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Book Reviews by Title - R (42)

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by David Scott Gilligan
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59714-151-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
From a long tradition of nature writing that intermingles reflection and poetic descriptive prose with an ability to recount minute detail, David Scott Gilligan’s newest chronicle illuminates the California landscape. Gilligan juxtaposes first-person narrative with clear science writing as he explains geologic activity, volcanoes, and evolution, all focused on the diverse landscape of California mountain ranges. Following in John Muir’s footsteps, Gilligan endeavors to capture his personal connection to the landscape by employing stunning language to bring the Sierra Nevada to the reader.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jenny Shank
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57962-214-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $29.00
  • Review by Elena Spagnolie
Right off the bat (no pun intended), Jenny Shank’s novel, The Ringer, appealed to me. The story takes place in the Mile High City, Denver, Colorado—a location I still consider to be home even though I haven’t lived there in eight years—and I was looking forward to being transported back to the wide-open skies, to the dry, thin air of the Rockies, and to the familiar sights and streets of my youth. And I wasn’t disappointed. Shank’s sense of place is strong, and throughout the novel I experienced many wonderful moments of nostalgia and recognition—Hey! I’ve eaten at that restaurant! I know that newscaster! I remember the daily, summer thundershowers!
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-931357-91-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 124pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Stephanie Burns
In Greek mythology, there is perhaps no myth so painfully evocative and morally instructive as that of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus, the brilliant architect of the Minotaur's labyrinth, constructs wings of feather and wax so that he and his son can escape their imprisonment. They are almost successful, until Icarus, forgetting his father's warnings, flies too close to the sun and his wings melt, plunging him to his death. Rachel Eliza Griffiths's The Requited Distance mines this myth, as well as the other stories related to Daedalus, for their rich and mournful underpinnings. Griffiths presents the conception and birth of the Minotaur, the construction of the labyrinth, Daedalus's attempted murder of his nephew Perdix, and Icarus's fatal flight through many different eyes (including that of a watching fig tree), capturing profound emotions with her lush descriptions. Throughout, we witness the cost of unwieldy desire and ambition.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Chelsea Martin
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934513-24-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 68pp
  • Price $13.00
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
If you’re the sort of reader who likes a nice, linear plot and a trustworthy narrator, then Chelsea Martin’s charming collection of stories, The Really Funny Thing about Apathy, is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you delight in the odd, the cerebral, the uncanny, and you love the possibility of language and the unexpectedness of the human brain, then by all means, go get your hands on a copy.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by L. Annette Binder
  • Date Published August 2012
  • ISBN-13 9781936747313
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 168pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
Winner of the 2011 Mary McCarthy Prize in short fiction, Rise by L. Annette Binder is a book of fourteen stories in which, with each story, we experience living inside a trauma from the subject’s interior eye level. Binder gives a no-blink portrayal of what happens to an individual and the person close to that individual as the trauma is lived and shapes their responses. She constructs her stories around traumas many of us will deal with at one time or another with ourselves or a loved one or collaterally from the newspaper: a child kidnapped at the mall, life lived around a birth defect, a child losing a parent to death, war with a malicious neighbor, molestation of a young teen by a parental figure, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, a driver hitting a child in a crosswalk. Once thrown into trauma that is life-altering, how do we reclaim ourselves . . . or can we?
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Chana Wilson
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1580054324
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
“I was the first child ever allowed to visit a patient at the private mental hospital where my mother was being treated. Before our first trip there, Dad said, ‘The doctors think your mother will get better if she can keep seeing you.’” The opening lines of Chana Wilson’s book illuminate the intimate, complex and soul-sucking relationship that she and her mother have throughout their lives, meanwhile plunging the reader into a sparse, transparent glimpse into the lives of women treated in 1950s psych wards. Wilson grows up with her parents as an only child, but at the age of seven, her mother is put into a mental hospital for her severe depression. She attempts to commit suicide numerous times, and the memoir jarringly opens up with the scene of Gloria holding a rifle to her head in the bathroom.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Rahimeh Andalibian
  • Date Published July 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0615672236
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 389pp
  • Price $14.99
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Rahimeh Andalibian calls The Rose Hotel a “true-life novel,” and aside from made-up scenes where she was not present, the book is a factual account of her family’s tragedies and secrets that reads like a novel. In spite of the chapters’ brevity and the book’s fast pace, the fully depicted scenes put us in the story while also proving informative regarding various cultural details.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Forrest Gander and John Kinsella
  • Date Published October 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60938-119-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
This is both an interesting and useful book, particularly as a text of poetic collaboration that is at once an investigation and interrogation of, as well as elaboration on, ecological poetics. Forrest Gander and John Kinsella have gathered together poems along with various bits of investigative prose which they’ve been trading back and forth in personal correspondence to produce a hybrid text with simple intentions addressing a global issue of escalating crisis.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Tara L. Masih
  • Date Published May 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0978984861
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by John Madera
[Here's my flash review of Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction:]
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Maram al-Massri
  • Translated From Arabic
  • by Khaled Mattawa
  • Date Published 2007
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 145pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Sarah Sala
Whenever a man
leaves me
my beauty increases.
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