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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by George McCormick
  • Date Published December 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1934819241
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 103pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Michael Caylo-Baradi
In this collection, interstate highways are stoned with sad songs, while accelerating on The Stones. They speed towards motel rooms and roadside bars, sweaty in premonitions of tomorrows through the Mojave Desert, or swanky Palm Springs hanging out on tan lines and glamour that might turn off George McCormick’s characters. His are not L.A. types, hoping for alternatives to traffic jams, smog, or specters of road rage. But they are not rural either; they are somewhere in between, suspended in that vast space girdled by truck stops, railroads, dry landscapes, and coffee refills on Sunset Boulevard, before accelerating the 101 or I-5 towards midnight and beyond. They take anything outside the nine-to-five hustle, anything stable, to support a family, a budding romance, or dreams that might wake, glimmering, in their baby daughter’s eyes.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sarah Beth Childers
  • Date Published November 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8214-2062-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Julie Swarstad Johnson
The word “Appalachia” can call to mind a host of stereotypes: poverty, fundamentalism, environmental exploitation, backwardness. Each word conjures up a vague image of a broad region that many have never visited. By contrast, specificity and personal experience come to the forefront in Sarah Beth Childers’s debut essay collection, Shake Terribly the Earth: Stories from an Appalachian Family. Here, in linked essays that consider family ties, faith, and history, Childers reveals her unique understanding of West Virginia as seen through her eyes and the eyes of her family. Through careful attention to the personal, these essays gently argue for the validity of each person’s understanding of their own world.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Judy Halebsky
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9819816-5-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 35pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
In Space / Gap / Interval / Distance, Judy Halebsky draws the many strands of her life’s arts together, braiding the leaps and bounds of expression into a fantastic set of ekphrastic poems.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Daniel Allen Cox
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1551522463
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Brian Allen Carr
Daniel Allen Cox is brilliant with a picaresque vignette. He bobs and weaves through Shuck, throwing glimpses at the porn industry, New York City, gay sex and literary magazine submissions with steady grace, floating through the voice of Jaeven Marshall, aka the new Boy New York:
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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.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Murray Shugars
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933675-57-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 63pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Kevin Brown
Murray Shugars’s collection of poems, Songs My Mother Never Taught Me, is clearly divided into three sections with distinct differences in approaches to the craft. The first section, which gives the book its title, is the strongest of the three, as Shugars creates a distinct world in this section. These poems are much more narrative than the other two sections and draw mostly on his childhood, though the speaker of the poems moves into adulthood in the poems about war.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Tom Noyes
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0802313461
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Anna Clark
What to make of Spooky Action at a Distance? The title of Tom Noyes’s story collection borrows a phrase from Albert Einstein that described his feelings about a phenomenon in quantum mechanics where two particles separated by vast distances – say, millions of light years – become entangled, so that changing the state of one of the particles will instantaneously change the other. The father of relativity thought this was counterintuitive, he never fully accepted quantum mechanics as a system for understanding the microscopic world.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Carol Bly
  • Date Published June 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0977945863
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 254pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Jody Brooks
In this collection of overlapping stories, Carol Bly explores a town of moral highs and lows, a town held together by a family bakery, the ecumenical choir, and a need for automotive transportation. Bly has created a snow-covered community surrounded by the dark northern forest and the mysterious bears that inhabit it and a story about the chemicals that can either scrub the town clean or sully its very name.
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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 Edited
  • by Joshua Beckman, Matthew Zapruder
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1933517339
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
The word “politics” comes from the Latin politicus and means, according to Merriam-Webster, “of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government.” It’s the conduct of government – George Bush’s government – that concerns most of the 50 poets collected here. Some are famous; some are new. All are accomplished and impassioned.
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