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Book Reviews by Title - M (103)

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Carl Klaus
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1587299131
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 147pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Ellen Sprague
If personal essays are supposed to be nonfiction, then how can essayist and teacher Carl Klaus begin a scholarly book of essays with the following premise?
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Graciela Limón
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1558857421
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Her story reads like fiction. In 1864 Napoleon III and sentimental Mexican royalists re-established a Mexican monarchy, placing the Austrian Prince Maximilian and his Belgian wife Carlota as rulers. The move, in hindsight as grotesque as the gaudy art and fashion of Napoleon’s era, was extremely unpopular in the Americas. Following the Civil War, the American government supported an uprising spearheaded by lawyer/reformer Benito Juarez. The puppet monarchy was overthrown in 1867, and Maximilian was executed. Carlota escaped, never recovered from a subsequent nervous breakdown, and lived in a castle serving as an asylum until the age of 87.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Mary Ruefle
  • Date Published August 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-57-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 332pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In 1994, Vermont College of Fine Arts hired Mary Ruefle to teach poetry to graduate students in their low-residency writing program. A reluctant public speaker, she was terrified to learn that the job would require her to give biannual standing lectures, and she responded by writing out her lectures, which she then read aloud to students. It turns out that Ruefle’s discomfort with public speaking is a gift to readers, for this book is the collection of those written lectures. However, to relegate the book to that narrow definition would be a mistake. Ruefle’s lectures are thoughtful, thought-provoking essays about art, literature, the moon, life, love, language, and philosophy viewed from the perspective of a wise poet who prefers asking questions to making proclamations.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Rosine Nimeh-Mailloux
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1897187487
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 352pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
Don’t let the title or shadowy sepia cover fool you; this is not your typical Middle Eastern novel: sad, dark, slow, un-relatable. There are no silent, dark-clad, wise old women or handsome, ruthless, old-fashioned, but still socially respectable young men. The plot isn’t made slow by verbally artistic renditions of the dusty scenery or groups of loyal women milling around the well. The tone is not sad in a “you’ll-never-know-what-it’s-like, feel-sorry-for-the-lot-of-us, but-our-life-is-beautiful,” distant kind of way.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Erika Meitner
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934695-23-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 98pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Stephanie Burns
Erika Meitner's Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls begins with sexual awakening and its inherent perils and ends just short of marriage, its poems trading in both nostalgia and uncertainty. Meitner deftly tackles lust, harassment, dating, death, alien abduction and the ever-important life skill that is filling out a form, all while rendering her images in clear and unique ways.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by S. Lochlann Jain
  • Date Published October 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0520276574
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
It’s impossible to do justice to the breadth of literature that surrounds cancer. We can view cancer in a historical context through works like Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies. We can read reflections from the medical community in Atul Gawande’s Complications. We can see literature through the decades—like Death Be Not Proud—take on the question of how to balance art and science in practicing medicine and what might determine what we would call “good medicine.” Countless examples shape how we, as a culture, think about and make sense of cancer. And at the forefront of all cancer genres is the personal anecdote: the story of experiencing cancer either firsthand or through a family member or friend. Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us, by S. Lochlann Jain, takes the jumbled milieu of medicine, anthropology, culture, and history and tells us how we (broadly defined) think about cancer through the lens of her experience with it.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rachel McKibbens
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9827106-8-5
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 28pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Kris Bigalk
It comes as no surprise to the reader that Rachel McKibbens is one of American’s most accomplished spoken-word poets, having served nine times on the National Poetry Slam team and winning two spoken word championships. The strength of her poems lies in their strong, consistent voice—one that speaks with authority and uses the cadences and expressions of natural speech to create a natural tension that moves through each poem and the collection as a whole.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published November 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933372-89-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Laura Pryor
The bad news: if you have a less than comprehensive knowledge of British history and culture (as I do), you may have to run to Google periodically to understand all the acronyms and historical references in Gardam’s novel. The good news: it won’t matter. Gardam’s book is primarily a character study, the affectionate chronicle of a long marriage between two flawed but lovable characters.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by David Galef
  • Date Published December 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934819036
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 54pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by Rav Grewal-Kök
“Beware the impractical man,” warns the narrator of the title story of David Galef’s chapbook collection of short and flash fiction: “Their wives either cherish or divorce them, and their sons and daughters, in reaction, often grow commonsensical and a little costive.” That’s funny, but we shouldn’t miss the menacing undercurrent. The unfortunate ideas of Bernardo Lazar – a backyard smelter, a “Reaction Recovery” device, and “a project about giant vegetables” – put his wife and young children through a comic set of trials. So light is Galef’s touch that we hardly notice, until the final sentence, that the Lazar family has come undone.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Timothy McBride
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-2675-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Renee Emerson
The Manageable Cold, Timothy McBride’s first poetry collection, is perfect to read in the midst of a hard winter. I was surprised to see that this was only his first book, since McBride writes with a confidence and skill that one would not expect from a new poet. McBride is not afraid to experiment with form, and the book includes forms ranging from free verse to villanelle to sonnet. He explores the theme of “manageable cold” through the physical coldness of winter, country life, relationships, and the bleak hardships of his father’s favorite sport, boxing.
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