Tag Archives: baseball

Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I received a number of books as gifts for the holidays, and also did a little bit of book shopping myself with some holiday cash.

Algarín, Miguel. Love is Hard Work: Memorias de Loisaida. New York: Scribner Poetry, 1997.

As I mention below discussing Márquez’s book, I am trying to broaden my knowledge of Puerto Rican literature. Algarín has played a major role making it visible in the U.S.

Falley, Megan. After the Witch Hunt. Long Beach, CA: Write Bloody Publishing, 2012.

—. Redhead and the Slaughter King. Austin, TX: Write Bloody Publishing, 2014.

I had never encountered Falley’s poetry before, but enjoyed reading After the Witch Hunt, her first collection, and I am now partway through Redhead and the Slaughter King.

Lopez, Donald S., Jr., ed. Buddhist Scriptures. London: Penguin Books, 2004.

I found this Penguin Classics anthology while browsing at Aaron’s Books and decided to buy it because I am interested in learning more about the Buddhist approach to life.

Machado, Carmen Maria. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2017.

I have not heard of Machado before, but her biographical statement on the back cover notes that she lives “with her wife,” so I am very excited for the chance to encounter another queer Latinx writer.

Márquez, Roberto, ed. Puerto Rican Poetry: An Anthology from Aboriginal to Contemporary Times.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

I still feel like I know hardly anything about Puerto Rican literature, and am therefore happy to have received this volume, which will help to remedy my lack of knowledge.

Rosenman, Mark, and Howie Karpin. Down on the Korner: Ralph Kiner and Kiner’s Korner. New York: Carrel Books, 2016.

I grew up watching Kiner’s Korner after Mets games on WWOR Channel 9 in the 1980s. My family did not have cable, so it was essential for a sports fanatic like myself to watch any sports-related content I could find. I am excited to read this book and relive some of those memories.

Rutherfurd, Edward. Sarum: The Novel of England. 1987. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.

This novel covers English history from prehistoric times through the twentieth century, focusing on the area around Salisbury. I am about a quarter of the way through it and am enjoying it thus far.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle. 1963. New York: Dell, 1970.

Cat’s Cradle is one of my favorite Vonnegut novels. When I found a copy from the old Dell series of his books (a series that I have a number of) in good shape for only $5.00 at Aaron’s Books I snatched it up immediately.

Including these books, I acquired 160 books in 2017, and am ending the year with only 16 on my to-read shelf, so it has been a year full of reading!

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Books Acquired Recently

Dykstra, Lenny. House of Nails: The Construction, the Demolition, the Resurrection: A Memoir of Life on the Edge. New York: Morrow, 2016.

As I have said here before, I am obsessed with the 1986 Mets, so I buy every book I can find about them. Dykstra’s second memoir (after Nails, which was published after the 1986 baseball season) was just published, and I bought it right away and read it this past weekend. It is an interesting book (and has blurbs from Jack Nicholson and Stephen King, which is quite impressive), and I learned some fascinating things about both the Mets and Dykstra (his discussion of Davey Johnson as a manager is especially revelatory), but my primary takeaway from the book is that Dykstra is a terrible person. He claims to have learned from his mistakes, but this supposed growth is nowhere evident in the tone of the book.

King, Michael A. Fractured Dance: Gadamer and a Mennonite Conflict Over Homosexuality. Telford: Pandora Press U.S., 2001.

As I do more and more scholarship on queer Mennonite literature, I thought it would be helpful to read this book, one of the first explicitly dealing with LGBT issues and Mennonitism. It approaches the subject from a theological perspective rather than a literary one, but the theological aspects of Mennonite literature are inescapable (as much as some in the field would like to get away from them), thus one must be somewhat conversant with theological texts to write about the literature.

Oliver, Mary. Thirst. Boston: Beacon, 2006.

I read a few poems by Oliver in an anthology as an undergraduate and didn’t like them, but then recently found out from a friend that Oliver is queer, and that some of her more recent poetry is explicitly so. Therefore I decided to give her another reading. I am interested to see how or whether my poetic tastes have changed in the intervening fifteen years.

Talese, Gay. The Voyeur’s Motel. New York: Grove, 2016.

I read an excerpt of this book several months ago in the New Yorker and was hooked. The book was just published this week, and I can’t wait to read it. It might be suitable for my  course on obsessions.

