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Book Reviews by Title - D (78)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jasmine Gibson
  • Date Published July 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-83-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
      Where is it
Considered
      Good fortune
          Not to have been raped
              Capitalism has made ever season
      Cancer season

              – from “How the dead rose from their graves”

Jasmine Gibson’s debut collection, published by Nightboat Books, Don’t Let Them See Me Like This is an incendiary epistle to a failed world.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Cameron Barnett
  • Date Published November 2017
  • ISBN-13 976-1-938769-26-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by DM O’Connor
Whereas the race card is now everyone’s card
in a deck I did not cut. I hate card games,
the conceit of the shuffle. I hate when white people
hate white people because hating white people
is fashionable. A person’s color is a still thing
to hate.
        —from “Nonbinding Legislation, or a Resolution”

Cameron Barnett’s first collection, published by Autumn House Press, is powerful. Each poem in The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water is a full meal, and not always easy to digest. His craft is superb, pure excellence in both expression and thrust, but the themes are exhausting, necessary, and yes, every single thing is race. Barnett’s endurance analyzing America’s binary black and white world is honorable, essential, and true, yet leaves the reader bone-tired.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jehanne Dubrow
  • Date Published August 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8093-3609-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
        . . . I met my husband in a class
on Ovid where we learned longing
changes us
        to limestone, or causes us
to caress the white bull—no matter
that he’s animal and his child minotaur,
the divided

                    offspring of our love.
from “At the Reading of the Antiwar Poets, 2007”

Every time I read Jehanne Dubrow’s work, I write a good poem. In fact, after reading and reviewing her book The Arranged Marriage over a year ago, I wrote a whole chapbook, published the following year. Perhaps she is something of a muse to me. Perhaps this is why, after spending nearly two years in Denton, Texas, and nearly also working as an adjunct instructor at the University of North Texas where she serves as an associate professor, I did not try to meet her even though I was encouraged to.

Maybe our muses are best left alone, enigmas granted asylum from gaze and inquiry. In any case, Dubrow continues to bring me good luck and inspire more poems.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Camilla Grudova
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-490-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 162pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Camilla Grudova’s first collection, The Doll’s Alphabet, is causing a literary stir. It has been compared to the writing of Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, and Franz Kafka—one of the authorial inspirations for the collection. Grudova’s stories inhabit a time and space that is unclear to the reader, but never so far off to be unbelievable. Her writing is haunting and humorous, and the attention to gender dynamics adds a layer of truth to these dark tales.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Hipólito Acosta
  • Date Published March 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55885-844-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 319pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

In Hipólito Acosta’s newest book, Deep in the Shadows, each chapter is a riveting mini-mystery full of felons and malice, countered by bold law enforcement moves. Acosta, now retired, was a key figure in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service for 30 years. While undercover, he “traveled in the backs of trucks and in the trunks of cars with those seeking to enter our country. I had infiltrated human smuggling, as well as narcotics trafficking.” He writes, “I had twice taken down the most notorious counterfeiter who sold false documents to illegals and manufactured U.S. dollars in the millions.”

  • Subtitle A Memoir of Marriage, Mourning, and the Middle East
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Roselee Blooston
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62720-115-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 303pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

When Roselee Blooston’s husband Jerry Mosier started working as a media consultant in Dubai, she worried he might come to harm. But she never expected her 53-year-old husband to be brought down not by a threat from without, but by an aneurism in his brain.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Nora Gold
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-77133-261-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Obsession is a nasty beast whose claws sink deep and anchor inside its victims. Nora Gold’s book, The Dead Man, follows a heartbroken Eve Bercovitch, who has spent the last five years bleeding out in the grips of her obsession. The Dead Man straps readers into the passenger’s seat of a roller coaster ride through the world of Israeli music. Gold weaves a narrative so intricate that readers everywhere will find themselves questioning the reality of this world. Eve is the perfectly imperfect vehicle through the wild world that’s unearthed inside these pages.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Melody S. Gee
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-943899-01-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 55pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Melody S. Gee’s new book of poems is a compelling catalog of inheritance and family history—of trying to make a home in a world divided between incarnation and separation, life and death, past and future. The book itself is divided into two sections: “Separate Blood” and “Bone.” So not surprisingly, the poems here deal with bodies and their relation to other bodies, particularly the mother-daughter relationship, but other heritages as well.

 

 

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Ranbir Singh Sidhu
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-939419-68-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 243pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt

One of the gifts of great literature is to allow us passage into the lives of others unnoticed. Such is the case with Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s novel, Deep Singh Blue. His story takes us to a small town in northern California during the mid-1980s. It is the type of community where anyone “different” is sometimes cruelly focused upon. Being neither Hispanic nor African American, Sidhu’s hero, Deep Singh, is Indian. He is different from the usual different, which does not make his sixteen-year-old life any easier. He must come of age in a geography and culture very different from his land of origin, with parents who unabashedly refuse to adapt to their new country. Theirs is still a land of arranged marriages and caste systems and Deep Singh is plunged between two worlds.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Chris Campanioni
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936196-60-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 226pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Death of Art, 31-year-old Chris Campanioni’s memoir, is an amalgam of prose, poetry, and text messages. His name might not be familiar to you, though he’s appeared in commercials, numerous print ads and occasional acting gigs. If you look for Campanioni’s photo at the end of the book you’ll be disappointed. But fear not, there are plenty of pictures of him on the internet. Among his writing credits, Campanioni’s 2014 novel Going Down won the International Latino Book Award for Best First Book, and a year earlier he won the Academy of American Poets Prize. He teaches literature and creative writing at Baruch College and Pace University, and interdisciplinary studies at John Jay.

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