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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

  • Subtitle The Lucy Poems
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Taylor Liljegren
  • Date Published September 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-949279-02-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 56pp
  • Price $9.95
  • Review by Katy Haas

Born over thirty years after its final air date, my knowledge of the TV show I Love Lucy begins and ends in the handful of sporadic reruns I watched at my grandmother’s house on rainy days when I was growing up. Seeing her face twisting up as she acknowledged her latest goof-up on grainy black and white footage, hearing her wail “Ricky,” or seeing her shove chocolates into her mouth all readily come to mind when I hear the TV show’s title, and I can now add Slapstick: The Lucy Poems by Taylor Liljegren to my list of what I think about when I think of I Love Lucy.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Danielle Dutton
  • Date Published September 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696-77-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

Danielle Dutton is the author of three books and wrote the texts for Richard Kraft’s Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera. Her first novel, SPRAWL was published by Siglio in 2010, but Wave Books re-released this little masterpiece in 2018, and thank goodness, because, subconsciously, I have been searching everywhere for the present-day Georges Perec. I’m not entirely sure how that sounds, but I promise that I mean nothing but praise for Dutton and her characterization of the modern housewife.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Timmy Waldron
  • Date Published July 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9994617-3-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 145pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If you’re looking for a break from the tensions in today’s political climate, pick up a copy of Timmy Waldron’s new book, Stories for People Who Watch TV. He’s compiled nine stories, eight of which have already risen to the top of slush piles to be published in literary magazines. The ninth might also stand a good chance, so let’s start with that one, titled “Ouroboros.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Darrin Doyle
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-998632599
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 285pp
  • Price $15.99
  • Review by Cody Lee

Scoundrels Among Us is definitely a man’s book. There aren’t too many female characters, and as much as I want to criticize it for that, I’d be lying if I said that the book never made me laugh. It’s full of terrible, dark humor, sometimes absurd—in the best possible way (think Daniil Kharms, or even Bob Kaufman). There are kids on fire, sitting in class with charred skin, a group of nine brothers that work at a Costco-esque department store, all pretending to be the same person, and a man, who’s dying alone in a forest, and his last wish is to have an extra-large Cajun Deluxe Meat Lovers pizza delivered to his exact, addressless location.

  • Subtitle Writers Play with Borrowed Forms
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Kim Adrian
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8032-9676-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Cody Lee

If you are looking for a book that fits into the genre of “Creative Nonfiction,” especially as an introduction, your best bet is to pick up The Shell Game immediately, edited by writer Kim Adrian. It is an anthology of lyric essays that range from crossword puzzles about becoming a grandmother, to eBay ads for the writer himself (0 bids, Price = $9.95).

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Martin Riker
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-528-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cody Lee

Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return is the needle and thread that connects life and death, grumpy old man and flâneur. The story revolves around a fellow named Samuel Johnson who dies protecting his son from an armed lunatic. He then enters into the body of the lunatic as a passenger, watching the world like a TV show through the eyes of his own murderer. Eventually, the lunatic dies, and Samuel Johnson bounces from body to body, hoping to one day reunite with his son.

  • Subtitle A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Lisa Romeo
  • Date Published May 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943859-69-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Vivian Wagner

Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss is a powerful new book by Lisa Romeo about the way our relationships with those we love change and deepen, even after death. Telling the story both of her father’s death and of her need to heal and go forward, this memoir is a moving account of the never-ending love between a father and daughter.

  • Subtitle Stories of the Sixties
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sandra Scofield
  • Date Published Fall 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-930835-18-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 127pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

With the #metoo movement still changing the conversation on how women are treated in the US, this book of stories set in the 60s felt culturally relevant rather than retro. In three short fictions, Sandra Scofield examines the ambivalence and vulnerability of three women as well as the entitlement and ignorance of the men in their lives. Gender, more telling of one’s mobility and expectations in the 1960s than today, casts the male and female characters in narrowly defined roles. Women long for masculine freedoms and adopt a rebellious edge to keep themselves out of prepackaged social norms, while the various men in their lives conform to egoism, salvific nostalgia, and violent acts of privilege.

  • Subtitle A Love Story
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Nicole Walker
  • Date Published August 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8142-5485-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $23.95
  • Review by Cody Lee

Toward the middle of Sustainability: A Love Story, I decided to read slower in order to sustain it, if only for a minute longer. I didn’t want the journey to end, just as the author, Nicole Walker, doesn’t want the world to end; there are too many great things to live for, this book being one of them. It is composed of thirty-eight essays, all of which read like prose poems, stuffed with scientific research on topics such as recycling, McDonald’s, and suicide. Most of all, it’s a love story written to Portland, Oregon; Walker’s family; and the little blue dot.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Libby Burton
  • Date Published March 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9980534-8-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
What other dangers will you step through tonight?
The hours baggy and gathering.
There is nothing mere about this.
I wanted like hot skin thumping around
the splinter caught within. That, and a tidy gold peace.
—from “Where God Was Not”

Libby Burton’s collection Soft Volcano is a delicate and sensuous meditation on the quotidian. By taking the smallest detail and transcending into the metaphysical, Burton is doing what the best writers do, asking questions that linger in the mind and heart.

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