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Book Reviews by Title - W (78)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Taylor Mali
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-931307-34-5
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 31pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by Katy Haas

What do you do when the person who promised to stay with you for better and worse, sickness and health leaves? What if they leave by taking their own life? What do you do with the subsequent feelings of betrayal, sadness, and guilt? If you’re Taylor Mali, you write poetry about it. The Whetting Stone, winner of the 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize, encapsulates Mali’s grief in the aftermath of his wife’s suicide in 2004.

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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.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-194349105-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 218pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Jaimee Wriston Colbert has created an incredible connection between the endangered nature of humans and the environment around them. Wild Things is a collection of linked stories that showcase desperation and heartbreak felt by both humans and animals, and the landscape they are all trying to survive in. Colbert crafts a world all readers will be able to vividly picture, and that's if they haven't already experienced the all too true reality in each of the stories.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Marjorie Maddox
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942515-68-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

Regardless of how “evolved” our literary tastes may be, it’s probably safe to say that, amid the busy-ness of our lives, we may occasionally neglect to make time (or create the headspace) for subtleties, the nuances that allow us to reach a more tender place within ourselves, a place capable of recognizing that very tenderness within others. This is precisely the reason that What She Was Saying by Marjorie Maddox is a collection meant to be read during times of stillness, as a reprieve from the dissonance and incessant clatter of the world around us, so as to prevent the story beneath the story from being lost amid the din.

  • Subtitle Essays Mostly About Poetry
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Lawrence Raab
  • Date Published December 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-76-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 188pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Lawrence Raab poses the question Why Don’t We Say What We Mean? as the title of his newest book. To answer the question, he dissects various poems and comments on their authors. The title was pulled from a 1931 essay by Robert Frost called “Education by Poetry: A Meditative Monologue.” Frost wrote: “People say, ‘Why don’t you say what you mean?’ We never do that, do we, being all of us too much poets.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sherrie Flick
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938466-56-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

Forever keen on unearthing the wisdom within a tale, I embarked upon the reading of Whiskey, Etc. with the intention of gleaning some unmitigated truth, some absolutist’s insight into the complexity of the human condition. I even hoped to contain the elements of Sherrie Flick’s style within a box that was compact enough to easily carry. Yet, whatever it was that I deemed certain within one story dissolved the moment I turned the page to begin the next. The tangible was superseded by the ethereal; literality became symbolism. Just when I determined that Flick had set out to present snapshots of a single moment in time, unencumbered by the weight of meaning, I’d encounter a piece laden with melancholy or reminiscence. Plot was usurped by character, then character by plot.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-944-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 162pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone is a twelve story collection that throws readers headlong into the deepest depths of the human heart. Each story explores the real life vulnerability people deal with in their darkest hours while seamlessly enchanting the reader with characters that are magically fantastic. Readers will find themselves lost in the mix of these lovely yet terrifying stories.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Smolens
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-61186-197-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 267pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet

John Smolens, a Marquette, Michigan writer, has written three novels set in the UP. The first, Cold, was about an escaped convict and his latest, Wolf’s Mouth, has to do with an Italian prisoner who escapes from a POW camp in Au Train, near Munising. Prisoners of war numbered 400,000 in camps across the U.S., and more than one camp existed in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. This well-written novel offers fascinating information about the camps and especially how they were run, but is also a thriller with insights into human nature.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Ben Nickol
  • Date Published November 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938466-50-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 142pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Allyson Parsons
A collection of short stories that drips with artistry and revelatory truths, Where the Wind Can Find It is a masterful exploration of the struggle between who and where we were and are, and who we want to be.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by David Lazar
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9903221-1-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
Check out your favorite bookstore in May. That’s when Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy: An Essay on Love by David Lazar will be available, and it’s one fun book. Though it’s subtitled an essay, his ninth book is written in a series of short prose poems that mesh bits of autobiography with strong portions of mythology and dreams, accented with songs and movies.
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