Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Gift Edition

Happily, I received a number of books as gifts this holiday season!

Brown, Craig. Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

I have become fascinated with Princess Margaret as a result of watching The Crown and look forward to reading this oral history about her. Incidentally, it drives me nuts that FSG does not use the Oxford Comma in their company name.

Johnson, Davey, with Erik Sherman. Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond. Chicago: Triumph Books, 2018.

Johnson  managed the 1986 New York Mets and thus played a major role in my childhood. I read the book the day after I received it and enjoyed it, though it was not as introspective as I would have liked it to be.

Knecht, Rosalie. Who is Vera Kelly? Portland: Tin House Books, 2018.

I had not heard of Knecht, but began reading this novel as soon as I got it and enjoyed it. Her writing is beautiful and clear.

Miller, Linsey. Mask of Shadows. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Fire, 2017.

I read a review of this book that intrigued me, but now I can’t remember why it intrigued me, so it will be a fun surprise when I get around to reading it!

Posey, Parker. You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2018.

I enjoy Posey’s work in Christopher Guest’s mocumentaries.

Sánchez González, Lisa. Boricua Literature: A Literary History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

I still do not know nearly enough about Puerto Rican literature in either the U.S. or on the island, and am thus excited to read this book.

Schaberg, Christopher. The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight. 2011. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013.

I fly frequently as part of my job and thus spend a depressing amount of time in airports. I look forward to reading this book about literary representations of that experience.

Shapiro, Bill, with Naomi Wax. What We Keep: 150 People Share the One Object That Brings Them Joy, Magic, and Meaning. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2018.

A friend recently posted about this book on Facebook and I wanted to buy it immediately because I am very interested in the issue of personal archiving and am teaching a course on it this coming semester. I bought it with a Barnes & Noble gift certificate that I received.

Wiebe, Joseph R. The Place of Imagination: Wendell Berry and the Poetics of Community, Affection, and Identity. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017.

I read a review of this book and it sounded interesting because of its methodology of reading literature theologically. I can’t stand Wendell Berry, but I am hoping that I can pick up some writing tools from Wiebe’s approach.

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Books Acquired Recently

Hostetler, Ann. Safehold. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2018.

Hostetler is best-known for her 2003 anthology of Mennonite poetry A Cappella, but she is also an accomplished poet herself. Safehold is her second collection. I ordered it as soon as it was released. For some reason amazon.com didn’t have it right away, so I acquired it from Barnes & Noble.

Newton, Esther. My Butch Career: A Memoir. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

Lately I have been reading a lot of memoir, especially queer memoir, an interest that has stemmed from my teaching of memoir in my writing classes over the past few years. Queer life writing is incredibly important during this repressive age. I was able to get an examination copy of this book from the publisher because I am looking for some memoirs to include the next time I teach my Queer Literature course.

Vilar, Irene. The Ladies’ Gallery: A Memoir of Family Secrets. Translated by Gregory Rabassa. 1996. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.

I found this book online while searching for more information about the Puerto Rican freedom fighter Lolita Lebrón. Vilar is Lebrón’s granddaughter and her book is about the women in her family. I purchased it from Powell’s.

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Books Acquired Recently

Good, Merle. Surviving Failure (and a Few Successes). Lancaster, PA: Walnut Street Books, 2018.

Good is one of the first Mennonite writers from the United States (his novel Happy as the Grass was Green came out in 1971), and he and his wife Phyllis were the owners of Good Books, which published a number of important titles in the field of Mennonite studies. I bought his new memoir as soon as I heard about it because I am interested in reading about the unfortunate demise of Good Books in his own words.

I purchased this book and Haslip-Viera’s from amazon.com.

Haslip-Viera, Gabriel, ed. Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2001.

As I continue to explore my Puerto Rican heritage I have been searching for more information about the island’s pre-colonial history and its traces in Puerto Rican society today. This book is one of the very few I was able to find on the subject, so I bought it despite its age.

Underwood, Upton Uxbridge. Poets Ranked by Beard Weight: The Commemorative Edition. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2011.

I received this book, a spoof that claims to be an Edwardian classic, from a friend. Of course I love beards, so it will be interesting to read.

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Books Acquired Recently

Agüeros, Jack. “Dominoes” and Other Stories from the Puerto Rican. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1993.

—. Sonnets from the Puerto Rican. Brooklyn: Hanging Loose Press, 1996.

I recently finished reading Roberto Márquez’s anthology Puerto Rican Poetry: An Anthology from Aboriginal to Contemporary Times, and discovered through it a number of writers whose work I would like to read more of. I purchased Agüeros’s books and the Morales’s book as a start to this curriculum.

Butler, Isaac, and Dan Kois. The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of “Angels in America.” New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is my favorite play (though I must say that I hate the revised version that came out in 2013, which is clunky in comparison to the original), so I bought this oral history about the play’s history as soon as I heard about it.

Morales, Aurora Levins, and Rosario Morales. Getting Home Alive. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1986.

