Tag Archives: New York Mets

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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Books Acquired Recently

Dykstra, Lenny. House of Nails: The Construction, the Demolition, the Resurrection: A Memoir of Life on the Edge. New York: Morrow, 2016.

As I have said here before, I am obsessed with the 1986 Mets, so I buy every book I can find about them. Dykstra’s second memoir (after Nails, which was published after the 1986 baseball season) was just published, and I bought it right away and read it this past weekend. It is an interesting book (and has blurbs from Jack Nicholson and Stephen King, which is quite impressive), and I learned some fascinating things about both the Mets and Dykstra (his discussion of Davey Johnson as a manager is especially revelatory), but my primary takeaway from the book is that Dykstra is a terrible person. He claims to have learned from his mistakes, but this supposed growth is nowhere evident in the tone of the book.

King, Michael A. Fractured Dance: Gadamer and a Mennonite Conflict Over Homosexuality. Telford: Pandora Press U.S., 2001.

As I do more and more scholarship on queer Mennonite literature, I thought it would be helpful to read this book, one of the first explicitly dealing with LGBT issues and Mennonitism. It approaches the subject from a theological perspective rather than a literary one, but the theological aspects of Mennonite literature are inescapable (as much as some in the field would like to get away from them), thus one must be somewhat conversant with theological texts to write about the literature.

Oliver, Mary. Thirst. Boston: Beacon, 2006.

I read a few poems by Oliver in an anthology as an undergraduate and didn’t like them, but then recently found out from a friend that Oliver is queer, and that some of her more recent poetry is explicitly so. Therefore I decided to give her another reading. I am interested to see how or whether my poetic tastes have changed in the intervening fifteen years.

Talese, Gay. The Voyeur’s Motel. New York: Grove, 2016.

I read an excerpt of this book several months ago in the New Yorker and was hooked. The book was just published this week, and I can’t wait to read it. It might be suitable for my  course on obsessions.

All of these books were bought on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Vacation Edition

I have acquired sixteen books over the past two weeks, most as a result from visiting various bookshops during my recent vacation to England and Scotland, which was an amazing trip! The rundown of these books is below, with the books separated into sections based on where they were bought. The sections are listed in chronological order.

Hatchard’s, London, England


Hatchard’s is the oldest bookshop in London, having opened in 1797. It was walking distance from my hotel and it was an awe-inspiring experience to be in a space that has been used for the same purpose for over 200 years.

Clare, John. Major Works. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

I have been looking for a selection of Clare’s works since reading about his escape from a lunatic asylum in a book on psychogeography about a year ago. This volume has a large selection of his poetry as well as some of his prose, which is what I am most interested in.

Kureishi, Hanif. Something to Tell You. 2008. London: Faber, 2009.

Kureishi is one of my favorite British authors and thus I thought it would be appropriate to buy one of his books while I was in England.

Topping & Company, Bath, England


This was a fantastic bookstore, my favorite on the trip. Bath is a lovely little city.

Bashō, Matsuo. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa. London: Penguin, 1966.

I really enjoy Bashō’s haiku, thus when I discovered this slender volume on the shelf I thought it presented a good opportunity to read some of his prose. I also like the idea of buying a book about travelling whilst travelling.

Lee, Hermione. Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

I am considering doing some scholarship on memoir and thought this little book would be helpful for understanding some of the theoretical issues surrounding the genre.

Peter Bell Books, Edinburgh, Scotland

One of the things that impressed me about Edinburgh was its large number of bookshops–I discovered seven of them just wandering about a half-mile radius from my hotel. All but one of these (Blackwell’s below) were independent stores, tiny holes-in-the-wall. This included Peter Bell Books. Its website (linked to above: “We have been bookselling in Edinburgh since 1980, and are reliable and professional in our business dealings.”) is a good digital manifestation of the shop itself.

Spark, Muriel. The Bachelors. 1960. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.

