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Book Reviews by Title - C (91)

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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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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-069-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 265pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Jane Gardam’s magnificent novel Crusoe’s Daughter, first published in 1985 in England and only now published in the U.S., was Gardam’s favorite of her novels: “Take it or leave it, Crusoe’s Daughter says everything I have to say.” Those familiar with the books of this largely unknown, very British novelist will recognize aspects of Gardam’s writing later echoed in Old Filth, The Man With the Wooden Hat and the more recently published God on the Rocks: the wonderfully odd characters sometimes reminiscent of Dickens; the humor; an era’s precise, tiny details of place and people; and indirectly given information, often about past forbidden romances.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Deni Y. Béchard
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-331-7
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 320pp
  • Price $24.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
“Memory holds us until we are ready to see,” Deni Y. Béchard writes in his memoir, Cures for Hunger. The passage of time has given him a panorama from which to piece together the missing links of his life. Béchard’s book is his tale of the sometimes hardscrabble childhood he endured in British Columbia with a mother from Pittsburgh and a father of very vague origins. The existence was sometimes hand-to-mouth, with a father who sold fish during the summer and Christmas trees during the winter, ways of life that seemed to have as many ups and downs as the stock market.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Noel Sloboda
  • Date Published March 2012
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 34pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by Theresé Samson Wenham
Noel Sloboda released two chapbooks from different presses in 2012. His screen-printed, stanza-form chapbook, So Below (sunnyoutside, March 2012) contains four short poems and a deftly made two-color fold-out. Unlike So Below, the other chapbook of prose poems, Circle Straight Back, is sparse and unadorned. The effect is matter-of-fact, archival, and unsentimental. This seems an appropriate device for poetry of subtle misery and overt tragedy. It is certainly a theme running through the text. From the first poem, “Birth of Tragedy,” to the end of a species in “Of Species,” the threads of death, destruction, tragedy, and disappointment prevail.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Julie Zauzmer with Xi Yu
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0762780020
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $21.95
  • Review by Karen Seehaus Papson
Adam Wheeler was by all accounts a very successful 21-year-old. He entered his senior year at Harvard University with everything going for him: top marks in his courses, a large circle of friends, and a steady girlfriend, not to mention scads of prestigious academic honors and awards. Indeed, it seemed that there was nothing this affable wonder boy couldn’t do. There was just one problem. All of his success—from the impressive academic grants he received to his very admission to Harvard University—was predicated on fraudulent transcripts, fake SAT scores, phony letters of recommendation, and enough plagiarized prose to fill a library. In short, everything people thought they knew about Adam Wheeler was a lie.
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