Category Archives: Literature

Books Acquired Recently

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

Plett recently sent me a review copy of this anthology, which comes out in September. It is massive, nearly 500 pages in length. I love the work that Topside publishes and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Fox, Rose, and Daniel José Older, ed. Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. Framingham, MA: Crossed Genres Publications, 2014.

Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. 1969. Trans. Denys Johnson-Davies. New York: New York Review Books, 2009.

I bought these two books from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers after reading about them in this interview with Sofia Samatar. I love Long Hidden‘s concept of gathering stories in an intersectional manner from various minority groups rather than just focusing on a specific group. This anthological practice is a rare one which I wish was more common.

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An Interview with Me

I am happy to report that I just got interviewed on the fantastic Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian website! You can read the interview, which discusses my queer reading practices, here.

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Books Acquired Recently: Radical Women Edition

The most important intellectual experience of my life was when I first encountered feminist theory in a Feminist Theology course my second year of college. Feminism gave me a completely new way of viewing the world that has led me to become a much better person than I would have been otherwise. It has also led to my scholarly interests in minority literatures, most notably queer literature. The three books that I’ve acquired over the past few weeks in the U.S. (see the post I wrote yesterday to read more about the books I acquired on my recent trip to England) are evidence of my continued desire to encounter new feminist perspectives.

Breedlove, Lynn. Godspeed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

I had not heard of Breedlove, a member of the band Tribe 8, until recently when I came across several mentions of her in some queer theory I was reading (one mention was by Ann Cvetkovich and I think the other was by Jack Halberstam). Then I heard about this novel via Stryker’s book (see below) and it became a “Rule of Threes” thing: the universe was telling me to encounter some Breedlove. So I bought a copy of her book.

This and Stryker’s book were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Morris, Catherine, and Rujeko Hockley, ed. We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85: A Sourcebook. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, 2017.

I ordered an exam copy of this book from its distributor, Duke University Press, because I love radical literature from all traditions. While some of the documents it collects are well-known, most are not, so I anticipate that reading it will be an enjoyable journey of discovery. It looks like it would be an excellent resource for both African American Studies courses and Gender Studies courses.

Stryker, Susan. Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008.

I love Stryker’s book on queer pulp fiction and have enjoyed other essays of hers as well, thus when I encountered a citation of this book while doing some writing on trans Mennonite literature I decided to buy it immediately. I have already read it and it is a strong, accessible introduction to the subject.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: England Edition

I just returned from a wonderful nine-day trip to England. One of my favorite things about England is that almost every town, no matter how small, has at least one good bookshop. I thus spent much of my free time book hunting, mostly in secondhand bookshops, which is where I made some of my favorite finds. I bought eleven books, spending a total of £62.00.

Bryson, Bill. Notes from a Small Island: Journey Through Britain. 1995. London: Black Swan, 2015.

I’ve read very little travel writing, so when someone recommended this travelogue during my trip I decided to buy it because I’ve heard good things about Bryson’s writing, but haven’t read any of his work. I tore through the book in a day after I’d purchased it. Although it is now a bit dated, it is hilarious and still helpful.

Purchased at Blackwell’s in Oxford.

—. The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island. 2015. London: Black Swan, 2016.

After finishing Notes from a Small Island, I decided to buy the sequel.

Purchased at WHSmith in Gatwick Airport, London.

Carmichael, Stokely, and Charles V. Hamilton. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. 1967. Harmondsworth, UK: Pelican Books, 1969.

As I have written about before, I have a fetish for Penguin paperbacks, especially old ones. The Book Cupboard in Plymouth has a large selection of them, and I purchased three there: this book (which has a blue cover to signify that it is non-fiction), Christie’s (green cover to signify that it is crime fiction), and Simenon’s (the traditional orange cover).

Charlton, Bobby, with James Lawton. My Manchester United Years: The Autobiography. 2007. London: Headline Publishing, 2008.

Bobby Charlton is the greatest English footballer ever and one of the greatest Manchester United players ever, thus I was delighted to find a used copy of his autobiography in excellent condition. I read it during the trip and it is one of the best sports autobiographies I have ever read because it is insightful both about Charlton’s personal life and the sporting events he took part in.

Purchased at Skoob Books in London.

Christie, Agatha. Murder in the Mews and Other Stories. 1937. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1961.

I first read Christie’s work in elementary school when the school librarian gave me several of her books because he knew that I loved to read and wanted to encourage me to continue doing so. I haven’t read any of her books since I was a teenager, but when I saw this collection in a Penguin edition I decided to buy it. Its original price was two shillings and six pence. I paid three pounds for it.

Dahl, Tessa. Working for Love. 1988. London: Penguin Books, 1989.

I bought this book primarily because it is a Penguin paperback, but also because I was interested in seeing how Tessa Dahl’s writing matches up to her father Roald’s. I read it on the plane ride back to the U.S. and was unimpressed.

Purchased at Skoob Books in London.

Goddard, Simon. Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust. London: Ebury Press, 2013.

I love David Bowie, and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is my favorite of his albums. I bought this book about his Ziggy character because I found it on sale new for only £3.00 as compared to the £9.99 cover price.

Purchased at The Works in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Hadley, Tessa. Bad Dreams and Other Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 2017.

I have read and enjoyed some of Hadley’s stories in the New Yorker. I decided to purchase her newest collection because it is a signed copy.

Purchased at Blackwell’s in Oxford.

Palmer, Martin, Kwok Man Ho, and Joanne O’Brien. The Contemporary I Ching: A Completely New Translation of the Most Famous Oracle in the World. 1986. London: Rider & Company, 1989.

