Tag Archives: bookstores

Books Acquired Recently: Toronto Edition

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I was in Toronto this weekend for the first time since high school. As usual when I travel, I looked up some independent bookstores to visit. I made stops at Ben McNally Books and Type Books (the Queen Street store). Although Type was smaller, it had better selection. McNally was rather disappointing, frankly (and it drove me nuts that their sections are not labelled: sometimes I don’t want to browse, I want to go straight to the poetry section), though I did end up finding two books, Cohen’s and Ruthnum’s, there. I spent over $100.00 CDN at Type–and could have spent at least $50.00 more–whereas there wasn’t much else that caught my eye at McNally. But I’m glad I got the chance to visit both and to support two independent businesses.

Bowering, George. A Short Sad Book. 1977. Vancouver: New Star Books, 2017.

Cohen, Leonard. Beautiful Losers. 1966. Toronto: Emblem Editions, 2003.

After reading Nick Mount’s recent book on Canadian literature I made a list of authors whose work sounded like it would be worth checking out. My purchases of Bowering’s  and Cohen’s books were a result of said list. I must note that the Cohen cover is hideous and it almost made me not buy the book even though I was looking for it specifically. “Never judge a book by its cover,” yes, but that doesn’t mean that good cover design is not important. A book should be beautiful as an object as well as as a repository of ideas and stories.

Jones, Dylan. David Bowie: A Life. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2017.

I love Bowie, and this new oral history about him was too tempting to pass up. It is interesting to note that the book does not list a city of publication: I had to look up where Doubleday Canada is located to complete my citation of it. I have noticed this omission in several other recently-published books as well. I don’t know whether this is a coincidence or the beginning of a trend, but either way it bothers me. Place is important, and it is thus helpful to state a publisher’s geographical context even when it is a big corporate publisher as in this case.

Roffman, Karin. The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

I have been wanting to buy this book since it came out, but it felt like the kind of book I needed to buy from an independent bookstore rather than online or at Barnes & Noble. Going to Type was the first time I had been in such a store that had it in stock since its release.

Ruthnum, Naben. Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2017.

This slim volume was an impulse buy at the register, where it was temptingly displayed. Contra Cohen’s book, its cover sucked me in completely. I have been thinking about the relationship between food and literature lately as well as about postcolonial literature, so this book, which discusses all three, felt like a serendipitous find.

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Books Acquired Recently

Connelly, Karen. The Change Room. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2017.

I recently read a review of this book on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian and it sounded quite interesting, in part because of how it mirrors some of my own personal experiences. I bought this and Katz’s book from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

George, Nina. The Little Paris Bookshop. 2013. Trans. Simon Pare. New York: Broadway Books, 2015.

I recently received this book as a gift from my mother. I love bookshops and always enjoy writing that is about them, so I look forward to reading it.

Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1976.

I’ve been doing a lot of research involving queer archiving lately, and have come across several citations of this book, which is one of the earliest efforts to collect documents having to do with LGBT life. I was able to find an inexpensive used copy for my own library. It is a mammoth text, over 400 pages, the kind of scholarly effort without which the queer community today would be much poorer.

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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

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: AWP Edition Plus One

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AWP:

I just attended the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) conference for the first time this past week. It was a fantastic conference, and one of the best things about it was the huge book fair. There was so much literature to choose from that it became an overwhelming task. I thus developed the following buying strategy: I would stop at publisher tables that looked interesting and ask them if they had any queer texts. If they did, I would consider those texts. I came away with some exciting-looking books by authors that I mostly have never heard of before (and therefore some of the books do not have annotations).

Cho, Tom. Look Who’s Morphing. 2009. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014.

Cho presented at the same panel as Sassafras Lowrey did (mentioned below). I made a note to look up his work because he discussed the work of Tom of Finland, which I care deeply for. When I went to buy Lowrey’s book I happily discovered Cho’s book right next to it on the table.

Gaydos, Rebecca. Güera. Oakland: Omnidawn Publishing, 2016.

Guzman, Dena Rash. Joseph. Oakland: Hologram Press, 2017.

I attended a poetry reading including Guzman on Thursday morning and she had copies of her new collection for sale. I enjoyed listening to her, bought the book, and discovered that it is even better than it seemed to be at the reading!

July, Miranda. It Chooses You. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2011.

