Books Acquired Recently

Cicero, Chic, and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot: Keys to the Rituals, Symbolism, Magic and Divination. 2nd ed. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2019.

I recently read Rachel Pollack’s book Tarot Wisdom, which included reproductions of the Golden Dawn deck that comes with Cicero and Cicero’s book. I loved the deck’s imagery and wanted a copy for myself.

Clark, Marcia Kauffman. The Carol of Christmas: Life Story of Christmas Carol Kauffman. Honeoye Falls, NY: Digital Legend Press, 2008.

Christmas Carol Kauffman was a prolific Mennonite writer in the mid-twentieth century. I’ve heard my mother and her siblings talk about reading her work when they were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Kauffman is an underexplored figure in the field of Mennonite literature, presumably because her work is didactic, so I don’t know much about her. I’m excited to read this biography by her daughter to learn more.

Rivera, Gabby. Juliet Takes a Breath. New York: Dial Books, 2019.

I love this novel. It’s about a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx like me, but it’s also a wonderful story about the power of books to change people’s lives. It was first published in 2016 in paperback by Riverdale Avenue Books and then went out of print, and I am glad that a large publisher has given it a home in hardcover. The original publication is not mentioned anywhere in this volume’s paratext, so I do not know if it is a revised version or if it is simply reprinted. The book itself is beautiful, with endpapers dedicated to the Bronx and to Portland, Oregon, the book’s two locales, so kudos to Dial’s designers.

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Sabbatical Productivity: July

Yesterday was officially the last day of my sabbatical, although classes do not begin until 24 August. I kept a list in my journal of the academic activities I engaged in during my seven-month break. This practice was partly for myself, so that I could make sure I was using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in July, generally in chronological order. The list is shorter than in any previous month because I spent almost all of my working time on a new writing project, so I worked on a smaller variety of things. I feel that I accomplished a decent amount, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Sent the call for papers for an anthology of writing about Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-editing to potential contributors.

3. Had a Zoom meeting with a colleague at another institution about a bibliographing project.

4. Submitted senryu to several journals. I haven’t heard back from some of them yet because the reading period is still open, but Failed Haiku took three poems for their August issue, which is here (my poems are on page 129).

5. Finished the introduction of my new book project, which is about the importance of literature in these terrible times. I’ve been feeling hopeless a lot this month because of the political situation and the way many people in the U.S. are not taking the pandemic seriously. I can either write with the hope that things will get better and that my writing might help this healing in some small way, or I can give up and be part of the problem. So I choose to write.

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Books Acquired Recently

Garcia, Benjamin. Thrown in the Throat. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2020.

I am acquainted with Garcia, and pre-ordered a copy of this, his first poetry collection, a few months ago. It came in the mail this week. I started reading it immediately and it is excellent so far. It is unabashedly queer and Latinx, with a variety of styles that keeps readers on our toes.

Stansberry, Matt, and David Wilson. Rust Belt Arcana: Tarot and Natural History in the Exurban Wilds. Cleveland: Belt Publishing, 2018.

A friend who knows that I lived in the Midwest for a while and that I have been exploring tarot lately heard about this book and recommended it to me. It seems to be a book of personal essays connecting tarot to the Midwestern landscape. Place is also one of my scholarly interests, so I’m very excited to read the book.

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Books Acquired Recently: PM Press Edition

I’m a subscriber to PM Press’s Friends of PM program, which sends subscribers several books each month for a flat fee of $30.00. This month’s books arrived yesterday.

Bonzo, N.O. Off with Their Heads: An Antifascist Coloring Book for Adults of All Ages. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

I’m not into coloring, but this book has some lovely art, so I am glad to have it.

Loewen, James W. Up a Creek, with a Paddle: Tales of Canoeing and Life. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

My first thought when I saw this book in the box was “Loewen is a Mennonite name!” Sure enough, Loewen’s father was a Mennonite, though I haven’t been able to discover whether Loewen himself was raised Mennonite. His mother was not a Mennonite, and for a Mennonite of Loewen’s father’s generation (Loewen was born in 1942) to marry outside the church would have been pretty blasphemous, so I’m guessing Loewen himself does not identify as Mennonite, but that moment of recognition was exciting nevertheless.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly PM Press Edition

As I mentioned in a recent post, I subscribe to PM Press’s monthly book program. I just got my box for June in the mail today (it came a little late because they were waiting on a t-shirt for subscribers that was delayed at the printer due to the pandemic).

Brecher, Jeremy. Save the Humans? Common Preservation in Action. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

—. Strike! Rev. ed. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

Elison, Meg. “Big Girl” Plus…. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

I.W.W. Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent: A Facsimile Reprint of the Popular Nineteenth Edition, 1923. Oakland: PM Press, 2014.

Montell, Amanda. Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language. 2019. New York: Harper Wave, 2020.

I received this book from a friend who is also a word nerd. I love books about etymology, and thus look forward to reading it.

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Books Acquired Recently: Tarot Edition

Pollack, Rachel. Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2008.

I read Pollack’s classic Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom last week and profoundly enjoyed it, so I decided to get another one of her books.

Robinson, Dawn G. Pamela Colman Smith, Tarot Artist: The Pious Pixie. Stroud, UK: Fonthill Media, 2020.

Part of my recent tarot exploration has involved an emphasis on different cards’ designs. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom is especially good on this subject. Smith designed the famous Rider-Waite deck and had a fascinating life that I am interested in learning more about.

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Books Acquired Recently: New York School Edition

Ashbery, John. Girls on the Run: A Poem. 1999. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.

Girls on the Run is a poem about the “outsider artist” Henry Darger, who is a figure I have been fascinated by for the past decade or so. I enjoy Ashbery’s work in general, but have read less than half of it because he was so prolific. When I heard he had written a book about Darger, I put it on my to-read list. Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling the need to read more of his work, so I decided to order this book.

O’Hara, Frank. Early Writing. Ed. Donald Allen. Bolinas, CA: Grey Fox Press, 1977.

O’Hara has been my favorite poet for many years. I’ve had this collection of his college poems on my to-buy list for a while, and finally got around to it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Bennett, Jane. Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I received a promotional email for this book and ordered it because I love Whitman and the book sounded fascinating. The publisher labels it as “Political Theory” on the back cover, but the Library of Congress subject headings all relate to literature, so it promises to be an interesting hybrid.

Dueck, Cameron. Menno Moto: A Journey Across the Americas in Search of My Mennonite Identity. Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2020.

I like road trip narratives and Mennonite narratives, so I pre-ordered this book when I heard about it a few months ago, and it came this week.

Kaplan, Stuart R., et al. Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story. Stamford, CT: U.S. Games Systems, 2018.

As I’ve continued my explorations of the tarot over the past year, I’ve become more and more interested by the art of different decks. I’ve been reading some about the traditional Rider-Waite deck recently and decided to learn more about its artist, Pamela Colman Smith, and thus bought this book.

Rosenstock, Gabriel. Haiku Enlightenment. Expanded ed. N.p.: Poetry Chaikhana, 2019.

I recently read a review of this book in Frogpond and decided to order it because I am interested in the spiritual aspects of haiku alongside its literary aspects.

 

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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.

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Sabbatical Productivity: June

I am on sabbatical until August and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in June, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in May here) because I focused mostly on reading for a new writing project that I am beginning this week.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Peer reviewed a book in one of my fields for a university press.

3. Updated my website.

4. Was elected to the Sexual Minorities Archives‘s Board of Directors and worked on various tasks for it throughout the month.

5. Revised and submitted an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

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