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Book Reviews by Title - T (87)

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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Steven Gillis
  • Date Published 2008
  • ISBN-13 0976899361
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 203pp
  • Price $20.95
  • Review by Matt Bell
Like many readers my age, I grew up reading not literary fiction but the twin pillars of fantasy and science fiction.  As an adult, I've mostly left those pleasures behind, except for those genre-bending writers in the mainstream literary world, writers like George Saunders, Aimee Bender, Michael Chabon, or Jonathan Lethem. For the most part, I don't regret the transition in my reading habits, but I do miss the invented worlds and cultures that came with the best genre writing. Thankfully, Steven Gillis has created just such a place in Bamerita, the floating island country of his newest novel, Temporary People.  Much like Tolkien raiding Norse and Christian mythologies to create his own world, Gillis paints his culture with shades of Central American dictators and revolutions, then puts American pop songs on his character’s lips while giving them the oppression, ingenuity, and knowledge needed to forge true revolutionaries from Bamerita’s most common citizens.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Susanna J. Mishler
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59709-970-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 101pp
  • Price $11.00
  • Review by Andrea Dulberger
Termination Dust is the fitting title of Susanna J. Mishler’s first collection of poems. As this Alaska-based poet describes in a poem, “termination dust” is the name locals use for the first snowfall in autumn: it names the meeting point between seasons, and suggests an essential ending and beginning. Moments of such meeting-grounds—between humans, between the human and the wild—are key elements throughout the wide-ranging poems of this striking collection.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by G. C. Waldrep
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938160-63-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
“The body as sculpture,” Testament—G. C. Waldrep’s book-length poem—begins, and with it we feel the steadying gesture that prefaces any great feat—fingers at one’s temples, eyes closed, the breath held.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joseph Lease
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-258-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 78pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by James Meetze
To testify, in the Christian sense, is to tell the story of how one became a true Christian. In the legislative sense, to testify is to provide an account or evidence under oath in a court of law. In his new poetry collection, Testify, Joseph Lease seizes the cultural moment in which one’s testimony is as important as one’s identity, when testimony supersedes identity to the extent that it becomes identity. In our recent moment, we have seen America’s financial cornerstone crumble and watched those responsible (well, some of them, anyway) plead their ignorance and innocence interchangeably, while others have used religious belief systems to shake the very foundational elements of our nation.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction Anthology Edited
  • by J.L. Powers
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935955-22-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 300pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Denise Hill
That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone is a collection of personal essays from adults who survived childhood in various warzones around the globe. As much as this is a collection of stories about the atrocities of war, it is also, and maybe even more so, a collection of stories of hope for peace. Alia Yunis, in his examination of the Israel-Palestine conflict, comments: “A child can flee the war . . . or the war can stop. But in most cases, children become the adult voices in the background soundtrack of a new generation’s war.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Stu Krieger
  • Date Published November 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1941861-44-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 361pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

What if Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of JFK was thwarted? What if a hardworking FBI agent discovered the 9/11 plot and arrested the terrorists before they boarded planes? What if an 80-year-old Martin Luther King swore Barak Obama into office as the 44th president? What if a California screenwriter and professor, Stu Krieger, followed four families through these what-ifs from 1963 to 2009? Well, that would be That One Cigarette.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Ken Mikolowski
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4065-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 71pp
  • Price $14.99
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Haiku is excessive. What luxury. In five mere words, Ken Mikolowski can do what the ancients needed seventeen syllables to accomplish in his book That That. Take the poem “No more / and / no less.” This says it all. It says everything that is needed to be said. It is a commentary on the state of the art and on the personal lives that we all carry in ourselves. Math uses simplification to produce elegant equations. In this same vein, Mikolowski uses reduction to get to the heart of the issue. These poems take on enormous universal equations by mimicking tiny proverbs. It is a great read for the age of Tweets. It reaches hearts and minds with the wisdom of Solomon using the tactics of a Facebook advertisement.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mark Statman
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935084-81-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 126pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
At first I was baffled by Mark Statman’s style—succinct, clipped verses, and scant punctuation. But as I progressed through the pages of his new poetry book That Train Again, his poems took on more meaning. Having published numerous books of poetry and now teaching literary studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, Statman’s skill and experience shows throughout this collection.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Keith Ratzlaff
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1934695104
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 98pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Roy Wang
Keith Ratzlaff would like some answers. Or perhaps he would like a world that didn't need so much explaining. This collection of anecdotes and meditations, despite not being dramatically questioning, still seem to present the ghost of “I don't know why, do you?” From stories of misbehaving, fighting relatives to portraits of paintings in Amsterdam, a current of surprise runs through the plain text and action that reminds us that there are things worth knowing before we pass judgment on our neighbors.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Michael Klein
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9823594-1-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 63pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kimberly Steele
When Ben Franklin famously wrote “Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes,” he was not only ripping off Daniel Defoe, but he was also failing to anticipate Michael Klein’s second poetry book in 17 years, then, we were still living. Klein doesn’t actually have much to say about taxes, but he might take issue with “death” being “certain,” at least in the fatalistic way we tend to perceive it.
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