Tag Archives: Mennonites

Books Acquired Recently: All Mennonite Edition

Dueck, Nathan. A Very Special Episode. Hamilton, ON: Buckrider Books, 2019.

Dueck is a Mennonite poet whom I know and his third collection of poetry just came out. I bought it right away and look forward to reading it.

Stoltzfus, Donna J. Captive. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2018.

Stolzfus’s family and mine have been friends since the 1960s. This book for adolescents is about German POWs who worked for Mennonites in Pennsylvania during World War II.

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Books Acquired Recently

Enns, Victor. Love & Surgery. Regina, SK: Radiant Press, 2019.

Enns has played an important role in the Mennonite literary scene because he was the founder and sometimes editor of Rhubarb, the journal of the Mennonite Literary Society. I have not read his earlier work, which dates back to Turnstone Press’s chapbook days of the late 1970s, but decided to buy his latest collection because it is in part about his divorce, a subject that has affected my own life. I began reading it as soon as it came in the mail and it is an excellent book.

Wheitner, Dave. The Snuggle Party Guidebook: Create Deeper Friendships, Decrease Loneliness, & Enjoy Nurturing Touch Community. Portland, OR: Divergent Drummer Publications, 2014.

I have heard of snuggle parties, sometimes also known as cuddle parties, but know very little about them. They seem like a queer subject, so I decided to buy this book to learn more.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly 2019 Edition

Hemmings, Clare. Bisexual Spaces: A Geography of Sexuality and Gender. New York: Routledge, 2002.

I recently came across a citation of this book and decided to buy it despite its age because I am bisexual and because my research is concerned with space.

With the exception of Moore’s book, which I bought directly from the publisher, I bought all of these books from amazon.com. I bought Hemmings’s book new for $53.95 because there were not any used copies available for a reasonable price. It must be said that it is ridiculous that Routledge has not lowered the price for the book considering that it is seventeen years old (an eternity in academic publishing) and it is also now print-on-demand (I received the book yesterday and it was printed on 14 September), and thus of lower quality than the original paperback printing and also devoid of warehousing costs. I bought it because it feels necessary for me to read (texts on bisexuality are still woefully rare), and I am sympathetic to the struggles that academic publishers face in an increasingly-contracting market, but I haven’t been this annoyed about the price of a book since buying some overpriced textbooks my first semester of college.

Moore, Carley. The Not Wives. New York: Feminist Press, 2019.

I received an email advertisement for this novel and decided to buy it because it is about queer relationship models, something that is treated infrequently in literature.

Shatzkin, Mike, and Robert Paris Riger. The Book Business: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

As a bibliophile I of course bought this book as soon as I heard about it. I read it the other night and learned from it, though less than I was hoping. It is worth reading for anyone interested in trying to get a book published.

The Book Business provides an illustrative contrast to Hemmings’s book. It is also print-on-demand and is a recently released academic text, and yet it only cost $20.00.

Skeets, Jake. Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2019.

I read about this poetry collection in a recent issue of Poets & Writers and decided to buy it because I am always looking for new queer writers of color.

Zimmerman, Diana R. Certain as Afternoon/ Certa Come il Pomeriggio. Costa Rica: Self-published, 2019.

I enjoy Zimmerman’s memoir Marry a Mennonite Boy and Make Pie, so I decided to buy her new poetry collection about the death of her Italian husband. The poems are printed in both English and Italian.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cruz, Nicky, with Jamie Buckingham. Run Baby Run. 1968. Newberry, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2016.

Wilkerson, David, with John Sherrill and Elizabeth Sherrill. The Cross and the Switchblade. 1962. New York: Jove Books, 1977.

Mennonites like to play what is known as the “Mennonite Game” whenever we meet a Mennonite whom we haven’t met before. We try to figure out how we are connected to them via mutual acquaintances. This often involves hearing their last name and asking, “Oh, are you related to (person with same last name that the person asking the question knows)?” “Cruz” is not an ethnic Mennonite name, but many Mennonites of a certain generation still know it because of Nicky Cruz’s and David Wilkerson’s memoirs about converting gang members from New York City to Christianity. So members of my family used to frequently be asked “Are you related to Nicky Cruz?” The answer is no. Cruz is about as common a name as “Smith” is, but most white Mennonites don’t realize that. I am doing some writing about my family’s Mennonite history, including my father’s experiences as a non-ethnic Mennonite, and decided that I should actually read Cruz’s and Wilkerson’s books to help me understand why they were popular with Mennonites in the 1960s and 1970s.

