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Published March 13, 2014
Sinister Wisdom's issue 91 features the work of one author, Cheryl Clarke. In an introduction, Nancy K. Bereanowrites, "It is absolutely clear to me that Cheryl Clarke was then, and remains now, a singular, powerful voice articulating the truths of fierce, independent women of color: lesbians who often live lives made triply invisible by their sexuality, their race, and their working-class realities. And she writes with the kind of precision and attention to linguistic detail that might have impressed those Republican ladies if they had had the emotional and political wherewithal to take on her work."

Co-published by A Midsummer Night’s Press and Sinister Wisdom, the Sapphic Classics Series publishes reprint editions of iconic works of lesbian poetry. The third Sapphic Classics will be issued in early 2015.
Published December 05, 2013
This week's selections include poetry, Mexican fiction, and the memoir of a lost Holocaust childhood.

Out of Their Minds, fiction by Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, Cinco Puntos Press


"Hey, what's up, come a little closer, I have something to tell you," God said to Cornelio. The deal was simple: God would be the silent partner in the norteño band that Cornelio had started with his best friend Ramon. Cornelio would sing and play the bajo sexto, Ramon the accordion, and God would write the songs. Cornelio agreed; he would sell his soul to God.

Success and disaster followed. The band went from playing bars in Tijuana to playing the biggest stadiums in Mexico. Women started fan clubs and motorcycle gangs dedicated to their heroes, Ramon and Cornelio. It seemed to Cornelio and Ramon that they had everything, but fame was a cruel mistress.

"Of course, what good is a novel about music without music?" Cinco Puntos notes. They have created a Spotify playlist of music from the novel; the playlist can be accessed at the book's page on the Cinco Puntos site. Turn up the volume while you read.


Looking for Strangers: The True Story of My Hidden Wartime Childhood, nonfiction by Dori Katz, University of Chicago Press



Dori Katz is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who thought that her lost memories of her childhood years in Belgium were irrecoverable. But after a chance viewing of a documentary about hidden children in German-occupied Belgium, she realized that she might, in fact, be able to unearth those years. Looking for Strangers is the deeply honest record of her attempt to do so, a detective story that unfolds through one of the most horrifying periods in history in an attempt to understand one's place within it. A story at once about self-discovery, the transformation of memory, a fraught mother-daughter relationship, and the oppression of millions, Looking for Strangers is a book of both historical insight and imaginative grasp. In it, the past becomes alive, immediate, and of the most urgent importance.


Obedience, poetry by Chris Vitiello, Ahsahta Press




Obedience features dual-sided printing: begin with either cover (pictured above) and flip the book over and continue reading after you finish one side...or at any point, actually, as Ahsahta notes that the book can be read "forwards, backwards, and laterally." From its dedication (“for the word ‘THIS’”) to its cascading sentences that demand “Explain yourself to this dot • ” or observe “The first word was a command,” Chris Vitiello’s unique book creates a reading experience of poetry that borders on the compulsive. “The title of this book should be the entirety of the text of this book over again,” the author suggests before urging the reader: “Go on.”

(And for those who are curious after seeing the book's covers--the ISBN and bar code are on the spine.)

There are no poem titles or page numbers; this can be found about seven pages in, starting with the pink cover:

A tree performs a function: to itself grow
Tear out this page and cut a paper snowflake from it
Don't read the rest of this book; cut the remaining pages into snowflakes
A photograph of a tree is
That someone created the concept of closure is disappointing

[flip the book over and read the following next to that passage]

That someone created the concept of closure is embarrassing
This line says that it is a photograph of a tree
Mulch this page and germinate a tree with it
Don't read the rest of this book; mulch the remaining pages
The living really only replicate themselves


Check out more great reads in our latest batch of book reviews, posted last Monday.







Published November 21, 2013
After a brief hiatus, we're back with more interesting book covers:

Bite Down Little Whisper, poetry by Don Domanski, Brick Books


 
 From "Ars Magica":

Quietude is called returning to life Lao Tze says
even on a Tuesday afternoon in Nova Scotia
even with the hood ornaments of chocolate irises
gleaming outward from their arterial darkness
with the unborn standing high up in the trees
                                  like cemetery angels
one finger pointing to heaven    the other to earth


Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea, poetry by Renee Ashley, Subito Press

 
 

from the book's title poem:

But you too know this: the wanting to be what you cannot—except by extension—and the bearing of those secrets so immeasurable not even an ocean can conceal them And in the ocean's failure the mountain shows its hard side its watershed steep with its varied waves of not-sea its gravities and declivities its runnels its hummings and echoes vaulting against the inner ear a passel of unruly birds against a pearled tympan . . .



