Books Acquired Recently

Acevedo, Elizabeth. With the Fire on High. New York: HarperTeen, 2019.

I recently tore through Acevedo’s novel The Poet X, which is a fantastic book. I want to read more of her work, and I decided With the Fire on High would be the piece I read next because food is a major theme in it.

Kelly, Joseph. The Seagull Book of Poems. 4th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2018.

I was on campus today for the first time since early March to pick up some books from my office. I discovered when I checked my mail that Norton had sent me an unexpected examination copy of this anthology. Poetry anthologies are one of my bibliophiliac obsessions, so it was a nice surprise.

Official SCRABBLE Words. Glasgow: Collins, 2020.

I haven’t had an up-to-date SCRABBLE (N.B., the game’s title’s proper typographic form is in all caps) dictionary in a number of years, and decided that it was time to buy a new one. Note that this volume is technically not a “dictionary” in that it doesn’t have definitions. It is a word list with all of the words that are playable in tournaments (1191 pages’ worth!), including obscenities, epithets, and so on. The SCRABBLE dictionary published by Merriam-Webster that is found in most bookstores is for “family friendly” casual play, and thus does not include the complete word list, but does include short definitions of each word as an educational tool.

Roberts, Laura Schmidt, Paul Martens, and Myron A. Penner, eds. Recovering from the Anabaptist Vision: New Essays in Anabaptist Identity and Theological Method. London: T&T Clark, 2020.

This is an important new volume in Mennonite studies. Even though theology is not my research area, I try to keep abreast of what’s going on in all of the “big four” areas of Mennonite scholarship, history, literature, sociology, and theology.

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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