Monthly Archives: October 2017

Books Acquired Recently: Poetry Edition

Keillor, Garrison, ed. Good Poems: American Places. 2011. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.

Kelly, Donika. Bestiary. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2016.

I have been feeling the need to read more poetry lately–it’s one way of coping with the horrible U.S. political situation–and was therefore glad that the poet Donika Kelly was giving a reading at my local Barnes & Noble this past Friday evening. It was exactly what a poetry reading should be: well-attended, with some good poetry delivered by a speaker who is engaging and realizes that making a connection with the audience through their commentary on the poems is just as important as the poems themselves. Kelly was clearly happy that there were a lot of students in attendance, and she did a good job trying to make her work accessible to them.

Before the reading, I did some browsing in the poetry section and came across Keillor’s book. I own and like the first in his series of anthologies, Good Poems, and was excited to find that there is a volume focused specifically on place, which is one of my research interests. I have read about a quarter of it this weekend and have not been disappointed.

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Books Acquired Recently

Amin, Kadji. Disturbing Attachments: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

I got a promotional email about this newly-released book from the publisher and ordered a copy right away. It’s an investigation of queer theory through examining the reception of Jean Genet’s work. I have keen interests in both of these subjects. There is a drawing of a naked man in bondage on the cover, so I know the book will be right down my alley.

Rak, Julie. Boom! Manufacturing Memoir for the Popular Market. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013.

Rak, a life writing scholar, is going to be one of the keynote speakers at the Mennonite/s Writing VIII conference in Winnipeg next week. I bought Boom! in order to get an introduction to her work. I finished it last night and enjoyed it.

I ordered this book directly from amazon.com, and it took them a week and a half to ship it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Fitzpatrick, Cat, and Casey Plett, ed. Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. New York: Topside Press, 2017.

I received a review copy of this book a few months ago and it is a fantastic selection of stories. I ordered a copy of the published book as a way of supporting Topside Press, who publish excellent, necessary trans literature. This is a book that should get taught in queer literature courses for the next few decades (I’ll be assigning it in mine next semester). You can order it here. At $22.95, it is a steal.

Herrera, Juan Felipe. Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008.

Negrón, Luis. Mundo Cruel: Stories. 2010. Trans. Suzanne Jill Levine. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013.

I ordered these two books from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers after reading about them in Michael Dowdy’s article “Ten Must-Read Latino Books” from the September 2017 issue of The Writer’s Chronicle. I haven’t read either author before. I read Negrón’s collection a few nights ago and it is heartbreaking and beautiful. I will be teaching it in my queer literature course as well.

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Books Acquired Recently: Toronto Edition

torontobooks

I was in Toronto this weekend for the first time since high school. As usual when I travel, I looked up some independent bookstores to visit. I made stops at Ben McNally Books and Type Books (the Queen Street store). Although Type was smaller, it had better selection. McNally was rather disappointing, frankly (and it drove me nuts that their sections are not labelled: sometimes I don’t want to browse, I want to go straight to the poetry section), though I did end up finding two books, Cohen’s and Ruthnum’s, there. I spent over $100.00 CDN at Type–and could have spent at least $50.00 more–whereas there wasn’t much else that caught my eye at McNally. But I’m glad I got the chance to visit both and to support two independent businesses.

Bowering, George. A Short Sad Book. 1977. Vancouver: New Star Books, 2017.

Cohen, Leonard. Beautiful Losers. 1966. Toronto: Emblem Editions, 2003.

After reading Nick Mount’s recent book on Canadian literature I made a list of authors whose work sounded like it would be worth checking out. My purchases of Bowering’s  and Cohen’s books were a result of said list. I must note that the Cohen cover is hideous and it almost made me not buy the book even though I was looking for it specifically. “Never judge a book by its cover,” yes, but that doesn’t mean that good cover design is not important. A book should be beautiful as an object as well as as a repository of ideas and stories.

Jones, Dylan. David Bowie: A Life. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2017.

I love Bowie, and this new oral history about him was too tempting to pass up. It is interesting to note that the book does not list a city of publication: I had to look up where Doubleday Canada is located to complete my citation of it. I have noticed this omission in several other recently-published books as well. I don’t know whether this is a coincidence or the beginning of a trend, but either way it bothers me. Place is important, and it is thus helpful to state a publisher’s geographical context even when it is a big corporate publisher as in this case.

Roffman, Karin. The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

I have been wanting to buy this book since it came out, but it felt like the kind of book I needed to buy from an independent bookstore rather than online or at Barnes & Noble. Going to Type was the first time I had been in such a store that had it in stock since its release.

Ruthnum, Naben. Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2017.

This slim volume was an impulse buy at the register, where it was temptingly displayed. Contra Cohen’s book, its cover sucked me in completely. I have been thinking about the relationship between food and literature lately as well as about postcolonial literature, so this book, which discusses all three, felt like a serendipitous find.

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