Books Acquired Recently

El Akkad, Omar. American War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.

I recently read about this book in an article from the New Yorker about the possibility of another civil war in the U.S. I am both super-pessimistic about the current political reality and an avid consumer of dystopian fiction, so El Akkad’s novel sounded like a must-read. I tore through it as soon as it arrived and it is one of the best novels I have read in quite a while.

Holleran, Andrew. Dancer from the Dance. 1978. New York: Perennial 2001.

I encountered a reference to this novel about 1970s gay life in some queer theory and decided to order it. It came in the mail today just in time for the Winter Break.

Both books were bought from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

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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