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Books Acquired Recently

Metres, Philip. Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront Since 1941. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007.

I’ve been reading a lot about poetry’s role in society lately because of the pandemic and came across a citation of this book, which looks fascinating, so I decided to buy it.

Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness. Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books, 2019.

I received this and Warner’s book as anniversary gifts from my partner. I’ve read some of Pollack’s tarot poetry and enjoyed it, so I look forward to reading her classic volume about interpreting the cards.

Swarstad Johnson, Julie. Orchard Light: Poems. Lewisburg, PA: Seven Kitchens Press, 2020.

I first encountered Swarstad Johnson’s poetry earlier this year at the Mennonite Arts Festival and became an immediate fan of it. I bought this chapbook as soon as it was released.

Warner, Andrea. Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2018.

I had not heard of Sainte-Marie before receiving this book, but the dust jacket makes her sound quite interesting, and I look forward to learning more about her.

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Sabbatical Productivity: May

I am on sabbatical this semester 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 May, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in April here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Finished and submitted a book review of Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan.

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

3. Wrote a draft of an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

4. Agreed to peer review a book in one of my fields for a university press and received the manuscript.

5. Had a special session panel proposal for MLA 2021 on Dungeons & Dragons that I co-authored accepted.

6. Agreed to serve on the MLA’s Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada for a three-year term.

7. Began writing my portion of a Call for Papers for an essay anthology that a colleague and I are working on.

8. Emailed presenters from the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that was scheduled for October 2020 to let them know that it has been postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic.

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Books Acquired Recently: Albany Book Festival

Yesterday I went to the first Albany Book Festival. It was an enjoyable event with a mix of panels, author signings, and authors selling their books, many at reduced prices. I ended up spending about $85.00 total for the seven books I acquired, so about $12.00 per book, which is not bad. I had heard of Whitehead, Ostriker, and Dentz before (and was able to have them sign their books), and discovered the other authors as a result of the event. Parks’s and Whitehead’s books are fiction, Dentz’s is a mixed-genre memoir, and the rest are poetry.

Amador, Nico. Flower Wars. Austin, TX: Newfound, 2017.

Dentz, Shira. door of thin skins. Fort Lee, NJ: CavanKerry Press, 2013.

Gette, M.J. The Walls They Left Us. Austin, TX: Newfound, 2016.

Lynch, Michael. Underlife and Portico. Boston: Aforementioned Productions, 2013.

Ostriker, Alicia Suskin. Waiting for the Light. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.

Parks, Robin. Egg Heaven: Stories. Albany, NY: Shade Mountain Press, 2014.

Whitehead, Colson. Zone One. 2011. New York: Anchor Books, 2012.

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Books Acquired Recently: Lauren Groff Edition

I recently heard about the author Lauren Groff, who is of Mennonite background even though she does not apparently identify as Mennonite. Well, we Mennonite literary critics name Mennonite writers as such whether they like it or not, so guess what, Lauren Groff, you’re a Mennonite writer! Don’t try to fight it! Join the dark side! We have baked goods.

Anyway, I bought her books from amazon.com because of the Mennonite connection.

Groff, Lauren. Arcadia. 2012. New York: Hachette Books, 2015.

—. Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories. 2009. New York: Hachette Books, 2015.

Weirdly, this reprint is also a hardcover rather than a paperback.

—. Fates and Furies. New York: Riverhead Books, 2015.

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Books Acquired Recently: Desk Copy Edition

Publishers have sent me desk copies for my fall classes over the past few months. The Knisley and Tea are for my first-year composition course, the Ballard and McGuire are for my Introduction to Literature course, and the Everett and Vidal are for my American Literature Since 1945 course.

Ballard, J.G. Crash. 1973. New York: Picador, 2017.

Everett, Percival. Erasure. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2001.

Knisley, Lucy. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. New York: First Second, 2013.

McGuire, Seanan. Every Heart a Doorway. New York: Tor, 2016.

Tea, Michelle. How to Grow Up: A Memoir. New York: Plume, 2015.

Vidal, Gore. The City and the Pillar. 1948. New York: Vintage, 2003.

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Books Acquired Recently

Ferris, Emil. My Favorite Thing is Monsters. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2016.

I heard about this book, Kang’s book, and Waite’s book when I was at Northeast MLA last month. They all sounded intriguing, so I decided to order them. Ferris’s book is a graphic novel that takes place in late-1960s Chicago and also includes queer characters, so I cannot wait to read it.

Hernandez, Keith. I’m Keith Hernandez: A Memoir. New York: Little, Brown, 2018.

As I’ve written here before, I am obsessed with the 1986 Mets, and will buy any book about them that I can find. I am quite excited to read this memoir by one of their key players. Of course the title comes from Hernandez’s line from the famous Seinfeld episode when Hernandez and Elaine go on a date. When he kisses her and she thinks “Who does this guy think he is?,” he thinks “I’m Keith Hernandez.” There’s also an excellent 20-minute documentary about Hernandez by the same name which is available to view for free here.

