Books Acquired Recently

Bergen, David. Stranger. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.

David Bergen has been one of my favorite writers since I first encountered his work in college, and I have all of his books. While I have not liked much of his recent work in comparison to how I feel about his early books, he is still someone whose books I buy as soon as I hear about them no matter what. I bought this book from amazon.ca because it has not yet been released in the U.S.

Epstein, Robert. Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku. West Union, WV: Middle Island Press, 2016.

I haven’t been reading much haiku lately, but this book sounded interesting, in part because I am interested in haiku (and poetry in general) about social justice issues. I was able to get it from the author for $12.00, three dollars less than the cover price.

King, Michael A., ed. Stumbling Toward a Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2007.

This book is a collection of essays by prominent Mennonites on homosexuality, which is still sadly seen as a theological issue by many Christians. I thought it would be worth reading since my primary research interest is queer Mennonite literature and it is helpful to know what the discourse around the topic is in the broader Mennonite community, but I must admit that even looking at some of the names in the Table of Contents makes my blood boil. I acquired it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

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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