IMG_0399 (1)

I was hoping to buy an old British Penguin paperback because I love their design, and this book fit the bill. I love the little notice on the back cover letting buyers know that it “is not for sale in the U.S.A.” I paid £4.00 for it, more than its original price of three pounds and six shillings (it’s so old that they were still using shillings!).

Blackwell’s, Edinburgh, Scotland

It made me happy that all of Edinburgh’s small bookshops are able to coexist with this larger chain shop.

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

The shop was having a two-for-one sale on Oxford World’s Classics, so this is the book that I got for free.

Zola, Émile. The Ladies’ Paradise. 1883. Tr. Brian Nelson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

I have never read any of Zola’s work despite his importance to the genre of the novel. I recently read a bit about this particular book and thought its portrayal of urbanization and gender sounded interesting, so I decided to buy it.

Oxfam, York, England

Butler, Bryon. The Official Illustrated History of the FA Cup. London: Headline, 1996.

There was an Oxfam used bookshop just down the street from Yorkminster Cathedral, which is one of the sites I visited during the trip. I found this coffee table book and decided to buy it because Manchester United were playing in the FA Cup final later in the day and I thought buying it would bring them luck, and it did! It cost £3.45.

WHSmith, Gatwick Airport, London, England

Ferguson, Alex, with Michael Moritz. Leading. 2015. London: Hodder, 2016.

Despite all of the other better bookshops on the trip it was still impossible to resist a quick walk-through of the airport bookstore, and I ended up purchasing this book because it was half-price.

The Strand, New York City

On the morning after arriving back in the U.S. I stopped at the Strand, my favorite bookstore, before taking the train back to Utica.

DeLillo, Don. Zero K. New York: Scribner, 2016.

I am incredibly excited to read DeLillo’s new novel because he is one of my favorite authors. I exclaimed with delight when I saw it on one of the front tables.

Heti, Sheila. How Should a Person Be? 2012. New York: Picador, 2013.

I love Women in Clothes, the book that Heti co-edited about women’s experiences with clothing, but have never read any of her writing itself. A stack of How Should a Person Be? was on a table labelled “The Future of Fiction” and I decided it was time to check it out.

Mukherjee, Neel. The Lives of Others. 2014. New York: Norton, 2015.

I read Mukherjee’s first novel, A Life Apart, in England and loved it. I decided that I will teach it in one of my courses this coming fall, and thus that it would be helpful to read The Lives of Others sometime this summer to give me more context for his work.

Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2015.

I read a review of this book in the New Yorker a few months back and it sounded fascinating for three reasons: it deals with queer issues, it blends genres, and, as noted above, I am thinking about doing some scholarship on the memoir genre and thought it would be helpful to read this book since it is all the rage. Nelson has also published a book about one of my favorite poets, Frank O’Hara, that sounds interesting, so she seems like a fascinating person.


The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.

I am currently working on a bibliography that I plan to submit to a journal that uses Chicago Style, which I am not familiar with, so I decided to buy this book to help with the project. I am also seriously considering switching to Chicago Style as my primary style because I am not fond of the new version of MLA style (note that I am still using the older version of MLA style to format the entries for the books in this post).

Darling, Ron, with Daniel Paisner. Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life. New York: St. Martin’s, 2016.

Like many Mets fans I am obsessed with the 1986 team and will buy any book associated with them. This book promises to offer a fascinating perspective on the team. Many people forget that Darling started game 7 (and did not pitch well, leaving trailing 3-0) because Sid Fernandez ended up being the pitching hero and there are all of the iconic images of Jesse Orosco throwing his glove into the air after the final out. Even though the Mets scored eight runs, everyone talks about how the pitching was what won the Mets the game, and I look forward to reading Darling’s analysis of why this is the case.

The last of the sixteen books is

Pashley, Jennifer. The Scamp. Portland: Tin House, 2015.

Pashley gave a reading with several other authors in Utica last night that was quite enjoyable. I have her two excellent short story collections and decided to buy her recent novel in part because I like her writing and in part because it is important to support local authors and independent presses.



