Category Archives: Literature

Books Acquired Recently

Renk, Kathleen Williams. Vindicated: A Novel of Mary Shelley. Brooklyn: Cuidono Press, 2020.

Renk was one of my graduate school professors, and Vindicated is her first novel. Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels, so I look forward to reading this work about its creator.

Working Class History, ed. Working Class History: Everyday Acts of Resistance & Rebellion. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

This book by a group that the back cover describes as “an international collective of worker-activists” is a date-by-date history of various worldwide acts of activist resistance. I think I will begin reading it on New Year’s Day and read it throughout 2021 as a form of inspiration for thinking about how I can live an activist life.

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Books Acquired Recently

This is the rare Books Acquired Recently post where none of the books are queer or Mennonite 😮

Laymon, Kiese. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays. Rev. ed. New York: Scribner, 2020.

I love Laymon’s memoir Heavy, and thus have been meaning to get to this collection of essays, which was first published in 2013. When I saw that a revised version with new essays was out, I was like “it’s time,” and bought it immediately.

Londoño, Johana. Abstract Barrios: The Crises of Latinx Visibility in Cities. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I got a promotional email about this book and ordered it a few weeks ago because Duke University Press is having a 50% off sale until next week. By the time the book arrived I forgot that I was waiting for it, so… maybe I buy too many books, haha. But I was very excited when it came and I look forward to reading it.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Not Exactly a Memoir. 2016. New York: Dutton, 2020.

I recently read Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and loved it, so I decided to buy this follow-up to it. One of the reasons I enjoyed Encyclopedia is that it was written when Rosenthal was about the age I am now, so it was interesting to read someone else’s thoughts about the beginning of middle age. I’m interested to see what a memoir dealing with the beginning of one’s fifties looks like so that I can start preparing myself.

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Books Acquired Recently: Just in Case Edition, Part Two

As I wrote here a few days ago, “I recently panic-ordered a bunch of books that might get censored if the Orange One stays in power, which thankfully looks like won’t happen!” The last of these books have now come in.

brown, adrienne maree. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. Chico, CA: AK Press, 2019.

Smith, Mychal Denzel. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education. 2016. New York: Nation Books, 2017.

Spivack, Emily. Worn in New York: 68 Sartorial Memoirs of the City. New York: Abrams Image, 2017.

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Books Acquired Recently: Just in Case Edition

I recently panic-ordered a bunch of books (several that have recently come out, several that have been on my list for a while) that might get censored if the Orange One stays in power, which thankfully looks like won’t happen! But it’s still necessary to read narratives by marginalized voices as an act of resistance against U.S. oligarchy.

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

Midori. The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage. N.p.: Greenery Press, 2001.

Miller, Evie Yoder. Loyalties. Scruples on the Line: A Fictional Series Set During the American Civil War, Book II. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2020.

This is not one of the books I panic-bought, although its subject matter is relevant to the current U.S. political divide. Miller sent me a copy as a thank-you for providing a blurb for it. It’s an excellent book, and I’m excited for the third part of the trilogy to come out next year!

Quesada, Uriel, Letitia Gomez, and Salvador Vidal-Cruz, eds. Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. 2004. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Sayrafiezadeh, Saïd. When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir. 2009. New York: Dial Press, 2010.

Stiehler, Elena, ed. The Best Small Fictions 2020. New York: Sonder Press, 2020.

My friend and colleague Suzanne Richardson has a fantastic piece in this anthology. Despite the “small” nature of its genre, the book is almost 400 pages long! Lots of good reading inside!

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Books Acquired Recently: PM Press Edition

My monthly PM Press subscription box arrived this morning.

Bunnell, Jacinta. A More Graceful Shaboom. Illustrated by Crystal Vielula. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

This is a children’s book with a nonbinary main character! How awesome!

Johnson, Robb. The People’s Republic of Neverland: The Child Versus the State. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

Richards, Akilah S. Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

These two books both deal with the educational system. As a teacher myself, I am always looking for suggestions for how to make my (these days virtual) classroom a liberated space, so I look forward to hearing what Johnson and Richards have to say.

