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Book Reviews by Title - C (97)

  • Subtitle Poems of the Manhattan Project
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by John Canaday
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8263-5883-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

John Canaday’s newest book of poetry, Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project, easily reads like a story about an era of American history that impacted the entire world. The Manhattan Project, code name for creation of atomic bombs during World War II, referred to the New York City borough where the project’s headquarters were located. The bombs, however, were assembled in New Mexico at the Los Alamos Laboratory and tested in a desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1945.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jonathan Fink
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938103-02-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 76pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Dan Schell
The poems in Jonathan Fink’s debut book The Crossing were a decade in the making, and it shows with well-crafted language and imagery that broadens expectations of modern poetic narrative, while still carrying a torch for more formal styles of verse. An artist takes his whole life to construct a debut work, and Fink himself has stated that the main struggle in a first outing is to know when to stop fiddling with the pieces and release them from the nest. But Fink’s patience has paid off and he has made all the right moves here, even garnering an introduction from former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sergio Troncoso
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55885-710-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In this collection of sixteen essays, Sergio Troncoso writes about family, fatherhood, education, illness, love, politics, religion, social issues, societal responsibility, and writing. He observes that his clear, direct writing about difficult questions “has sometimes condemned [him] in academic circles” and that his writing is also “overlooked by those who never desire to think beyond the obvious and the popular.” Troncoso chronicles his transformation from “a besieged outsider needing a voice” to “an outsider by choice deploying [his] voice,” creating an intellectual borderland from where he tried to push his mind with the philosophical ideas that form the framework of his 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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  • 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 Andrew Brininstool
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938466-36-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 166pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
Andrew Brininstool’s stories in Crude Sketches Done in Quick Succession are not crude. They’re skillfully told, though some of the happenings within are crude, as in rough or harsh. For example, lots of males get into fistfights, lots of people get drunk, and liaisons don’t go smoothly. Brininstool, an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University, populates his stories with lively characters, some more likable than others.
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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 Fiction
  • by Scott Wrobel
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0983879015
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 232pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Mark Danowsky
Research cul de sacs and again and again you will be told that their purpose is to reduce traffic. Sure, I’ll buy that as a contributing factor. Dig a little deeper and you come across a buzzword, “perceived risk.” But we all know the real reason: privacy. Anyone who’s ever looked into buying a house has discovered that you pay extra to live on a No Outlet street. We pine for a space of our own away from the bustle of the modern world, but as Scott Wrobel reveals in cul de sac, here lies danger.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Sarah Rabkin, Irene Reti, Ellen Farmer
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-972334365
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 340pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
Gathering from the oral tradition of organic and sustainable farmers along the coast of the Central California region, Cultivating a Movement compiles selected interviews from key farmers that began and continue to pursue the sustainable agriculture movement in the United States and Mexico. While this project highlights only 27 individuals and couples, the vast online archive contains many more interviews with key farmers, politicians, academics, scientists, and many more ecologically minded individuals that contribute to this movement. Ranging in age, gender, class, and ethnicity, all of these farmers are involved with organic and sustainable farms that vary in size and crop.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Dodie Bellamy
  • Date Published November 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934254-49-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
The first piece of writing I ever read by Dodie Bellamy was an essay in an issue of City Lights Review concerning her on-again, off-again fucked-up hotel room romance with the poet John Wieners. Sex, drugs, and his rather poetically peripatetic mental state were the main highlights. After some reflection, after hearing Bellamy read and speak in public and becoming more familiar with her work, I came to the realization that this essay was in fact more or less a fictional story, a literary homage.
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