Miller Shearer, Tobin. Two Weeks Every Summer: Fresh Air Children and the Problem of Race in America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017.

Miller Shearer was one of my youth group advisers in high school before he went back to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in history. The Fresh Air program is one that many rural Mennonites have participated in, hosting children from cities (including some Mennonites) for several weeks in the summer. I heard adults talk about it all the time when I was a kid, so I look forward to reading his history of it.

Witwer, Michael, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer. Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History. Ten Speed Press, 2018.

As a result of my new Dungeons & Dragons obsession, I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about its history. I found this huge book about the game’s visuals on sale for $31.00 (the cover price is $50.00) and decided to buy it.

I purchased all four books from amazon.com because I had a gift card.

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Books Acquired Recently: Inscribed Copies Edition

Coffman, Lisa. Less Obvious Gods. Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 2013.

I recently read Coffman’s first poetry collection, Likely, and loved it, so I decided to order her second book. I bought an inscribed copy directly from her website.

Kraybill, Donald B. Eastern Mennonite University: A Century of Countercultural Education. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017.

I am enough of a Mennonite history buff and my mother’s family has enough connections to Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) that I decided to buy this book after it got a good review in the July 2019 Mennonite Quarterly Review even though I am an alumnus of EMU’s rival, Goshen College. I thought about buying it directly from Penn State Press because they are also my publisher but it is $40.00 new, so I found a used copy for $22.00 on abebooks.com. It was inscribed by Kraybill to a Mark Lehman (who is probably a distant cousin of mine because my grandmother was a Lehman, haha) on 14 October 2017. I always wonder about the ownership histories of used books that I buy, and I am especially intrigued by this one. Why did Lehman get rid of the book so quickly (after less than two years!)? Did he die? Did he decide to become a missionary and thus needed to get rid of most of his possessions? Did he just think the book was terrible (for the record, I am already about a third of the way through it and am enjoying it thus far)? I will probably never know the answer, but the mystery makes me like the book more as an object.

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Books Acquired Recently: Hobart Book Village Edition

This past weekend I went to the Hobart Book Village in Hobart, New York, for the first time. Hobart is a tiny village in the Catskills, but it has five independent bookstores within two blocks of each other. They all have slightly different specialties and cooperate with each other rather than being competitors. I only purchased books from three of the stores because one focuses on books about arts and crafts and one is an antiquarian bookstore for serious book collectors (i.e., those interested in first editions and the like). Somehow I only spent about $100.00. I recommend that all book lovers visit!

From Blenheim Hill Books:

Algarín, Miguel, and Miguel Piñero, eds. Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings. New York: William Morrow, 1975.

As a Nuyorican myself, I have been wanting to read this anthology for quite some time. Copies of it are expensive (it is sadly out of print), but when I found a copy in good condition for $40.00 I immediately decided I had to buy it.

Berrigan, Ted. The Sonnets. 1964. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.

I’ve read lots about Berrigan regarding his connection to the New York School of poets, whom I love, but I have not read his work before.

Vuong, Ocean. Night Sky with Exit Wounds. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2016.

I’ve heard great things about Vuong’s poetry but have not yet encountered it. I look forward to checking it out!

Blenheim Hill has the best poetry section I’ve ever encountered at a used bookstore, which is why poetry is all I purchased there.

From Butternut Valley Books:

March, Lisa. Her and She and Him…. New York: Audubon Books, 1970.

Butternut Valley had several shelves of old pornographic paperbacks that I enjoyed browsing through. This was the only one I found that was queer, which is why I bought it.

From Liberty Rock Books:

Van Vogt, A.E. The Book of Van Vogt. New York: DAW Books, 1972.

A.E. Van Vogt was an important science fiction writer from the tail end of SF’s Golden Age, but I am interested in him because he was raised Mennonite. I’ve never read any of his work so I was pleased to find this anthology of some of his short stories.

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Books Acquired Recently: Ervin Beck Edition

Ervinbooks

The above photograph shows the 51 books that my former professor Ervin Beck gave me when I visited his home in Goshen, Indiana, last week. I took his Mennonite Literature course my junior year of college and have basically been obsessed with the field since then. He generously let me take a selection of his books in the field as part of his retirement downsizing.

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