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Books Acquired Recently

A bunch of books arrived all at once this past week, so now I have plenty of reading material for the upcoming Winter Break!

Laing, Olivia. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. New York: Picador, 2016.

I read a review of this book when it came out and it sounded interesting both because I love cities and because I am an introvert and enjoy being alone. I finally got around to buying it.

I purchased Laing’s, Nicholson’s, and Oyeyemi’s books from amazon.com.

Nicholson, Hope. Love Beyond Body, Space & Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology. Winnipeg: Bedside Press, 2016.

Oyeyemi, Helen. What is Not Yours is Not Yours: Stories. 2016. New York: Riverhead Books, 2017.

I recently read about these two books in an article by Casey from Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian and decided to buy them immediately because of my love of queer literature and my desire to encounter as many queer authors as possible. The fact that the title of Nicholson’s book does not use the Oxford Comma is driving me nuts.

Rice-González, Charles. Chulito. New York: Magnus Books, 2011.

I encountered this and Rivera’s novel (both which were bought from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers) in a paper title while I was perusing the program for the 2018 MLA convention. I had never heard of either one, but am always happy to encounter queer Latinx narratives, so I bought them both right away.

Rich, Adrienne. Adrienne Rich’s Poetry and Prose. Edited by Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi and Albert Gelpi. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.

I saw an ad for a new edition of this book in the September issue of PMLA. I requested an exam copy from the publisher, but they accidentally sent me the older edition. I did not have a copy of the 1993 edition, so I have been reading it and enjoying it thus far.

Rivera, Gabby. Juliet Takes a Breath. Riverdale, NY: Riverdale Avenue Books, 2016.

Schroeder, Karl. Lockstep. 2014. New York: Tor, 2015.

A friend of mine recently told me about Schroeder, who is a Canadian Mennonite speculative fiction writer. I decided to buy one of his books because I am interested in writing more scholarship about Mennonite speculative fiction, a field that has recently been growing explosively.

Taylor, Valerie. The Girls in 3B. 1959. New York: Feminist Press, 2012.

I received a desk copy of this pulp fiction classic from the publisher because I am planning to include it in my queer literature class next semester. I read it a few days ago and quite enjoyed it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Fitzpatrick, Cat, and Casey Plett, ed. Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. New York: Topside Press, 2017.

I received a review copy of this book a few months ago and it is a fantastic selection of stories. I ordered a copy of the published book as a way of supporting Topside Press, who publish excellent, necessary trans literature. This is a book that should get taught in queer literature courses for the next few decades (I’ll be assigning it in mine next semester). You can order it here. At $22.95, it is a steal.

Herrera, Juan Felipe. Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008.

Negrón, Luis. Mundo Cruel: Stories. 2010. Trans. Suzanne Jill Levine. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013.

I ordered these two books from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers after reading about them in Michael Dowdy’s article “Ten Must-Read Latino Books” from the September 2017 issue of The Writer’s Chronicle. I haven’t read either author before. I read Negrón’s collection a few nights ago and it is heartbreaking and beautiful. I will be teaching it in my queer literature course as well.

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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: 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: MLA Edition

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Last week I went to the annual Modern Language Association (MLA) convention, which was in Philadelphia this year. It was my third time attending MLA, and as usual one of the highlights of my trip was going to the Book Fair. It seemed like there were fewer publishers there this year, but I still managed to come away with ten books! All of the publishers had sales, and I actually got four of the books (Cisneros, Hass, Karr, McCloud) for free.

Cisneros, Sandra. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. 2015. New York: Vintage Books, 2016.

Random House was giving out free books in exchange for signing up for their email list, and this patchwork memoir was the most intriguing of the books eligible for the offer.

Cruz, Ariane. The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

BDSM is one of my major scholarly interests and it excites me how there are more and more academic studies of it being published.

Cvetkovich, Ann. Depression: A Public Feeling. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

I adored Cvetkovich’s An Archive of Feelings when I read it earlier this semester, so I decided to check out this newer volume.

Gillot, Alain. The Penalty Area. Trans. Howard Curtis. New York: Europa Editions, 2016.

This lovely little novel that I’ve already finished is about a French youth soccer team. Happily, not only is it about soccer, but chess also plays a significant role.

Gray, Mary L., Colin R. Johnson, and Brian J. Gilley, ed. Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

I have read very little on rural queer experience, and bought this new reader in order to help remedy this lack.

Hass, Robert. A Little Book on Form: An Exploration Into the Formal Imagination of Poetry. New York: Ecco, 2017.

I love both Hass’s poetry and his writing about poetry, and was thus excited to see that he has this new book (which, at over 400 pages, is not “little”) out.

Hoang, Nguyen Tan. A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.

