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Books Acquired Recently: England Edition

I just returned from a wonderful nine-day trip to England. One of my favorite things about England is that almost every town, no matter how small, has at least one good bookshop. I thus spent much of my free time book hunting, mostly in secondhand bookshops, which is where I made some of my favorite finds. I bought eleven books, spending a total of £62.00.

Bryson, Bill. Notes from a Small Island: Journey Through Britain. 1995. London: Black Swan, 2015.

I’ve read very little travel writing, so when someone recommended this travelogue during my trip I decided to buy it because I’ve heard good things about Bryson’s writing, but haven’t read any of his work. I tore through the book in a day after I’d purchased it. Although it is now a bit dated, it is hilarious and still helpful.

Purchased at Blackwell’s in Oxford.

—. The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island. 2015. London: Black Swan, 2016.

After finishing Notes from a Small Island, I decided to buy the sequel.

Purchased at WHSmith in Gatwick Airport, London.

Carmichael, Stokely, and Charles V. Hamilton. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. 1967. Harmondsworth, UK: Pelican Books, 1969.

As I have written about before, I have a fetish for Penguin paperbacks, especially old ones. The Book Cupboard in Plymouth has a large selection of them, and I purchased three there: this book (which has a blue cover to signify that it is non-fiction), Christie’s (green cover to signify that it is crime fiction), and Simenon’s (the traditional orange cover).

Charlton, Bobby, with James Lawton. My Manchester United Years: The Autobiography. 2007. London: Headline Publishing, 2008.

Bobby Charlton is the greatest English footballer ever and one of the greatest Manchester United players ever, thus I was delighted to find a used copy of his autobiography in excellent condition. I read it during the trip and it is one of the best sports autobiographies I have ever read because it is insightful both about Charlton’s personal life and the sporting events he took part in.

Purchased at Skoob Books in London.

Christie, Agatha. Murder in the Mews and Other Stories. 1937. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1961.

I first read Christie’s work in elementary school when the school librarian gave me several of her books because he knew that I loved to read and wanted to encourage me to continue doing so. I haven’t read any of her books since I was a teenager, but when I saw this collection in a Penguin edition I decided to buy it. Its original price was two shillings and six pence. I paid three pounds for it.

Dahl, Tessa. Working for Love. 1988. London: Penguin Books, 1989.

I bought this book primarily because it is a Penguin paperback, but also because I was interested in seeing how Tessa Dahl’s writing matches up to her father Roald’s. I read it on the plane ride back to the U.S. and was unimpressed.

Purchased at Skoob Books in London.

Goddard, Simon. Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust. London: Ebury Press, 2013.

I love David Bowie, and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is my favorite of his albums. I bought this book about his Ziggy character because I found it on sale new for only £3.00 as compared to the £9.99 cover price.

Purchased at The Works in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Hadley, Tessa. Bad Dreams and Other Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 2017.

I have read and enjoyed some of Hadley’s stories in the New Yorker. I decided to purchase her newest collection because it is a signed copy.

Purchased at Blackwell’s in Oxford.

Palmer, Martin, Kwok Man Ho, and Joanne O’Brien. The Contemporary I Ching: A Completely New Translation of the Most Famous Oracle in the World. 1986. London: Rider & Company, 1989.

I have wanted to learn more about the I Ching since I first read Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, in which it plays a major role. I found this translation of it for a reasonable price and decided to buy it.

Purchased at The Speaking Tree in Glastonbury.

Rickards, Maurice. This is Ephemera: Collecting Printed Throwaways: Printed or Handwritten Items Produced for Short-Term Use and Generally for Disposal: A Delightful and Unique Introduction to a Fascinating Field. 1977. London: David & Charles, 1978.

I came across this intriguing little (63 pages) hardcover in the basement of a thriftshop. Its lengthy title says it all: it sounds like the nerdiest book ever, so of course I had to buy it, and I am legitimately excited to read it. It was first published in the U.S., and apparently was successful enough to justify publishing the British edition that I bought. The back cover blurb notes that Rickards “is founder and chairman of the Ephemera Society,” an organization that still exists in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Purchased at Julian House in Bath.

Simenon, Georges. Striptease. 1958. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1963.

I’ve read one of Simenon’s novels, Dirty Snow, before, and enjoyed it. It was an easy decision to purchase this Penguin edition of another one of his books.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Over the past few weeks I’ve acquired several books with holiday money that I received.

Brackett, Leigh. The Long Tomorrow. 1955. Rockville, MD: Phoenix Pick, n.d.

I first heard about this science fiction classic several years ago because it has Mennonite characters. More and more Mennonite SF continues to appear, so I thought now would be a good time to read it.

This, Lima and Carmona’s anthology, and Vermette’s novel were purchased from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Driver, John. Life Together in the Spirit: A Radical Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century. Walden, NY: Plough Publishing House, 2015.

I received this book as a gift for renewing my membership to the Mennonite Historical Society. It’s not something I would normally read, but it might be interesting.

Lima, Rossy Evelin, and Christopher Carmona, ed. Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a 9/11 World.

I heard about this anthology because I have a friend with a poem in it, and decided to buy it now because the amount of injustice is only going to grow in the current political climate. It is bilingual, which I appreciate.

