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Book Reviews by Title - L (89)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Fred Setterberg
  • Date Published November 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1597141666
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Audrey Quinn
In Lunch Bucket Paradise, Fred Setterberg gives a vivid description of life in California from the 1950s-1960s. Setterberg’s style of writing quickly pulls the reader into his world. I’ve never been to California, my parents were born in the years when his story begins and I seemingly have nothing in common with Setterberg’s experiences, but that doesn’t matter at all. The people in his “true-life novel” are so vivid that almost instantly you understand how their minds work and their relationships to each other.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Bruce Jay Friedman
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1926845-31-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 290pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by David Breithaupt
The title of Bruce Jay Friedman’s new “literary” memoir, Lucky Bruce, is an understatement. All the old adages about luck come to mind, you make your own luck, some are luckier than others, etc., but when you read Friedman’s life story you can’t help but agree: Bruce is one lucky guy.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published November 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-141-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
To read a Jane Gardam novel is to be sorry when it ends. In this country she is best known for her non-chronological Old Filth trilogy: Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, and Final Friends. But this early (originally published in 1971), seemingly autobiographical novel, A Long Way from Verona, has the same Dickensian, odd, well-defined characters. Her wit comes through as usual, in spite of the sometimes obscure British references.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Norah Labiner
  • Date Published April 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-320-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
In Norah Labiner’s Let the Dark Flower Blossom, the character Roman Stone, a writer, says, “A story is a map to the underworld and how you follow that map is, of course, entirely up to you.” This story is cut into different patterns of back-story and forward motion, and point of view shifts from first person to third, character to character. Stone, a celebrity novelist, has been murdered. The news is shocking but not really a surprise to the lovers, enemies, and friends who have revolved around him, seemingly helpless to get out of his orbit. What the reader learns about Stone comes from the retrospective memory of the others. He appears to be the monster in the center of the labyrinth.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jaimy Gordon
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-929701-83-7
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 296pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, inspired by a summer job she had during her college years, reveals the world of the rundown horse stable/racing operation full of sore, over-run horses, cynical, sometimes drug-taking groomsmen and criminal owners. Indian Mound Downs in West Virginia has a number of such characters, with the most sympathetic of the humans being seventy-three-year-old black groomsman Medicine Ed, hobbling on his “froze-up left leg, the result of being run over by a big mare” and a newcomer with “frizzly” pigtailed hair, Maggie. But it is appropriate that the chapters have the names of horses, since the animals get most of our sympathy. The story involves the back-and-forth ownership of horses, culminating in the destruction of some favorites, caused perhaps by the meddling of “Medicine” Ed mixing up his unknowable potions.
  • Subtitle A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry
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  • Book Type Anthology edited
  • by Bryan Borland
  • Date Published August 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1937420185
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
From Sibling Rivalry Press, publishers of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, comes a new contribution to the GLBT canon. This one is a collection of lesbian poetry from both established and new authors. Before the poems, a paragraph or so provides details about each author. While usually this information is found at the end of a collection, here it sets up the reader for what he/she is about to read. This book includes a nice assortment of poems, and it was refreshing to read such a wide variety of works from each author. In this collection, there is no “one and done.” Through their poetry, the reader is truly able to get to know each writer before it is time to move on to the next.
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  • Book Type Young Adult Fication
  • by Alice Walsh
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-926920-79-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $11.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Alice Walsh’s A Long Way from Home is a compassionately told novel that straddles the line between children’s and young adult fiction, and the story it tells will appeal to younger and older audiences alike.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by A. Igoni Barrett
  • Date Published May 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-640-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
The characters in A. Igoni Barrett’s short story collection, Love Is Power or Something Like That, are linked to each other within the chaos and contrasts of Lagos, Nigeria in a nation cycling since the end of colonialism between democracy and dictatorship, reform and intractable corruption. They are dreamers and strivers who sometimes literally tumble into potholes of bad luck while living out the axiom that “no good deed goes unpunished.” The instinct to love is also part of the chain: a father struggling to save a sick infant daughter; a son trying to nourish a drunk, abusive mother; grandmothers who try to nurture neglected grandchildren; two feuding old women abandoned by long departed children who must rely on each other for mutual aid; cousins unable to resist an illicit attraction; a wife trying to placate a husband’s raging despair.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Shane Jones
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0982081310
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 168pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Brian Allen Carr
Half way through Light Boxes Shane Jones drops his fiction mask. He pulls us back into reality. He gives us a list:
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Date Published June 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932961-68-3
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
This novel doesn’t cross lines. It blurs them. What first seems to be a flaw on the part of the author turns out to be the intention. Last Night in Montreal subtly breaks boundaries throughout, whether through aspects of the plot or the ways in which it was written. Because of this, the words get under our skin, making us feel as if something is off, but we are still urged, through Mandel’s words, to keep reading and to push past the discomfort that looms on every page.
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