Tag Archives: Mennonites

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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Books Acquired Recently

Loewen, Mary Ann, ed. Finding Father: Stories from Mennonite Daughters. Regina, SK: University of Regina Press, 2019.

I pre-ordered this book from amazon.ca as soon as I could because it includes a number of chapters by authors involved with Mennonite literature. It came in the mail earlier this week.

Weinberg, Jonathan. Pier Groups: Art and Sex Along the New York Waterfront. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.

I got a promotional email about this memoir about gay sex in New York City from the publisher and ordered it immediately. It includes a number of lovely photographs, many of them explicit.

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Books Acquired Recently

Camp Deerpark. Forever God is Faithful: The Story of Camp Deerpark. Westbrookville, NY: Camp Deerpark/Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press, 2019.

Camp Deerpark is a camp owned by the New York City Mennonite churches. I spent lots of time there as a kid because my parents have always been heavily involved with it (my mom was the director for a few years). This year is its fiftieth anniversary, so, in true Mennonite archival fever fashion, it has published a book to commemorate the occasion. My parents sent me a copy in the mail which I look forward to reading.

The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.

I have shifted away from using MLA style in my scholarship since the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook came out because it is clearly geared toward students rather than scholars. I’ve been using Chicago style instead, and finally decided to break down and buy the seventeenth edition. I purchased it and Gundy’s book from amazon.com.

Gundy, Jeff. Without a Plea. Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, 2019.

I bought this book, Gundy’s latest poetry collection, as soon as it came out last month. I have already read it and it is a fascinating, thought-provoking work, definitely ranking in the top half of his poetry books.

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Books Acquired Recently

I’m currently working on a memoir project that is in large part about my Mennonite upbringing. I bought all three of these books as resources.

Caws, Peter, and Stefani Jones, eds. Religious Upbringing and the Costs of Freedom: Personal and Philosophical Essays. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010.

MacKendrick, Karmen. Failing Desire. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018.

Remer, Molly. She Lives Her Poems: Moments from a Year in the Forest. N.p.: Brigid’s Grove, 2018.

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