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The Mets in the Postseason

The Mets will play their first postseason game since 2006 on Friday night in Los Angeles. It is hard to believe that it has been nine years. It doesn’t feel that long because all of the disappointing seasons since 2008 blend together in my mind, but when I think about where I am as a person compared to where I was then, I realize that a lot of time has passed. When the Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 I was in the first year of my Ph.D. program, I was still married, and I was living in Illinois. Now I have been out of school and Illinois for nearly four-and-a-half years, and my personal life is completely different. I think the reason it seems like fewer than nine years in baseball terms is that the pain of the 2006 loss and the 2007 and 2008 collapses still remains fresh in my mind.

But this year’s Mets have a chance to heal those memories. Although they had only the fifth-best record in the National League, their excellent pitching and resurgent hitting makes them dangerous, and enough weird things happened to them during the regular season that they seem like a team of destiny.

The team announced today that Juan Uribe will not play in the NLDS due to injury, and this is a loss because Uribe has lots of postseason experience and is a good bench presence, and although he hasn’t hit for a high average with the Mets, most of his hits have been in clutch spots. He’s also done a good job spotting David Wright at third base. However, Uribe’s absence does make the roster decisions easier, as now the team has room to carry 12 pitchers. Their roster should look something like this:

Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki

Infielders: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Kelly Johnson, Ruben Tejada

Outfielders: Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares

Starting Pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz (assuming he’s healthy; he had a good bullpen session today)

Relief Pitchers: Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard, Addison Reed, Jon Niese, Hansel Robles, Sean Gilmartin, Eric Goeddel, and either Bartolo Colon or Carlos Torres. Colon is a risk since he is not normally a reliever, but he’s been pitching better than Torres of late.

If Uribe is healthy for the NLCS, I would go with 11 pitchers because only four starters are needed, and I would leave either Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon/Carlos Torres off of the roster, whoever performed less well in the NLDS out of the bullpen. But if the Mets insist on sticking with 12 pitchers, I would leave Cuddyer off of the NLCS roster unless he gets red-hot.

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The 2015 New York Mets: One Month To Go

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero. Image ©MLB Advanced Media

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero.
Image ©MLB Advanced Media

It has been a weird, strange season for the Mets. They have had the highs of a franchise record-tying 11-game winning streak, several 7-game winning streaks, sweeping a season series against a National League team for the first time ever (they went 7-0 against Colorado), and historic (team-wise) home run production. They have had the lows of Zack Wheeler missing the season due to Tommy John surgery, of being no-hit, having long stretches when it was rare for them to score even three runs per game, and being swept by two other playoff contenders, the Pirates and the Cubs. They just won 20 games in August, their first 20-win month since 2000, the last time they made the World Series. They now have a Tug McGraw-esque folk hero in the nearly-traded Wilmer Flores. If they win the National League East (Old Man Voice: “Back in my day, they called it the National League Eastern Division”), Sandy Alderson has to be Executive of the Year for his shrewd trade deadline deals and timely call-up of Michael Conforto, and Terry Collins will be a strong candidate for Manager of the Year despite his consistent inability to properly manage the bullpen (including last night’s loss to the Phillies, when his decision to bring in Bobby Parnell to pitch the sixth inning was a blatantly obvious disaster waiting to happen that then promptly happened).

Going into tonight’s game with the Phillies, the first place Mets have a 6.5 game lead over the Nationals with 30 games to play. The Nationals have a game in hand (their game tomorrow against Atlanta), and play the Mets six more times this year. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario where the Nationals win tomorrow and then sweep the remaining games with the Mets, the division title comes down to which team plays better over their 24 other games. The Mets have four games against the Reds and three against the Yankees, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies, while the Nationals have three games against the Orioles and a make-up game against the Reds, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies. So the Reds might play a bizarrely pivotal role in the race, but it is appropriate that for the most part the division title will be decided by which team does a better job of beating up on the rest of the division.

