Tag Archives: Stephen Beachy

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

The Ten Most Influential Books List

I recently participated in the Facebook meme that asks for a list of the ten most influential books on a person’s life. Here is my list with some brief comments:

1. boneyard by Stephen Beachy—This book showed myself to me in an exact way that I had never encountered before in literature. Queer and Anabaptist: two great tastes that taste great together.

2. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer—My favorite book until I read boneyard. I’ve read it over half-a-dozen times and it always makes me cry. The last line is heartwrenching: “We would have been safe.”

3. questions i asked my mother by Di Brandt—Really all of Brandt’s poetry, but this collection is the one that I read first and that stays the most vivid in my mind. Brandt gave me a model for how to be transgressive when I really needed one.

4. Sleeping Preacher and 5. Eve’s Striptease by Julia Spicher Kasdorf—These two books feel inseparable for me. Kasdorf was the first poet whose work I read that made me realize that poetry could be relevant to my life.

6. Rhapsody With Dark Matter by Jeff Gundy—I had the same reaction to Gundy’s work as I did to Kasdorf’s. (Also, it drives me nuts that “with” in the title shouldn’t be capitalized here. What a dumb rule. I think it’s a significant enough word that it should be capitalized, which is why I have done so.)

7. The Tides of Lust by Samuel R. Delany—This isn’t my favorite Delany novel, but it’s the first one that I read (I also did a dissertation chapter on it), and it was good enough to get me interested in all of the others. Delany is the author whose work has been most influential on my current thinking.

8. Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places by Laud Humphries—I read this while doing research for a paper during my senior year of college, and it completely changed my view of the world because it told me about a practice (i.e., anonymous gay sex) that I had no idea existed. It taught me to begin looking at the margins, because that’s where the really interesting, revolutionary stuff happens. It also helped me to see physical space in a new way.

9. The Blue Mountains of China by Rudy Wiebe—In hindsight, this was my first encounter with postmodern fiction, which is now my favorite kind of fiction. When I first read it, its ethical vision was extremely formative for me.

10. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok—This was the first text I read that explored the relationship between religion and art in a serious way. If I hadn’t read this book, the words of the poets mentioned above would have fallen on deaf ears.

Three observations on this list: 1. It is overwhelmingly Mennonite, showing that no matter how hard I try I just can’t get away, and 2. I encountered half of the texts while at Goshen College, which proves something about the importance of a good liberal arts education. 3. After a few days’ reflection, I still stand by the list’s accuracy. The only glaring omission is Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine (But what would it replace? My first thought is Potok’s novel, but reading My Name is Asher Lev made my appreciation of many of the rest of the books on this list possible), which I actually think about more than any other book because of its chapter on public restrooms. Every time I go into a public restroom that I haven’t been in before (i.e., the restroom at my job doesn’t count because of how frequently I use it), I check to see whether it has a paper towel dispenser (and if so, what kind) or a hand dryer. The science of hand dryers has advanced a lot since the novel was written, and so sometimes they are better than paper towels, but I still generally agree with the novel’s argument in favor of the paper towels. Both options need to be well-designed in order to fulfill their function of getting one’s hands dry in a sanitary manner, though. It almost is not fair to compare them as entire categories.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Some Phantom/No Time Flat

Beachy, Stephen. Some Phantom/No Time Flat. 2006. Portland: Verse Chorus, 2013.

I received this diptych of novellas in the mail from amazon.com yesterday, and read Some Phantom immediately and No Time Flat this evening. Both are excellent; I read the first one (which I greatly enjoyed in part because it takes place in Salt Lake City) and thought “Wow, the second one can’t be as good,” but I was wrong.

Some Phantom is about a woman running from an abusive relationship who ends up in Salt Lake City, gets a job as a teacher’s aide, and becomes obsessed with one of her students. The city’s geography is an essential element of the story–sparse, dry, malevolent. It reminds me a lot of the austerity of Janet Kauffman’s writing, even though she virtually never writes about urban environments. Beachy does a fantastic job depicting the exciting seediness of the stretch of State Street between approximately 700 and 1900 South.

No Time Flat involves some of the searing themes from Beachy’s best novel, Boneyard: illicit gay sex, much of it involving bondage, and the thin line between pain as pleasure and pain as violence. It reads as serious fiction, but it arouses like the best pornography, too. The experience of reading it is still too fresh for me to be articulate about it other than to say that I highly recommend it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature