Mennonite Book Haul from the MCC!

LOOK AT THIS! Look at the excellent stack of books I found at the MCC yesterday! Here’s what they are and why I impulsively bought ’em all:

Ladies of the House by Sandra Birdsell
It’s time I read a book by Sandra Birdsell. I’ve read a short story of hers, but not a book. This is a book of short stories. It was in the biography section. It is not a biography. This is why I often feel compelled to scour EVERY shelf at the MCC. Sandra Birdsell was is apparently part Mennonite, and she grew up in Morris. And she’s a legendary award-winning writer. I’m embarrassed that I haven’t read her yet. Oh, and she mentions Ralph Friesen on the first page. Ralph is awesome! I am intrigued.

Truth is Naked, All Others Pay Cash by Byron Rempel
I’ve never heard of Byron Rempel. But simply by paging through this book for about 45 seconds, I get the impression that when he does touch on his Mennonite roots, he’s doing so by explaining to non-Mennonites what Mennonites are. I think he has a chapter in here about how Mennonites don’t fight… and he thinks that’s stupid or something. Newsflash for him: historically, Mennonite Peace Churches did not go take up arms/go to war, that kind of thing. But there are scads of folks of Mennonite background who no longer attend Mennonite Peace Churches, but instead attend evangelical fundamentalist churches, and they heartily endorse going to war. I’d say that makes up the majority of the population of Steinbach these days, actually. And probably Winkler too. But it’s true… these people are not Mennonites anymore. Except ethnically. But IS it an ethnicity? Not really. Ugh, so complicated. Anyway, I’m sure once I read the book I’ll be less ranty and more understanding. Maybe. No promises.

About Those Reimers by Elizabeth Reimer Bartel
I have heard of Elizabeth Reimer Bartel! Because I read old issues of Preservings. I’ve seen this book referenced, and I’m excited to have found it! One note: at the back I notice her bio mentions that she hails from Steinbach, where Mennonite history is celebrated. And I thought to myself, “Is it? Is it REALLY?” I mean, even I myself am not celebrating it. More like “investigating” or “trying to self-educate and interact with past writings on the subject”. But “celebrating”? I live here and get the sense that everyone’s mostly embarrassed or annoyed by the whole Mennonite thing. I could be wrong. I will have to think on it some more.

Mennonite Private Schools by Jake Peters
A slim volume published by the Mennonite Village Museum (before the word “Heritage” was incorporated) about Mennonite private schools. Cool!

Reinland: An Experience in Community by Peter D. Zacharias
A BOOK ABOUT REINLAND???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I was suuuuuuuper excited to find this two-pound book and haul it home in the cold. Because I am a nerd. Cannot wait to crack this open!

1895/1995 Hague-Osler Mennonite Reserve
A BOOK ABOUT ONE OF THE MENNONITE RESERVES IN SASKATCHEWAN???? Again, I’m sooooo excited! At first I just stared at the book, but then I grabbed so no one else could take it. Because you never know. What if there’s another menno history book nerd lurking around the bookshelves of the Steinbach MCC thrift shop? Very possible. You understand my panic.

So! I have not read any of these books yet! But I’m so excited I wanted to tell you about ’em all. YAY!