I have been trying to read as much work at the intersection of race/ethnicity and queer theory as possible recently, but have not yet read anything about the Asian queer experience.

Karr, Mary. The Art of Memoir. 2015. New York: HarperPerennial, 2016.

I have been writing more and more creative nonfiction lately, but without reading much theory on how to do so. I thought reading this book would be helpful as I continue to pursue this writing.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: William Morrow, 1993.

It is terrible that I still haven’t read this classic text even though I have taught graphic narratives in a number of courses. But there’s nothing like the impetus of getting it for free!

Rabinowitz, Paula. American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

I love pulp paperbacks and was thus very excited to find this history of them and their influence.

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I love the holidays because not only do I get lots of books as gifts (some from others, some from myself), but I have lots of time off to read! Unless otherwise noted, all of the volumes below were presents I’ve received in the past week.

Carpenter, Steven P. Mennonites and Media: Mentioned in It, Maligned by It, and Makers of It: How Mennonites Have Been Portrayed in Media and How They Have Shaped Media for Identity and Outreach. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.

This book looks like an interesting overview of how Mennonites have been portrayed and have portrayed themselves through the years. Mennonites love to write about Mennonite subject matter, and this book fits perfectly in that trend.

Eby, Omar. Mill Creek. N.p.: Xlibris, 2010.

Eby taught English at Eastern Mennonite College/University for decades. I have read one of his other novels, A Long, Dry Season, and am excited to read this more recent effort.

Epstein, Robert, and Miriam Wald, ed. Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku. West Union, WV: Middle Island Press, 2016.

I have a poem in this collection (“confused birdsong / seventy degrees / in November”), so I bought a copy for posterity’s sake. For the record, while I respect vegetarianism, I love meat.

Friesen, Lauren. Prairie Lands, Private Landscapes: Re-framing a Mennonite Childhood. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing, 2016.

Friesen is an important scholar of Mennonite drama and music, and I look forward to reading this memoir of his to learn more about his journey.

Hart, Lynda. Between the Body and the Flesh: Performing Sadomasochism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

This book is a classic examination of BDSM that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet, but will do so soon.

Jordan, Hillary. When She Woke. 2011. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2012.

I’ve already finished this novel, which is like an updated version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s not as skillful as Atwood’s book, but was enjoyable nonetheless. In this age of political madness in the U.S. we need as many of these narratives as we can get.

Kurlansky, Mark. Paper: Paging Through History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2016.

I love books, and so of course I am intrigued by this history of paper and its role in shaping broader human history.

Musser, Amber Jamilla. Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

I am always interested in reading theorizations of BDSM, thus I ordered this book immediately when I came across a citation of it in my research. I purchased it and Wirzba’s book from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Weaver-Zercher, Valerie. Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

I was browsing in the Old Country Store in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, last week while visiting relatives and came across this book, which I had previously heard about. I decided to finally buy a copy with some money I had received as a gift.

Wirzba, Norman. Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006.

I struggle with living in the moment, enjoying the daily joys of life instead of constantly worrying about the future. I recently read about Wirzba’s book on making restfulness a daily habit and thought it sounded helpful.

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Books Acquired Recently

Abramović, Marina. Walk Through Walls: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype, 2016.

Abramović is my favorite artist, and I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it via her Facebook page. I love how she inserts her body into her work, insisting that art is always in some way autobiographical. I am excited to see how she handles the genre of written autobiography. Judging from the dust jacket blurb, the book is more properly spoken of as autobiography rather than as memoir, as its subtitle claims, but memoir is so marketable these days that it is understandable (though not necessarily justifiable) why the publisher would choose to mislabel it.

This and Smith’s book were purchased from amazon.com.

Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed: “The Tempest” Retold. London: Hogarth, 2016.

I recently received this book, which is signed by the author, as a gift. Hogarth has a series of retellings of Shakespeare’s plays by contemporary authors. This is a genre Atwood has worked in before, and I enjoy the writing of hers that I’ve read, so I am optimistic that the book will be an enjoyable one.

Johnson, E. Patrick, ed. No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Johnson’s anthology Black Queer Studies is an essential book in both the queer and African American literary critical canons, and a book that has had a significant impact on me as a scholar. Therefore, when I first heard about No Tea, No Shade, a follow-up collection, I ordered an examination copy from the publisher immediately.

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2016.

I have loved Smith’s fiction since I first read White Teeth in a graduate school course eleven years ago. She is one of a select group of authors whose books I buy immediately without question (Nicholson Baker, Di Brandt, Samuel R. Delany, Don DeLillo [though he might be off the list now because his last book was so poor], Jonathan Safran Foer, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Miriam Toews), and thus I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it.

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