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Book Reviews by Title - S (137)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joel Lewis
  • Date Published June 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934909-26-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 124pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Pia Aliperti
“You’re reading the poems of a man,” Joel Lewis offers in Surrender When Leaving Coach, “who feels all the time / . . . like he’s rooting about / in the ruins of a cheap Pompeii.” Pompeii, for Lewis, is the familiar bus line along Staten Island’s Port Richmond Avenue that he will return to throughout the book, among the other well-worn routes he will cull for the daily strange, the repetitive, the hilarious, and the ephemeral. “Once again my obsession with / the motion of buses, trains and canal boats,” Lewis notes in the title poem of the collection, named for the instructions printed on the old bus tickets of his New Jersey youth. These poems look to the past even as the trains in them lumber to their stations on schedule. “In an absolute theater of time,” Lewis says, “everything happens at once.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matthew Rohrer
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1940696-03-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Brian McKenna
Every evening in the city
is a deep pool of wine

Everyone who lives in the city
is drunk with it

And cannot leave

            They are surrounded by friends
  • Subtitle A Biography
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Daniel Schreiber
  • Date Published August 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-2583-4
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 280pp
  • Price $35.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
The first biography since her death in 2004, Susan Sontag: A Biography by Daniel Schreiber, gives a straightforward account of a very complex life. Sontag graduated high school at fifteen, married at seventeen, earned a BA from the University of Chicago at eighteen, had a son at nineteen, and was divorced at twenty-five. Sontag left the academic world, not completing a doctorate, as she explained, in order to explore the world intellectually on her own terms. She was a novelist, cultural critic, filmmaker, stage director, playwright, and political activist. She became an international pop icon and intellectual celebrity. She wrote about photography, illness, human rights, AIDS, media, minority rights, and liberal politics. When doctors told her twice she had cancers that were rarely survivable, she survived by her own efforts to find new treatments.
  • Subtitle Three Novellas
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Patrick Modiano
  • Translated From the French
  • by Martin Polizzotti
  • Date Published November 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-300-19805-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 232pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Literary Nobel Laureates are not known for readability and popularity, yet the novels of 2014 winner Patrick Modiano (also winner of Prix Concourt and Prix MondialCino Del Duca for lifetime achievement) are easy to read and popular. His novels are short with short prose pages. Plus he recreates atmospheric noir settings, such as eerie dark abandoned castles or noble estates, and the characters he introduces are ever mysterious. His narrator, mostly unnamed and a persona for him, is constantly reminded of the past and wants to go back to understand it.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Lee Upton
  • Date Published July 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1936797141
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 220pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
“This is a book about ambition,” Lee Upton writes in the first section (aptly titled “Ambition”) of Swallowing the Sea. It would seem that Upton’s own ambition with this book is to discuss writing as a writer, and yet the book does so much more. For anyone in love with writing, Swallowing the Sea is an homage to the delicate, painful, and (for some) necessary impulse to write. Upton explores the process of writing, the hurdles and frustrations along the way, and the fervor of being an avid reader, while employing personal anecdotes, literary criticisms, and poetical metaphors to make sense of writing’s place in our culture.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Michael Burke
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-929355-50-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $15
  • Review by Elizabeth Townsend
Johnny ‘Blue’ Heron is a private eye more interested in sex and alcohol than the steady job he could have with the local police. Blue is hired by George Fuller to trai his son to find out if the younger Fuller is having an affair. This deceptively simple job lands Blue in the middle of affairs, intrigue, incest, corruption, and some rather shady business deals. Blue comes off as cynical sort of fellow, believing that no one is quite what they appear to be (“Always thought I was a fake, but aren’t we all. We invent ourselves and defy the world to discover the ruse.”), but he is surprisingly unaware of some people’s darker sides.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Micah Ling
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934513-25-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 58pp
  • Price $13.00
  • Review by Chey Davis
I am convinced this will end well,
That it will not be too late,
That it will take place without witnesses.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Zara Raab
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936370-44-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 116pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Kevin Brown
Zara Raab’s collection centers around place and people, the Eel of the title a river in California where generations of Raab’s family settled. Raab lets the reader know early on that place will serve as an important theme throughout the collection, as each of the three section titles relate to place: “A Land of Wonders,” “Coming to Branscomb,” and “Hills above the Eel.” The collection shows a place changing, moving from a place that is not even a town, where a family’s house can serve as the one-room schoolhouse, to a contemporary city, though still small, with contemporary troubles.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Hailey Leithauser
  • Date Published October 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-657-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
“If it could speak it would offer / you excess; it would / offer you more.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Abigail Cloud
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8071-5693-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
The poems in Sylph, Abigail Cloud’s debut collection, are comprised of multiple balancing acts. They are graceful, self-assured poems, beautifully executed with a tightly focused imagistic sensibility. But they are also searching, inquisitive poems—their arrivals are real-time events, self-discoveries. They have an airy quality, as the title of the collection would suggest (there are “wings” everywhere), yet are also deeply rooted in the material world. They are as at-home in myth and the spirit world, or the haunting voices in archives, as they are in the garden and in the home.
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