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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kate Fadick
  • Date Published March 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9975805
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 25pp
  • Price $8.50
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Poet Kate Fadick (who uses the pronouns “they, them, their”) has written a compact and thematically focused chapbook of poems inspired by the life of the German Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard died in 1179 but remains remarkable for her ecological/cosmological mysticism as well as her achievements in music, theology, languages, playwriting, natural science and botany. Fadick, who only began writing poetry in their late 60’s, is the author of a previous chapbook of poems, Slipstream, published by Finishing Line Press in March, 2013.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by A.G. Harmon
  • Date Published July 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-97-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 228pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Some Bore Gifts is a fantastical take on the inner workings on the average person’s conscious mind. It is clear A.G. Harmon is precise and specific when it comes to each and every detail that he either includes or omits. The precise attention to detail and the playfulness applied to the everyday character in these stories will enchant and affect each and every person that flips through its pages.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Alice Kaltman
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9860922-7-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 248pp
  • Price $8.99
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

If you are looking for a contemporary, kooky, relatable read, look no further than Alice Kaltman’s Staggerwing. This collection of short stories is reminiscent of that ‘I can’t remember why I walked into the room’ feeling, something everyone can relate to. The characters are original and full of life, while also exhibiting off-the-wall characteristics. Staggerwing will have you barking out a laugh as its characters attempt to look graceful while walking across a tightrope.

  • Subtitle A Diary of My Sixty-First Year
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Ian Brown
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61519-350-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 320pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience your 60th birthday. Ian Brown did in 2014 and decided to begin a year of journaling he turned into a memoir titled, Sixty: A Diary of My Sixty-First Year. Here’s what he wrote on February 4th, his birthday: “At sixty [ . . . ] you are suddenly looking into the beginning of the end, the final frontier where you will either find the thing your heart has always sought, which you have never been able to name, or you won’t.” Then in May he wrote: “Lying in bed, I couldn’t overcome the fear that I have wasted my life, wrecked it, spoiled it.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Matt Tompkins
  • Date Published June 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942387-06-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Katy Haas

The surreal collides with the real in Souvenirs & Other Stories by Matt Tompkins. While the situations presented are undoubtedly strange—a father evaporates and joins the water system, a man watches the world burn after a botched eye surgery, mountain lions move into a family’s basement, knickknacks and furniture appear in a woman’s apartment—they’re still grounded in reality.

  • Subtitle Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Karen Finley
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-87286-691-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 168pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If reading about bodily functions, bodily excretions, or strange items put into body orifices offends you, be forewarned, they’ll clobber you in Shock Treatment, the 25th anniversary reissue of Karen Finley’s 1990 book.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Rudolfo Anaya
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8061-5226-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by David Morgan O'Connor
“We live for a brief moment en este valle de lágrimas”

Maybe that’s why there is no resolution in my letters. There is no hero announcing at the end that good will triumph over evil [ . . . ] If my letters were a plea for sanity, then writing them was worthwhile [ . . . ] Remember, the observer of any artistic work changes the work, and in turn is changed by it.
  • Subtitle Memories of America’s Most Hated Vice - Unfiltered Stories
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Lizzy Miles
  • Date Published January 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781937574086
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by David Breithaupt

Before we get started and you make suppositions from the title of this book, allow me to quote editor Lizzy Miles—founder of the Death Café of central Ohio where any participant is welcome to come and discuss issues of mortality—from the introduction: “Despite any appearances to the contrary, this is not a pro-smoking book; neither is it an anti-smoking book. This is not a commentary on smoking in society: this book captures our personal love/hate relationships with cigarettes and the habit of smoking.”

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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 Selah Saterstrom
  • Date Published August 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-395-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 186pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Selah Saterstrom’s Slab opens with a gripe, or a warning, perhaps, that the play won’t start. But then it does, and from page one, the story takes off at a breakneck pace and proceeds with all the force of a hurricane.
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