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Book Reviews by Title - S (145)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by James Cummins
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-88748-545-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Joanna Kurowska
James Cummins’s volume Still Some Cake tells a story whose meaning unfolds gradually, like in a puzzle, as one pieces together phrases, motifs, insights, scenes, catchwords, central figures, and word or theme repetitions. Because it is a story, it seems advisable to read the collection as a whole, from the first to the last page.
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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 Hardcover
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published June 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-199-8
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 476pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
The Stories of Jane Gardam will delight Gardam’s fans, who may find something new here. Unlike Gardam’s most famous novel Old Filth, but not unlike the ending of the third book in her trilogy Last Friends, these stories explore what may not be real. They also hold the element of mystery, fantasy, and surprise endings. Spanning from 1977 to 2007, these stories give a broader overview of Gardam’s talents, her favorite themes very visible.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Elena Ferrante
  • Date Published September 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-134-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 480pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante is the second volume of a trilogy. It is a novel of a complex friendship between two women, Lenú and Lila, that goes forward with intellectual intimacy, competition, loyalty, anger, and excruciating love. In the first book of this series, My Brilliant Friend, Lenú, in her sixties, learns that Lila has disappeared. She recreates their girlhood sharing fairytale dreams to escape a post-war Neapolitan neighborhood bleeding from fatalism and old betrayals. Lila, risk-taker and quick study, and Lenú the striver carry on friendly competition in school. Lenú is allowed to continue her education while Lila is compelled to work with her shoemaker father. Lenú begins rigorous secondary studies. Lila pulls herself into middle-class comfort at sixteen by marrying an ambitious grocer. The second book picks up at this point.
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  • Book Type Graphic Novel
  • by Hisashi Ota
  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Juliet Winters Carpenter
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9790471-6-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 235pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography plots the Buddha’s journey from crown prince of the ??kya kingdom to Enlightenment as a reformed ascetic, as told and illustrated by Hisashi Ota. It’s a story not often heard outside the studies of practicing Buddhists or lectures on World Religion, but it is key for even a basic understanding of Buddhism, the religion based on Buddha Sakyamuni’s teachings.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Elena Ferrante
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-286-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 464pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
This reviewer knows she might be addressing two possible readers of Elena Ferrante’s four-part series of novels: the ones who are already committed and want to read through the last book, The Story of the Lost Child, and the other, curious newcomer to the series. For the first reader, I will say that this last book does have a very good, real ending and of course is well-worth the effort. The Story of the Lost Child has a new emphasis on politics with characters we’ve grown to know, a glimpse of the effects of feminism on children, the motivations in maintaining success in writing, and as the epilogue called “Restitution” suggests, a final view of the female friendship and disturbing revelations of Elena Greco, our narrator.
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  • by Charles Jensen
  • Date Published November 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934832004
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 26pp
  • Price $8.00
  • Review by Matt Bell
Charles Jensen’s The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon is an ambitious book, highly entertaining yet formally daring. It incorporates a variety of prose and poetic forms to tell a love story that spans most of the twentieth-century and at least two dimensions, all within the space of a mere twenty-one pages. Comprised of diary entries, academic papers, and shredded documents full of supposed “automatic writing,” this slim volume weaves a mysterious love story with far greater gravity than its size on paper would suggest possible.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by John Amen
  • Date Published February 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63045-008-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
Strange Theater brings us a reality where words can deposit you, drop you off, let you move struck by what you know, yet cannot quite believe (this is where we are at?). John Amen is in conversation with us. There is a we, and we have come to a turning point, we of this culture, we of this species, not knowing what we thought we were:
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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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