This is a book of poetry by a mother (Rosario) and daughter (Aurora). When I received the book I happily discovered that it is signed by Aurora.

All four books were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

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Books Acquired Recently

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher, and Michael Tyrell, eds. Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. New York: 2007.

Kasdorf is one of my favorite poets/literary critics, and a friend, and this is the only one of her books that I had not had. Used copies are now available for a reasonable price from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers (which is where I also acquired Rotella’s book). When I received it in the mail I discovered that it is inscribed by Tyrell (I have a fair number of books with inscriptions that I acquired used, and they always make me sad even though I am excited to have the author’s autograph. Why did the person mentioned in the inscription get rid of the book? Did they forget it was inscribed? Did they die? Did they have to cull their library due to financial hardship? None of the possibilities are good.), so I will have to get it inscribed by Kasdorf at some point to complete the set!

Rotella, Alexis. Beards and Wings. Cairnbrook: White Peony, 1985.

I recently read some of Rotella’s haiku in an anthology and really enjoyed them, and thus decided to buy one of her collections. Many of them are out of print, as is this one, but I was able to find a used copy for a little over $2.00.

Vega, Marta Moreno, Marinieves Alba, and Yvette Modestin, eds. Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora. Houston: Arte Publico, 2012.

I was given this collection of essays and poetry by a friend. It looks fascinating, and there are several essays about the Puerto Rican experience that I am especially excited to read.

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Books Acquired Recently

Oyer, John S., and Robert S. Kreider. Mirror of the Martyrs. Intercourse: Good, 1990.

I bought this book to use in my continuing research on the Martyrs Mirror. My research of late has been especially focused on the illustrations by Jan Luyken, which are one of the main subjects of Oyer and Kreider’s book.

Santos-Febres, Mayra. Sirena Selena. Trans. Stephen Lytle. New York: Picador, 2000.

I’ve been reading some Puerto Rican history lately, and this novel has been mentioned as an important recent piece of Puerto Rican literature, which is a field that I am woefully unversed in. I was able to find a new copy of the first edition for less than $4.00.

Both books were acquired from amazon.com’s network of independents sellers.

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Thoughts on the New Site Photo

About a month ago, I changed the cover photograph (to appropriate the Facebook term) of this blog, but I didn’t provide an explanation for the photo, so I thought I would do so now. I decided that it was necessary to have a photo of books from my personal library rather than continuing to use the WordPress photo (which was nice but generic) that had been there since the blog’s beginning. I then decided that I wanted the photograph to be authentic–a picture of the books as they are on the shelf instead of a hand-picked collection of my favorites–and I also wanted it to be visually interesting, if not also aesthetically pleasing. These criteria soon led to the decision that, although I primarily read fiction and it is my favorite genre, the photograph would have to be of one of my nonfiction shelves because I tend to have multiple books by fiction writers (when I like an author, I often read more [if not all] of their work, and because I am a book-buying addict I acquire the books rather than getting them from a library), and I wanted the photo to include as many different authors as possible. The photograph that I chose does include multiple books by two authors, but this is better than a picture of, say, a shelf that solely consists of works by Samuel R. Delany or Philip Roth. I settled on a photograph of the second shelf of my “general nonfiction” section, which includes a selection of books that do a pretty good job of representing the values, subjects, and ideas that are most important to me.

Here is a bit about each book in the photograph:

A History of Modern Latin America–This is one of my old college textbooks. I keep it around mostly for sentimental reasons. If I ever need to look up the date of Peru’s independence, it would be easier to do so online than to flip through the book, but it is important to me to have my Latino heritage (I am half Puerto Rican) represented in my library.

Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver–I used this book in two chapters of my dissertation, and it was one of the books that gave me the idea for my dissertation, so it is very important to me even though there is a good chance that I might never read it again.

Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl–Dahl’s two memoirs are vivid, engaging reads, especially Going Solo, which tells of his experiences in the R.A.F. during World War II. It is one of the best adventure stories I have ever read.

Heavenly Breakfast, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, The Motion of Light in Water (original edition), and 1984 by Samuel R. Delany–Delany is my favorite author, and I have all of his books except for The American Shore (which is quite rare). They are split between three shelves: one in the fiction section, which is all Delany, one at my office that contains all of his literary criticism, and the shelf in the photo with his other nonfiction.

Having Our Say by Sarah and Elizabeth Delany–This is a memoir by two of Samuel R. Delany’s aunts. I bought and read it because of my love for his work, but the book is quite good in its own right.

Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane Di Prima–This is one of my favorite memoirs because I love reading about late-1950s/early 1960s New York City. I was happy that a Penguin paperback with its instantly-recognizable orange-and-white design made it into the photograph.

Sex for One by Betty Dodson–This is an excellent book about the importance of masturbation and sexual fantasy. Perhaps it belongs in the “gender studies” section of my library, though I’ve had it in “general nonfiction” for a while.

Autobiographies by Frederick Douglass–Douglass is one of my favorite African American authors to teach, so it makes me happy that his book made it into the photograph, albeit just barely. This edition was published by the Library of America, whose books I love.

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