Books Acquired Recently

Kraus, Chris. After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography. South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2017.

Acker is one of my favorite postmodern novelists and I was thus very excited to hear about this new authorized biography of her. It immediately jumped up to the top of my to-read list. I bought it and Watson’s novel from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Mount, Nick. Arrival: The Story of CanLit. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2017.

As a result of my interest in Mennonite literature, which includes numerous Canadian authors, I have been slowly building an interest in Canadian literature in general over the past decade or so. I found out about Mount’s new book on the rise of Canadian literature as a cultural force beginning in the 1960s when I went on House of Anansi Press’s website to check where they are located since they have recently stopped listing their location in their books. I bought it directly from the website and began reading it as soon as it arrived. It’s quite enjoyable thus far.

Watson, Sheila. The Double Hook. 1959. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008.

As part of my reading in my above-mentioned explorations of Canadian literature, I read an article about Watson’s archive, which includes some correspondence about the writing of this novel. The article made the novel sound interesting, so I decided to read it for myself.

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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