Thursday, February 12, 2015
February 12, 2015: I Love Writing Book Reviews
[For each of the last couple years, I’ve dedicated my Valentine’s week series to highlighting some American loves of mine. I wanted to do the same this week, leading up to a special weekend post on a new love. I’d love for you to share your own Valentine’s loves and thoughts in comments!]
In the last few years, I’ve had the chance to review a number of great scholarly books for various journals and sites. Each time I’ve learned so much from both the book and the experience of creating a review of and response to it, and I’m really grateful for each and every such chance. Here are the focal points for my five reviews to date (the last two are to-be-written, so I’m just highlighting the books at this point):
1) James Salazar’s Bodies of Reform (2010) and Andrew Taylor’s Thinking America (2010): I reviewed these two impressive works of American Studies scholarship for my first review, which was published in American Literature in 2011. The two represent very different scholarly strains—cultural studies and intellectual history, respectively—but as I wrote in that review complement each other very nicely, offering a wonderful perspective on 19th and early 20th century America in the process.
2) Matthew Rebhorn’s Pioneer Performances (2012): I reviewed Rebhorn’s groundbreaking book for American Literary History’s forthcoming, online-only review series. I’ll update this post when the site and review appear, but in the meantime will note that I learned a great deal from every chapter of Rehborn’s book about American drama, 19th century culture and society, and images and narratives of the frontier.
3) Zareena Grewal’s Islam is a Foreign Country (2013): My review of Grewal’s autoethnographic and interdisciplinary study of Muslim American identities, communities, histories, religion, multimedia texts, and more is forthcoming in the Spring 2015 issue of American Studies. I’d put this book alongside Borderlands/La Frontera as an autoethnographic analysis of such topics, and that’s very high praise indeed.
4) Sarah Roth’s Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture (2014): I’ll be reviewing Roth’s book this spring for the Journal of Southern History.
5) Alysson Hobbs’s A Chosen Exile (2014): And I’ll also be reviewing Hobbs’s book this spring for the American Book Review.
Next love tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Loves of yours you’d share?