NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

Book Reviews by Title - H (61)

  • Subtitle Inside the Soul of the City
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Herman Portocarero
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933527-88-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If you’re locked into learning about far off locations through TV, movies, or social media, it’s time to stimulate your brain with a different interpretation. Herman Portocarero fulfills that task with his latest book, Havana Without Makeup: Inside the Soul of the City. Portocarero was born in Belgium of Spanish and Portuguese descent, and for the past 20-plus years has been ambassador to Havana from Belgium and then for the European Union, completing his post in September 2017. His take on Cuba’s capital city offers unique insights.

  • Subtitle American Essays
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Edward McPherson
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1566894678
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

At one point while I was reading The History of the Future, someone asked how it was, and I looked up and exclaimed, “The essays are almost too perfect.”

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by José Antonio Rodríguez
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8061-5501-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

There is no doubt that House Built on Ashes by José Antonio Rodríguez is an important story. It focuses on the youngest child of Mexican immigrants, who cross the border frequently to visit family in Mexico but then return to their impoverished life in Texas, where a young Rodríguez confronts issues of poverty, of family uncertainty, bullying at school, and also Rodríguez’s own developing sexuality. The book is organized in vignettes, not a single plot arc, but rather a painting of a life told through one- or two-page essays and narratives, sometimes even bordering on prose poems.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kendra Levin
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1573246880
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about being a writer is knowing how you’re supposed to go about being a writer. Pretty close to the front of Kendra Levin’s The Hero Is You, she says, “Many books and writing programs place so much emphasis on craft, they neglect one of the most challenging aspects of writing: how to go about actually getting the words from your brain onto the page on a regular basis.” This book is, naturally then, trying not to be a book about craft, but rather one about establishing healthy work patterns.

  • Subtitle A Woman's Journey
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kathryn Ferguson
  • Date Published August 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8263-4058-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Trena Machado

The Haunting of the Mexican Border: A Woman’s Journey by Kathryn Ferguson is written at eye-level. The book’s first half are the stories of the young author when, in her twenties her parents die, she realizes she is free to do whatever she wants. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, sixteen miles from the Mexico border with fond memories of many childhood family day trips to Mexico. At that time the border was relatively unpopulated and the US government lax about Mexican migrants coming to the US to work and going back home to be with their families. Working at PBS TV, a dream was born in her to do a film of Mexico. She and a friend drove south into Mexico’s Sierra Madre open to what presented itself for a film. On one of the scouting trips, she and her friend reached nightfall. A lone man, wearing a red head band, and his son were walking the dirt road. She leaned out the car window and asked him where a good place was to put down their sleeping bags for the night. He took them to his home to stay with his family and becomes her friend for life. He is a Rarámuri, descendent of the Native Americans who had escaped the Conquistadors into the rugged Sierra Madras and retained their independence and customs. The contemporary story of the Rarámuri, told through three rituals, was her first film.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Don Mee Choi
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1940696218
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 93pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Race and Identity are two separate functions of description, but in our times, hardly. There is a war between nations, inside of nations, and ultimately inside of each individual. In the forthcoming Hardly War, Don Mee Choi details the interior of the life of a young girl in the middle of war. This is no mere reduction or retelling. The metaphor stands that we are all hardly adults. Perhaps hardly human. The complex war machine has turned us into THE BIG PICTURE and reduced us: “It was hardly war, the hardliest of wars. Hardly, hardly.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Heather Christle
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8195-7529-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Dana Johnson
In Heather Christle’s fourth and newest collection of poems, Heliopause, speakers acknowledge boundaries, and then promptly confront them. The title itself pertains to “the boundary between our sun’s sphere of influence and interstellar space” (via book jacket). These poems acknowledge some of history’s haunting topics—the aftermath of 9/11, the events upon the slave ship Zong, the 2012 Aurora Shooting—and yet the collection as a whole manages to balance out the darkness with a voice that is full of wit and refreshing candor. This collection showcases the versatility of Christle’s creative talent, and maintains a sense of balance and composure amidst “the terrified world.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jon Curley
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978­0­9906669­2­9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 107pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
“Been working on my abstractions now / for over a lifetime” is the very opening line of the book. This line holds true through the duration of Jon Curley’s Hybrid Moments,​which is of the school that plain language ought to be reserved for journalism. Though it is a modern work, influenced by much in the contemporary realm, it rings in the manner of the classic romantics. The language is ornate and the thoughts are powerful. There are many threads that must be teased from one another.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Eric Gamalinda
  • Date Published November 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61775-304-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 300pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Audrey Quinn
If you are looking for a fast-paced, succinct, plot-driven book then The Descartes Highlands by Eric Gamalinda may not be for you. If, however, you are looking for a thoughtful, slow-burning character-driven story then settle right in. It is a story that follows two adopted brothers who grow up in different homes after being sold in the Philippines by their American father. Gamalinda’s novel delves into a world inhabited by an American draft-dodger living in the Philippines who ends up needing to sell his two sons to other foreigners, each burdened with their own grief and turmoil. We spend about a third of our time with the father in flashbacks and each of his sons in the present as they try to find out about their origins and deal with how their unique beginnings impact their lives.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Yasmina Reza
  • Translated From the French
  • by John Cullen
  • Date Published January 2015
  • ISBN-13 987-1-59051-692-8
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Theatergoers will be reminded of Yasmina Reza’s well-known plays Art and God of Carnage in this short story collection Happy Are the Happy. In spite of no paragraphing in each of the short stories, they flow with perfect dialogue, brief but definitive settings, and situations involving both humorous and sad bad behavior and embarrassment. Fiction allows Reza to exhibit her lovely style, vivid succinct descriptions, and ironic truisms and insights.
Page 1 of 5
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.