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Book Reviews by Title - F (43)

  • Subtitle A Graphic Memoir
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Amy Kurzweil
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936-78728-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Katy Haas

The holiday season brings families together, for better or worse, leading many of us to face the makeup of our identities across the dining room table. Whether it’s seeing your own mannerisms in your parents, or it’s basking in grandparents’ old stories from before you were born, we can recognize the ways in which our families have shaped our identities. In her graphic memoir, Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil explores her own identity as a granddaughter, a daughter, an artist, and a Jew.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Hala Alyan
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-939-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 93pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Heath Bowen

The world's crying wolf when the words from a musical memory muscle through heartbreak and Middle Eastern melancholy before something sensational occurs: a compelling fresh poetic voice materializes. Hala Alyan's Four Cities is a powerful reflection of a perception only seen from foreign skies. It somehow interweaves punk rock romanticism with a soft touch of bluegrass sensibilities (think Patti Smith with a touch of Old Crow Medicine Show). Her firecracker point of view radiates like Fourth of July on LSD. There is a lyrical sentimentality that shines sunlight over shadows. There is also tenderness in some passages where apathy would normally preside. Her poetical politics are worth every poignant line. "Sestina for December" reads like Parker prose but shines like a youthful Etal Adnan.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Diane Seuss
  • Date Published October 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-722-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
In Four-Legged Girl, Diane Seuss’s latest book of poems, we move from the rural country of Wolf Lake and into the city, where the speaker shows us her younger self lounging on red velvet sofas, parading in pink leopard print pants, and generally swapping naivety—this is, after all, a book that opens with a jump rope song—for misdeeds, true love or, in a pinch, ecstatic moments. And in the interstices, there is wisdom to be found here as well, the kind of wisdom that one misfit passes along to another.
  • Subtitle Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Josh Neufeld and Sari Wilson
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 9780990636427
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Katy Haas
Pressgang’s Flashed: Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose, edited by Josh Neufeld and Sari Wilson, is one of the most fun reading experiences I’ve had all year. Those who read Flashed after its February 2016 release will likely be saying the same thing as they look back at their year’s reading history next December.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Christopher Deweese
  • Date Published August 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9851182-9-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Don’t be confused by the title of Christopher Deweese’s The Father of the Arrow is the Thought—taken from a line by Paul Klee, it suggests poems that might be characterized by a singular trajectory, a martial swiftness that lands us with a wobbling after-strike in our target. And a cursory glance at the poems pretty much supports this—all of them take the form of relatively skinny columns that shoot with a severe straightness down the page. Indeed, we are going somewhere, and pretty fast. But a look at the rest of that Paul Klee quote gives us something which complicates this sense of motion: “How do I expand my reach? Over this river? This lake? That mountain?”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Karen Rizzo
  • Date Published July 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938849-30-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
The story of Famous Baby focuses on Ruth Sternberg, the “First Mother of Mommy Blogging,” and her daughter/blog subject, Abbie. Resentful of her mother’s appropriation of her life for blog material, eighteen-year-old Abbie has kidnapped her dying grandmother to live with her in an effort to prevent Ruth from recording and blogging her death. Ruth is understandably panicked by the disappearance of her mother and daughter, not least of all because without either of them, she is at a loss for subject matter. The plot is further complicated by the appearance of Eric, a sweet, young, aspiring filmmaker whose interest in making a film about Abbie reminds her of her mother a little more than she’d like. She seems to find his interest flattering and off-putting by turns.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nickole Brown
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938160-57-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 136pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Somebody pour me / a fresh Pepsi?” Fanny Says is an amalgam of the south. A woman striving for class in a society that worked hard against her. The author Nickole Brown peels away the caricature that could be Frances Lee. What is revealed is Fanny, an archetypal southern woman, yes, but a participant in a modern and changing world. There is a universalism at work in Fanny Says that Brown allows and directs rather than forms and shifts. It is a dense work of poems, functioning as a memoir and a history lesson by way of the comedian. Brown is always tender but does not shy from exposing faults and social problems. Her ability to record and recreate the things her grandmother said is a prowess far beyond her. The reader is so immersed in Fanny it is as if we know her. Getting to know Fanny is like examining America, first the shoes, then the belt, and finally the hair-do.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Patricia Waters
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934695-40-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann
Patricia Waters’s Fallen Attitudes beautifully betrays her artistic and intellectual maturity. This is not novice poetry, but poetry in which scenes, locations, history, and memory are culled for what they cannot possess rather than for epistemological revelations. Waters is not attempting to prove anything, to justify a life lived a certain way; this is a memoir of letting go of proof and justification, of finding peace with whatever remains, and what remains seems to be a love.
  • Subtitle On the Life & Work of a Modern Master
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  • Book Type Collection Edited
  • by Kathryn Nuernberger and Bruce Whiteman
  • Date Published June 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9641454-5-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $12.99
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
The Unsung Masters Series published by Pleiades Press performs a remarkable service to writers whose work has been eclipsed for one reason or another during the ensuing decades after its original appearance. Each volume focuses upon a writer relatively unknown, providing a relatively quick, yet nonetheless detailed, summation of his or her biography along with some critical overview and examples of the work itself. Francis Jammes (1868-1938) was a major presence in the French literary scene of his day. He also received significant attention from English readers.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Halina Duraj
  • Date Published 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9887355-3-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 116pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Girija Sankar
The Family Cannon is Halina Duraj’s debut short story collection on family, loyalty, and fidelity. The collection of ten stories revolve around Magda, a 20-something woman (perhaps modeled after the writer herself?) and her immigrant parents from Poland who survived the Nazis and WWII. The father immigrates to the United States after the war and, in a few years’ time, visits his birth country to find a wife. The stories do not follow a narrowly defined linear trajectory;
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