Tag Archives: Kurt Vonnegut

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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Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton

I just finished reading Salman Rushdie’s new memoir Joseph Anton, which is primarily about the years after the fatwa was issued against his life in 1989 in response to the publication of The Satanic Verses. Rushdie writes eloquently about his most depressing emotional moments during the thirteen years when he had to live under police protection, but he also offers beautiful, inspiring tributes to all of the people (especially his protection team and many of his fellow writers) who supported him, as well as offering the book as an impassioned defense of free speech. Happily, most writers were both privately and publicly supportive of Rushdie, including Don DeLillo, Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Buford, Martin Amis, and Kurt Vonnegut, though a few–including, sadly, Roald Dahl–were not. Shamefully, The Satanic Verses‘ publisher, Viking-Penguin, refused to issue a paperback of the novel, though they kept the hardcover in print. Many bookstores (including many stores in the U.S., who took out an ad in the New York Times when the novel was published here to say that they would stock it), courageously made the book available to the public even though several were bombed by religious fundamentalists.

Joseph Anton is a masterpiece, and is necessary reading for anyone who cares about literature. It should finally persuade the Nobel Prize committee to award Rushdie their literature prize. It is over 600 pages long–Rushdie’s joyful prolixity surfaces once again–but every page is compelling and intense. I found that I was only able to read about seventy-five pages of it per day because it got me so worked up, but this visceral reaction is a testament to Rushdie’s gifts as a writer. He is a hero for anyone who truly cares (i.e., not most American politicians) about freedom.

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