All of these books were bought on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Vacation Edition

I have acquired sixteen books over the past two weeks, most as a result from visiting various bookshops during my recent vacation to England and Scotland, which was an amazing trip! The rundown of these books is below, with the books separated into sections based on where they were bought. The sections are listed in chronological order.

Hatchard’s, London, England

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Hatchard’s is the oldest bookshop in London, having opened in 1797. It was walking distance from my hotel and it was an awe-inspiring experience to be in a space that has been used for the same purpose for over 200 years.

Clare, John. Major Works. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

I have been looking for a selection of Clare’s works since reading about his escape from a lunatic asylum in a book on psychogeography about a year ago. This volume has a large selection of his poetry as well as some of his prose, which is what I am most interested in.

Kureishi, Hanif. Something to Tell You. 2008. London: Faber, 2009.

Kureishi is one of my favorite British authors and thus I thought it would be appropriate to buy one of his books while I was in England.

Topping & Company, Bath, England

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This was a fantastic bookstore, my favorite on the trip. Bath is a lovely little city.

Bashō, Matsuo. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa. London: Penguin, 1966.

I really enjoy Bashō’s haiku, thus when I discovered this slender volume on the shelf I thought it presented a good opportunity to read some of his prose. I also like the idea of buying a book about travelling whilst travelling.

Lee, Hermione. Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

I am considering doing some scholarship on memoir and thought this little book would be helpful for understanding some of the theoretical issues surrounding the genre.

Peter Bell Books, Edinburgh, Scotland

One of the things that impressed me about Edinburgh was its large number of bookshops–I discovered seven of them just wandering about a half-mile radius from my hotel. All but one of these (Blackwell’s below) were independent stores, tiny holes-in-the-wall. This included Peter Bell Books. Its website (linked to above: “We have been bookselling in Edinburgh since 1980, and are reliable and professional in our business dealings.”) is a good digital manifestation of the shop itself.

Spark, Muriel. The Bachelors. 1960. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.

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I was hoping to buy an old British Penguin paperback because I love their design, and this book fit the bill. I love the little notice on the back cover letting buyers know that it “is not for sale in the U.S.A.” I paid £4.00 for it, more than its original price of three pounds and six shillings (it’s so old that they were still using shillings!).

Blackwell’s, Edinburgh, Scotland

It made me happy that all of Edinburgh’s small bookshops are able to coexist with this larger chain shop.

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

The shop was having a two-for-one sale on Oxford World’s Classics, so this is the book that I got for free.

Zola, Émile. The Ladies’ Paradise. 1883. Tr. Brian Nelson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

I have never read any of Zola’s work despite his importance to the genre of the novel. I recently read a bit about this particular book and thought its portrayal of urbanization and gender sounded interesting, so I decided to buy it.

Oxfam, York, England

Butler, Bryon. The Official Illustrated History of the FA Cup. London: Headline, 1996.

There was an Oxfam used bookshop just down the street from Yorkminster Cathedral, which is one of the sites I visited during the trip. I found this coffee table book and decided to buy it because Manchester United were playing in the FA Cup final later in the day and I thought buying it would bring them luck, and it did! It cost £3.45.

WHSmith, Gatwick Airport, London, England

Ferguson, Alex, with Michael Moritz. Leading. 2015. London: Hodder, 2016.

Despite all of the other better bookshops on the trip it was still impossible to resist a quick walk-through of the airport bookstore, and I ended up purchasing this book because it was half-price.

The Strand, New York City

On the morning after arriving back in the U.S. I stopped at the Strand, my favorite bookstore, before taking the train back to Utica.

DeLillo, Don. Zero K. New York: Scribner, 2016.

I am incredibly excited to read DeLillo’s new novel because he is one of my favorite authors. I exclaimed with delight when I saw it on one of the front tables.

Heti, Sheila. How Should a Person Be? 2012. New York: Picador, 2013.

I love Women in Clothes, the book that Heti co-edited about women’s experiences with clothing, but have never read any of her writing itself. A stack of How Should a Person Be? was on a table labelled “The Future of Fiction” and I decided it was time to check it out.

Mukherjee, Neel. The Lives of Others. 2014. New York: Norton, 2015.

I read Mukherjee’s first novel, A Life Apart, in England and loved it. I decided that I will teach it in one of my courses this coming fall, and thus that it would be helpful to read The Lives of Others sometime this summer to give me more context for his work.

Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2015.

