Tag Archives: Dallas Wiebe

Books Acquired Recently: Mennonite/s Writing Edition

This past weekend was the eighth Mennonite/s Writing conference. This year it was held at the University of Winnipeg. As usual, I came back from the conference with a number of new books!

Bergen, David, ed. 9 Mennonite Stories. Winnipeg: Mennonite Literary Society, 2017.

This book, which I got free in lieu of another author’s copy of Tiessen’s book, is the second of the trilogy of anthologies put out by the Mennonite Literary Society this year (Tiessen’s is the third and the first was one of poetry). It isn’t new work, which is a little disappointing, but is still valuable as a kind of “greatest hits” of Mennonite short fiction.

Funk, Carla. Gloryland. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2016.

I won a book of Funk’s poetry in a raffle way back at the 2002 Mennonite/s Writing conference in Goshen, Indiana, and really enjoyed it. I have been meaning to read more of her work ever since, but just have not gotten around to it. I was browsing in McNally Robinson during the tour of Winnipeg that concluded the conference, and came across this recent volume. I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with Funk’s work.

Rempel, Byron. Truth is Naked: All Others Pay Cash. Winnipeg: Great Plains Publications, 2005.

I’ve encountered bits of Rempel’s work in Rhubarb, but have not read any of his books. I came across his memoir while browsing at McNally Robinson and it sounds fascinating.

Tiessen, Hildi Froese, ed. 11 Encounters with Mennonite Fiction. Winnipeg: Mennonite Literary Society, 2017.

This book is a set of essays on various pieces of Mennonite fiction by leading literary critics in the field. I got a free copy because I have a chapter in it. I read through most of it on the plane home yesterday and it’s a thought-provoking book.

Wiebe, Dallas. Monument: Poems on Aging and Dying. Kitchener, ON: Sand Hills Books, 2008.

Tiessen gave me a copy of this book, which was published by her and her husband Paul’s publishing company, because she knows that I love collecting Mennonite literature. I’ve read a lot of Wiebe’s fiction, but none of his poetry, so I look forward to checking it out.

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Books Acquired Recently: Dallas Wiebe Plus One

Morrison, Toni. God Help the Child. 2015. New York: Vintage, 2016.

I was browsing at the Green Toad Bookstore last weekend and saw that the paperback of Morrison’s latest novel is out. She is an important enough writer (and I also really enjoy much of her work) that it is mandatory for me to read everything she writes, so I figured it was time to buy this book.

Wiebe, Dallas. Going to the Mountain. Providence: Burning Deck, 1988.

—. Skyblue’s Essays. Providence: Burning Deck, 1995.

—. The Vox Populi Street Stories. Providence: Burning Deck, 2003.

I decided it was time for me to finish reading Wiebe’s fictional oeuvre now that it is summer. I acquired these three books from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Mennonites Edition

I’ve gone a little crazy (even for me) buying books the past few weeks. The primary reason for this is that I’ve been reading a lot of literary criticism (primarily from the Journal of the Center of Mennonite Writing), and whenever I do this I find out about books (both primary sources and other works of criticism or theory) that sound fascinating and that I have to buy. All of the Jean Janzen books, the Dallas Wiebe collection of stories, the Thomas King novel, and the Dominique Chew and Kolton Nay chapbooks were purchases stemming from this recent reading. The other two purchases were helped by the fact that I was in book-buying mode, which is a dangerous state!  Unless otherwise noted, all of these books were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Chaudhuri, Amit. Odysseus Abroad. 2014. New York: Knopf, 2015.

I have not read any of Chaudhuri’s work before, but was intrigued by a review I read of this novel because it takes place in London and involves wandering around the city, a topic that I find fascinating in general. I decided to buy it now (and will read it over Spring Break a week from now) because I am going to London for the first time this coming summer and thought it would be helpful to read a story about it.

Chew, Dominique. The Meaning of Grace. Goshen: Pinchpenny, 2015.

I read about this and Kolton Nay’s book in Ann Hostetler’s recent article about teaching Mennonite literature (which, incidentally, references my 2001 edited collection [that was also published by Pinchpenny], How Julia Kasdorf Changed My Life: Reflections on Mennonite Identity). Both sound interesting because they deal with issues of Mennonite identity, an issue that I think and write about frequently, and Chew’s book is especially intriguing because she, like me, has one ethnic Mennonite parent and one non-Mennonite, person of  color parent. I bought both books directly from Pinchpenny Press, which is a chapbook publisher run by the Goshen College English Department.

