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Book Reviews by Title - W (81)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by J.L. Powers
  • Date Published January 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941026-04-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Denise Hill

Under Water is the sequel to J.L Powers’ 2012 novel This Thing Called the Future. Despite the six-year interval between episodes, I hadn’t forgotten Khosi; her little sister Zi; and Little Man, childhood friend and blossoming love interest of Khosi’s. Within the first few pages of the book, I had been brought right back into their lives, immediately following the death of Khosi’s mother and then grandmother. This Thing Called the Future endeared me to the no-nonsense Khosi and the hard choices she was faced with making in her life, as well as the realities of how she knew—or didn’t know—those closest to her. Under Water moves seamlessly from that first piece of South African life into this continuation, which is just as relentlessly hard-edged and heartfelt.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alison Stine
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-029928314-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
The title of Alison Stine’s collection Wait—and the repetition of this word in its multitudinous forms throughout the work—suggests a passivity and loss or relinquishment of control, which seem to be the driving force behind much of the book’s thematic content. Wait presents itself from an almost stark, feminine—if not feminist—perspective, with subjects who are distant and passive, but not without some veiled level of control. This power is deployed, among other means, through the forcefulness and tight control of the poet’s language, in sharply crafted poems which alternate between small consistent selections of loose forms. In one line alone, the talented Stine has the power to simultaneously wax nostalgic about a carefree, country childhood and come down critically on misogyny and the notion of the patriarchy.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Peter Grandbois
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1877655821
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Patricia Contino
The best movie monsters come back to life in sequels or remakes that can be masterpieces (Aliens) or miscalculations (the two American Godzillas). The late Friday night TV marathons or Saturday afternoon matinees that influenced at least three generations of movie makers and goers are a regular part of Turner Classic Movie Channel’s schedule. Like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (his monster played by Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and Benedict Cumberbatch to name a few), classic movie monsters endear because they are more human than their creators or tormentors.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Elizabeth Swados
  • Date Published June 2011
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Patricia Contino
It wasn’t that long ago when Broadway producers put originality before the box office and tourists. In 1979, the New York Shakespeare Festival moved Runaways, another in a series of sold-out shows (the most successful 1975’s A Chorus Line; the most recent 2010’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), uptown from Astor Place. The musical, featuring real runaway teenagers, was composed, written, and directed by Elizabeth Swados. Runaways received multiple Tony nominations and established Liz Swados’s reputation. As she makes clear in Waiting: Selected Nonfiction, she has been “trashed, resurrected, trashed, and mentored dozens of young artists. I’ve survived well.” Despite its brief length, Waiting is a thoroughly friendly introduction to Swados’s life and work, a wistful remembrance of a vibrant era in New York theatre, and a perceptive look at how theatre is created.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Dominique Fabre
  • Translated From French
  • by Jordan Stump
  • Date Published February 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0977857692
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
In Dominique Fabre’s The Waitress Was New, the narrator Pierre, affectionately known as Pierrounet, is a veteran bartender in the Parisian suburb of Asnières. He is fifty-six and has worked at Le Cercle bistro for 30 years. He spends his days watching people rush to and from the train station, serving his customers, empathizing with them and even, at times, emulating them – a young man in black broods over a beer and Primo Levi and Pierre attempts to read If This Is a Man at home just “to keep up on things.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kate Daniels
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0807137062
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 78pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Larry O. Dean
I was fortunate to hear Kate Daniels read many of the poems from A Walk in Victoria's Secret when it was still a work-in-progress. I'm a firm believer in getting a poet's verbal take on their own work, and while I've been disappointed on some occasions (Wallace Stevens, anybody?), the experience is often revelatory. Daniels was not particularly intense or melismatic in her delivery, but she was involved in the poems well beyond the performance itself—connected might be a better word. The effect of that connection was that she-as-reader was a potent conductor not just of the words on the page, but the emotive power beneath them—she conveyed that sentiment without telegraphing it ahead, or lapsing into sentimentality; a distinct advantage when you are a narrative poet, which resulted in an audience that hung engrossedly on her every word.
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  • Book Type Anthology edited
  • by Grace L. Dillon
  • Date Published March 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8165-2982-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 272pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
Science fiction is nothing if not an enigmatic and eclectic genre. It’s a category of literature that would seem to take a number of subgenres—from imagined alternate histories, fantasy, magical realism, cyber punk, and everything in between—and deliver it as a multiplicity of reading experiences for its fans. As Ray Bradbury argued, “Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. . . . Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Lucy Biederman
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-925417-57-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 65pp
  • Price $12.99
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Lucy Biederman’s newest project The Walmart Book of the Dead has been called “fearsome,” “extraordinary,” and “inventive.” In a work that Biederman calls experimental, she puts together a collection of spells that are meant to remind the reader of the Egyptian Book of the Dead—but in this collection, the tomb is a Walmart.

  • Subtitle New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings
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  • Book Type Nonfiction Edited
  • by Steve Paul, Gail Sinclair, & Steven Trout
  • Date Published January 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1606351758
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 276pp
  • Price $65.00
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
Hemingway’s literary world is nothing if not well-studied. Between 1917 -1929, Ernest Hemingway’s early adult years are marked with journalism, war, marriage, expatriation, and his own struggles as a writer attempting to make inroads into the growing scene of European literati. Where most scholarly work has focused on Hemingway’s personal journey in his literary career, the surrounding contexts of his work are less emphasized. In War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings, editors Steve Paul, Gail Sinclair, and Steven Trout focus on the social and cultural histories of Hemingway’s early work, highlighting detail from a swarm of Hemingway scholars.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Oliver Hodges
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59948-288-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $8.00
  • Review by Patricia Contino
For better and usually much worse, fictional runaway teenage girls end up on ships bound for the colonies, the big city of offices and/or brothels, behind enemy lines, or never far from an estate with a wealthy young landowner. Ruth is the Florida native taking refuge in an upstate New York commune in John Oliver Hodges’ neo-Gothic coming-of-age novella, War of the Crazies. Though set in 1989, the situations this 19-year-old beauty finds herself in recall those of her literary ancestresses: growing up too fast, local men and boys falling hard for her, the hysterical obsessive of love (Silva, who prefers “meditation over medication”), and a serious household accident.
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