I read a review of this book in the New Yorker a few months back and it sounded fascinating for three reasons: it deals with queer issues, it blends genres, and, as noted above, I am thinking about doing some scholarship on the memoir genre and thought it would be helpful to read this book since it is all the rage. Nelson has also published a book about one of my favorite poets, Frank O’Hara, that sounds interesting, so she seems like a fascinating person.

Amazon.com

The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.

I am currently working on a bibliography that I plan to submit to a journal that uses Chicago Style, which I am not familiar with, so I decided to buy this book to help with the project. I am also seriously considering switching to Chicago Style as my primary style because I am not fond of the new version of MLA style (note that I am still using the older version of MLA style to format the entries for the books in this post).

Darling, Ron, with Daniel Paisner. Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life. New York: St. Martin’s, 2016.

Like many Mets fans I am obsessed with the 1986 team and will buy any book associated with them. This book promises to offer a fascinating perspective on the team. Many people forget that Darling started game 7 (and did not pitch well, leaving trailing 3-0) because Sid Fernandez ended up being the pitching hero and there are all of the iconic images of Jesse Orosco throwing his glove into the air after the final out. Even though the Mets scored eight runs, everyone talks about how the pitching was what won the Mets the game, and I look forward to reading Darling’s analysis of why this is the case.

The last of the sixteen books is

Pashley, Jennifer. The Scamp. Portland: Tin House, 2015.

Pashley gave a reading with several other authors in Utica last night that was quite enjoyable. I have her two excellent short story collections and decided to buy her recent novel in part because I like her writing and in part because it is important to support local authors and independent presses.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Stragglers Edition

I have received a few more books in the last week that I purchased with holiday cash from amazon.com’s network of sellers.

Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Tr. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard, 1999.

I recently read about this work, Benjamin’s notes and clippings for a book about arcades in 1880s Paris that he was never able to write due to his untimely death during World War II, and was immediately intrigued by it because of its obsessive nature. I also love books that somehow stretch the codex form, as this one does as a reproduction of a number of excerpts rather than a longer, single text. It was less than $30.00, which feels like a steal for such a massive (over 1,000 pages) volume.

Gurga, Lee, and Scott Metz, eds. Haiku 21. Lincoln: Modern Haiku, 2011.

Van Den Heuvel, Cor, ed. The Haiku Anthology. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 1999.

As part of my continuing explorations of haiku I have been trying to read lots of anthologies to get a sense of the field. Van Den Heuvel’s is apparently the bastion of traditional haiku, whereas Gurga and Metz both advocate for a more innovative aesthetic. I lean toward the latter, but it is helpful to read examples of both, and Van Den Heuvel’s anthology of baseball haiku is what got me interested in the genre in the first place. From what I know so far, it seems like an essential aspect of the haiku spirit is to keep an open mind.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Everett, Percival. Suder. 1983. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999.

I enjoy Everett’s fiction quite a lot, though I have not read nearly all of it because he is so prolific. I have been wanting to explore more of his work, and when I was doing some research on him recently to prepare to teach his novel Erasure in my American Literature After 1945 course, I read some about Suder, which I decided would be the next novel of his that I would read because it is about baseball.

This book and Kacian, et al.’s anthology were bought from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Kacian, Jim, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns, eds. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York: Norton, 2013.

I have been getting obsessed with haiku lately, and read about this recent anthology in an issue of Frogpond, which is the journal of the Haiku Society of America. I am especially interested in the history of haiku in America and how the form has evolved in modern times, thus I am hoping that reading this anthology will increase my knowledge in both areas.

Swartley, André. The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop. Newton: Workplay, 2015.

I received a review copy of this sequel to Swartley’s enjoyable novel Leon Martin and the Fantasy Girl, and look forward to reading it soon. Swartley does a good job of writing about Mennonite characters and issues in sincere, non-pedantic ways.

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Books Acquired Recently

I had a robust book-acquiring month in October as a result of several factors that happened to coincide: I went to a conference, I was making up book lists for next semester, I had a friend publish a book, I read some interesting book reviews, and so on. Unless otherwise noted, all of these books were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Brown, Box. Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. New York: First Second, 2014.

I read a review of this graphic biography on grantland.com and it sounded fantastic, so I bought it immediately, as Andre was a major figure in my childhood as a result of his heart-wrenching feud with Hulk Hogan and his role as Fezzik in The Princess Bride.

Fisher, MFK. The Gastronomical Me. 1954. New York: North Point, 1989.

