Tag Archives: Mennonites

Books Acquired Recently: Radical Women Edition

The most important intellectual experience of my life was when I first encountered feminist theory in a Feminist Theology course my second year of college. Feminism gave me a completely new way of viewing the world that has led me to become a much better person than I would have been otherwise. It has also led to my scholarly interests in minority literatures, most notably queer literature. The three books that I’ve acquired over the past few weeks in the U.S. (see the post I wrote yesterday to read more about the books I acquired on my recent trip to England) are evidence of my continued desire to encounter new feminist perspectives.

Breedlove, Lynn. Godspeed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

I had not heard of Breedlove, a member of the band Tribe 8, until recently when I came across several mentions of her in some queer theory I was reading (one mention was by Ann Cvetkovich and I think the other was by Jack Halberstam). Then I heard about this novel via Stryker’s book (see below) and it became a “Rule of Threes” thing: the universe was telling me to encounter some Breedlove. So I bought a copy of her book.

This and Stryker’s book were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Morris, Catherine, and Rujeko Hockley, ed. We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85: A Sourcebook. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, 2017.

I ordered an exam copy of this book from its distributor, Duke University Press, because I love radical literature from all traditions. While some of the documents it collects are well-known, most are not, so I anticipate that reading it will be an enjoyable journey of discovery. It looks like it would be an excellent resource for both African American Studies courses and Gender Studies courses.

Stryker, Susan. Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008.

I love Stryker’s book on queer pulp fiction and have enjoyed other essays of hers as well, thus when I encountered a citation of this book while doing some writing on trans Mennonite literature I decided to buy it immediately. I have already read it and it is a strong, accessible introduction to the subject.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Mast, Carrie A., and Gerald J. Mast, ed. Human Sexuality in Biblical Perspective: A Study Guide. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2016.

I bought this book because I am slowly working on a book about queer Mennonite literature, and while the book has a literary focus rather than a theological one, it is also important for me to be aware of the current state of theological Mennonite discussions about sexuality. Cascadia has published several books on this issue over the years and they have generally been thought-provoking, so I look forward to reading this text.

Samatar, Sofia. Tender: Stories. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2017.

Samatar is one of the most prolific of the younger generation of Mennonite writers. I enjoyed her two novels (especially her second, The Winged Histories), and was delighted when I heard that she was coming out with a book of short stories. I pre-ordered it from amazon.com (where I also got the Masts’ book) and it arrived a few days ago.

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Books Acquired Recently

Friesen, Bernice. The Seasons Are Horses. Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1995.

Friesen is one of Rhubarb‘s editors and I thought it would be helpful to check her own work out. I decided to buy her first book, a collection of interrelated short stories.

Keefe-Perry, L. Callid. Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.

Since college I have been interested in the intersection between literature and theology, and in recent years many Mennonite writers have been examining how the field of theopoetics is a helpful tool for analyzing this intersection. I encounter references to this field enough that I thought it would make sense for me to do some of my own reading on the subject.

Both books were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

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Books Acquired Recently

Flowers, Stephen E., and Crystal Dawn Flowers. Carnal Alchemy: Sado-Magical Techniques for Pleasure, Pain, and Self-Transformation. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2013.

I encountered a reference to another book about the intersection between BDSM and spirituality in Ariane Cruz’s (no relation) excellent book The Color of Kink, and while reading about it online came across the Flowers’s book. Theirs sounded more interesting than the other one, so it is the one I ordered.

This and Serano’s book were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Foster, Clarise, ed. “Mennonite Poets.” Special issue of Rhubarb 40 (2017).

Although I normally do not document journal issues that I acquire, I am making an exception in this case because it is the first anthology of Mennonite poetry since Ann Hostetler’s 2003 A Capella. It has the potential to become a significant text in the field of Mennonite literature as the field continues to balance the importance of “first generation” authors who began publishing in the 1980s and 1990s and the younger “second generation” whose work has appeared in the past decade.  Foster’s anthology is also fascinating because she herself is not a Mennonite, so it is interesting that Rhubarb (the journal of the Mennonite Literary Society) chose to get this outsider perspective on the field.

Lewis, Sinclair. It Can’t Happen Here. 1935. New York: New American Library, 2005.

I came across this book while browsing at the Norfolk, Virginia, airport’s newsstand earlier this week. I had just finished reading Paula Rabinowitz’s book American Pulp and was thinking about how books used to be sold in many more places than they are today. This put me in the mood to buy a book to keep the tradition of buying something to read while one is traveling alive. I chose Lewis’s book because when I found out that it is about a Fascist regime taking over the United States I thought to myself that the way the current administration is going such books will not be legal for long.

Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2016.

I have been writing about trans fiction lately and have been feeling the need for more trans theory to help guide my thinking, so I decided to order the new version of Serano’s classic text.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Birthday Edition

My birthday is this week and I have already received several books as gifts. There is no gift better!

Brady, Frank. Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall–from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2012.

