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Book Reviews by Title - S (135)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Christina Hutchins
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9819816-2-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Marcus Myers
In Christina Hutchins’ first full-length book, the speaker contemplates the development of the self within the body’s dissolution over a lifetime. Less abstractly, the poet-speaker interweaves meditations of aging within familiar surroundings which are themselves growing older, of slowly losing her father to Alzheimer’s while simultaneously finding renewal in her ripening love for her girlfriend. In the face of her life’s constant material change, she often sees a moment’s “beauty…in the distortion,” and she hears in the “small silences between waves” “the black hole in me.” And faced with the certainty of her loss, the speaker desires the clarifying sort of beauty found only within the quiet:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jason Schneiderman
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 9780912592701
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 61pp
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Striking Surface by Jason Schneiderman focuses on death, religion, and the violence and exile of war. Though writing on such serious topics, Schneiderman still manages to weave in pop culture references, referencing several leading ladies such as Grace Kelly in his poem “Billboard Reading,” Sandra Dee and Lana Turner in “Susan Kohner (Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life),” and Audrey Hepburn in “Elegy VII (Last Moment).”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Christopher Janke
  • Date Published March 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934200001
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cyan James
Christopher Janke has published a pretty book of poems. That’s obvious from the cover of Structure of the Embryonic Rat Brain alone: a mauve and purple tangle of presumable neuronal matter brushed with green. Fence Books, always pleasing with its designs, has cut Janke’s book wider than it is long and interspersed his poems with eye-catching doodles. If you flip the pages fast while staring at the lower right-hand corner you’ll see a rat put through its paces. This book makes it clear from the beginning that it intends on giving tactile pleasure while stimulating your mind. Like those famous lab rats pressing levers for cocaine, this book wants to keep you turning its pages.
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  • Book Type Short Stories
  • by Jackie Corley
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9778151-5-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 100pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Josh Maday
Jackie Corley’s debut story collection, The Suburban Swindle, features a blurb that says, “Stories like poetry made from the gritty stuff of hard scrabble life.” It’s not often that a book blurb is all that honest or accurate. Hyperbolized and syrupy? Yes, almost always. But capturing the essence of the book in a line or two is indeed rare, and refreshing. This blurb definitely captures the essence. Corley’s characters do live hard, gritty lives. They live in a perpetual moment where things are always about to ignite, or burn out, or both – relationships are going to end, friends and lovers are going to leave – giving each story the sense that it takes place on the edge of a cliff.
  • Subtitle Translating Latin American Fiction
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Suzanne Jill Levine
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1564785633
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by John Madera
Synopsizing her own book The Subversive Scribe, Suzanne Jill Levine in “Cositas Are Not Things,” the book’s penultimate chapter, writes:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Rember
  • Date Published June 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1877655791
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 148pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Ryan Wilson
Age and the academy dominate John Rember’s latest collection, Sudden Death, Over Time. Master of the cynical first person male, Rember repeatedly places readers in the context of professors well past their prime, who know that their best choice left is to smirk at the absurdity surrounding their departments, their students, and their love lives and to plod along.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Toni Graham
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8203-4850-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 152pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Allyson Hoffman

Through eight carefully linked stories, Toni Graham depicts the rituals of small-town Oklahoma and how its inhabitants move forward through life with—or in perhaps spite of—grief. The stories in The Suicide Club each follow one of four suicide survivors: a man whose father swallowed pills; a mother whose teenage son hung himself; a woman whose boyfriend shot himself; and the survivor group leader, whose father asphyxiated himself. The group’s Wednesday night meetings are only a sliver of full and messy lives as the members work through addictions, infidelity, impotency, and questions of faith.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Selçuk Altun
  • Translated From Turkish
  • by Clifford Endres and Selhan Endres
  • Date Published April 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1846591488
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
“What are you, some kind of aristocratic character escaped from a romantic novel?” asks the comely professor of the narrator/protagonist, who fits this description so perfectly. He also may or may not be The Sultan of Byzantium of Selçuk Altun’s absorbing novel. The longest-lasting and most satisfying intrigue is that readers never learn the name of the narrator, a dashing economics professor, until the book’s conclusion. How it is revealed, resolving many a loose end, is well worth the journey getting there.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Allison Titus
  • Date Published November 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-880834-88-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 78pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
It is very easy to lose yourself in the brave, lonely world of Allison Titus's Sum of Every Lost Ship. Her spare and questioning aesthetic is pleasing, and her subjects bristle just enough to provide a wonderful chemistry. Throughout her poems, she maintains a careful beauty and distance, and she creates a unique world of displacement, longing, and ultimately, survival.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kristina Marie Darling
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60964-191-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 66pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann
I just finished reading Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a novel in which the narrator desires that she and her sister resist the socio-economic structure of 1950s New England and reside, instead, on the moon. They finally do achieve this goal by converting their large house into a smaller living space, boarded-up and isolated from the outside world. In novels like Castle, women often reinterpret the boundaries of living spaces in their writing partly because traditional domestic contracts and spaces constrain emotion, creativity, and grief. In her book of poems titled The Sun & the Moon, Kristina Marie Darling contributes to this collective literary voice that unfetters domestic space as her speaker grieves and examines a past marital relationship. The Sun and the Moon, representing respectively a husband and wife, are always at opposite poles in this space that reels with cinematic flashes of memory and the ghosts that inhabit memory over time.
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