It has been a good summer for book collecting, as the number of volumes on my “to read” shelf now is much larger than it was at the beginning of the summer. My latest batch comes mostly from a recent visit to the Strand, but I also received Lankevich’s and Lepore’s books as gifts from a friend, and bought Shawl and Campbell’s collection on amazon.com because Samuel R. Delany is one of my research interests.
Charyn, Jerome. Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories. New York: Liveright, 2015.
I have not encountered Charyn’s work before, but as a native of the Bronx I am always on the lookout for good fiction about it, and Bitter Bronx‘s blurb (well-written blurbs are so important, and so rare) makes it sound like the stories are well-rooted in their place, which is a literary theme I have been studying recently.
Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1998.
I have been wanting to read this graphic novel since I saw the film version, and have considered buying it on a number of occasions, but other books always took precedence. However, there was a stack of them at the Strand on one of the second floor tables at a discounted price ($13.49 as opposed to the $14.99 cover price), and I decided it was time.
cummings, e.e. Erotic Poems. Ed. George James Firmage. New York: Liveright, 2010.
I enjoy cummings’s work, in large part because of its frankness about the body, thus when I came across this slim volume it was too tempting to resist. It also includes some of cummings’s erotic drawings.
Lankevich, George J. New York City: A Short History. New York: New York UP, 2002.
Despite being a native of New York City and somewhat of a history buff I know relatively little about the city’s history. I am about two-thirds through the book and it is quite good thus far. It was first published in 1998 and then an expanded version was published in 2002 after 9/11. However, the pre-9/11 chapters were not revised, and there are several instances where other significant events in the city’s history happened on September 11 (laws being signed, and so on), and it is fascinating to read these passages that make no comment on how significant that date would later become. It is also interesting to wonder about the timing of these seemingly coincidental occurrences. It reminds me of the occult concept of ley lines. Are there such a thing as ley dates?
Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. New York: Vintage, 2015.
I enjoy Lepore’s writing for the New Yorker, and Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero, so I was quite excited to receive this book.
Palahniuk, Chuck. Beautiful You. 2014. New York: Anchor, 2015.
When Palahniuk is on, his fiction is brilliant, and when he is off, it is gimmicky and mediocre, so I’m always a little nervous to acquire one of his books, but the blurb on this one was intriguing enough (it is about sex toys) to convince me to buy it.
Shawl, Nisi, and Bill Campbell, eds. Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. Greenbelt: Rosarium, 2015.
This festschrift for Delany includes both essays and fiction, which is an appropriate mixture considering the diversity of his own oeuvre.
Warner, Sylvia Townsend. Summer Will Show. 1936. New York: New York Review, 2009.
I have been wanting to read this novel since reading about it in a feminist literature course back in 2004, and have often searched for it in used bookstores to no avail. I happily discovered this NYRB edition on one of the fiction tables at the back of the Strand (I actually gasped aloud when I saw it). This is what I love about the Strand: while I always find excellent books that I wasn’t looking for, I always also seem to find a book that I am looking for in a way that feels like it was put right there for me to find it.