I am a recovering chess addict who has always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer, the greatest American chess player ever. Brady’s first biography of Fischer, Profile of a Prodigy, is one of my favorite books ever, and I look forward to reading this sequel.

Castro, Jennifer, ed. All You Need is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology. Elkhart, IN: Mennonite Church USA, 2016.

I am friends with several of the contributors to this book, which collects essays from the 2014 Women Doing Theology conference. Mennonite theology needs all the help it can get from those on the margins, thus I am excited to see what ideas the book’s writers have to offer.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Haunted. 2005. New York: Anchor Books, 2006.

This is one of the few Palahniuk books that I have not read. His books are either brilliant or terrible.

Shigekuni, Julie. Unending Nora. Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2008.

Shigekuni gave a reading earlier this week at the local Barnes & Noble. She was very personable and chatted at length with the students present after the reading. I decided to buy this novel rather than a more recent one because a colleague told me that it involves autoerotic asphyxiation and I am always looking for new fictional representations of kink.

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Books Acquired Recently

Clare, Eli. Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Clare’s book Exile and Pride is an essential disabilities studies text, and when I saw that his new book had come out I ordered it immediately.

Cunningham, Agnes, and Gordon Friesen. Red Dust and Broadsides: A Joint Autobiography. Edited by Ronald D. Cohen. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.

Friesen wrote the first important Mennonite novel in the U.S., Flamethrowers, and then fell off of the literary map until some relatively recent scholarly efforts to examine his work. I just found out that he co-wrote this autobiography with his wife, who was an important folk singer. My obsession with Mennonite literature compelled me to buy it right away.

Halberstam, J. Jack [as Judith Halberstam]. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

I enjoyed Halberstam’s book The Queer Art of Failure and frequently encounter citations of In a Queer Time and Place, so I thought I should finally buy it and read it for myself.

Lowrey, Sassafras. A Little Queermas Carol. Brooklyn, NY: PoMo Freakshow Press, 2016.

—. Roving Pack. Brooklyn, NY: PoMo Freakshow Press, 2012.

I immediately ordered all of Lowrey’s fiction after seeing hir read at AWP a few weeks ago. I loved hir novel Lost Boi, a BDSM retelling of Peter Pan, and I’ve already read and enjoyed A Little Queermas Carol, which is a BDSM retelling of A Christmas Carol.

McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

I received this book as a Valentine’s Day gift. I have heard of McInerney, but never read any of his work, so I look forward to experiencing it.

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Books Acquired Recently: AWP Edition Plus One

awp17

AWP:

I just attended the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) conference for the first time this past week. It was a fantastic conference, and one of the best things about it was the huge book fair. There was so much literature to choose from that it became an overwhelming task. I thus developed the following buying strategy: I would stop at publisher tables that looked interesting and ask them if they had any queer texts. If they did, I would consider those texts. I came away with some exciting-looking books by authors that I mostly have never heard of before (and therefore some of the books do not have annotations).

Cho, Tom. Look Who’s Morphing. 2009. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014.

Cho presented at the same panel as Sassafras Lowrey did (mentioned below). I made a note to look up his work because he discussed the work of Tom of Finland, which I care deeply for. When I went to buy Lowrey’s book I happily discovered Cho’s book right next to it on the table.

Gaydos, Rebecca. Güera. Oakland: Omnidawn Publishing, 2016.

Guzman, Dena Rash. Joseph. Oakland: Hologram Press, 2017.

I attended a poetry reading including Guzman on Thursday morning and she had copies of her new collection for sale. I enjoyed listening to her, bought the book, and discovered that it is even better than it seemed to be at the reading!

July, Miranda. It Chooses You. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2011.

I love July’s work and was excited to get this book for only $10.00.

Lowrey, Sassafras. Lost Boi. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015.

I heard Lowrey speak at a panel, and ze said that this novel was on sale at the book fair. After hearing hir speak I wanted to read hir writing immediately. I’m halfway through the novel (a BDSM-inflected retelling of Peter Pan) and it is amazing! When I got home this afternoon I went online and ordered the rest of hir books.

Mondrup, Iben. Justine. Translated by Kerri A. Pieroe. Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2016.

Parzybok, Benjamin. Sherwood Nation. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2014.

Ratzlaff, Keith. Dubious Angels: Poems After Paul Klee. Tallahassee, FL: Anhinga Press, 2005.

Ratzlaff is a Mennonite poet who I had dinner with on Friday night (there were a number of Mennonite writers and literary critics at the conference who all got together for dinner). He mentioned that his books were available at the book fair and I got this volume on sale for $5.00. I finished reading it this morning and quite enjoyed it.

Plus One:

Spark, Muriel. The Comforters. 1957. New York: New Directions, 2014.

Last night I visited Kramer Books with a friend. While browsing their fiction section I came across a book by Muriel Spark (who I love) that I haven’t read yet and decided to buy it.

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