Tag Archives: Samuel R. Delany

Books Acquired Recently

Del Rio, Vanessa, and Dian Hanson. Vanessa Del Rio: Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior. Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 2016.

I have come across a number of references to Vanessa Del Rio’s acting over the years. If I recall correctly, I first saw some of her work in an exhibit at the Museum of Sex in New York City. One of my favorite queer authors, Samuel R. Delany, writes fondly of her in Times Square Red, Times Square Blue.  Recently, I was reading Juana María Rodríguez’s Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings, and she cites Vanessa Del Rio, which is Del Rio’s autobiography, quite favorably, so I decided to buy it. I love Taschen’s high-quality books of photography, and have enjoyed several of Hanson’s books that they have published about sexuality, so I anticipate that Vanessa Del Rio will be an enjoyable, educational read.

Peterson, Zoey Leigh. Next Year for Sure. New York: Scribner, 2017.

I read a review of this novel about polyamory on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian and it sounded quite fascinating, so I decided to buy it. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a novel that investigates being poly as a central theme before, so it is exciting to come across this book!

Wiebe, Rudy. A Voice in the Land: Essays By and About Rudy Wiebe. Ed. W.J. Keith. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1981.

Rudy Wiebe is the most prominent North American Mennonite writer. His influence on the field of Mennonite literature cannot be understated. In my research about his work I’ve often seen A Voice in the Land cited, but have never actually read it. I finally decided to do so.

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

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Book Acquired Recently: In Search of Silence: The Journals of Samuel R. Delany

Delany, Samuel R. In Search of Silence: The Journals of Samuel R. Delany: Volume 1, 1957-1969. Ed. Kenneth R. James. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2017.

This mammoth tome (660 pages) arrived in the mail today. Delany is one of my favorite writers, and his work has had an immeasurable effect on my thinking. I am especially fond of his personal writing and am thus excited to read these excerpts from his journals. The book is part of a proposed series of selections from his journals throughout his life; at the current pace it will take at least five volumes to complete the set. My only hesitancy about it is that it is edited by someone other than Delany (who is normally very meticulous about the presentation of his work), and I am not sure what this portends. I hope that it does not mean that Delany is not well enough to do the task himself.

I bought the book from amazon.com. It is the first book in my collection with a 2017 copyright date.

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Books Acquired Recently

Abramović, Marina. Walk Through Walls: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype, 2016.

Abramović is my favorite artist, and I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it via her Facebook page. I love how she inserts her body into her work, insisting that art is always in some way autobiographical. I am excited to see how she handles the genre of written autobiography. Judging from the dust jacket blurb, the book is more properly spoken of as autobiography rather than as memoir, as its subtitle claims, but memoir is so marketable these days that it is understandable (though not necessarily justifiable) why the publisher would choose to mislabel it.

This and Smith’s book were purchased from amazon.com.

Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed: “The Tempest” Retold. London: Hogarth, 2016.

I recently received this book, which is signed by the author, as a gift. Hogarth has a series of retellings of Shakespeare’s plays by contemporary authors. This is a genre Atwood has worked in before, and I enjoy the writing of hers that I’ve read, so I am optimistic that the book will be an enjoyable one.

Johnson, E. Patrick, ed. No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Johnson’s anthology Black Queer Studies is an essential book in both the queer and African American literary critical canons, and a book that has had a significant impact on me as a scholar. Therefore, when I first heard about No Tea, No Shade, a follow-up collection, I ordered an examination copy from the publisher immediately.

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2016.

I have loved Smith’s fiction since I first read White Teeth in a graduate school course eleven years ago. She is one of a select group of authors whose books I buy immediately without question (Nicholson Baker, Di Brandt, Samuel R. Delany, Don DeLillo [though he might be off the list now because his last book was so poor], Jonathan Safran Foer, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Miriam Toews), and thus I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it.

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Books Acquired Recently

It has been a good summer for book collecting, as the number of volumes on my “to read” shelf now is much larger than it was at the beginning of the summer. My latest batch comes mostly from a recent visit to the Strand, but I also received Lankevich’s and Lepore’s books as gifts from a friend, and bought Shawl and Campbell’s collection on amazon.com because Samuel R. Delany is one of my research interests.

Charyn, Jerome. Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories. New York: Liveright, 2015.

I have not encountered Charyn’s work before, but as a native of the Bronx I am always on the lookout for good fiction about it, and Bitter Bronx‘s blurb (well-written blurbs are so important, and so rare) makes it sound like the stories are well-rooted in their place, which is a literary theme I have been studying recently.

Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1998.

I have been wanting to read this graphic novel since I saw the film version, and have considered buying it on a number of occasions, but other books always took precedence. However, there was a stack of them at the Strand on one of the second floor tables at a discounted price ($13.49 as opposed to the $14.99 cover price), and I decided it was time.

cummings, e.e. Erotic Poems. Ed. George James Firmage. New York: Liveright, 2010.

I enjoy cummings’s work, in large part because of its frankness about the body, thus when I came across this slim volume it was too tempting to resist. It also includes some of cummings’s erotic drawings.

Lankevich, George J. New York City: A Short History. New York: New York UP, 2002.

