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Book Reviews by Title - C (97)

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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.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Sandra Beasley
  • Date Published June 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-393-33966-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
Poetry forces its reader to think and think deeply—this is the principle reason I prefer it to other literary forms. Not that other forms fail to inspire deep thought, but that poetry requires its reader to examine, explore, and even research the metaphors and references embedded in the text if said reader wants to harvest the poem for everything its worth. I was so intrigued by Sandra Beasley’s Count the Waves, that I contacted the author herself hoping she would aid me in my exploration, satisfy my questions such as Why is this a “Traveler’s Vade Mecum”? Where is the speaker traveling? How does Elizabeth Barrett Browning influence the work? Am I right to see an inclination toward proverb in the poetry? To my intellectual relief, she answered. . . .
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Regina Ulmann
  • Translated From the German
  • by Kurt Beals
  • Date Published January 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8112-2005-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Kurt Beals’s award winning translation of Swiss short story writer Regina Ullmann’s 1921 The Country Road will appeal mostly to mature readers who find themselves uncomfortable in contemporary fiction, seeking instead something old-fashioned. This is a different collection, unlike any short stories written today, more like vignettes, reveries, or sketches of rural peasant life in small villages, not grim but also not sentimental. It is not a page-turner; the reader will want to savor the beautiful prose and insights into human nature. Plot and character development are minimal, motivation and “backstory” in all but one case not given, lending a sense of mystery to the account. A repeated stylistic series of dots or ellipses suggests the steady continuum of life.
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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 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 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 Cross-Genre
  • by Donald Wellman
  • Date Published December 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933675-87-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 106pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
The Maximus Poems of Charles Olson continue to inspire, by way of example, many off-shoot projects by poets who came after. Olson’s intimately grand gesture was scooping the local, immediate concerns of Gloucester, Massachusetts onto the historical and mythic world stage, while devoutly insisting the context remain personal. This gave both the permission and encouragement for numerous similar endeavors by poets seeking to weave broad, historical scope into autobiographical material. The most successful of these projects are ones similar to Donald Wellman’s Cranberry Island Series, where the poet steers clear of overly emulating Olson’s work (in terms of the “projective” form it takes across the page) and person. Wellman creates a work shaped according to its own needs assuming a form wholly its own.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Meg Howrey
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-307-94982-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
For an allegedly silent art, ballet has inspired many good words. Essays by poet Edwin Denby and critic Arlene Croce are worthy writing workshop handouts. Choreographer Agnes de Mille’s books are histories of dance and America. Jacques d’Amboise’s memoir I Was A Dancer is not only candid; the charming, legendary dancer wrote it as if he was telling his story over coffee.
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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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