Tag Archives: Mennonites

Books Acquired Recently: Getting Paid Edition

I decided to spend some of the money I received for my recent New York Times article on a variety of books, some that I’ve been interested in for a while but have not gotten around to, a few that have recently been recommended to me, and a few that have recently been published by friends. Aside from Reed’s book, which I purchased from the publisher, I bought all of them from amazon.com.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 4th ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2012.

Baker, Nicholson. Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization. 2008. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Broder, Melissa. The Pisces. London: Hogarth, 2018.

Dearinger, Amber, ed. The Heart of Aces. Manteca, CA: Good Mourning Publishing, 2012.

Esquibel, Catrióna Rueda. With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

Fernandes, Fabio, and Djibril al-Ayad, eds. We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology. N.p.: Futurefire.net Publishing, 2013.

Hamilton, Jane Eaton. Weekend. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016.

Janzen, Rebecca. Liminal Sovereignty: Mennonites and Mormons in Mexican Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018.

Kaldera, Raven. Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM and the Ordeal Path. Hubbardston, MA: Asphodel Press, 2006.

Lemus, Felicia Luna. Like Son. New York: Akashic Books, 2007.

Reed, Ken Yoder. Both My Sons. Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press, 2016.

Ruti, Mari. The Ethics of Opting Out: Queer Theory’s Defiant Subjects. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

Shipley, Ely. Some Animal. New York: Nightboat Books, 2018.

Zimmerman, Diana R. Marry a Mennonite Boy and Make Pie. Newton, KS: Workplay Publishing, 2018.

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My Article in the New York Times

About a month ago I was contacted by an editor from the New York Times who asked whether I would be interested in writing an article to accompany a photo essay about Mennonites in Belize. I said yes, and the article was published today. You can read it here.

Aside from several pieces in the Goshen College Record when I was in college, this is the first time I have written for a newspaper, and it was an interesting experience. I had to think about a very different kind of question when writing for a general audience than when writing for a scholarly one. It is also fascinating to me that the online headline, “A Simple Life,” is different from the one in the print edition, “Mennonites in Belize.” I am grateful to have had this opportunity to grow as a writer.

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Books Acquired Recently

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Mennonite speculative fiction writer Sofia Samatar recently, including reading through lots of her interviews (a list of them is on her website). Interviewers often ask her about books she’s read lately and I’ve almost always never heard of them, so I try to buy the ones that sound interesting or helpful for my own work. These three books are examples of this gleaning.

Martin, Douglas A. Acker. New York: Nightboat Books, 2017.

I like Kathy Acker’s writing, and this book is blurbed by Maggie Nelson and Wayne Koestenbaum, two queer writers whose work I enjoy, so I am especially excited to read it.

Valente, Catherynne M. Palimpsest. New York: Bantam Books, 2009.

The premise of this novel is apparently that you have to have sex in order to enter the city where it takes place.

Zambreno, Kate. Heroines. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2012.

This book is about the wives of famous authors. I’m always interested in books that investigate the margins.

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Books Acquired Recently

Castillo, Ana. Sapogonia: An Anti-Romance in 3/8 Meter. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

I’ve read most of Castillo’s earlier work, but somehow this novel slipped my notice, perhaps because it is now out of print. I decided to read it as part of my research for the paper I am writing on her novel Give It to Me.

This and Groff’s book were bought from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Groff, Lauren. The Monsters of Templeton. New York: Hyperion, 2008.

I recently heard about the Mennonite writer Lauren Groff, and bought this book in order to investigate her work.

Miller, Todd. Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2017.

Earlier this summer I went to to Arizona and Sonora on a learning tour about the border, and we met with Miller to talk about his writing on the relationships between border issues and climate change. This conversation made me decide to buy his book. I read it over the weekend and it is quite sobering. He says that our civilization is dying, and I think he’s right. The problem is that no one in government seems to realize it.

This and Wiebe’s book were bought from amazon.com.

Wiebe, Katie Funk. You Never Gave Me a Name: One Mennonite Woman’s Story. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2009.

Wiebe is an important Mennonite writer in the older sense of the term (i.e., someone who wrote in service to the church, often for church periodicals, rather than someone who writes literature as art, a definition that is not meant to disparage the former kind of writing but simply to note that it is very different from what the term “Mennonite writer” means now), and I’ve known her name since I was a child because my mother had several of her books, but I’ve never actually read any of her work. I decided to purchase her autobiography to get a better sense of her life and her writing.

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Books Acquired Recently: Lauren Groff Edition

I recently heard about the author Lauren Groff, who is of Mennonite background even though she does not apparently identify as Mennonite. Well, we Mennonite literary critics name Mennonite writers as such whether they like it or not, so guess what, Lauren Groff, you’re a Mennonite writer! Don’t try to fight it! Join the dark side! We have baked goods.

Anyway, I bought her books from amazon.com because of the Mennonite connection.

Groff, Lauren. Arcadia. 2012. New York: Hachette Books, 2015.

—. Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories. 2009. New York: Hachette Books, 2015.

Weirdly, this reprint is also a hardcover rather than a paperback.

—. Fates and Furies. New York: Riverhead Books, 2015.

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Books Acquired Recently

Castillo, Ana. Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me. New York: Feminist Press, 2016.

I am currently writing about Castillo and bought this memoir-in-essays as part of my research. I read it in one sitting yesterday and it is fantastic. Everyone should read it.

Kauffman, Rebecca. Another Place You’ve Never Been. Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2016.

—. The Gunners. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2018.

I just heard about Kauffman from a former professor of mine. She was raised Mennonite in Ohio and thus fits in with my primary research area, Mennonite literature. I look forward to reading her books.

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Books Acquired Recently

Castillo, Ana. Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma. Updated edition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014.

I am working on an essay about Castillo, one of the most significant Latinx authors in the U.S. during the past several decades, and bought this and Trujillo’s book as part of my research for it. I purchased it from amazon.com.

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher, and Steven Rubin. Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields. University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 2018.

Kasdorf is one of the most important Mennonite poets and has been a major influence on my thinking, so I bought this book from the publisher as soon as it was released and read it immediately. It is an excellent, heartbreaking book. Be grateful if, like I do, you live in a state that has banned fracking because it is a horrible, destructive practice.

Trujillo, Carla. Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About. Berkeley, CA: Third Woman Press, 1991.

I’ve begun reading this anthology and am enjoying it thus far. I appreciate that it includes a number of genres. I’ve heard of some of the writers, but as with most older anthologies I encounter, I am more compelled by wondering about what happened to all of the other contributors who have fallen by the wayside, who had to be well enough known by someone to get included in the anthology but then moved onto other things. I purchased it from abebooks.com.

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