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Books Acquired Recently

Addiss, Stephen. The Art of Haiku: Its History Through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Masters. Boston: Shambhala, 2012.

Yesterday I went to a poetry reading in Ithaca, New York, and stopped at two bookstores during the trip. I bought this book at The Bookery, a delightful, labyrinthine used bookshop.

Barnhart, Danielle, and Iris Mahan, ed. Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. New York: OR Books, 2018.

I also stopped at Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, where I bought this new anthology and Brownstein’s memoir, which I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while since I love Portlandia. I kept seeing more and more books that I wanted to buy. It’s a dangerous place!

Brownstein, Carrie. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir. 2015. New York: Riverhead Books, 2016.

Carlson, Paula J., and Peter S. Hawkins, ed. Listening for God: Contemporary Literature and the Life of Faith. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994.

My mother just retired and is working on downsizing. She just brought me some books from her library that I either had sentimental attachments to from childhood (Lewis’s, Moore’s, and Waybill’s) or thought sounded interesting. This one falls into the latter category. It’s a collection of fiction by a variety of authors dealing with finding God in the world.

Delany, Samuel R. The Atheist in the Attic Plus…. Oakland: PM Press, 2018.

I just recently discovered PM Press, a publisher of radical literature. Happily, they just published my favorite author’s latest book! It includes a novella and some essays. I bought it immediately from their website.

Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed. 1961. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.

Moore, Joy Hofacker. Ted Studebaker: A Man Who Loved Peace. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1987.

Why do you get a Herald Press children’s book written about you? Because you died while doing mission work, of course!

Waybill, Marjorie Ann. Chinese Eyes. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1974.

The inscription in this book says that my parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was three.

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Books Acquired Recently: Cincinnati Edition

This weekend I went to the Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Weekend for the first time. It was so much fun! Of course I bought some books. I also visited the Half Price Books near my hotel, where I purchased Roberts’, Brown’s, and Sohl’s texts.

Brown, Rita Mae. Poems. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1987.

I love Brown’s classic lesbian novel Rubyfruit Jungle, but am unfamiliar with her poetry. I got this copy of her early poems in excellent shape for only $5.48.

Lachman, Becca J.R. Other Acreage. Boston: Gold Wake Press, 2015.

Lachman was one of the featured speakers at the event, and I was able to have my copy of her book signed, something that is still always exciting!

Roberts, JR. Black Lesbians: An Annotated Bibliography. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, 1981.

I bought this book simply for archiving purposes because I love old books. It’s in great shape and I got it for only $2.98. It is an excellent example of the hugely important preservation and recovery work undertaken by feminists and queers in the 1970s and early 1980s that got published by tiny independent presses because large publishers assumed (often incorrectly) that there was not a market for it.

Samatar, Del, and Sofia Samatar. Monster Portraits. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal Press, 2018.

I am friends with Sofia Samatar and hanging out with her was one of the highlights of my weekend. Her new book, which includes artwork by her brother that she then responds to in prose, is officially coming out later this month, but she had some copies with her for sale.

Sohl, Jerry. Night Slaves. Greenwich, CT: Gold Medal Books, 1965.

Half Price Books had a rack at the front of the store full of old pulp fiction paperbacks. I bought this one for $3.00 because it sounds kinky: the villain keeps the inhabitants of a planet hypnotized and the hero has to try to stop him.

Wideman, Johnny. This Will Lead to Dancing. Stouffville, ON: Theatre of the Beat, 2014.

—. To Aid Digestion: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems. Stouffville, ON: Theatre of the Beat, 2017.

I had never heard of Theatre of the Beat, a Mennonite acting troupe, but they gave an amazing, moving performance of This Will Lead to Dancing on Saturday afternoon. Their work is focused on queer issues, and is thus immediately relevant to my scholarship on queer Mennonite literature.

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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: Toronto Edition

torontobooks

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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