Delany, Samuel R. The Einstein Intersection. New York: Ace, 1967.
I bought this and Anne Sexton’s book for $1.00 each at Savers Thrift Store in Salt Lake City, whose book section was recommended to me by a student. I already have the current Wesleyan University Press edition of this novel, but I collect different printings of Delany’s work because he is my favorite author and because the older paperbacks are often quite aesthetically pleasing. This one’s spine is slanted a little, but is otherwise in good shape. I got very excited when I found it on the shelf.
Himes, Chester. If He Hollers Let Him Go. 1945. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2002.
Himes is a twentieth-century African American novelist who is largely ignored by critics because he wrote mostly mysteries, though he wanted to be a “serious” writer. Due to his marginal canonicity I never encountered him in school, and am thus trying to fill a gap in my knowledge by acquiring and reading this book.
Bought on amazon.com. It is a boring new paperback, which is why it does not get a photograph. The vintage copies that amazon had listed were just as expensive as the one I bought, so I decided to buy it new in order to have the current edition just in case I like it so much that I decide to teach it sometime.
Sexton, Anne. Transformations. Illus. Barbara Swan. Boston: Houghton, 1971.
This collection includes Sexton’s famous poems about fairytales. I love these poems, and they are usually a hit with students. I will appreciate the opportunity to read them in their original context rather than in an anthology. I haven’t read much poetry this summer, but am excited to get back on the wagon.
The Works of Flaubert and Samuel R. Delany’s The Motion of Light in Water
Delany, Samuel R. The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965. New York: Arbor, 1988.
I have the revised edition of this book (published by University of Minnesota Press, 2004), but needed a copy of the first edition for an essay I’m writing on the history of public images of Delany’s body (groovy cover, eh?). Also, I’m a Delany addict, and as I’ve written before, I compulsively collect copies of his books. Bought on amazon.com.
Flaubert, Gustave. The Works of Gustave Flaubert: One Volume Edition. Roslyn: Black’s, 1904.
I was walking around downtown Salt Lake City today and noticed that a new bookstore, Eborn Books, had moved into the old Sam Weller’s location (N.B. The new Weller’s location at Trolley Square is quite inferior, alas). Eborn’s is still very disorganized as a lot of their inventory is either not on the shelves yet or is not in alphabetical order, but I am very glad that the location will remain a bookstore, and the more independent bookstores, the better. I found a collection of Flaubert’s works in their caddywhompus classics section for only five dollars (in very good condition, too). I have two other volumes from the series, Robert Louis Stevenson’s and Jonathan Swift’s, which were given to me by my elementary school music teacher because he knew that I liked to read (as it happens, Treasure Island was my favorite book as a boy, and I need to find time to re-read it). I’ve been looking for a copy of Madame Bovary since I read John Irving’s In One Person several weeks ago, in which the main character is advised to read Flaubert’s classic “when your romantic hopes and desires have crashed, and you believe that your future relationships will have disappointing–even devastating–consequences” (277). This is exactly how I have been feeling lately, thus I am interested to see what wisdom I might glean from the novel.
Today there was an annual Independence Day street fair in my neighborhood. I love street fairs even though they are often hot and overcrowded because they always involve delicious street food! I grew up with high street food standards as a result of living in New York City, where the hot dogs are the best in the world and you could often get a lovely potato knish from the same vendor that sold you the hot dog, or maybe a smoky soft pretzel. Living in the midwest for much of the past decade, I grew used to its heavier, often deep-fried street food: foot-long Italian sausages, corn on the cob, pork chop sandwiches, funnel cakes.
I did not know what to expect today at my first Utah street fair, but I was not disappointed. There was a refreshingly cosmopolitan array of choices (hurray for cities!), including Greek food, Indian food, several panini stands, two taco trucks, a Belgian waffle cart, a sushi truck, and American standbys like barbecued chicken, pulled pork, and hamburgers. There were so many tantalizing options that I found myself sampling from three vendors, beginning my lunch with a samosa, moving on to a grass-fed burger that was probably the best hamburger I’ve had in Utah, and finishing with a pork taco and part of a chicken quesadilla. All of this fantastic food only cost $14.50 total. I’m often cynical about America, but street food is something that we get right!
Tiptree, James Jr. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. San Francisco: Tachyon, 2004.
Bought at amazon.com
I read one of Tiptree’s short stories, “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” about a year ago and loved it, and since then I’ve been looking for her (James Tiptree, Jr. is a pseudonym for Alice Sheldon) books in bookstores. Salt Lake City has a fantastic bookstore scene–the best I’ve encountered outside of New York City–but it lacks in the science fiction (SF) department, so I finally broke down and ordered the book online. I am only two stories in thus far, but the second story, “The Screwfly Solution,” is immediately one of my favorite SF stories. Like “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?,” it manages to communicate a strong feminist message without being pedantic. The epidemic of femicide that breaks out as a result of Christian fundamentalism is not that far-fetched. It is a slight extension of the misogyny portrayed in texts such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which already occurs in places such as Iran and in polygamist Mormon sects in rural Utah (see Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven for more on this topic).