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Book Reviews by Title - B (108)

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9966262-6-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 280pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Two years ago, Meerkat Press founder Tricia Reeks listened as co-editor Kyle Richardson talked enthusiastically about comic book superheroes. That led to issuing a call for submissions. Seven hundred stories poured in, 20 of which are published in the delightfully entertaining book, Behind the Mask.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Keith Taylor
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4240-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Natalie Tomlin

Nearly 20 years ago, I was a 19-year old community college student introduced to Keith Taylor’s work via his slim volume of very short stories, Life Science and Other Stories. Since then, I have associated Taylor’s work with a special kind of mindfulness. It does seem redundant to call any poet’s work mindful, really, but his newest book The Bird-while provided me with a more precise way of defining Taylor’s attention . . .

  • Subtitle A Biographical Collage
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kelcey Parker Ervick
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941628-07-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 348pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Who was this 19th century Czech woman that Kelcey Parker Ervick writes about in her book, The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová? And why, she wonders, hadn’t she previously heard about this woman who is so famous in Europe? I also wondered why I’d never heard of her. In checking with friends in Prague, I discovered that Němcová was indeed a cherished figure who is introduced to school children and is still held in esteem almost two centuries later. In fact, she’s pictured on the Czech 500 koruna bill.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Katie Hartsock
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-65-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 163pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Katie Hartsock’s debut full-length collection of poems is a sprightly and sophisticated exploration of its title: Bed of Impatiens. Most probably know impatiens as a species of flowering plant, which, according to some 18th Century botanists, the flower is so named because its capsules readily burst open when touched. However, it also shares the same Latin root for the word “impatient” which has other definitions, including “eagerly desirous” and “not being able to endure.” Hartsock’s book has very little to do with a literal bed of flowers, but rather more to do with lying down in a bed of various desires that requires or inspires a restless (and lyrically fruitful) impatience.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Monica Youn
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-750-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 85pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

The synopsis at the back of Monica Youn’s Blackacre, describes the poems in this collection as “treacherously lush or alluringly bleak.” And they are.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Emily Leithauser
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1927409671
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

The title of Emily Leithauser’s debut poetry collection, The Borrowed World, hints at the theme of impermanence that runs throughout the book. Whether it is the fleeting nature of childhood in the poem “Chest of Dolls” or the dissolution of a marriage in “Haiku for a Divorce,” Leithhauser gestures toward the price we pay as finite beings living in a world that is on loan to us. What is borrowed must eventually be returned. There is sadness in this, but sweetness and nostalgia too, for such fleeting moments of experience can be treasured precisely because they cannot be repeated.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Marc Harshman
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943665-22-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 114pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Marc Harshman is the current poet laureate of West Virginia, a prolific author of children’s books, and a 1994 recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats/Kerlan Collection Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for research on Scandinavian myth and folklore. In this collection of poems, Harshman creates poetic/folkloric myths around the “ordinary” lives of everyday people. But as C.S. Lewis once wrote in The Weight of Glory: “There are no ordinary people.”

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Stuart Dybek, Tara L. Masih
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938466-74-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 148pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Katy Haas

The word “small” often tends to denote something insignificant, something easily overlooked. The Best Small Fictions 2016, guest-edited by Stuart Dybek, completely obliterates that notion: there is nothing insignificant about these small stories. They boom and jump off the page, impossible to ignore.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Bruce Bauman
  • Date Published November 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59051-448-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 656pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by David Breithaupt

Any novel which opens with an assisted suicide posing as a public art happening is a book after my own heart. Such is the case in Bruce Bauman's latest work, Broken Sleep, a story which gathers an eclectic band of characters, each involved in their own personal quests and forming a sort of modern day Wizard of Oz. Broken Sleep contains many a scene which may leave readers feeling slightly guilty for laughing. Case in point; the aforementioned opening gambit.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published June 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-331-251700
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet

For Jane Gardam fans, this new reprint of her novel Bilgewater will be a delight, almost as good as Old Filth. For those who don’t know Gardam, you’ll have a wonderful treat. There are some Gardam features which you need to be aware of: sometimes a lot of important information is given in one sentence so you need to be alert; Gardam is British, so sometimes you come across an unfamiliar expression; and this novel has a typical Gardam ending, which took this reviewer three rereads to figure out. But the discovery was fun.

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