I have wanted to learn more about the I Ching since I first read Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, in which it plays a major role. I found this translation of it for a reasonable price and decided to buy it.

Purchased at The Speaking Tree in Glastonbury.

Rickards, Maurice. This is Ephemera: Collecting Printed Throwaways: Printed or Handwritten Items Produced for Short-Term Use and Generally for Disposal: A Delightful and Unique Introduction to a Fascinating Field. 1977. London: David & Charles, 1978.

I came across this intriguing little (63 pages) hardcover in the basement of a thriftshop. Its lengthy title says it all: it sounds like the nerdiest book ever, so of course I had to buy it, and I am legitimately excited to read it. It was first published in the U.S., and apparently was successful enough to justify publishing the British edition that I bought. The back cover blurb notes that Rickards “is founder and chairman of the Ephemera Society,” an organization that still exists in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Purchased at Julian House in Bath.

Simenon, Georges. Striptease. 1958. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1963.

I’ve read one of Simenon’s novels, Dirty Snow, before, and enjoyed it. It was an easy decision to purchase this Penguin edition of another one of his books.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Ahmed, Sara. Living a Feminist Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Duke University Press, purveyors of a plethora of significant queer texts, were having a summer sale, so I got this and Sedgwick’s book for fifty percent off. I’ve been thinking about buying Ahmed’s book on and off since it came out a few months ago, and the sale made it the right time to do so.

Eggers, Dave. The Circle. 2013. New York: Vintage Books, 2014.

I was given this book as a gift by a friend after we saw the film version together last week. I enjoyed the film, and also enjoyed the book (the film is generally a good adaptation, but with a very different ending), which I finished a few days ago. However, I think I would have liked the book less if I had read it first, and I’m not sure how to feel about that. Normally the book is always better than the movie, but in this case it might be the other way around. Also, the dystopia that Eggers tries to portray in the book sounds like paradise in comparison to the U.S.’s current political reality.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

Sedgwick is one of the most important figures in the development of both queer theory and affect theory. Touching Feeling keeps getting cited in my recent reading of queer theory as a part of my current writing project, so I thought I should go ahead and read it myself.

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Books Acquired Recently

I have had a flurry of book acquiring this past week. I had several people recommend books to me that I ordered and received, and then yesterday I visited the excellent bookshop Dove & Hudson Old Books in Albany for the first time (unfortunately the store does not have a website), where I bought a few more.

Anker, Elizabeth S., and Rita Felski, ed. Critique and Postcritique. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

I ordered an exam copy of this essay collection from the publisher because, as its blurb claims, it “outlines the state of contemporary literary criticism,” a field that is obviously important to me as an English professor. I certainly feel like there is much less attention actually paid to literature these days in literary criticism than there should be, thus I look forward to seeing what the contributors have to say on the subject.

Hall, Donald. Old and New Poems. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1990.

I enjoy Hall’s prose and generally enjoy the poems of his that I have come across in various anthologies, though I dislike the devotion to form in his early work. My first encounter with his writing was when he gave a reading on campus my first year of college before I knew who he was or was interested in poetry. I enjoyed the reading, but did not think it remarkable at the time. Ever since I got into poetry about two years later I have regretted not buying one of his books and getting it signed. I bought this collection of selected poems from Dove & Hudson for $4.50, a steal.

Harrison, Kathryn. The Kiss: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1997.

A colleague recommended this memoir to me. I recall reading a review of it in either Newsweek or Time when it first came out (my mother would switch between the two publications, so it was whichever one she was subscribing to at the time) and being scandalized that it involved incest. I read it earlier this week in one sitting. It is a beautifully-written book. I purchased it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Highsmith, Patricia. Carol. 1952. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015.

This book, also known as The Price of Salt, is a lesbian pulp classic that I have been meaning to read for quite a while. I found a like-new copy at Dove & Hudson for only $4.00!

Proust, Marcel. Remembrance of Things Past. 1913-1927. Trans. C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. 3 vols. New York: Random House, 1981.

I first saw this boxed set of Proust on a neighbor’s shelf in 2004 and the image has stuck with me because of the beauty of the set and how serious it looks. Each volume is about 1100 pages long, bound in black cloth. Though I love the genre of the novel and thus should read Remembrance of Things Past, one of the genre’s most significant texts, I was never sure whether I would because it is a big commitment to spend time reading 3300 pages of something that is not in my field of study, American literature. But when I saw this set in good condition sitting on the shelf at Dove & Hudson for only $25.00 (I probably would have been willing to pay twice that much, in part because I believe in supporting independent bookstores) I had to have it, which means that I will be reading Proust this summer. If I get through fifty pages a day it will take me about two months.

Quiñonez, Ernesto. Bodega Dreams. New York: Vintage, 2000.

I had this novel recommended to me by Ben Garcia, who gave a poetry reading at Utica College this past Wednesday. It takes place in New York City, my favorite locale for literature. I bought it on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mast, Carrie A., and Gerald J. Mast, ed. Human Sexuality in Biblical Perspective: A Study Guide. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2016.

I bought this book because I am slowly working on a book about queer Mennonite literature, and while the book has a literary focus rather than a theological one, it is also important for me to be aware of the current state of theological Mennonite discussions about sexuality. Cascadia has published several books on this issue over the years and they have generally been thought-provoking, so I look forward to reading this text.

Samatar, Sofia. Tender: Stories. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2017.

Samatar is one of the most prolific of the younger generation of Mennonite writers. I enjoyed her two novels (especially her second, The Winged Histories), and was delighted when I heard that she was coming out with a book of short stories. I pre-ordered it from amazon.com (where I also got the Masts’ book) and it arrived a few days ago.

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