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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Elena Ferrante
  • Date Published September 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-134-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 480pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante is the second volume of a trilogy. It is a novel of a complex friendship between two women, Lenú and Lila, that goes forward with intellectual intimacy, competition, loyalty, anger, and excruciating love. In the first book of this series, My Brilliant Friend, Lenú, in her sixties, learns that Lila has disappeared. She recreates their girlhood sharing fairytale dreams to escape a post-war Neapolitan neighborhood bleeding from fatalism and old betrayals. Lila, risk-taker and quick study, and Lenú the striver carry on friendly competition in school. Lenú is allowed to continue her education while Lila is compelled to work with her shoemaker father. Lenú begins rigorous secondary studies. Lila pulls herself into middle-class comfort at sixteen by marrying an ambitious grocer. The second book picks up at this point.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matt Schumacher
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1877655579
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Micah Zevin
Matt Schumacher's first collection of poetry is an otherworldly journey of linguistic inventiveness that keeps you directly on this earth while simultaneously transporting you to locations that at first glance appear strange or surreal but become familiar once you peer into their profound insides. These poems make up a cosmic parade where you will meet cowboys from Venus, pizzas that fly and ghosts who haunt spaceships. Ultimately, these poems are about the redemption of humanity in spite of the obstacles you have to overcome and the distances you must travel to arrive at familiar, yet alien, destinations. The poem “Old West Town Discovered on Venus” takes the reader on a journey to one of these planets:
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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 Short Stories
  • by Norman Waksler
  • Date Published August 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0981589923
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 132pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
Norman Waksler’s second short story collection Signs of Life reveals just that. Throughout these colorful vignettes, the reader detects signs of life, a glimpse of those small elements that illustrate humanity’s solidarity. The six stories tumble through our consciousness, some unearthing a longing for the past or the sweet innocence of first love, others revealing the inevitable regret that stems from apathy and the dull disappointment of the typical workday.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Lucia Nevai
  • Date Published June 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979419836
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
Crane Cavanaugh is one of the most endearing, strange and exceptional protagonists I have encountered in recent memory. Take the strong opening of the prologue:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Laura McCullough
  • Date Published 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9826364-4-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Skip Renker
What do Ms. McCullough’s poems signify? How can speech act? How are actions inhabited/inhibited by speech? Who’s on first, noun or verb? Penis or vagina? Sex or love or both? Or an avocado that might taste like vanilla? Who’s Ms. McCullough in these pages?
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Penelope Scambly Schott
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-932412-843
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Therese Halscheid
In Six Lips, the poet Penelope Scambly Schott explores opposites and interconnectedness, in all its many forms. Her opening poem, “Compass” points us in that direction.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Claire Hero
  • Date Published May 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934819-08-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 82pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kate Angus
Sing, Mongrel, Claire Hero’s first full-length collection, proposes a central conceit where the born and the made merge to make a disturbing and lovely hybrid music.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Celia Gilbert
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1935402343
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 86pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
In these beautifully crafted poems, Celia Gilbert explores love and loss and what it means to be a daughter and a Jew. There’s hardly a poem here that doesn’t ache with feeling.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Curtis Smith
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1934081044
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 164pp
  • Price $13.50
  • Review by Matt Bell
Told in chapters which alternate viewpoints between its dual protagonists, the plot of Curtis Smith's Sound + Noise is quieter than its title suggests – it is less the thrashing of a building cacophony than it is the last gentle notes of a favorite ballad. Tom and Jackie are both people with heavy pasts, the kind that refuse to let them move forward with their lives as fully as they might like until, little by little, they help each other to start again. Tom's past is personified in the comatose person of his wife Karen, while Jackie's is tied up in the past life she led as a backup singer for a famous country band. For each of them, part of what makes their pasts so daunting to overcome is that they love the lives they once led – Tom loves his wife, but from the very beginning it is obvious that she's never going to awaken from her coma. Similarly, Jackie looks backwards from her new life as the owner of a local bar where she sings once a week, often covering the very band she was once a member of.
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