The Everyday Parade/Alone With Turntable, Old Records, poetry chapbook by Justin Hamm, Crisis Chronicles Press


After reading Justin Hamm's The Everyday Parade, flip the chapbook over and take in its B side, Alone With Turntable, Old Records. (The image above shows the front and back covers.)

From "The Everyday Parade":

She helps him swap out
the fuel pump
for one from the junkyard
delivered by goateed uncle
on motorbike,
and all afternoon they sit uptown,
a pair of grease-covered gearheads
in the white sunshine,
watching the long slow procession
of the Everyday Parade.


 
 

We'll be back with more book covers after Thanksgiving...happy holidays!

Published November 12, 2013
Created by Shaun Wheelwright and Mike Nemeth, both US Army veterans, Six Word War is real stories from Iraq and Afghanistan in just six words. In partnership with Six-Word Memoirs and SMITH Magazine, this project is the first ‘crowdsourced’ war memoir that will "tell a story different than any other ever told about war. For the first time in history, one book will contain the collective experience of our military at war in their own words." A book of the six-word stories is available now for preorder; all November pre-sales will be autographed first editions of Six Word War.
Published November 06, 2013
As Thanksgiving and the season of gratitude approaches, consider purchasing a book that makes a difference with each sale. Like One: Poems for Boston, edited by Deborah Finkelstein, is a recent anthology that brings together pieces from a wide range of poets, from former Jersey City Poet Laureate Aaron Middlepoet Jackson to former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky to Dickinson and Whitman. All proceeds from the book go to The One Fund, created last summer to assist victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and their families.



For a complete list of poets included and their bios, visit the poets page on the website. Like One can be purchased via the website or on Amazon.

Published November 04, 2013
New book reviews are up! Check out the latest batch on our book review page. Books covered this month include:

The Forage House, poetry by Tess Taylor, Red Hen Press
War Reporter, poetry by Dan O’Brien, Hanging Loose Press
Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, anthology compiled and edited by Travis Kurowski, Atticus Books
New Stories from the Midwest 2012, anthology edited by Jason Lee Brown and Shanie Latham,
Swoop, poetry by Hailey Leithauser, Graywolf Press
The Consummation of Dirk, fiction by James Callahan, Starcherone Books
The Year of What Now, poetry by Brian Russell, Graywolf Press
Scent of Darkness, fiction by Margot Berwin, Pantheon
 
Find some great new books to read this month, and look for more book reviews on Dec. 1.
Published August 06, 2013
I know you already know this, but it's nice to see it affirmed with Disney video clips and cool photos: 10 Reasons Why Real Books Are Better Than E-Books. (via Ukiah Blog)
Published June 10, 2013
In case you missed them, check out our June issue of book reviews on NewPages. Eleven new books are covered, from poetry and fiction to nonfiction and a poetry/prose cross-genre title. Specific titles include:

Published May 20, 2013
A recent BBC article, "Five Things Prisoners' Books Show About Life in Prison" by Ed Lowther examines works by Miguel de Cervantes, Roman philosopher Boethius, Oscar Wilde, Martin Luther King, and several others.
Published May 13, 2013
Monday May 13 at 6:00 pm EDT, Cinco Puntos Press presents two virtual discussions via Shindig: Remember Dippy: Middle Grade Fiction, Representing Autism with Shirley Reva Vernick and That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone, Talking Children and War with J.L. Powers.

Remember Dippy: Middle Grade Fiction, Representing Autism by Shirley Reva Vernick

Johnny’s summer plans fly out the window when he learns he has to help out with his autistic older cousin, Remember. His premonitions of disaster appear at first to come to cringeworthy fruition, but when the two boys save a bully from drowning, salvage the pizzeria guy’s romance and share girl troubles, Johnny ends up having the summer of his life.

Come join us for Cinco Puntos' debut Author Talk series with award-winning author Shirley Reva Vernick, who will talk about her second novel for young people where laughter and serious issues mix in a lightly humorous novel.

That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone, Talking Children and War by J.L. Powers

In this 2013 Notable Book for a Global Society, seventeen writers from around the world contribute essays about coming of age during a time of war: fighting, dying, surviving. Powers will talk about war, violence, and childhood, and what these writers taught her about exile and belonging after their worlds were destroyed.
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