Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Lois Braun Edition

Baker, Nicholson. Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2016.

Baker is one of my favorite authors, and when I saw a short review of his latest book in the New Yorker I went out and bought it right away at my local Barnes & Noble (only because there are no independent bookstores nearby). His nonfiction always makes me think, and as an educator I am looking forward to what he has to say about his brief teaching experiences.


I was recently re-reading Douglas Reimer’s book Surplus at the Border on Canadian Mennonite writing, and in the last chapter where he briefly discusses a few lesser-known writers he mentions that Lois Braun’s short stories have some queer themes. I’ve never read any of Braun’s work before, but Reimer’s description of it was intriguing enough that I decided to buy her four short story collections, and they have all arrived over the past few days. I ordered them from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Braun, Lois. The Montreal Cats. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1995.

—. The Penance Drummer and Other Stories. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2007.

—. The Pumpkin-Eaters. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1990.

—. A Stone Watermelon. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1986.

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…).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: