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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Maureen A. Sherbondy
  • Date Published 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59948-186-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Rachel S. King
My poetry workshop recently concluded all poems are about loss. To a certain extent, all stories are too. Maureen Sherbondy’s short stories in The Slow Vanishing definitely follow this theme. The title is evidence, as are the stories inside. There are vanishing limbs, vanishing mothers, vanishing children, and vanishing commas. In many cases, Sherbondy literalizes an emotional loss. A husband doesn’t just feel like his wife is lost because she isn’t doing her normal routine; she actually is lost, and he has to deal with it. Parents don’t feel like they’ve lost their children when they head out on their own; the children actually fly away. This literalization is a wonderfully imaginative way to tell a story, as well as great way to raise crucial questions about life, and how it can be lived.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Kirsten Kaschock
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-275-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 330pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
The creation of an entirely new form of performance art—drawing from modern dance, spoken word, and architecture—provides a provocative debut novel by Kirsten Kaschock. Sleight attempts to address the ever-pervasive issue of how art should function in and respond to the tragedies of the modern world. With an array of characters depicted in lyrical, short language, the novel unfolds in traditional from, small plays, word sequences, and boxes filled with words that experiment with the novel form in a self-reflective manner, allowing further introspection.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kathrin Schaeppi
  • Date Published January 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9825731-5-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 155pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Sonja Sekula (1918-1963) was a Swiss “poète-peintre” (poet-painter) who lived for a time in New York, was a colleague and friend of better known artists of her time (Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, John Cage, Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst), experimented with “blended poetic word combinations” in her visual work, and spent much time “in and out of clinics” because, Schaeppi explains in her book’s epilogue, “her many secret art books and diaries tell of her passion for women in a time when same-sex love was considered a pathology to be cured with extreme treatments.”
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  • Book Type with Polaroids
  • by Tim Rutili
  • Date Published April 2010
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 103pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Kristin Abraham
In his fifth book, Joshua Marie Wilkinson (in collaboration with photographer Tim Rutili) presents to us Polaroid photographs and poetry in gorgeous interplay. The text, broken into five poems/sections with words on the verso and images on the recto, is a fairly quick, very enjoyable read on the surface, but beyond the surface it achieves a brilliant complexity that haunts readers long after they put down the book.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Megan Volpert
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937420-04-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 62pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Gina Myers
The prose pieces in Megan Volpert’s new collection of poetry, Sonics in Warholia, read more like essays, but defining or discussing the boundaries of different genres serves no purpose and would completely miss the mark of this stunning collection. Comprised of eight pieces, the book offers extended meditations, both far-reaching and deeply personal, surrounding the biography of (and addressed to the ghost of) Andy Warhol. Throughout the book, Volpert masterfully weaves together seemingly disparate images, events, and ideas to brilliantly create complete and coherent essays that can appeal to both those who are familiar and those who are unfamiliar with Warhol’s life and work. Volpert’s vision is clever, touching, and singular.
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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.
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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 Poetry
  • by Mary Biddinger
  • Date Published June 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0982876619
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 48pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by H. V. Cramond
When we first meet Saint Monica, she is covered in gauze and iodine. The epigraph that introduces Mary Biddinger's Saint Monica informs us that the historical St. Monica was student to St. Ambrose, mother to St. Augustine, and wife of an abusive, alcoholic pagan. That Monica, patron saint of adultery victims, alcoholism, and of course, disappointing children, spent much of her time working for the redemption of her husband and once wayward offspring.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Date Published May 2010
  • ISBN-13 1936071649
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Laura Pryor
Anton Waker’s parents are dealers in stolen goods, and his devious cousin Aria recruits Anton’s help in setting up a business forging passports and social security cards. But all Anton wants is to be an ordinary corporate drone, living a simple, lawful life. He quits Aria’s business, gets himself a fake Harvard diploma and snags a job at Water Incorporated, determined to go straight. He gets engaged to a beautiful cellist with the New York Philharmonic and looks forward to a mundane, middle class existence.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Ange Mlinko
  • Date Published April 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-243-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 81pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Christine Kanownik
Ange Mlinko’s previous books have earned her much praise and fanfare and it does seem like she deserves it. Her third book, Shoulder Season, is sharp, entertaining and engaging. Her poems are timely and important. There are very few poets who can accomplish this feat. She is grappling with the world as it is. The landscapes are chaotic but the messages are not didactic.
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