NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Book Reviews

Posted December 2, 2014

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Richard Newman
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-31-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 102pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Carol Smallwood
The cover image of Richard Newman’s All the Wasted Beauty of the World is “Great Blue Heron of Southern Indiana” by Nick Nihira and the thirty-nine poems are divided into four sections: 1. Summer Spells; 2. Autumn Contrails; 3. Winter’s Bloom; 4. Spring Necromancies. I assumed the poems would be about nature by the cover and title, and the poems would be in a metrical style since the publisher is Able Muse. That is the delightful surprise about poetry and reviewing—as neither was entirely the case.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by William Todd Seabrook
  • Date Published August 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9887645-7-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 56pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
The Imagination of Lewis Carroll by William Todd Seabrook is the winner of the Rose Metal Press eighth annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. The book is appealing to the hand and eye, a font and layout with a flavor of Carroll’s nineteenth century. The twenty-four short chapters imaginatively take us through the life of Lewis Carroll and perhaps is a more accurate biography of him than a factual one. Seabrook uses the techniques of Carroll’s own imagination to imagine Carroll’s life of imagination.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joan Gelfand
  • Date Published January 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9703737-2-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Carol Smallwood
Joan Gelfand searches her own motives with a touch of whimsy while probing for hard answers, which makes her wide knowledge of humanity evident in her book The Long Blue Room. She is a poet who has visited abroad and traveled across her own country to gain a sense of contemporary life grounded in realism but also presented with a delightful wit that’s penetrating and wise. She observes the rhythms, the good and bad about her, but maintains the appreciation of small things—takes time to thoroughly taste fruits like peaches and pears and wonder about them.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Benjamin Parzybok
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-61873-086-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 400pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
Benjamin Parzybok’s new novel Sherwood Nation is the latest addition to what is now being called “climate lit.” Books with apocalyptic plots which once seemed so far off in some crazy future are now disturbingly within reach. Recent titles such as Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” and Eden Lepucki’s “California” seem plausible.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Anna M. Evans
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0615983141
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 52pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Greek dramatists called them “Chorus.” Virginia Woolf christened them “Judith Shakespeare.” In big-budget films with a religious, historic, or fantasy theme, they are “Extras.” On television, they form the zombie army on The Walking Dead or seek fame on reality TV, which is like turning zombie. With the exception of letters and journals written before the Industrial Revolution that survived by luck, there isn’t much to go on.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Elena Ferrante
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-233-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 418pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
The reader will either become addicted to or lack the commitment needed for Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels starting with My Brilliant Friend (331 pages), followed by The Story of a New Name (471 pages) and this latest third volume Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. The final fourth volume will come out September 2015. The length of the novels and the character-driven, rather than plot-driven, story might discourage some readers.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Dodie Bellamy
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937027-39-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by H. V. Cramond
Dodie Bellamy’s The TV Sutras is “inspired text born from a crisis of urban bombardment.” In the tradition of Joseph Smith, Moses, and the oracle at Delphi, Bellamy’s introduction describes a process wherein after a 30-minute yoga DVD and a 20-minute meditation facing the (turned-off) TV, she turns the TV on and begins to receive a transmission. After a break, she describes the scene, then gives her commentary without “irony, cleverness or perfection—or art.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Chelsea Woodard
  • Date Published November 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-35-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 106pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Carol Smallwood
Chelsea Woodard’s poetry collection Vellum was a finalist for the 2013 Able Muse Book Award, judged anonymously by the Able Muse Contest Committee. The forty-six poems are well-balanced with nine to ten poems in each of the five parts, though not grouped by specific theme or setting.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alex Lemon
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-450-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 136pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Andrea Dulberger
I was drawn to reading Alex Lemon’s The Wish Book partly from the surreal quality of its cover which features fish floating over a well-dressed bird-headed character while a mustached man reads a newspaper of poems, and a dapper potato-headed figure of many eyes lifts the arm of his suit where a large insect pokes free. Yet there are many contemporary poets who seem to draw surreal dream-like worlds on the page; that alone isn’t enough to make a book stand out for me.
newpages-footer-logo

We are currently in beta and welcome any/all Feedback.