Despite being a native of New York City and somewhat of a history buff I know relatively little about the city’s history. I am about two-thirds through the book and it is quite good thus far. It was first published in 1998 and then an expanded version was published in 2002 after 9/11. However, the pre-9/11 chapters were not revised, and there are several instances where other significant events in the city’s history happened on September 11 (laws being signed, and so on), and it is fascinating to read these passages that make no comment on how significant that date would later become. It is also interesting to wonder about the timing of these seemingly coincidental occurrences. It reminds me of the occult concept of ley lines. Are there such a thing as ley dates?

Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. New York: Vintage, 2015.

I enjoy Lepore’s writing for the New Yorker, and Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero, so I was quite excited to receive this book.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Beautiful You. 2014. New York: Anchor, 2015.

When Palahniuk is on, his fiction is brilliant, and when he is off, it is gimmicky and mediocre, so I’m always a little nervous to acquire one of his books, but the blurb on this one was intriguing enough (it is about sex toys) to convince me to buy it.

Shawl, Nisi, and Bill Campbell, eds. Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. Greenbelt: Rosarium, 2015.

This festschrift for Delany includes both essays and fiction, which is an appropriate mixture considering the diversity of his own oeuvre.

Warner, Sylvia Townsend. Summer Will Show. 1936. New York: New York Review, 2009.

I have been wanting to read this novel since reading about it in a feminist literature course back in 2004, and have often searched for it in used bookstores to no avail. I happily discovered this NYRB edition on one of the fiction tables at the back of the Strand (I actually gasped aloud when I saw it). This is what I love about the Strand: while I always find excellent books that I wasn’t looking for, I always also seem to find a book that I am looking for in a way that feels like it was put right there for me to find it.

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Books Acquired Recently

Coverley, Merlin. The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker. Harpenden: Oldcastle, 2012.

Dorsey, Candas Jane. Black Wine. New York: Tor, 1997.

—. Machine Sex and Other Stories. London: Women’s, 1990.

I bought these three books (all from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers) as a result of reading Greg Bechtel’s collection of short stories Boundary Problems. Many of Bechtel’s stories are infused with psychogeographical themes, which is a topic that Coverley has written about at length. As a result of my interest in psychogeography I have thought about reading The Art of Wandering in the past, and decided that this summer would be a good time to do so.

Similarly, I have been wanting to read some of Dorsey’s fiction since I read an article by her on Samuel R. Delany’s work called “Being One’s Own Pornographer” about five years ago. One of Bechtel’s stories has a quotation from this essay as an epigraph, which I took as a kind of sign that it was time for me to explore Dorsey’s work.

Tytell, John. Writing Beat and Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem. Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 2014.

I was randomly sent an exam copy of this book by the publisher. I am excited to read it soon because I enjoy the Beats and because I am hoping to do lots of writing this summer and the book looks like it offers some helpful meditations on the subject.

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Books Acquired Recently: City Lights/Birthday Edition

Yesterday I had a ten hour layover in San Francisco on my way back from a conference (I must say that I was quite impressed with the San Francisco airport), so I decided to make a pilgrimage to the famous City Lights Bookstore. I’m glad I went because so much germinal literary history has happened at the store, and overall I was impressed with their selection of books (I was tempted to buy way more than I did; the fact that I had to carry whatever I bought in my backpack during the rest of my trip severely limited my shopping), but I must say that the visit was not the profound experience I was expecting it to be. This is in part because it is virtually impossible for mythologized spaces such as City Lights to actually live up to their idealized versions, but also in part because I realized that I find bookstores that only sell new books like City Lights does to be much less interesting than used bookstores or bookstores that sell both new and used books like the Strand. I don’t mean to be critical of City Lights, because it is an excellent, high quality independent bookstore, but my experience there felt sterile and cold in comparison to the experiences I have had at good used bookstores.

Delany, Samuel R. Phallos: Enhanced and Revised Edition. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 2013.

Delany is one of my favorite writers and I wrote some about his 2004 novella Phallos in my dissertation. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he has published a revised, longer edition of the novel, as he has with a number of his most important texts (including The Motion of Light in Water and The Mad Man). City Lights has the largest selection of Delany texts I’ve ever encountered in a bookstore. I was also happy that one of the texts I bought at City Lights was by a queer author considering the important role San Francisco has played in the life of America’s LGBT community.

Komunyakaa, Yusef. Dien Cai Dau. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 1988.

I have been meaning to acquire this collection of Komunyakaa’s poetry about his experiences during the Vietnam War for quite a while, and decided to finally pounce when I saw it on the shelf. The poetry room was by far my favorite space in City Lights.

My birthday was also this past weekend (I used some birthday money to fund my shopping at City Lights), and I received the following book as a gift:

Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America: Written, Compiled, Researched, Typed, Collated, Proofread, and Run Through Spell Check by Leslie Knope, Deputy Director, Department of Parks and Recreation. New York: Hachette, 2014.

I and the person who gave me this book share a love for Parks and Recreation, thus I was quite pleased to receive it as a gift.

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Books Acquired Recently

Call, Lewis. BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy. New York: Palgrave, 2013.

I was so excited when I found out about this book because it examines two of my research interests. There is a chapter on one of my favorite authors/research subjects, Samuel R. Delany, and another one on Wonder Woman, my favorite super hero. I remember seeing an exhibit of panels from Wonder Woman comics depicting bondage at the Museum of Sex in New York City in late 2002, and I look forward to reading Call’s analysis of this recurring theme.

Self, Will. Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007.

The psychogeography project I did with my students this semester has ended, and it went quite well, well enough that I am going to do it again next year. Therefore I continue to look for resources for it, and this book is a part of that search.

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

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