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Book Reviews by Title - M (105)

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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Selcuk Altun
  • Translated From Turkish
  • by Clifford Endres and Selhan Endres
  • Date Published August 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-84659-067-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 270pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
Selcuk Altun’s novel is a page-turning adventure story, and miraculously one filled with mystery, despite the fact that every detail of the story is spoon fed to the reader via monologues. A self-proclaimed narrative of “a wild goose chase,” Many and Many A Year Ago follows retired Turkish Air Force pilot Kemal Kuray through various cross continental detective expeditions. While Kemal often feels as if a joke is being played on him through these sometimes fruitless voyages, the reader discovers early on the not-so-subtle meaning behind these quests. Through musical symbolism, Altun writes about the beautiful tragedy of endless love.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Catherine Brady
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-87417-763-3
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 228pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
In the title story of Catherine Brady's new collection of short stories, the main character wakes up naked in a bathtub, hung over, and finds his guitar in the toilet. After he makes his way downstairs to ask his female roommate (their complicated relationship soon emerges) what happened, she says, "You got your hands on a bottle of tequila." After some teasing, their exchange continues:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Piotr Gwiazda
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0971974128
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 62pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Joanna Kurowska
Piotr Gwiazda’s Messages includes twenty-two poems (some of which are cycles of three to seven parts) and an interview with the author. The collection opens with a quotation from Joe Milutis’s Ether: The Nothing That Connects Everything, which describes “materialist interpretations” as “poor readings of rationality.” Gwiazda’s very first poem elaborates this theme further, by expanding poetry’s cognitive domain to “anything, anything”; whereas the poet’s task is “to translate the anything”—in other words, to show things’ true significance, as this excerpt demonstrates: “You think this is freedom, / but it’s a Chinese toy.”
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935708-44-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 183pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
Kelly Ferguson’s book chronicles the two weeks she spent retracing the pioneer journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The book opens in an antique clothing and costume shop in Missoula, Montana, where Ferguson buys her outfit for the trip: a floor-length bright blue flowered dress, the closest available facsimile of a prairie dress Laura would have worn. To explain her decision to make this journey, Ferguson reveals that she’s been obsessed with Laura since her mother gave her the yellow-covered Harper Trophy Edition box set of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books for her sixth birthday. Ferguson not only reads the books, she immerses herself in them; she carries the characters around in her head like imaginary friends.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jennifer Knox
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0982658710
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Noel Sloboda
In The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, Jennifer Knox reveals a gift for making readers laugh. All 43 poems in this volume display great wit—a possible liability in hands less adroit than Knox’s. Fortunately, while rendering comical scenes, she never sacrifices pathos for a joke. Her poems feature complicated humor that emerges from funerals and interventions. Always keeping in view the high stakes for her speakers—and their friends, parents, and lovers—Knox dances on the edge of the ridiculous, obliging people to laugh at difficult situations for which there are not rational responses.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Rusty Barnes
  • Date Published August 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934513323
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 154pp
  • Price $18
  • Review by Hazel Foster
Rusty Barnes’s Mostly Redneck, is, in fact, not “mostly redneck,” at least not in the way most would think of “redneck.” There are a few yokels, some pickups, a shotgun, but the pages are not inhabited by slack-jawed, one-overall-strap-loose, hill folk. The stories in this collection follow real people in all situations. For instance, in “This is What They Call Adventure,” Bob, who is simple, feeds the hens and meets a girl:
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Joanna Ruocco
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 9780963753625
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 123pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
Robert Coover is one of my favorite writers. With quirky, mythical tales of magic realism, it’s no wonder he endorsed The Mothering Coven, the fabulist debut novel by Joanna Ruocco. Throughout this slight, but fertile novel, Ruocco plays with language and creates an inventive world filled with richly crafted characters.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matthew Lippman
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9844961-0-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 61pp
  • Price $21.95
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
I read Monkey Bars initially while on vacation with my family. It was a warm, pine-and-campfire-scented weekend, full of moments like the one described in Matthew Lippman’s title poem, “dying from laughter, / the joke funny / the bust-the-gut hysteria, hysterical.” I read the poetry as such, too; when I reached the author’s biography – “He teaches English and Creative Writing to high school students” – I even thought to myself, holy cow his students must have a blast!
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Seth Berg
  • Date Published July 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0615357171
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 92pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by H.V. Cramond
The mind is a smelly heap of compost comprising our greatest hopes, delusions and sexual fantasies about robots. We explain its function with analogies to computers or other machines, trying to impose a structure on a ghost. So when our bodies and minds start to fail, we panic. We grope about in the dark for a user's manual, a crossword puzzle or anti-depressant that will put our brains in the order that we suppose it should have. Seth Berg explores this dark space in his first book of poems, Muted Lines from Someone Else's Memory.
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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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