Erdrich, Louise. The Master Butchers Singing Club. 2004. New York: Harper, 2005.

I love Erdrich’s novels about the Ojibwe community, and recently watched an interview with her where she talked about this novel, which is about the German-American community that her father was from. It sounds fascinating, and since I am also German-American on my mother’s side (though I usually speak of her heritage as Mennonite, which in our case is a very specific kind of German-American) it seems like a book I should read.

Janzen, Jean. Paper House. Intercourse: Good, 2008.

—. Piano in the Vineyard. Intercourse: Good, 2004.

—. Snake in the Parsonage. Intercourse: Good, 1995.

—. The Upside-Down Tree. Winnipeg: Henderson, 1992.

—. What the Body Knows. Telford: DreamSeeker, 2015.

Along with Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Jeff Gundy, Janzen is one of the Big Three of Mennonite poets, but I’ve only ever read one of her poetry collections. I’ve decided that it is necessary to remedy this situation.

King, Thomas. Truth & Bright Water. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1999.

I loved the other book of King’s that I read (Green Grass, Running Water), and Truth & Bright Water sounds interesting because it is about the U.S.-Canada border, which is something I think about a lot now that I live relatively close to it.

Nay, Kolton. Imbalance. Goshen: Pinchpenny, 2015.

Hostetler’s article notes that Nay read part of this memoir at the 2015 Mennonite/s Writing Conference, which I also attended, but he and I did not get to meet. I look forward to encountering him on the page instead.

Wiebe, Dallas. The Transparent Eye-Ball and Other Stories. Providence: Burning Deck, 1982.

I really enjoyed Wiebe’s novel Our Asian Journey and have plans to eventually write about his work because he was an important early voice in  Mennonite fiction, but I had not realized that he also published this collection of stories (he also published some poetry that I have not read yet). I look forward to reading it. Despite being over thirty years old the volume is in excellent condition; the pages haven’t even begun to yellow.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: More Mennonites Edition

Wiebe, Dallas. Our Asian Journey. Waterloo: mlr, 1997.

I have been wanting to read this novel for years, but it is out of print and rare. Every once in a while I check for it online to see if I can find a reasonably-priced used copy, and this time I was happy to find a copy in excellent condition for only $25.00 on abebooks.com. Wiebe was one of the few American Mennonite fiction writers, and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Wright, David. Lines from the Provinces. N.p.: greatunpublished, 2000.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I plan on doing some writing about Wright’s poetry this summer. I acquired this book from one of the independent booksellers on amazon.com for this purpose. It is blurbed by one of my favorite poets, Jeff Gundy, which makes me especially eager to read it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Bergen, David. The Age of Hope. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2012.

Bergen is one of my favorite novelists, and I just found out that he has a new book out. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been published in the U.S. yet–aside from Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, Canadian writers get zero respect here–so I had to find a copy from Canada online. I was able to find one from a bookseller in Ontario via abebooks.com.

Braddock, Jeremy. Collecting as Modernist Practice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2012.

I have always loved collecting things, so this book sounded appealing. As it turns out, the book considers anthologies as collections as well as discussing collecting objects, which is something that I am also quite interested in. I am looking forward to reading it. This, Lukas’s, and Wiebe’s books were bought from amazon.com.

Lukas, Paul. Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure. New York: Crown, 1997.

I really enjoy Lukas’s Uni Watch blog, in part because we share the same obsession with aesthetic detail. I just found out that he published this book on the subject fifteen years ago, and bought it right away. It looks like a nonfiction version of Nicholson Baker’s novel The Mezzanine, which is a good thing.

Wiebe, Dallas. Skyblue the Badass. Garden City: Doubleday, 1969.

I have been reading a fair amount of Mennonite literature over the past year after a long hiatus from the field. I’ve been struck by how few U.S. Mennonite novels there are in comparison to the Canadian tradition (including David Bergen), and have been making a concerted effort to read the few U.S. novels that do exist. Wiebe was one of the first U.S. Mennonite writers, but I’ve only read a few of his poems and one or two of his essays. All of his fiction is out of print, but I was able to find a copy of Skyblue the Badass (I couldn’t find any of Our Asian Journey) for $46.00. I bought it with some birthday cash. It’s in very good condition, and I love that the back cover has a note from my main man George Plimpton.

George Plimpton's note about Paris Review Editions.

George Plimpton’s note about Paris Review Editions.

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