Tag Archives: wrestling

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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Books Acquired Recently: Post-Holiday Edition

I ordered a number of books with some holiday cash, and they have been trickling in through the mail recently.

Gundy, Jeff. Somewhere Near Defiance. Tallahassee: Anhinga, 2014.

Gundy is one of my favorite poets, and he was kind enough to send me a review copy of his new collection. I look forward to reading it soon!

Munce, Alayna. When I Was Young and in My Prime. Roberts Creek: Nightwood, 2005.

I read about this novel and Weier’s novel in Robert Zacharias’s book on Canadian Mennonite literature, Rewriting the Break Event, and they both sounded fascinating.

Newmahr, Staci. Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2011.

I have been wanting to read more theorizing on BDSM, and found Newmahr’s and Weiss’s books. I am interested to see how they compare to some of the less-academic work I’ve read on the subject.

Shoemaker, David. The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling. New York: Gotham, 2013.

I enjoy Shoemaker’s frequent grantland.com columns on pro wrestling, thus decided to buy his new book. Wrestling fascinates me because it explicitly centers around narrative, and this narrative gets influenced by its audience. In this way it is quite literary even though it obviously also appeals to people who are not interested in the literary at all.

Taormino, Tristan, et al., eds. The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. New York: Feminist, 2013.

I recently heard about this book on a “Top Ten Feminist Books of 2013” list. I appreciate Taormino’s other work, and this collection includes work by a number of writers I enjoy such as Susie Bright, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, and Lorelei Lee.

Torres, Justin. We the Animals. 2011. Boston: Mariner, 2012.

I received this novel as a desk copy for one of the courses I am teaching this semester. It is an excellent book. I had the privilege of meeting Torres a few years ago when he read at the college where I was working, and he is a sweet, gracious person.

Weier, John. Steppe: A Novel. Saskatoon: Thistledown, 1995.

Weiss, Margot. Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Durham: Duke UP, 2011.

Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. 1925. New York: Persea, 2003.

One of my students is writing about this novel in her Master’s thesis this semester, so I am going to read it in support of that project. It takes place in the lower east side of New York City, which is close to where I used to live. I am excited to see how the book depicts the neighborhood.

With the exception of Gundy’s and Torres’s books, all of these books were acquired from independent sellers on amazon.com.

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Pro Wrestling as Narrative

There’s an excellent interview with WWE executive Triple H on grantland.com that explains how WWE storylines get generated, and how they play out during live events. I loved to watch wrestling as a kid, and while I no longer watch it, I still enjoy reading about it. This may sound odd, but reading about it gives me the same kind of light pleasure one would get from reading a cheap bit of genre fiction. Triple H says that “everything we do is storytelling,” and as someone who is vitally concerned with how narrative works, of course I respond to this element. I have a friend who still watches wrestling, and when people find out and say to him “Why do you watch wrestling? It’s fake” (which is inaccurate: it’s staged, not fake. There are often real injuries.), he says “Yeah, but so is Shakespeare.” It’s a snarky-yet-profound statement.

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Girls Just Want to Have Fun

For some reason I had Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in my head this afternoon, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasures from the ’80s. I have never seen the video, so I thought I would check it out. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A&ob=av3e

It is well worth 4:26 of your time. For the most part, it is a solidly cheesy ’80s video (nothing wrong with that) which acts out what the song is about–a teenage girl being rebellious and driving her parents up a wall. I’m not sure why videos that are literal like this get such a bad rap (or, conversely, why those that try to pretend they have no relationship to the song itself often get praised as “artistic.” For instance, the video for Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” [which is one of the best songs of all time; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_XLOBDo_Y&ob=av3n]: I just don’t get it. Or Duran Duran’s “Come Undone,” which involves mermaid bondage [seriously! check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICnlyNUt_0o&ob=av2n]). But two things stand out:

1. THE FATHER IN THE VIDEO IS PLAYED BY CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO!!! I try to stay away from all-caps, but WOW! Has there ever been a better music video cameo? (If you don’t know who Captain Lou Albano was, here is his wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Albano)

2. On a more serious note, I was impressed at how ethnically diverse the group of “girls” is in the video considering that it was filmed in 1983. Kudos to Lauper for being inclusive.

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