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Book Reviews by Title - E (38)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Geoffrey G. O’Brien
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1940696669
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

Let’s start here: Experience in Groups is a book of poetry. Specifically, it’s a book of poetry written by a well-established poet—Geoffrey G. O’Brien—which means that I’m sure that a lot of it went right over my head. But, all I can do is explain the things that I thought I understood, and see where it goes from there. Perhaps everything I say in the next seven hundred words or so is gobbledygook, but then again, there’s a chance that it’s not. Overall, that’s kind of how I felt about Experience in Groups.

  • Subtitle A Literary Mixtape
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval
  • Date Published May 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-3718-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

Before reviewing The End of Chiraq: A Literary Mixtape, I feel obligated to mention the fact that I am from Chicago, specifically, the northwest side, where violence never really touched. Petty theft and the occasional flesh wound was about as “Chiraq” as Old Irving Park got. So, when people assume that all of Chicago is some Cormac McCarthy novel, they couldn’t be more wrong. This book is an attempt to prove that, and moreover, even where the unacceptable amount of death does occur, life is present too. The End of Chiraq is an anthology composed by the city’s youth, showcasing the beauty in the chaos, the “flower growing from the concrete” (Aneko Jackson, “Concrete Flowers”).

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint
  • Date Published March 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934819-74-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 122
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

A good example of what independent presses have to offer is Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint’s The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, A Haven. No formulaic pap, no ‘been there, done that.’ Just fine, original storytelling. At first I tried to pin down a genre for Myint’s book. Then I relaxed and let her story take me to a horrific ecological event that ruins a city and upends the lives of its people, all who are unnamed. We have the narrator, her family, and “the baby.” There is also a friend called “the girl” and assorted others, including a king and his family and numerous enemies.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Ariel Goldberg
  • Date Published December 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-51-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

As I read Ariel Goldberg’s The Estrangement Principle, a book-length meditation, examination, and critique of the term “queer art,” I was reminded of an essay I often teach: G. Douglas Atkins’s “The Return of/to the Essay,” in which he argues for a type of academic criticism which “reestablish[es] contact with the Anglo-American tradition of the personal or familiar essay without sacrificing intellectual rigor or forgoing the insights and accomplishments of recent theory.”

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Aaron Gilbreath
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 ISBN: 978-1-940430-83-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 359pp
  • Price $9.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Aaron Gilbreath’s book of essays, Everything We Don’t Know, posed a dilemma as I was trying to determine the audience for it. Taking the title at face value, I expected to find fresh ideas about people, places, and, of course, things. His first few essays appear as a memoirish charting of his drug addiction. Not really on my list of wanting-to-know-abouts. But before long, Gilbreath turns his focus to other subjects and fulfills my expectations.

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Laura Long and Doug Van Gundy
  • Date Published March 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943665-54-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 336pp
  • Price $32.99
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

One should think of reading Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods as a welcome to West Virginia. Sixty-three West Virginians fill this anthology with vivid poetry and fiction that serve to characterize their “wild and wonderful” state.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Gleah Powers
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-925417-18-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 156pp
  • Price $13.99
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Gleah Powers counts being an actor, model, bartender and teacher of alternative therapies among her many careers. Recently, she’s chosen to add fiction writer to the list with her first novella, Edna & Luna. Powers’s writing style is peppy and easily readable as she tells the story of two diverse women whose lives intersect in the American Southwest.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kathryn Nuernberger
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942683-14-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi

There is an abiding anguish that swells like a tidal water through Kathryn Nuernberger’s new book, The End of Pink. It’s an emotional force that takes a little while to establish, not yet fully evident while reading through the table of contents or perusing the first few poems, which seem at first like relatively straightforward engagements with historic books of science and pseudoscience, poems that are the result of the purposeful taking of a subject of study.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Maureen Millea Smith
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60489-168-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 194pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Allyson Hoffman

In twelve stories linked by the bonds of family and friendship, The Enigma of Iris Murphy captures the lives of those affected by the life and works of public defender, Iris Murphy. Characters across the United States—from Omaha to Cincinnati to the Rosebud Reservation—are forever changed by Iris Murphy, in big and small ways. Author Maureen Millea Smith carefully weaves narratives together so that tensions grow throughout the book, and the collection truly reads as a novel in stories.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Cynan Jones
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-436-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 248pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Everything I Found on the Beach, by Cynan Jones, begins with police finding a mutilated body on a Welsh beach. What comes next is an unnamed woman opening an envelope, the contents of which fill her with high emotion. I could hardly wait to find out whose body it is and what’s up with the woman.

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