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Books Acquired Recently: Queer Writers with Last Names Beginning with “S” Edition

Sajé, Natasha. Terroir: Love, Out of Place. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2020.

Sajé was a colleague of mine when I did my post-doctoral fellowship at Westminster College. She was an important queer role model for me early in my career. I was very excited earlier this year when I heard that her memoir would be coming out, and pre-ordered it immediately. It came in the mail today.

Snow, Cassandra. Queering Your Craft: Witchcraft from the Margins. Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books, 2020.

I love Snow’s book Queering the Tarot. It has put her into the “I will buy any book this person writes” category, so I ordered Queering Your Craft as soon as it was available for pre-order even though I don’t really practice witchcraft. It also came today.

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Books Acquired Recently

Halberstam, Jack. Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

Halberstam is one of the most important queer theorists working today, so I bought his new book automatically. However, the subject matter also looks really fascinating.

Rickert, Bryan, ed. Bundled Wildflowers: Haiku Society of America 2020 Members’ Anthology. N.p.: Haiku Society of America, 2020.

As a member of the Haiku Society of America, I get a free copy of their yearly anthology. It arrived in the mail today. I have a poem in it: “yellow leaves / a new bank teller / every time” (28).

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Seanan McGuire Edition

Glück, Louise. American Originality: Essays on Poetry. 2017. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018.

I was very excited to have a poet win the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. I am not very familiar with Glück’s work, so I decided to buy a book of hers. While researching her work to decide what to buy, American Originality stood out. It came in the mail today.

Mason, Scott, ed. Gratitude in the Time of COVID-19: The Haiku Hecameron. Chappaqua, NY: Girasole Press, 2020.

Literature, and especially poetry, has been helping me survive the pandemic, and I am obsessed with work that is being produced about it as it happens. I recently received a notice about this pandemic-related haiku anthology (which is beautifully printed despite the rapidity of its production), and bought it immediately.

McGuire, Seanan. Beneath the Sugar Sky. New York: Tor, 2018.

—. Come Tumbling Down. New York: Tor, 2019.

—. Down Among the Sticks and Bones. New York: Tor, 2017.

—. In An Absent Dream. New York: Tor, 2019.

I recently taught the first book of McGuire’s Wayward Children series, Every Heart a Doorway, for the third or fourth time, and decided that it was finally time for me to read the rest of the series. I appreciate the way McGuire writes the queer characters in the first book, and look forward to seeing how she does so in the rest of the series.

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Books Acquired Recently

Dávila, Arlene. Latinx Art: Artists, Markets, and Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I have enjoyed some of Dávila’s previous work in Latinx Studies, and know very little about Latinx art, so decided to buy this book to educate myself further.

Muñoz, José Esteban. The Sense of Brown. Edited by Joshua Chambers-Letson and Tavia Nyong’o. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

Muñoz is perhaps the most important theorist of queer Latinidad, an author whose work I automatically buy regardless of its subject. The Sense of Brown is his last book, published posthumously.

Swarstad Johnson, Julie, and Christopher Cokinos, eds. Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2020.

Swarstad Johnson has quickly established herself as an important Mennonite poet in the past few years, and thus I bought this book.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly PM Press Edition

Dornaus, Margaret, ed. Behind the Mask: Haiku in the Time of COVID-19. Ozark, AR: Singing Moon Press, 2020.

I just heard about this timely anthology and ordered it right away. One of haiku’s strengths is that it is written quickly and thus can respond to current events almost immediately.

Khakpour, Porochista. Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity. New York: Vintage Books, 2020.

Khakpour did a virtual reading sponsored by Utica College last week. I was completely captivated by her work, so I ordered her new essay collection immediately.

My monthly subscription package from PM Press came today. One of the fun things about having this subscription is that I never know what might be in it! This month is a book about pirates, a book about teaching, and a book about music. All three look pretty fascinating, and I look forward to reading them when I get a chance.

Kuhn, Gabriel. Life Under the Jolly Roger: Reflections on Golden Age Piracy. 2nd ed. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

Lakey, George. Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Learners. 2nd ed. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

Manning, Richard. If It Sounds Good, It is Good: Seeking Subversion, Transcendence, and Solace in America’s Music. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

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