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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Bhanu Kapil
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9844598-65
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Jodi Paloni
In first glancing through Schizophrene by Bhanu Kapil, I hardly felt at ease in reviewing a book that depicts the sentiments of the 1947 Partition of India, the aftermath of violence, the displacement, and mental illness, all in the form of prose poetry. I know little about the topic and the genre. The sheer emotional impact of reading disturbing sections out of context left a pit in my stomach. I was afraid to read the account in its entirety, but also, I was ashamed not to. The tome—not weighty in size, but in content—sat on my desk for weeks, haunting me, finding its way again and again to the top of my teetering stack. I’d glimpse the bright, inviting image on the cover, yet worry. What frightened me? Why was the book still there?
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Osamu Dazai
  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Allison Markin Powell
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-93554808-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 100pp
  • Price $11.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
A teenager goes about her day. Her activities—taking public transportation, going to school, cattily noticing what other women are wearing, doing chores—are ordinary ones. Equally normal are her feelings regarding the death of her father, the grief she and her mother share but can never comfort each other with, and longing for the close relationship she once shared with her married sister.
  • Subtitle Stories
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Ryan Habermeyer
  • Date Published May 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942683-60-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Evgeniya Monico

When first opening The Science of Lost Futures, I was already familiar with some of Ryan Habermeyer’s works, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Habermeyer’s mysterious fiction defied all my expectations. This collection of stories pulled me into the strange world where a woman can turn into a snow leopard, people admire a giant foot, and turkeys take over a house. These strange occurrences, however, become fantastic circumstances for Habermeyer to explore human relationships. In this collection of witty stories, Ryan Habermeyer places humans in bizarre and sometimes absurd conditions which creates a rich world with relationships at its center.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Darrin Doyle
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-998632599
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 285pp
  • Price $15.99
  • Review by Cody Lee

Scoundrels Among Us is definitely a man’s book. There aren’t too many female characters, and as much as I want to criticize it for that, I’d be lying if I said that the book never made me laugh. It’s full of terrible, dark humor, sometimes absurd—in the best possible way (think Daniil Kharms, or even Bob Kaufman). There are kids on fire, sitting in class with charred skin, a group of nine brothers that work at a Costco-esque department store, all pretending to be the same person, and a man, who’s dying alone in a forest, and his last wish is to have an extra-large Cajun Deluxe Meat Lovers pizza delivered to his exact, addressless location.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Dexter L. Booth
  • Date Published November 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-660-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 696pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
Scratching the Ghost is Dexter L. Booth’s first full-length book, though he has been published in a variety of literary magazines; this manuscript was the winner of the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. From the first stanza to the very last, I found myself reading like I had an addiction to his prose, and I just couldn’t put the book down. The beginning to one of his Abstracts:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Etel Adnan
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9844598-7-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 118pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
In the morning as I walk to work down the streets of San Francisco and the endless movement of fog and wind brings the crisp salt air in from off the bay water, setting it to swirling about the buildings and sidewalk, I’m oftentimes reminded of how much this really is a beach town. Etel Adnan’s Sea and Fog is an extended series of lyric meditations contemplating human desire, loss, war, art, and much more through the lens of writing towards this landscape, though Adnan’s own daily observations take place from her home in Sausalito across the bay. In these definitely ordered, yet infinitely variable, short prose-blocks, consciousness is fully immersed in the act of writing as motifs and concerns overlap and reoccur. There’s guiding awareness that “here,” wherever we may find ourselves, remains a definitive spot in observable time: “There’s a moment to the moment. We’re in the world.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by John Philip Drury
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-42-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann
I read half of the poetry in John Philip Drury’s newest book of poems Sea Level Rising while situated on a large towel on St. Augustine Beach along the Atlantic in Northern Florida. It was the ideal setting for contemplating as Drury expressed his love for the sights and sounds of the ocean. “I miss the rising tides,” he reminisces in the book’s title poem, “that bash the docks / and spatter brackish water in my face.”
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Solveig Eggerz
  • Date Published May 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0978945695
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 284pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
In Seal Woman, a historical novel by native Icelander Solveig Eggerz, Charlotte is a German wife and mother fleeing war-torn Berlin and the ghosts of her memory. One of more than 300 people responding to an ad for “strong women who can cook and do farm work” in Iceland, Charlotte hopes to live in a land without war memories – one she hopes will prove a refuge from the difficult recollections of her missing Jewish husband and their daughter.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Isabelle Baladine Howald
  • Translated From French
  • by Elena Rivera
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1886224919
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 27pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Joseph P. Wood
In one of the early poems of Isabella Baladine Howald’s haunting new collection, Secret of Breath, the poet writes, “What I love is not seeing, but the effort of seeing.” This untitled poem’s opening line could easily serve as the book’s Ars Poetica: Howald relentlessly self-interrogates as she scrutinizes the philosophical meaning behind her lover’s/husband’s death (it’s never quite specified who exactly died) – and, by extension, life.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Patrick Dobson
  • Date Published November 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8032-1616-7
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 279pp
  • Price $29.95
  • Review by Ann Beman
Blue Highways changed my life. I read William Least Heat-Moon’s account of his journey along the back roads of the United States when I was twenty, and I’ve been looking to repeat that literary thrill ever since. Enter Patrick Dobson, whose Great Plains quest, Seldom Seen, seems to plumb the philosophy of George Clooney’s Up in the Air character, Ryan Bingham. “Imagine for a second you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. […] Feel the weight of that bag,” says Bingham. “Make no mistake. Moving is living.”

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