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Book Reviews by Title - M (105)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Caroline Bergvall
  • Date Published January 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9822645-8-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 164pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Bergvall’s bio is worth reading before engaging with Meddle English, and I say engaging (rather than reading) because this isn’t a book one reads in a traditional sense, but more like a book to be considered. Here’s the first paragraph of the poet’s page-long bio:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Vincent Standley
  • Date Published August 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0983163343
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 189pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by J. A. Tyler
A Mortal Affect, Vincent Standley’s debut novel and the latest release from Calamari Press, is all about creating a world, inventing a vocabulary, and then approaching a proposed conundrum of what it would be like to have a portion of the world immortal, and a portion not. Full of Dante-esque circles of assigned living, painted blue welfare blocs of housing, Rooters (the mortal creatures that populate the novel), and Malkings (the immortals who vie for appropriate living throughout A Mortal Affect), this is a book that attempts to grow a universe, roots and all, in a mere two hundred pages:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59448-807-8
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 324pp
  • Price $25.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
For those familiar with the French folktale “Bluebeard,” especially in its various versions such as the British “Mr. Fox” and “Fitcher’s Bird,” Helen Oyeyemi’s novel Mr. Fox will delight. Even if you are not familiar with these other versions, you get them in this novel. You only need to love fairy tale convolutions, especially when blended with real-life situations.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nicole Cooley
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-88295-83-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 78pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Milk Dress has many strengths, exhibiting great poetic control and elegance, but no aspect of the book is more interesting to me than Cooley’s successful linking of “world events” and “bodily/personal events,” her experience of pregnancy, birth, motherhood, illness, loss and birth (rebirth?) again “against” (“Write against narrative” she begins in “Homeland Security,” the opening poem) the events of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the daily news, the threat of global disaster. “Write against blankness,” she instructs herself, and, by implication, simultaneously instructs us: read against blankness (“white, white, white”), the empty post-terrorist sky; the empty post-pregnancy crib; the unturned (pre-and-post reading) page.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Lizzy Acker
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9789858-3-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Tessa Mellas
Lizzy Acker’s book Monster Party is hard to categorize. Is it a fiction chapbook? A novella? A story cycle? Maybe a fictive autobiography? Maybe a collage of short-shorts? Or should we call it a badass bildungsromanesque manifesto with a poetic ode to the 90s computer game Oregon Trail thrown in? Whatever it is, it’s a must-read. Especially for all you 20 and 30-somethings who grew up on He-Man and Nick at Nite. And you literary types who have always wanted to do something gnarly and totally against-the-rules with metaphor. And especially all you who may be considering boob tubing it tonight—Acker’s protagonist would—but are thinking it’ll be loads more fun hanging out for eighty pages with a slacker tomboy named Lizzy who drools sarcasm, shoots Fourth-of-July bottle rockets out of her mouth, and accidentally participates in the murder of a possum because she thinks it’s mortally wounded when the poor critter is just playing dead. Trust me, friends. This hipster hip, tough girl, love-rock, indie narrative word-thing is for you.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Claudia Keelan
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1930974869
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
Missing Her is a moving, elegant series of poems, or elegies, that examines loss on both a very public and a private level. Keelan’s topics include Mary after the birth of Jesus, the Vietnam War, September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and the death of her father. In “About Suffering They Were,” she writes, “There are no old poems, / Only new textbooks directing / The unprepared student to the painting / Behind the poem.” In Missing Her, we are all unprepared students, and Keelan leads us not merely to her poems but to the truths behind poetry.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Sy Safransky, Tim McKee, Andrew Snee
  • Date Published 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-91320-040
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 351pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Jeanne M. Lesinski
The 35 fiction pieces and 15 poems from The Sun magazine collected for this anthology deal with passion, longing, and romantic love. As editor Sy Safransky so aptly describes this work, “[It is] about the room upstairs at the end of the hall, shared by two lovers who’ve decided to stay – for a weekend or forever, no one can say. Sometimes they kiss, sometimes they bite. They dream they’re in heaven. They swear they’re in hell. That room.” This room is occupied by a range of men and women of various cultures, ages, and sexual persuasions, and, as with any and all relationships, the dynamics of each relationship portrayed here is as individual as its author could imagine.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Suzanne Burns
  • Date Published June 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9815899-6-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 197pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Laura Pryor
A handsome former soap star, tired of his shallow, fat-free life, kidnaps a pastry chef to do his bidding. A woman, suddenly obsessed with the domestic arts, breaks into someone’s home and begins cooking and cleaning while they’re gone. We all have strange, fleeting impulses – Suzanne Burns’s characters act on them.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Elinor Nauen
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 9781935955047
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $9.95
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
Cinco Puntos Press has a great reputation, and this little book of poetry adds to its wealth of good literature in a big way. Elinor Nauen weaves a string of poems that read like a novel as we plunge into her relationship with her husband Johnny. The book, set up as a series of poems, is read like a dictionary (think The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan) with the titles of poems succeeding in alphabetical order. This book takes the dictionary idea a step further than Levithan; Nauen also includes words and phrases specific to her relationship with her husband that would not be found in a standard dictionary. It makes this book of poetry an adventure unique to their relationship.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Sébastien Smirou
  • Translated From French
  • by Andrew Zawacki
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-08-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Impossibly pure poetry is a losing game. At best, a transient mood may be set by way of tone as the general weight of measured restraint from over-expression provides an atmospheric gloss of consciousness. This is the haunting of Mallarme. The desire to have the poem stand for more than is possible. Yet Andrew Zawacki’s translation of Sébastien Smirou holds up admirably well in the face of such challenges.
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