Kang, Han. The Vegetarian. 2007. Trans. Deborah Smith. London: Hogarth, 2015.

I don’t know much about this book, but apparently its translation is controversial because some people claim that the English translation is not an accurate one. It nevertheless won the Man Booker Prize, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2018.

I received a free, unasked-for exam copy of this mammoth hardcover tome in the mail today. It was a nice surprise and I look forward to perusing it. I must say, however, that it contains woefully few pieces of queer theory.

Waite, Stacey. Teaching Queer: Radical Possibilities for Writing and Knowing. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.

I’ve read lots of queer theory, but never any that examines how to teach queerly, thus I was thrilled to find this book and will make sure to read it before I construct my syllabi for the fall.

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Books Acquired Recently: Friends Edition

Plett, Casey. Little Fish. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018.

I received a review copy of this novel by fellow queer Mennonite Casey Plett from the Pacific Journal, which has asked me to write a review for its Fall 2018 issue. Plett and I are friends and I had the privilege of reading several drafts of the book in manuscript. It is so cool to see it in print! Plett’s first book, A Safe Girl to Love, won a Lambda Literary Award, and Little Fish is good enough that it has an excellent chance of doing the same.

Threadgill, Elizabeth. Tangled in the Light. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2018.

My friend and Utica College colleague Elizabeth Threadgill just had her first chapbook of poetry published. I read it last night and enjoyed it because of its minimalist, almost haiku-esque style.

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Books Acquired Recently

Beachy, Stephen. Leahbelle Beachy and the Beings of Light: Amish Terror Book 2. San Diego: Vapor Books, 2018.

This is the second volume of Beachy’s Amish science fiction trilogy, which just came out. I can’t wait to read it!

Cherciu, Lucia. Train Ride to Bucharest. Rhinebeck, NY: Sheep Meadow Press, 2017.

Cherciu is the winner of this year’s Nassar Poetry Prize, which is sponsored by Utica College. She gave a reading on campus this past Thursday. I was one of the judges who read her book, and I really enjoyed it, so I bought it and had her sign it at the reading.

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Books Acquired Recently

Acheson, Katherine O. Writing Essays About Literature: A Brief Guide for University and College Students. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2011.

I attended the annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) conference in Pittsburgh this past weekend, and of course left with a number of books. I got Acheson’s, Barrie’s, and Dale’s books free as examination copies. I think this writing guide will be helpful the next time I teach Introduction to English Studies.

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. 1911. Ed. Anne Hiebert Alton. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2011.

Although I feel like I know the story because of its ubiquity in popular discourse, I have never actually read Peter Pan or seen the Disney version of it. I recently taught Sassafras Lowrey’s novel Lost Boi, a queer retelling of Barrie’s book, and then came across this edition at the conference. I decided to get it because I think reading it will help me to teach Lowrey’s book in the future.

Dale, Alan. A Marriage Below Zero. 1889. Ed. Richard A. Kaye. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2018.

I had not previously heard of this book, but according to the blurb it is “the first novel in English to explicitly explore the subject of male homosexuality.” I am thus keen to read it.

Gumbs, Alexis Pauline. M Archive: After the End of the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

I am fascinated by both archives and apocalyptic literature, so when I saw an advertisement for this collection of poetry I ordered a copy from the publisher immediately.

Hearn, Ed, with Gene Frenette. Conquering Life’s Curves: Baseball, Battles & Beyond. Grand Island, NE: Cross Training Publishing, 1996.

I am obsessed with the 1986 Mets, and recently found out that Hearn, one of their more obscure members, had written a memoir. I liked Hearn as a player and was sad when the team traded him in 1987, though of course it ended up being an excellent trade for them. I bought the book from one of amazon.com’s network of independent retailers, and it turns out that it’s autographed!

Mbue, Imbolo. Behold the Dreamers. 2016. New York: Random House, 2017.

NeMLA handed out free copies of this novel because Mbue will be the featured speaker at NeMLA next year. I had not previously heard of it, but it looks fascinating.

O’Nan, Stewart. Last Night at the Lobster. 2007. New York: Penguin Books, 2008.

I won this signed copy of O’Nan’s novel for answering a trivia question (“What is the name of one of NeMLA’s journals?”) at the NeMLA closing brunch. As with Mbue’s, I’d never heard of his work before, but the book has an intriguing blurb.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cruz, Miriam. 5 Sundays with Mim: Selected Sermons from Woodcrest Villa Worship. Lancaster, PA: N.p., 2018.

This is a book of sermons by my mother, who is a chaplain at Woodcrest Villa, which is part of Mennonite Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is retiring soon, and one of the residents decided to print this book as a retirement gift. I received it from my mother earlier this week in the mail.

Nordgren, Sarah Rose. Darwin’s Mother. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.

Nordgren gave a reading of her second collection of poems at the New Hartford Barnes & Noble this past Wednesday, and it was absolutely delightful. There was no question about whether or not to buy her book.

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