Wambach, Abby. Forward: A Memoir. New York: Dey Street, 2016.

I bought this autobiography (i.e., it’s yet another misnamed “memoir”) at Barnes & Noble for 50% off. I’ve already read it and I wish it went more in-depth about Wambach’s playing career. Her descriptions of significant matches are quite short; they feel rushed.

Vermette, Katherena. The Break. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2016.

I just heard about Vermette’s recent novel and ordered it right away because of her Mennonite connections.

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Books Acquired Recently

My book-buying habit continues unabated despite my stuffed “To Read” shelf. Here is what has come in recently.

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2013.

I have been studying the intersection between queer theory and disability studies recently for a paper that I am writing, and came across a citation of this book, which looks interesting because of its efforts to be intersectional.

Mulvany, Nancy C. Indexing Books. 2nd. ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2005.

I bought this book as a resource for a bibliography that I am currently working on. I must say that it is a very handsome book–a colorful yet not garish cover, sturdy hardback, thick creamy pages–which pleases me since books about books should be beautiful to match their subject matter.

Munson, Peggy. Origami Striptease. San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press, 2006.

I encountered a citation for this novel in some of my aforementioned research on disability studies and found a copy for a good price, so decided to buy it. I read it last week and enjoyed it overall. It’s worth checking out because it is one of the very few depictions of a disabled person’s sex life out there. My guess is that twenty or thirty years from now it will be viewed as a classic work.

Perryman, Mark, ed. 1966 and Not All That. London: Repeater Books, 2016.

This is a collection of essays about England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, the only major soccer trophy the English men have ever won despite England being the sport’s birthplace. From the time I was just a fledgling soccer fan twenty years ago I have had a sense of the 1966 team being swathed in myth and glory. (Which, I think, says something about how influential English soccer culture has been for American soccer culture. This is one of the few areas where the U.S. could still be considered a postcolonial context.) As a result, I have been thoroughly enjoying and consuming as much of the fiftieth anniversary celebration and retrospective as I can, thus it was an instant decision to buy the book when I read a review of it a few weeks ago.

Stafford, William. Down in My Heart. 1947. Swarthmore: Bench Press, 1985.

The Tramontane Cafe in Utica is currently have a book sale of some of Roger Smith’s books, who was a regular at the Cafe and at the Utica Poets Society, which meets there (he died a few months ago). I picked up this memoir by William Stafford about his time as a conscientious objector to military service during World War II because I have a general interest in CO experiences since many Mennonites were also COs.  Stafford is a kind of celebrity among Mennonites because of his pacifism, but I am unfamiliar with much of his work, thus I look forward to learning more about him from this book.

All of the books except for Stafford’s were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

Amazon.com

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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Books Acquired Recently

I had a robust book-acquiring month in October as a result of several factors that happened to coincide: I went to a conference, I was making up book lists for next semester, I had a friend publish a book, I read some interesting book reviews, and so on. Unless otherwise noted, all of these books were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Brown, Box. Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. New York: First Second, 2014.

I read a review of this graphic biography on grantland.com and it sounded fantastic, so I bought it immediately, as Andre was a major figure in my childhood as a result of his heart-wrenching feud with Hulk Hogan and his role as Fezzik in The Princess Bride.

Fisher, MFK. The Gastronomical Me. 1954. New York: North Point, 1989.

I discovered this book when doing research for a seminar on obsession that I am teaching next semester, and decided to check it out.

Fowles, John. The Collector. 1963. New York: Back Bay, 2010.

I have read Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and enjoyed it, and then read about this novel in a list of books about obsession while doing research for the above-mentioned seminar. It sounded intriguing and I was able to find a cheap copy online, so I bought it.

Goldsmith, Kenneth. Sports. Los Angeles: Make Now, 2008.

I recently read an article about Goldsmith, a poet whom I had not previously heard of, in the New Yorker. He sounds like another one of the many, many writers (Hemingway, Faulkner, et al.) who are horrible people but write interesting work. This book is about baseball, so I thought I would check it out.

Hinojosa, Felipe. Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014.

A few weeks ago I attended a Mennonite education conference at Bluffton University, and Hinojosa was one of the keynote speakers. I bought his book from the campus bookstore since I myself am a Latino Mennonite, but do not know very much about the history of this subgroup outside of those from New York City.

Nathan, Jesse. Cloud 9. Portland: Dikembe, 2015.

Nathan is a friend of mine, and I am excited to read his new chapbook of poems. I got an email from the publisher advertising it (presumably they got my email address from Nathan) for only $8.00, which is a steal considering that for a chapbook it’s quite lengthy–40 pages.

Perloff, Marjorie. Unoriginal Genius: Poetry By Other Means in the New Century. 2010. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012.

I read about this book in the same article I read about Goldsmith’s book. I have been reading a lot of poetry for fun lately and thought that this book might give me some ideas for new poets to check out. Perloff is a controversial figure, but I must admit that I have enjoyed the work of hers (especially her book on Frank O’Hara) that I’ve read.

Shteyngart, Gary. Super Sad True Love Story. 2010. New York: Random, 2011.

I had heard of this book and was familiar with its distinctive, colorful cover from advertisements in the New Yorker several years ago, but never bothered to read what it was about. A friend recently recommended it to me and it sounded interesting enough to purchase.

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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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