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Book Reviews by Title - P (73)

  • Subtitle A Year Alone through Latin America
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kate McCahill
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-939650542
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 350pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

The writing of a travel memoir is, from my perspective, very much akin to the unfolding of the journey described. In spite of copious amounts of preparation, forethought, and heartfelt intent, it is all too easy to stumble along the path, or even find oneself completely lost somewhere along the way. After all, how does one successfully navigate the terrain of readers’ expectations? Are they looking for landscapes captured through lush, photographic language or a dredging of the traveler’s inner landscape? How much anthropology, history, reflection or poetic license is enough? Perhaps too much? All the while remaining true to one’s own experience.

  • Subtitle The Life and Art of Horace H. Pippin
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Janice N. Harrington
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942683-20-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor

With great erudition and a fine eye for the lyric, Janice N. Harrington’s Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin is an essential biographical reflection which traces the life of one of America’s most underrated painters. Horace H. Pippin, born in Pennsylvania in 1888, fought in WWI in France. After being injured by a German sniper, he returned to The United States to paint.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Eavan Boland
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-393-28536-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

When I was a teenager my grandmother gave me an Irish Writer’s poster. Shaw. Synge. Swift. Behan. Yeats. Joyce. Beckett and O’Brien. It hung on the back on my bedroom door, right between The Republic of Ireland’s national soccer squad photo and the iconic red swim-suited Farah Fawcett. I was too young and isolated to know just how chauvinistic and linked to politics, often violently, the world of Irish letters and publishing was at the time. I had a vague idea about the struggle for political freedom, but was blind to gender issues that seem all too blazing now.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Mark Yakich
  • Date Published November 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-5013-0949-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 222pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Mark Yakich chose Carl Sandburg’s admonition, “Beware of advice, even this,” as his epigraph for Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide. But don’t jump to conclusions. This book is full of good advice, interesting asides and lively humor, while at the same time offering options. For example, Yakich writes: “Work on one poem at a sitting.” In the next paragraph it’s, “Work on multiple poems at a sitting.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jade Sharma
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-442-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Katy Haas
Maya has problems. In fact, Maya has Problems with a capital P. She’s in a boring marriage with Peter, an alcoholic with a conservative family she doesn’t fit into. She’s having an affair with Ogden, one of her former professors who is more than twice her age. She struggles with an eating disorder. Her mother has MS and struggles to care for herself. There are changes happening at her job which may leave her desperate for money. And she juggles all these problems under the haze of her biggest problem: a budding addiction to heroin. Jade Sharma guides us through the haze in her forthcoming, aptly-named novel, Problems.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Noelle Kocot
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781940696300
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Phantom pain is one of those peculiar syndromes that has received widespread recognition for its oddness, mostly. Noelle Kocot’s Phantom Pains of Madness trickles and drips with oddity as well, the entire piece written one word at a time. Each word receives its own line, which makes the book very easy to read: a delight in the modern age. It also gives the book a dimension and heft that is incomparable. But Noelle’s humor disarms the reader often and keeps the book light, while its content is quite heavy. This is her seventh book of poetry, and there is no doubt that she has achieved a wringing out of all that isn’t her. Phantom Pains of Madness is a truly original work and a very rewarding read.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Margaret Malone
  • Date Published December 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9893023-6-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 146pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
Margaret Malone’s debut short story collection visits places we all recognize but don’t always think about or allow a second thought. Most likely you will find kindred spirits in these pages and acknowledge situations you may have forgotten or tried to repress. A case in point, the title story, People Like You, finds a young couple (Cheryl and Bert) invited to a friend’s surprise party. “Friend” is a loose term as the narrator explains, “we have no friends,” she confesses, “we have acquaintances from work, or old friends who live in other cities, or people who used to be our friends who we either borrowed money from and never repaid or who we just never bother to call anymore because we decided we either don’t like them or we’re too good for their company. We are not perfect.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Dario Fo
  • Date Published August 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-274-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Dario Fo, the 1997 Italian Nobel Laureate for Literature—known for being an actor, playwright, comedian, director, songwriter and political campaigner—has now written his first novel, The Pope’s Daughter, about one of the most infamous ladies in history, Lucrezia Borgia. This novel, which claims to be the real truth, gives another side of Borgia. She will appeal to contemporary women as a real survivor in her turbulent times, but everyone should be able to enjoy the sardonic Greek chorus comments on the machinations of the early popes and dukes ruling Italy during the Renaissance, behavior which has parallels in today’s national and international politics.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Alan Cheuse
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941493-00-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 392pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Nate Zachar
Prayers for the Living is a sprawling novel, a family epic. Written by the late Alan Cheuse, who was a commentator for NPR, his vast conversational experience is apparent throughout the book, which is told through conversation, narrated by a woman named Minnie Bloch, who chronicles the life of her grandson, Manny, and his joys, his struggles, and his demons.
  • Subtitle A Lost Work by Geoffrey Peerson Leed
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by M. Allen Cunningham
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9893023-4-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 262pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Author Geoffrey Peerson Leed is a voice from the future. Other than a webpage issued by The Market Optimization Bureau labeling him “subversive,” there is his “lost work” Partisans. Leed too is a “ghostly neighbor” whose fate is unknown. M. Allen Cunningham is responsible for the book’s publication, presented in accordance with the author’s wishes “as indicated in manuscripts discovered after his disappearance.” Readers who favor either the political dystopias of Orwell or the zombie-apocalypse works of Max Brooks will be interested in what Leed has to say.
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