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Book Reviews by Title - C (95)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Carl Adamshick
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0807137765
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
Curses and Wishes, Carl Adamshick’s award-winning debut collection, is driven by brief retrospective and introspective poems, compacting an overwhelming sense of loss in America. Adamshick at once laments and celebrates different ways of American life, ranging from small-town farms of the Midwest to the international scale of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following in the tradition of American poetry that engages with the American spirit, Adamshick transfers the fervor of Whitman’s long, sprawling lines into short-lined, energetic poems that make for a fast and invigorating read. Curses and Wishes will entrance any reader with concerns for the fate of the American landscape and its people.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Deborah Baker
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1555975821
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $23.00
  • Review by Ann Beman
Part mystery, biography, memoir, history, narrative nonfiction escapade, Deborah Baker’s The Convert doesn’t fit in any one category. Like its subject, Margaret Marcus/Maryam Jameelah, the book is a misfit. And like creative nonfiction should, it poses questions, and in wrestling with those questions, it jigs loose more questions, bigger questions, questions that tie you in knots, give you an unscratchable itch, or maybe incite you to hurl something not unlike a hardback volume across the room. In any case, it is a book you want to discuss.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Arpine Konyalian Grenier
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9807651-5-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kristin Abraham
Arpine Konyalian Grenier’s fourth full-length book, The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins, is a genre-bending collection of what can best be described as lyric essays. In essence, the pieces in this book are enacting the exaptation that they advocate: the exaptation of language to connect with a collective identity, one that allows for new ways of communication that are not hindered by culture/hierarchy/power/history but are inclusive to all.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joshua Edwards; Photography by Van Edwards
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-93489-19-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 109pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Marcus Myers
Joshua Edwards and Van Edwards’ Campeche, an ekphrastic collection of poems and photographs, meditates on the self as a song caught within the larger music of the world in decline. The book has a unique architecture, which derives its structure from both its historical setting and subtle references to ancient Greek and Judeo-Christian apocrypha. Arranged in seven sections, and consisting of thirty poems (three of which are translations) and forty photographs, the book launches its lyrical flights over Galveston Island, grounding symbolic expression in a real place already imbued with intrigue—the 18th century pirate Jean Lafitte, a man without a nation-state to call home, named this island “Campeche.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Michael Bible
  • Date Published April 2011
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 85pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Hazel Foster
At first glance Michael Bible’s Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City is adorable, akin to an oversized coaster and just a quarter-inch thick, but inside, the prose is blunt and cut-down, and the illustrations match: page sixty’s is of black swans smoking cigarettes in a white lake.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Dinty W. Moore
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58297-796-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 262pp
  • Price $17.99
  • Review by Laura Pryor
Perhaps the highest praise I can offer Moore’s instructional book on writing the personal essay is this: when I started reading it, I had no intention or desire to write an essay, and now, having finished it, I already have a list of potential projects I’m ready to begin. His easygoing, conversational style and encouraging tone (“Everyone has bad days. So don’t beat yourself up about it”) make the book an easy read, and most of his advice is concrete and specific.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Leslie What
  • Date Published July 2008
  • ISBN-13 1877655597
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 204pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Leslie What, an author whose publication credits include numerous short stories in journals and anthologies as well as a novel and short story collection, is a Nebula Award Winner whose creativity and imagination are boundless. Crazy Love is a collection of 17 short stories that stop at nothing to convey the limitless possibilities of love and its tremendous potential for both honesty and hilarity.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by James Grinwis
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935716-06-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
James Grinwis possesses a wry sense of things. He’s aware "Stuff has a way of perpetuating itself" ("Valse Triste"), and also of how important familiar haunts are. Where the poet walks, eats, and sleeps services his needs in and around the writing of poems. Grinwis comments on such matters from an appropriate distance and gives due acknowledgement, how "knowing your own corner / of the city" ("Shapes") does allow for "you realize it's just you, your room" where writing happens alongside the big realizations, such as "stars absorb light / like nothing else absorbs light" ("Still Life"). His poems are full of the irony of the mundane.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jonathan Callahan
  • Date Published April 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9837405-7-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 328pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
When I began to write this I suddenly realized that in order to review Jonathan Callahan’s debut collection of short stories, The Consummation of Dirk, I’d have to invent a whole new set of adjectives. The writing contained within these covers is imaginative, wrought, out-of-the-box, and perhaps bordering on the avant-garde, all of which have been said about many works of literature and which, in the long run, tell you little. Yet, while reading his stories, I had a sense of the traditional narrative undergoing a transformation—I pictured Bruce Banner changing into the Hulk. These are stories trying to punch their way out of the bag. They are written with some edge and share varying degrees of foreboding.
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  • Book Type Young Adult Fication
  • by Maia Appleby
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1927004029
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 183pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
Calyx of Teversall will entice you from the first sentence to the very last. Maia Appleby’s prose ensnares the reader in a fictional world that is both interesting and realistic at the same time. She plays off of what the young reader is already familiar with in order to structure this fantasy world full of gnomes and elves. In the beginning, we learn that Sigrid is recently widowed and struggling to make ends meet. Her husband maintained a wheat field that she now undertakes, and her three-year-old son Charlie braids the wheat. When Fenbeck, secretly a Borgh Elf, arrives and strikes a deal, Sigrid has no choice but to accept. Fenbeck magically turns many times the normal crop yield and accepts no payment but asserts that Charlie must work for him when he turns nine for one year.
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