I feel good about the Mets’ chances. Their recent bullpen additions should help shore up their recently shaky relief pitching (which still isn’t as shaky as the Nationals’, as the Washington ‘pen has blown late multi-run leads the past two nights), their starting rotation has been excellent and will be strengthened by Steven Matz’s return this weekend, and their offense is now respectable, and will get even more dangerous once Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list.

The past month as the Mets have moved back into first place has been incredibly fun for me as a fan. It reminds me of the vibe from back in the mid-1980s as a kid when they were always in the hunt, and there was always that delicious pennant race excitement. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. Let’s Go, Mets!

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Books Acquired Recently

Keri, Jonah. Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos. 2014. Toronto: Vintage, 2015.

I enjoy Keri’s writing for ESPN.com, and have been thinking about buying this book since it came out last year. I was always intrigued by the Expos as a kid because of their odd-sounding name (What is an “Expo?” I know the answer now, but it was an inscrutable question when I was six), the fact that they played in Canada, and their unique uniforms (especially their multicolored caps with the clever M-e logo). They were one of the few teams (the Kansas City Royals are another) who actually had decent-looking powder blue road uniforms because the color went with their overall color scheme. They played the Mets often, and were the National League East team that I disliked the least. I saw them play several times at Shea Stadium, and I remember that at one of these games (in 1990, I think, or maybe 1989) the Mets eliminated them from playoff contention. After the game my friend Stefan and I went and waited outside of the player’s entrance hoping to get some autographs, and Andres Galarraga (who seems like a glaring omission from Keri’s delightfully long subtitle) came out wearing an absolutely hideous sweater and an utterly downtrodden look on his face that epitomized “the agony of defeat.”

I decided to finally buy the book in preparation for my upcoming trip to Montreal for the Women’s World Cup semifinal. The match will be played at Olympic Stadium where the Expos used to play, and it will be helpful to know some of the history of the space before I experience it. I purchased the book at my local Barnes & Noble.

Roche, Charlotte. Wetlands. 2008. Trans. Tim Mohr. New York: Grove, 2009.

A friend recently recommended this book to me and I decided to buy it right away because it sounds like it fits right within my interest in transgressive sexual stories. The front cover advertises that there have been “Over One Million Copies Sold Worldwide,” so I am not alone in this interest. Apparently the main character likes to eat her various bodily secretions. This theme leads to some interesting quotations from the various review excerpts reprinted inside the front cover. Here are a few of my favorites:

From the Los Angeles Times: “A slimy swim, but one worth taking.”

From The Guardian: “If you ever wondered what you’d be like if you weren’t shy, polite, tolerant, modest, sexually repressed, logical, and constrained by modern standards of hygiene, this may be the book for you.”

From Time Out New York: “[Reading Wetlands] left us with that not-so-fresh feeling.”

I purchased the book from one of the independent booksellers on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cecconi, Mike. This is My Inside Voice. Utica: VBLP, 2015.

Cecconi is a regular reader at the Tramontane Cafe’s poetry nights here in Utica, which I frequent occasionally. His chapbook came out a few months ago, and I finally got around to purchasing it (only $5.00!). I read it last night and it is fantastic.

Plimpton, George. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

I enjoy Plimpton as a writer, and I have read the shorter version of this novel about the Mets’ mysterious pitching phenom several times. After seeing grantland.com’s recent short documentary on the story I decided to buy the novel, which I found from one of amazon.com’s independent sellers for $0.15!

Wright, David. The Small Books of Bach. Eugene: Wipf, 2014.

This book of poems (which is not by the David Wright that plays third base for the Mets) is inspired by Bach’s music. I rarely like collections of poems that are about a single subject, but I’ve read Wright’s previous work and enjoyed it, so I decided to buy this volume. It was especially enticing because Wipf & Stock offered it on their website for only $8.00.

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