Tag Archives: Stephen Beachy

Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below

Beachy, Stephen. Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below. Amish Terror Book 3. San Diego: Vapor Books, 2019.

Queer Mennonite writer extraordinaire Stephen Beachy’s third Amish science fiction novel came out in December, and I just finally got my copy yesterday. It was originally supposed to be the final book in the Amish Terror series, but according to the series page in this volume there will be at least two more volumes forthcoming, Hadi Hamed and the Quantum Egg and Emma Beyond the Singularity. I began reading Gonzalo Vega last night and am really enjoying it thus far.

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Queering Mennonite Literature: Archiving, Activism, and the Search for Community

I am excited to announce that my book Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community has just been released by Penn State University Press!

Though the terms “queer” and “Mennonite” rarely come into theoretical or cultural contact, over the last several decades writers and scholars in the United States and Canada have built a body of queer Mennonite literature that shifts these identities into conversation. I bring this growing genre into a critical focus, bridging the gaps between queer theory, literary criticism, and Mennonite literature.

My analysis focuses on recent Mennonite-authored literary texts that espouse queer theoretical principles, including work by Christina Penner, Wes Funk, Jan Guenther Braun, Jessica Penner, Stephen Beachy, Corey Redekop, Casey Plett, Miriam Suzanne, and Sofia Samatar. Their books argue for the existence of a “queer Mennonite” identity on the basis of shared values: a commitment to social justice, a rejection of binaries, the importance of creative approaches to conflict resolution, and the practice of mutual aid, especially in resisting oppression. The book encourages those engaging with both Mennonite studies and queer studies to explore the opportunity for conversation and overlap between the two fields.

By arguing for engagement between these two identities and highlighting the aspects of Mennonitism that are inherently “queer,” the book gives much-needed attention to an emerging subfield of Mennonite literature. It makes a new and important intervention into the fields of queer theory, literary studies, Mennonite studies, and religious studies.

You can find Queering Mennonite Literature on the Penn State University Press web site at this URL: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-27-108245-5.html. You can get 30% off by using the code NR18. Please ask your local libraries, whether institutional or public, to order a copy.

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Books Acquired Recently

Beachy, Stephen. Glory Hole. Tuscaloosa, AL: FC2, 2017.

Beachy’s novel boneyard [sic] is one of the best novels I’ve ever read because of its description of queer Anabaptist bondage. After I read it I devoured Beachy’s other books, and have become a huge fan of his writing. Glory Hole is mentioned in boneyard, in which Beachy himself is a character, and when I first read it I thought to myself “I wish that novel existed.” I was thrilled to find out that Beachy was actually writing it in real life and pre-ordered it on amazon.com as soon as it was possible to do so. It came in the mail this week.

Freeman, Elizabeth. Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

I keep seeing this book cited in the queer theory I’ve been reading lately, and decided to investigate it for myself.

I purchased this and Marcus’s book from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Loewen, Harry, ed. Mennonite Images: Historical, Cultural, and Literary Essays Dealing with Mennonite Issues. Winnipeg: Hyperion Press, 1980.

This was one of the first books to include scholarly discussions of Mennonite literature. I read it as soon as it arrived and even though the scholarship is rather dated it is interesting historically.

I bought this book from abebooks.com’s network of booksellers. The copy I acquired, the only one available, was listed on both abebooks and amazon, but the shipping on abebooks was about $2.00 cheaper.

Marcus, Sara. Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. New York: HarperPerennial, 2010.

Akin to the story of Freeman’s book, this book keeps getting cited in the scholarship I’ve been reading about queer archiving over the past year, so I decided to buy it and read it for myself.

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Books Acquired Recently: Erika Lopez Edition

I recently read Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes’s Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, which discusses the work of Erika Lopez, a writer whom I had never heard of before. His description of Lopez’s work intrigued me because it involves a character who is a half Puerto Rican, half German Quaker. This hybrid identity is quite close to my Puerto Rican Mennonite one, as my mother’s ancestors came to Pennsylvania from Krefeld, Germany in 1710 and Mennonites are, along with Quakers, one of the historic peace churches. While I have read Mennonite texts depicting characters similar to me because of their queerness (most notably Stephen Beachy’s boneyard), I have never read a text that combines my queer and German identities with my Puerto Rican one, so I am quite excited to read Lopez’s work. I bought the three volumes of her Trilogy of Tomatoes from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers as an introduction to her oeuvre.

Lopez, Erika. Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing. New York: Simon & Schuster Editions, 1997.

—. Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

—. They Call Me Mad Dog! A Story for Bitter, Lonely People. New York: Simon & Schuster Editions, 1998.

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Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity

Beachy, Stephen. Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2016.

Beachy is one of my favority Mennonite writers, and his newest book, a piece of Amish science fiction, just came out! I received it in the mail today, and can’t wait to read it! You can buy it here.

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Book Acquired Recently: David Luthy’s A History of the Printings of the Martyrs’ Mirror

Luthy, David. A History of the Printings of the Martyrs’ Mirror: Dutch, German, English 1660-2012. Aylmer: Pathway, 2013.

I acquired this book directly from Pathway Publishers as part of my research for a project on Stephen Beachy’s novel boneyard, which draws heavily on Thieleman J. van Braght’s Martyrs Mirror (note that this book’s title does not actually include an apostrophe after “Martyrs” although one would be correct, thus it is an interesting [and, frankly, I think an erroneous] choice on Luthy’s part to include one in his title, as this emendation is not normally made), thus I am trying to get my hands on all of the recent scholarship on van Braght’s book. I’ve briefly flipped through Luthy’s book, and it is lavishly illustrated and written in what looks to be a methodical, comprehensive style. It was delightfully inexpensive: only $8.95 despite being a hardcover.

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Books Acquired Recently

Cole, Teju. Open City. 2011. New York: Random, 2012.

I recently taught the first chapter of this novel in one of my writing classes as an example of psychogeography. A colleague had passed it on to me, and I was completely enthralled, so I decided to buy the book, and I look forward to reading it soon. Cole has a reading scheduled for April 10 in Ithaca, which is less than two hours from Utica. It will be good to hear him in person after reading his book.

Janzen, Jean. Entering the Wild: Essays on Faith and Writing. Intercourse: Good, 2012.

Janzen is the godmother of Mennonite poetry, one of my scholarly interests, thus I expect this memoir to be a fascinating one. I got it new for only $0.65!

Lachman, Becca J.R., ed. A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation With William Stafford. Topeka: Woodley, 2013.

I’ve been feeling the need to read more poetry lately, and had heard that several poets whose work I enjoy (Jeff Gundy, Todd F. Davis, and Ann Hostetler, among others) have poems in this anthology. Lachman herself is an up-and-coming Mennonite poet, thus I’m interested to see what I can glean about her aesthetic proclivities from the poems she has selected.

These three books were acquired via amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Luthy, David. Dirk Willems: His Noble Deed Lives On. Aylmer: Pathway, 2011.

My current research focuses on Stephen Beachy’s novel boneyard, which takes some of its essential elements from Thieleman J. van Braght’s 1660 collection of Anabaptist martyr stories, Martyrs Mirror. I’ve thus been reading a lot of the recent scholarship on van Braght’s text (there is a surprisingly large amount), and the acquisition of Luthy’s book is a part of this effort, as Dirk Willems’s story is by far the most famous one in Martyrs Mirror.

I acquired this book directly from the publisher.

Murphy, Yvonne C. Aviaries. Durham: Carolina Wren, 2011.

Murphy gave a reading at Utica College last week that was entertaining enough to entice me to buy her poetry collection. It includes a number of poems inspired by New York City that I have been enjoying.

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