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Book Reviews by Title - M (105)

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  • Book Type YA novel
  • by Mary Ann McGuigan
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59078-551-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Jessica Powers
The year is 1963. Yolanda and Fiona have already been friends for two weeks, and Yolanda is in the hospital because some thugs came looking for Fiona’s brother’s stash of drugs. The two aren’t supposed to be friends. Yolanda is black, Fiona is white. But here they are, and Fiona is helping Yolanda escape from the hospital before they release her. Yolanda wants to run away before her mother arrives, her mother who is traveling up from South Carolina, where she lives now, and who is planning to take Yolanda back to South Carolina to live with her. So the two girls sneak out of the hospital, where a distressed woman asks them to watch her dog so she can take her son to see her dying mother. And this is how their adventure begins.
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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 Novel
  • by Sergio Ramírez
  • by Michael B. Miller
  • Date Published September 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1931896412
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 340pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Rav Grewal-Kök
The prolific Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez is almost unknown in this country. Only a handful of his thirty or so books have been translated into English, and just two appear to be in print in the United States, including Margarita, How Beautiful the Sea, which won the Alfaguara Prize, a major Spanish literary award, a decade ago. Margarita, translated by Michael B. Miller, is an ambitious, sweeping and beguiling work whose action spans more than half a century. With its huge cast of poets, journalists, generals, intelligence agents, failed cotton barons, whiskey priests, dictators, and many others (a character list at the end of the book runs eight pages and contains 75 names), it is a Nicaraguan national epic.
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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 Nonfiction
  • by Eric G. Wilson
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58739-990-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
If you don’t know much about the work of William Blake, Wilson will make you want to read him. If you know a lot about Blake, this book will make you want to read Wilson. He writes beautifully. He does an exceptionally fine job of summarizing Blake’s bio, elucidating Blake’s ideas on inspiration and the creative process, and he surprises his own readers by telling a personal story of struggles with the creative process, without actually focusing on himself or his personal story. The book is informative, inspiring, and intensely pleasurable. It’s also under, rather than over written, yet manages to be exuberant and full-bodied (in other words not deliberately cryptic).
  • Subtitle A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Patrick Alexander
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-307-47232-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 385pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Jeanne M. Lesinski
French author Marcel Proust created an acknowledged masterpiece of modern literature in his 3,000 page novel The Remembrance of Things Past, which is also known as In Search of Lost Time, first published in seven volumes from 1913 to 1927. Patrick Alexander’s guide to this work serves as an introduction to readers who haven’t yet read Proust’s masterpiece, a useful tool for those in the process of reading it, and a refresher for readers who’d like to revisit favorite passages.
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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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