Tag Archives: writing

Books Acquired Recently

Hertz, Sue. Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015.

I have been wanting to write more creative nonfiction, and while I’ve had a bit of success getting published in the genre in the past I still don’t feel like I have a good sense of how to write compelling pieces of it consistently. Therefore, when I was offered an exam copy of this book I was happy to take it with the hope that it will help improve my own writing as well as potentially my students’.

Howard, Tim, with Ali Benjamin. The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them. New York: Harper, 2014.

I received this book as a birthday present. Howard is the best American goalkeeper ever, and I am excited to read about his life in the sport that obsesses me.

Schulman, Sarah. Rat Bohemia. New York: Dutton, 1995.

A friend recently recommended this novel to me, and I am especially excited to read it now that I see that it has a blurb from Tony Kushner, whose work I love. I bought it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Sports

A New Book Review

I just had a review of Ewuare X. Osayande’s poetry anthology Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander published in Your Impossible Voice. As I say in the review, it is an important book, and its proceeds go to a worthy cause. You can buy the book here under the “Buy the Book” tab.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Two New Book Reviews

I’ve just had two book reviews published, both on exciting new texts in the field of Mennonite literature.

The first is a review of Jessica Penner’s novel Shaken in the Water (pdf–scroll down to page 157), which appears in Mennonite Quarterly Review, the leading journal of Mennonite studies. It has been my goal to publish in MQR since I was in college, and Penner is a good friend of mine, so I am quite excited about this piece.

The second is a review of Jeff Gundy’s new collection of poetry, Somewhere Near Defiance, which appears in Your Impossible Voice, a crackling new literary e-journal. Gundy has been one of my favorite poets for years, and I am pleased that his new collection lives up to the high standard of his previous work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Books Acquired Recently: R.J. Julia Edition, and Some Thoughts on the Form

First, let me say that obviously my blog has been taken over by Books Acquired Recently posts in recent weeks. This is partly a manifestation of my book-acquiring addiction and partly a manifestation of the busyness of my first semester teaching at Utica College: I just haven’t had time to write about other subjects. I hope the blog’s subject matter becomes more diverse again during the month-long Winter Break that is fast approaching.

Second, I’ve mentioned this before, but for any new readers out there, the Books Acquired Recently idea is a blatant rip-off of Nick Hornby’s column in The Believer, in which he discusses books that he’s recently read and acquired. I love being a voyeur of other people’s libraries because it is one of the best ways to learn about a person, and thus I enjoy allowing others to view the process of continuing to build my own library. What can I say? I’m a literary exhibitionist.

Third, the recently acquired books themselves: Over the Thanksgiving break I visited some relatives in Connecticut, and they took me to the delightful R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison. The store’s three floors are architecturally pleasing, with inviting nooks for each section and plentiful cushioned chairs for customers who wish to investigate potential purchases without getting in the way of other patrons. The inventory is large, and the staff is friendly (not an easy task on Black Friday).

Baker, Nicholson. Traveling Sprinkler. New York: Blue Rider, 2013.

As regular readers of the blog know, Baker is one of my favorite writers. I didn’t realize he had a new novel out, but found Traveling Sprinkler in the store’s New Fiction section after I had already purchased the other two books and was waiting for everyone else in my party to be ready to leave. Of course I bought it as soon as I noticed it. I’m about a third of the way through the book, and while thus far it is not as good as its prequel, The Anthologist (which I love because it is The Nerdiest Book Ever), it has been smoothly enthralling like nearly all of Baker’s fiction.

Incidentally, Blue Rider also published the hardcover of Dickey’s memoir.

—. The Way the World Works: Essays. 2012. New York: Simon, 2013.

This book has been on my list of “books to buy eventually” since it came out. I enjoy Baker’s nonfiction, but reading it is always somewhat of a disappointment because it just isn’t as good as his fiction (which is not meant as a criticism: the two genres have different purposes, and nonfiction is much less concerned with creating a transcendent experience in the reader than fiction is). In this collection, Baker writes about essential topics such as how reading and writing are changing in the digital age. Everyone should be reading him.

Dickey, R.A., with Wayne Coffey. Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball. New York: Plume, 2013.

I have been meaning to read Dickey’s memoir since it came out just before the 2012 baseball season, and then decided to wait to purchase it until after the paperback came out because I assumed it would have extra material on his phenomenal 2012 year when he won the National League Cy Young Award. The Plume edition does, indeed, have a new chapter. Although I probably will not get around to reading Wherever I Wind Up until the spring when I begin craving baseball again, I decided to purchase it now because R.J. Julia is an independent bookstore well worth supporting.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Sports

The New Header Photograph

I decided to update the header photograph of my blog to celebrate my recent transition to Utica, New York. I never feel truly at home in a new place until all of my books are displayed on their shelves, so the new photograph symbolizes my new identity as a Utican. Also, the previous header photograph depicted a shelf from my poetry bookcase, and I felt it was time to go back to paying homage to my first love, fiction.

I chose a photograph of my P-R shelf because it includes representative texts from my favorite subject areas. There is Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, one of my favorite African American novels; Alice Randall’s incisive parody of Gone With the Wind, The Wind Done Gone; and a Latino text, Tomás Rivera’s The Earth Did Not Devour Them. There are several queer texts, including John Rechy’s City of Night and Pauline Réage’s Story of O. There is a germinal feminist novel, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. Alain Robbe-Grillet’s The Voyeur and two of Thomas Pynchon’s novels represent postmodern fiction while in close proximity with books by one of England’s first novelists, Samuel Richardson. Works by two of my favorite authors from the past, Chaim Potok and Philip Roth, are also present. This shelf would make a lovely autumn reading list for anyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Beginning a Journal

I hate the genre of apologetic blog posts, but alas, one of my own is necessary, so…

As is evident from my list of recent posts, I have not been blogging much lately. It’s been a spotty summer of writing because of my preparation for, move to, and now performing of my new job at Utica College. My time at Utica has been quite enjoyable thus far, and I hope that as I continue to settle into the new semester I will feel a bit less exhausted and have more energy for writing.

There is also another potential impetus for my blogging. For the first time, I am having my writing students keep a journal. I’ve asked them to handwrite it rather than blogging or typing on a tablet because I think that it is much easier to simply jot notes informally when handwriting, whereas typing inevitably reminds one of typing a formal assignment. I have committed myself to keeping a journal along with my students, and am optimistic that some of what I write there will end up here in one form or another. I’ve attempted to keep paper journals a number of times before (the last was during my first year of graduate school) and failed rather quickly each time. This time I will be forced to keep it up for at least a semester, and maybe the habit will stick.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Latest Book Review

I just had a book review of Penelope Scambly Schott’s Lillie was a goddess, Lillie was a whore published in Your Impossible Voice, a new online literary journal. The first issue won’t officially be up until August, but the site is already publishing a few pieces as teasers. It looks like it will be an excellent venue for the discussion of contemporary literature, and I am thrilled to be involved!

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature