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Book Reviews by Title - B (121)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kelly Davio
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59709-236-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Emily May Anderson
The title of Kelly Davio’s debut collection establishes an expectation of anger, bitterness, perhaps violence. Burn this house. Burn it down. The book, however, is much more interesting than that simple emotion, although there are moments where anger slices through clearly.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by José Maria Hinojosa
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Mark Statman
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1608010882
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Black Tulips, published by the University of New Orleans Press as part of The Engaged Writers Series, is the first translation available in English of the work of Spanish poet José Maria Hinojosa.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Anita Endrezze
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-08165-0225-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
The short stories by Anita Endrezze in Butterfly Moon are a hybrid of myths and folklore, mostly with a contemporary setting. Many traditions—Native American, Norse, Greek, Romanian, Transylvanian—are used with appearances by guardian angels, gypsies, witches, familiars, shadows, a vampire, the three fates—and a Jungian therapist. The breadth of her reach is not surprising as her father is a Yaqui Indian with roots in Sonora, Mexico and her mother’s roots are in Slovenia, Germany, Romania and Italy. For all the elements combined, the stories run smoothly as they take place in psychological space where we want answers about ourselves in the world. With the prominence of interior space, the drama is within the personal field of the characters . . . and in this personal field of hopes and desire for mercy, human beings haven’t changed much over the millennia.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Michelle Disler
  • Date Published November 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1933996-25-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
I have not yet seen it, myself, but I hear in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, Agent 007 may or may not cry. According to, a tearful James Bond is a sin against the Ten Commandments of the James Bond franchise. When asked, Daniel Craig (the sixth official Bond, for those still counting) defended his character’s face-water: “He doesn’t cry, he’s sweating.” What’s funny is that in author Ian Fleming’s original dozen novels, the character Bond is found crying or sobbing about five times. His “heart lifts” a further six times; he’s rescued by a girl four times. I know this not because I’ve painstakingly read through all the books, but because Michelle Disler has—and has compiled her findings in the form of poems in [Bond, James]: alphabet, anatomy, [auto]biography.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Lori Jakiela
  • Date Published May 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936196-18-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 280pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In her previous memoir, Miss New York Has Everything, Lori Jakiela—an adopted only child—wrote about leaving her childhood home in Pennsylvania to work as an international flight attendant based in New York City, hoping to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a writer. Jakiela, who directs the writing program at The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chatham University, writes here about the next phase of her life, after her father’s death and leaving New York City, her job, and her boyfriend to return to Pittsburgh and care for her ailing mother.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gail Martin
  • Date Published September 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9794582-6-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 94pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Julie Swarstad Johnson
While the title of Gail Martin’s second collection of poetry, Begin Empty-Handed, calls to mind a state of lack, it also implies a readiness to be filled, an openness to whatever might come to hand. This tension between remaining unburdened and delightfully accepting whatever turns up runs throughout Martin’s poems, as they both critique and catalog the world through the eyes of a therapist, daughter, wife, and mother. Winner of the 2013 Perugia Press Prize, Begin Empty-Handed crackles with wit and humor even as it considers loss and questions of responsibility in poems that clip along with intensity.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Paul Hostovsky
  • Date Published December 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59948-153-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Jason Tandon
The term "accessible" has had its fair usage in poetry reviews, and I'll use it here to describe Paul Hostovsky's Bending the Notes, a selection for the Main Street Rag's Editor's Poetry Series. Hostovsky's poems require no specialized knowledge of literary tradition or poetics. Set against the working-class suburbs of Boston, a milieu of duplexes and bowling alleys, populated by aggressive drivers and girls named "Cece Santucci," these poems speak of parenting, childhood, love, and writing. Hostovsky's diction is colloquial and his tone, intimate. Often narrative, his lines unfold meditatively and lyrically to empathetic moments that illustrate commonplace, human struggles. One can see why poems from this collection with their abundance of emotional forthrightness were featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
  • Translated From French
  • by Nancy Amphoux and Paul De Angelis
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1564785183
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 102pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Josh Maday
The nameless narrator of Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s debut novel, The Bathroom, takes up residence in his bathroom and refuses to leave, while others attend to him and try in vain to coax him from the bathtub, where he cultivates the “quietude of [his] abstract life.” The premise brings to mind Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov, the 19th-Century Russian nobleman who does not get out of bed for the first 150 pages of the novel. However, while The Bathroom is no satire, neither does Toussaint weigh it down with seriousness.
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  • Book Type Flash fiction
  • by Rusty Barnes
  • Date Published November 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934513033
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 100pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Matt Bell
Rusty Barnes’s Breaking It Down collects nearly twenty flash fictions into an attractive, pocket-size book, a rare instance where the size of the book accurately depicts the size of the stories. Luckily, it is only the page counts of the stories that are small, as the themes and characters contained within each tale loom larger than life, like the low-class tall tales they are.
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  • Book Type Edited by
  • by Danielle Ofri
  • Date Published February 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1934137048
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 312pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Sean Lovelace
No human thing is more universal than illness, in all its permutations, and no literary publication holds more credibility on the subject than The Bellevue Literary Review. I say this with upmost confidence as an English professor, a registered nurse, and as someone who recognizes the historical and philosophical origins (and namesake) of this fine literary periodical: Bellevue Hospital Center.

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