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NewPages Book Reviews

Reviews of newly published and forthcoming independent press and university press titles.

Posted September 05, 2018

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jeremy T. Wilson
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-948954-01-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 244pp
  • Price $15.99
  • Review by Cody Lee

Domesticity at its finest, or worse. Whatever it is, Jeremy T. Wilson makes sure that the reader has a nice, comfortable spot on the couch of these unhappy homes before bulldozing them. Adult Teeth is a book for any adult who has ever considered cheating on his or her spouse, a what-not-to-do guide for divorcees and potheads that wonder what being an alligator might feel like.

  • Subtitle An Unlikely Manual for Erasing Heartbreak
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by J.M. Farkas
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-4494-8976-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $14.99
  • Review by Denise Hill

Be Brave: An Unlikely Manual for Erasing Heartbreak is tremendous. I came upon this volume by sheer dumb luck—through a professional discussion board on which I was posting my first ever reply after lurking for years—to J.M. Farkas, who had written her first ever post to the group “looking to connect with teachers teaching Beowulf” who were open to unexpected ways of approaching the text. Yes, please! But, as I learned, Be Brave isn’t just about Beowulf. In fact, it’s hardly about Beowulf per say. It is a complex, layered work, starting with its origin.

  • Subtitle A Tale in Poems
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Linda Nemec Foster & Anne-Marie Oomen
  • Date Published March 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4220-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Vivian Wagner

The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a beautiful and haunting collection of poems about a relationship between a young girl and a freshwater mermaid. The poems alternate between the voice of the girl and voice of the mermaid, with Anne-Marie Oomen writing the girl’s poems and Linda Nemec Foster writing the mermaid’s. And woven throughout the book are lovely watercolor illustrations by Meridith Ridl.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Natalie Goldberg
  • Date Published June 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-611805673
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kelly Lydick

The C-word. Cancer. I’m sure if you interviewed ten people and asked them what their top three fears are, this one would make the list. And in a time in which we’re all necessarily exposed to the environmental risks posed by advances in the manufacturing industry, big agribusiness, and global warming, this fear is heightened.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction/Poetry
  • by Joshua Beckman
  • Date Published May 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696423
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 152pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Joshua Beckman, widely published writer, translator and editor-in-chief of Wave Books, inaugurates Wave’s Bagley Wright Lecture Series with his two-book set, The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Doug Ramspeck
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943491-13-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Evgeniya Monico

When I think of fiction, I imagine literature that takes me far away from my own reality into other worlds. Anticipating Doug Ramspeck’s first fiction book The Owl That Carries Us Away, I almost envisioned a giant owl taking me to a brand-new world. To my surprise, however, I found myself, or rather lost myself, in worlds similar to my own. The familiar places and situations opened possibilities for me to relate to the characters and sympathize with them, while the carefully crafted language became the link offering connections to the author’s worlds.

  • Subtitle One Writer’s Perspective on Not Succeeding
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by John McNally
  • Date Published June 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60938-575-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Reading the title of John McNally’s book, The Promise of Failure: One Writer’s Perspective on Not Succeeding, I wondered if, in the end, I would get good news or bad.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nancy Miller Gomez
  • Date Published June 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-931307-37-6
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 28pp
  • Price $6.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
On the window sill,
in a plastic ice cream cup
a little plant is growing.

Nancy Miller Gomez’s chapbook on her time spent teaching incarcerated men to write poetry at the Salinas Valley State Prison is short . . . too short.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Martin Riker
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-528-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cody Lee

Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return is the needle and thread that connects life and death, grumpy old man and flâneur. The story revolves around a fellow named Samuel Johnson who dies protecting his son from an armed lunatic. He then enters into the body of the lunatic as a passenger, watching the world like a TV show through the eyes of his own murderer. Eventually, the lunatic dies, and Samuel Johnson bounces from body to body, hoping to one day reunite with his son.

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