I discovered this book when doing research for a seminar on obsession that I am teaching next semester, and decided to check it out.

Fowles, John. The Collector. 1963. New York: Back Bay, 2010.

I have read Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and enjoyed it, and then read about this novel in a list of books about obsession while doing research for the above-mentioned seminar. It sounded intriguing and I was able to find a cheap copy online, so I bought it.

Goldsmith, Kenneth. Sports. Los Angeles: Make Now, 2008.

I recently read an article about Goldsmith, a poet whom I had not previously heard of, in the New Yorker. He sounds like another one of the many, many writers (Hemingway, Faulkner, et al.) who are horrible people but write interesting work. This book is about baseball, so I thought I would check it out.

Hinojosa, Felipe. Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014.

A few weeks ago I attended a Mennonite education conference at Bluffton University, and Hinojosa was one of the keynote speakers. I bought his book from the campus bookstore since I myself am a Latino Mennonite, but do not know very much about the history of this subgroup outside of those from New York City.

Nathan, Jesse. Cloud 9. Portland: Dikembe, 2015.

Nathan is a friend of mine, and I am excited to read his new chapbook of poems. I got an email from the publisher advertising it (presumably they got my email address from Nathan) for only $8.00, which is a steal considering that for a chapbook it’s quite lengthy–40 pages.

Perloff, Marjorie. Unoriginal Genius: Poetry By Other Means in the New Century. 2010. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012.

I read about this book in the same article I read about Goldsmith’s book. I have been reading a lot of poetry for fun lately and thought that this book might give me some ideas for new poets to check out. Perloff is a controversial figure, but I must admit that I have enjoyed the work of hers (especially her book on Frank O’Hara) that I’ve read.

Shteyngart, Gary. Super Sad True Love Story. 2010. New York: Random, 2011.

I had heard of this book and was familiar with its distinctive, colorful cover from advertisements in the New Yorker several years ago, but never bothered to read what it was about. A friend recently recommended it to me and it sounded interesting enough to purchase.

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The 2015 New York Mets: One Month To Go

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero. Image ©MLB Advanced Media

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero.
Image ©MLB Advanced Media

It has been a weird, strange season for the Mets. They have had the highs of a franchise record-tying 11-game winning streak, several 7-game winning streaks, sweeping a season series against a National League team for the first time ever (they went 7-0 against Colorado), and historic (team-wise) home run production. They have had the lows of Zack Wheeler missing the season due to Tommy John surgery, of being no-hit, having long stretches when it was rare for them to score even three runs per game, and being swept by two other playoff contenders, the Pirates and the Cubs. They just won 20 games in August, their first 20-win month since 2000, the last time they made the World Series. They now have a Tug McGraw-esque folk hero in the nearly-traded Wilmer Flores. If they win the National League East (Old Man Voice: “Back in my day, they called it the National League Eastern Division”), Sandy Alderson has to be Executive of the Year for his shrewd trade deadline deals and timely call-up of Michael Conforto, and Terry Collins will be a strong candidate for Manager of the Year despite his consistent inability to properly manage the bullpen (including last night’s loss to the Phillies, when his decision to bring in Bobby Parnell to pitch the sixth inning was a blatantly obvious disaster waiting to happen that then promptly happened).

Going into tonight’s game with the Phillies, the first place Mets have a 6.5 game lead over the Nationals with 30 games to play. The Nationals have a game in hand (their game tomorrow against Atlanta), and play the Mets six more times this year. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario where the Nationals win tomorrow and then sweep the remaining games with the Mets, the division title comes down to which team plays better over their 24 other games. The Mets have four games against the Reds and three against the Yankees, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies, while the Nationals have three games against the Orioles and a make-up game against the Reds, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies. So the Reds might play a bizarrely pivotal role in the race, but it is appropriate that for the most part the division title will be decided by which team does a better job of beating up on the rest of the division.

I feel good about the Mets’ chances. Their recent bullpen additions should help shore up their recently shaky relief pitching (which still isn’t as shaky as the Nationals’, as the Washington ‘pen has blown late multi-run leads the past two nights), their starting rotation has been excellent and will be strengthened by Steven Matz’s return this weekend, and their offense is now respectable, and will get even more dangerous once Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list.

The past month as the Mets have moved back into first place has been incredibly fun for me as a fan. It reminds me of the vibe from back in the mid-1980s as a kid when they were always in the hunt, and there was always that delicious pennant race excitement. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. Let’s Go, Mets!

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