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Book Reviews by Title - C (91)

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Stefan Kiesbye
  • Date Published August 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9988072-0-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 248pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Writer and editor Stefan Kiesbye believes that “every story leaves a multitude of stories untold.” He acted on this idea by inviting fifteen writers to each choose a favorite story, then write a cover for it. The resulting anthology is appropriately titled Cover Stories. Most of the favorites were pulled from the past, but contemporary writer ZZ Packer also made the list.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Bri McKoy
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0718090616
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

I was really excited to read Bri McKoy’s Come & Eat, because as a Christian who loves to eat and feed other people, a whole book about using your table as a way to “celebrate . . . love and grace” seemed like just the sort of thing I wanted.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Geoffrey Nutter
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781940696324
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Natalie Tomlin

In his recent essay at the Poetry Foundation blog, "So Much Depends: On the Particular, the Personal, and the Political," David Trinidad makes a case for concrete imagery in poetry: "Without image I am bereft. I’m reading a poem by Contemporary Poet X and it’s nothing but abstractions, like 'truth' and 'memory,' like 'despair' and 'joy.'" In audacious lushness, Geoffrey Nutter's Cities at Dawn delivers layers upon layers of detail that are refreshing in the face of contemporary poetic trends.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Taylor Brorby
  • Date Published April 2017
  • ISBN-13 9781888160222
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 92pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Taylor Brorby is outspoken when it comes to the devastation of land in the Great Plains. To voice the issues he is most concerned about, he wrote a book of poetry called Crude. Brorby is a fellow at the Black Earth Institute, which defines itself as a “progressive think-tank dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society." He also educates people around the country by speaking about fracking.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by TJ Beitelman
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-942-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

TJ Beitelman’s Communion is unlike any collection before it. The stories are written in pairs that, like the body and blood of actual Communion, are strikingly different in form, but very similar in underlying meaning. Beitelman’s stylistic approach showcases his mastery of multiple genres. Some of the stories resemble flash fiction or prose, while others resemble free-standing short stories or chapters in a book. One thing is for sure, Communion will trouble its readers in the most memorable of ways.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Diane Simmons
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781609384616
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 272pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Cameron Chase

Drawing on some eight hundred letters and other research documenting over two decades, Diane Simmons illuminates the unusual life of family friend, Eva Eldridge during and after WWII America. Simmons, originally neighbors and friends with Eva's mother, Grace, when she was just a young girl, became the executor of Eva's estate upon her death, leading her to secrets “hidden away in the arid eastern Oregon attic” of Eva’s home. Drawn by return addresses from Italy, North Africa, “somewhere in the Pacific,” and from all over America, Simmons looked past “a creepy sense of voyeurism,” grabbed a knife and cut through the “loops of tightly knotted kitchen string” that held together envelopes “collected into fat packets.”

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Jane Ormerod, Thomas Fucaloro, David Lawton, George Wallace, Russ Green
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9857317-9-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 188pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

The mystifying title of this anthology—The Careless Embrace of the Boneshaker—calls for an explanation, which is forthcoming in the introduction. “Here are writers claiming who they are and screaming it from the top of their lungs. They are the boneshakers. [ . . . ] Like the 19th century bicycle prototype from which they get their name, they have no means of shock absorption.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jacob M. Appel
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-953-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Usually I’m well into reading a book before I have to look up a word. Not so with Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana. This time I hadn’t even opened the book. I thought maybe these were stories about ancient mythological characters, but Google informed me that coulrophobia is fear of clowns, and fata morgana is a form of mirage seen right above the horizon.

  • Subtitle Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Jen Hirt & Erin Murphy
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-4384-6116-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 254pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

You may have noticed that today’s personal essays are rarely defined by the five-paragraph model—intro, three body paragraphs, conclusion—that is generally taught in English composition classes. What remains standard, though, is the significance of the personal element. Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers exhibits wonderful examples, and the interviews are enough to encourage current and future essayists to keep writing.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lisa Anne Gundry
  • Date Published October 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943548-10-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 115pp
  • Price $9.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
“The body of a child is a playground” -from “Red Rover”

Lisa Anne Gundry’s often sparse lines of poetry about childhood sexual abuse and its lingering effects is haunting. While some of her poems reflect a juvenile attention to the art, Gundry’s grasp of the subject matter is spot on—partly because she lived it and partly because she has clearly carefully researched each phase of her own pain and healing and just as carefully referenced these phases in her work. At 116 pages, A Crowd of Sorrows addresses neither too little or too much, spanning accounts of the abuse, counseling, trauma, and the reactions of family members to her confession that her grandfather was a pedophile who had violated both she and her sister in cars and on couches, during the day and at night.

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