I love July’s work and was excited to get this book for only $10.00.

Lowrey, Sassafras. Lost Boi. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015.

I heard Lowrey speak at a panel, and ze said that this novel was on sale at the book fair. After hearing hir speak I wanted to read hir writing immediately. I’m halfway through the novel (a BDSM-inflected retelling of Peter Pan) and it is amazing! When I got home this afternoon I went online and ordered the rest of hir books.

Mondrup, Iben. Justine. Translated by Kerri A. Pieroe. Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2016.

Parzybok, Benjamin. Sherwood Nation. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2014.

Ratzlaff, Keith. Dubious Angels: Poems After Paul Klee. Tallahassee, FL: Anhinga Press, 2005.

Ratzlaff is a Mennonite poet who I had dinner with on Friday night (there were a number of Mennonite writers and literary critics at the conference who all got together for dinner). He mentioned that his books were available at the book fair and I got this volume on sale for $5.00. I finished reading it this morning and quite enjoyed it.

Plus One:

Spark, Muriel. The Comforters. 1957. New York: New Directions, 2014.

Last night I visited Kramer Books with a friend. While browsing their fiction section I came across a book by Muriel Spark (who I love) that I haven’t read yet and decided to buy it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Although I have more than enough books on my “To Read” shelf for the rest of the summer, I’ve acquired five new books over the past week.

Klosterman, Chuck. But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past. New York: Blue Rider, 2016.

I love Klosterman’s writing. I didn’t realize he had a new book out, but it was displayed on the very first shelf at RiverRead Books in Binghamton (where I also bought Spark’s novel) when I walked in. I decided to buy it right away. It was probably my record for quickest time picking a book to buy in a bookstore–about five seconds.

Lander, N [sic] Maxwell. Carnal Anomaly. Berkeley: Threel Media, 2016.

I received this and Niffenegger’s book as anniversary presents from my partner. Carnal Anomaly is a collection of BDSM-themed photographs, some of which are very extreme. I look forward to perusing it.

Niffenegger, Audrey. The Night Bookmobile. New York: Abrams, 2010.

I don’t know much at all about this graphic novel, but it involves books so I am assuming I will enjoy it!

Ruth, John L. Branch: A Memoir with Pictures. Lancaster: TourMagination, 2013.

John Ruth is one of the most important Mennonite storytellers of the past fifty years, and his influence is still felt throughout the field of Mennonite studies. I have been wanting to buy his memoir since I read a review of it a few years ago, but it has been difficult to track down (amazon.com doesn’t even have it!). I was finally able to find a copy on the website of Masthof Bookstore, a Mennonite publishing venture that I was previously unaware of.

Spark, Muriel. Memento Mori. 1959. New York: New Directions, 2014.

I love Spark’s writing and when I saw this paperback on the shelf I picked it up immediately.

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Books Acquired Recently

Hall, Donald E., and Annamarie Jagose, eds. The Routledge Queer Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2013.

I recently had a friend recommend this anthology to me, and I have been wanting to read queer theory in a more systematic way than I have in the past, so thought this book would be a good place to start. I acquired it from one of amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Hess, J. Daniel. An Invitation to Criticism. Goshen: Pinchpenny, 1984.

I took a trip to Goshen, Indiana, last week to do some research, and while I was there I made a stop at Better World Books. I found this old Pinchpenny Press book with an intriguing title in good condition. I am always interested in the history of Mennonite attitudes toward education and art, so I look forward to discovering what Hess has to say on the subject.

Isherwood, Christopher. Christopher and His Kind. 1976. London: Vintage, 2012.

I received this book as a gift from someone who knows about my interest in queer literature. I have never read Isherwood before, so it is nice that now I have impetus to do so.

Reimer, Al. My Harp is Turned to Mourning. Winnipeg: Windflower, 1990.

This is the other book I bought at Better World. It is one of the first novels to depict the Mennonite struggles in Russia under Stalin, and an important text in the Mennonite literary canon. To be frank, I get a little tired of this narrative sometimes, but I found this volume in excellent condition for a good price, thus decided to buy it and finally get around to reading it this summer.

Richardson, Suzanne. The Softest Part of a Woman is a Wound. Georgetown: Finishing Line, 2016.

Richardson is one of my colleagues at Utica College, and she just came out with her first book of poetry! I am very excited to read it.

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