry collections. I’ve decided that it is necessary to remedy this situation.

King, Thomas. Truth & Bright Water. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1999.

I loved the other book of King’s that I read (Green Grass, Running Water), and Truth & Bright Water sounds interesting because it is about the U.S.-Canada border, which is something I think about a lot now that I live relatively close to it.

Nay, Kolton. Imbalance. Goshen: Pinchpenny, 2015.

Hostetler’s article notes that Nay read part of this memoir at the 2015 Mennonite/s Writing Conference, which I also attended, but he and I did not get to meet. I look forward to encountering him on the page instead.

Wiebe, Dallas. The Transparent Eye-Ball and Other Stories. Providence: Burning Deck, 1982.

I really enjoyed Wiebe’s novel Our Asian Journey and have plans to eventually write about his work because he was an important early voice in  Mennonite fiction, but I had not realized that he also published this collection of stories (he also published some poetry that I have not read yet). I look forward to reading it. Despite being over thirty years old the volume is in excellent condition; the pages haven’t even begun to yellow.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature