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Book Reviews by Title - C (97)

  • Subtitle Essays on Travel
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kevin Oderman
  • Date Published July 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0989753289
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 238pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Rachel King
In these eleven essays that make up Cannot Stay: Essays on Travel, Kevin Oderman journeys widely: from Latvia to Italy to Turkey; from Indonesia to Cambodia to Vietnam. Oderman does not feign to completely absorb the cultures in which he travels. Who could in a week or a month? No, he does something better; he delves into an aspect or a couple aspects of a culture or its history. These aspects—whether a painting, a dance, a temple, a house, or a puppets show—he describes so intricately that, while I read, his obsessions became my obsessions, and, when I finished, I remembered my own obsessions, and was inspired to explore them with the same kind of passion and precision.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Bruce Covey
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934819-34-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 122pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Bruce Covey’s Change Machine is a lively book that takes a humorous approach to formal experimentation. Among other ideas, Covey examines how the man-made world intersects with the natural one. Here, “man-made” includes human inventions both critical—mathematics, industry, philosophy—as well as trivial—puns, pop singers, imitations. The speaker’s voice is conversational but emotionally cool, and its consistency holds together a varied array of poetic forms including sonnets, near-sonnets, and imitations of iconic poems by Frank O’Hara, Alice Notley, and Ted Berrigan.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jena Osman
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-17-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Corporate Relations opens with a series of broken analogies that illustrate the ridiculousness of the idea of corporate personhood. Even from the first section, “The Beautiful Life of Persona Ficta,” Jena Osman makes this ridiculousness plain: “it is a nightmare that Congress endorsed. mega-corporation as human group, the realm of hypothesis.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alexandria Peary
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60938-245-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 98pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Katie Rensch
What do a grass skirt, refrigerator, buttons, bones of a dairy cow, magnets, an old cake mix, and a spider all have in common? All, somehow impressively, appear in the first poem of Control Bird Alt Delete, a collection of poetry by Alexandria Peary. In it, Peary deconstructs our worlds and examines our environment from the perspective of deletion. If we destroy our natural resources to make products that will never deteriorate, what will exist of our world? Peary offers a world with unicorn rainbow stickers and fake lilacs.
  • Subtitle Personal Essays + Stories
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  • Book Type Cross-genre
  • by Lucha Corpi
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55885-785-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 242pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Girija Sankar
Confessions of a Book Burner is award-winning poet and children's book writer Lucha Corpi’s latest collection of personal essays and stories of growing up in a large family in Mexico and pursuing her passion for the written word. These twelve essays delve into childhood memories, cultural heritage, family, love, and the craft of writing. The essays explore Corpi’s Chicana heritage and offer a nuanced look at the intimate histories of Mexican Americans and their struggles straddling two cultures.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Saskia Hamilton
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1555976750
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Katie Rensch
One gets the feeling that she is always stuck in a hallway, or a “corridor.” But a corridor is not only a way of connecting rooms or railway cars; it also serves as link between two lands, and as a migratory path for birds.
  • Subtitle The Odyssey of Indenture
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Gaiutra Bahadur
  • Date Published October 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0226034423
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 312pp
  • Price $35.00
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
Writing history is hard. Writing good history? Even harder.

Writing good history implies a fair treatment of one’s source materials, a readability of the narrative, and a clear voice. Juggling these three demands is difficult, to say the least. Writing history involves understanding the trade-offs between these three components. Different types of histories show different balances, and when one component is weighed over another, a different type a history emerges. Academic histories tend to favor attention to source material and detailed footnotes. Popular histories rely on readability. Memoir-infused histories blend present and past as the author’s own connections frame how stories are told. Even when given the same set of events, there are many ways to write about those events and many ways to write it well. Refusing to pick a specific frame, however, leaves loose threads in the historical narrative—threads that snarl and knot, distracting the reader from the author’s purpose.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alex Grant
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9826171-3-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 53pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Renee Emerson
The Circus Poems by Alex Grant defied my expectations, becoming more than “just” a book about circus performers through contextualizing the circus in history and myth and leading the reader toward the idea of the circus as metaphor.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Joshua Isard
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935955-54-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Michael Caylo-Baradi
Even if you were only half-awake in the late ’80s and early ’90s and only occasionally watched prime-time shows on ABC, you may remember the nostalgic narrator of The Wonder Years and the young urban professionals in thirtysomething, which sparked the now-commonplace term and later earned a place in the Oxford English Dictionary. Both shows were framed in the imagination of baby boomers, the Clinton-Gore age group back in 1992 whose childhood memories of Sixties counterculture now feels muted, ironed out into designer suits and body language that secure career paths and retirement plans. You might get a whiff of those two shows in Joshua Isard’s Conquistador of the Useless, through the tone of nostalgia for one’s teenage years that, to some extent, acts as an element of restraint and caution about being pulled too fast into an upwardly mobile career in information technology. The narratives of urban alienation in Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain, MTV’s Daria, and Kurt Vonnegut are not mere artifacts in Nathan Wavelsky’s suburban world, but serve as imaginary sticky notes for a life filled with statistical reports, deadlines, and board meetings. Thus, Nathan accepts a big job promotion with trepidation and, knowing the ball is in his court, requests a few months off for something unrelated to his career: his condition for accepting the offer is that he starts working in his new job after climbing Mt. Everest.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lisa Gill
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-98226968-5-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Richard Oyama
If a writer addresses conditions of extremity, does that exempt the work from critique, putting it somehow beyond the pale? Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff wrote Holocaust, a volume based on testimony from the Nuremberg Trials. There were times when it seemed to me that collection lacked what Gabriel Garcia Marquez considered a first condition for literature: “poetic transfiguration of reality.”
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