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Book Reviews by Title - M (111)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by A.W. DeAnnuntis
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9962276-3-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 169pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

The Mysterious Islands and Other Stories is a collection of stories that feels like dream within a dream within a nightmare. A.W. DeAnnuntis uses eloquent language and out of this realm imagery to give life to a world that that skirts back and forth between reality and imagination. The stories in this collection will leave you wondering if you can trust the sanctity of your own mind.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by David Huddle
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-77-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Imagine you’ve discovered a way to assassinate anyone you please, with guaranteed anonymity, and it’s as easy as a single click of a button. Maura Nelson makes this discovery in what seems to be an epiphany. This knowledge is too heavy a burden for Maura to carry alone, so she enlists the help of Jack Plymouth. Together the two of them must battle morality and sense in My Immaculate Assassin by David Huddle.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Laurie Stone
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-3428-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Allyson Hoffman

Written in a voice and style reminiscent of memoir, Laurie Stone’s collection of linked short stories My Life as an Animal traces the strengthening and breaking of friendships and family ties in twenty-six stories. The narrator of the stories dances through time—from adolescence to her current life at sixty—and place—New York, Arizona, California, and England. True to life, characters appear and reappear in unexpected ways, affecting others in the past and present.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jessie van Eerden
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943665-08-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

Within our world, ripe with the over-thinking of experience, it’s rare to encounter a coming-of-age story quite as visceral or unselfconsciously honest as that found within Jessie van Eerden’s My Radio Radio. Perhaps it’s the subtly surrealist thread that weaves its way through the tale that disarms the reader, setting her up, even readying her, for the unpacking of whatever symbolic gifts of meaning might emerge from the text. Wings. Radio. A baby chick. The click whirr, hiss hmm of a dying man’s machine. Yet, in spite of all that is foreshadowed, in spite of every ounce of allegory, it is within the journey of twelve-year-old Omi Ruth that each of the answers reside, should one choose to listen.

  • Subtitle Poems from the Life of Helen Keller
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jeanie Thompson
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8173-5857-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi

To undertake a cycle of poems on the life of Helen Keller is to throw oneself at an interesting poetic problem: how to capture the perspective of one who lived in a wholly different perceptual world than most other people. To be sure, there are plenty of fine collections on the experiences of disability—Nick Flynn’s startlingly original Blind Huber comes to mind—but Helen Keller is a singular historical figure who, in our cultural imagination, bears a particular burden as the standout radical subject who, as if through magic, was able to speak from beyond an impassable veil.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Vladislav Vančura
  • Translated From the Czech
  • by Carleton Bulkin
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-80-86264-43-1
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 183pp
  • Price $22.50
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Czechoslovak citizen Vladislav Vančura was executed by the Nazis in 1942. He’d been a novelist, playwright, and film director, and he left behind a corpus of work that includes ten novels, five plays, a children’s book, and an unfinished chronicle of Czech history. He studied law and medicine at Charles University in Prague, and was a founding member of an avant-garde association of artists. When Nazi Germany occupied Bohemia in 1939, he was active in the Czech resistance. He was arrested in 1942, tortured and imprisoned. After the assassination of a high ranking Nazi official during World War II, Vančura was one of thousands of Czechs who were murdered in reprisal.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sheryl Monks
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943665-39-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Allyson Hoffman

A mix of darkly funny and shockingly somber stories, Sheryl Monks’s Monsters in Appalachia is an outstanding short story collection. She masterfully draws readers into many lives in Appalachia through setting, characters, and, most importantly, dialogue. Some stories are fantastical, others are more traditional, and all are worth reading, either one right after another or, slowly, one at a time.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Susan Briante
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978­1­934103­64-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne

The Dow that can be named is not the eternal Tao. This is the message of Susan Briante’s great and fun new work The Market Wonders. The economic market is a man made concoction, yet it behaves in an almost random manner that seems to follow rules of nature. In the beginning of the book she quotes, “Blake reminds us, ‘For everything that lives is Holy!’” and sure enough the market seems to be alive. This book associates a volatile reverence to money. The subject is about as transgressive as can be. Most people do not read poetry, half of us that read barely understand it, and certainly, nobody is making a living from it. That is to say, unless you’re Tao Lin or Ben Lerner who undoubtedly have other means of income. The rare Ted Kooser who can make a rock star’s living at poetry is once in a lifetime. But Briante builds a relationship between the flow of the market and the flow of words and poetry. The ticker at the bottom of the book is definitely the philosophical icing on the cake.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jay Neugeboren
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942134-17-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 206pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Jason Hess
In June of 1933, American boxer Max Baer and German heavyweight Max Schmeling, a former world champion, fought a highly publicized bout in front of sixty thousand fans in New York’s Yankee Stadium. Schmeling was Hitler’s favorite fighter and was favored to win. In the days leading up to the fight, Schmeling told American reporters that stories of Germany’s persecution of Jews were untrue. Max Baer, in a move that was part publicity stunt and part sincere act of defiance, sewed a large Star of David to his trunks. Baer’s subsequent victory over Schmeling became an international symbol of Jewish resistance to fascism. One year later, Baer, still with Star of David on the left leg of his trunks, became heavyweight champion of the world.
  • Subtitle Collected Stories
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Melissa Reddish
  • Date Published July 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9904546-4-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 202pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Allyson Parsons
What initially drew me to Melissa Reddish’s recent book was the title: My Father is an Angry Storm Cloud. It resonated with me, and I was happy to learn that this title is also the title of one of the short stories in the book. I will admit that I initially rushed past the first couple pieces to get to it. I was not disappointed. “My Father is an Angry Storm Cloud” is poignant, and thankfully not in the “oh woe is me” way. This story was clearly delicately crafted to avoid hitting the reader over the head with “daddy issues.” In this snapshot of her life, I got a well-rounded sense that this character existed before the scene she appears in. It is clear that this character has scars from her past, that they re-open all the time, and that she struggles to stitch them up even as an adult. To get that grand a sense of a life already lived within six pages is pretty remarkable.
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