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Book Reviews by Title - W (78)

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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 Poetry
  • by Alex Lemon
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-450-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 136pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Andrea Dulberger
I was drawn to reading Alex Lemon’s The Wish Book partly from the surreal quality of its cover which features fish floating over a well-dressed bird-headed character while a mustached man reads a newspaper of poems, and a dapper potato-headed figure of many eyes lifts the arm of his suit where a large insect pokes free. Yet there are many contemporary poets who seem to draw surreal dream-like worlds on the page; that alone isn’t enough to make a book stand out for me.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Julia Elliott
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935639-92-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Kirsten McIlvenna
Flipping a page in Julia Elliott’s short story collection The Wilds is opening a page upon whole new futuristic worlds that do not stray that far from our own. On one page you’ll enter a spa for “bodily restoration” with goat-milk-and-basil soaks, kelp baths, and lunches of raw vegetables and fermented organ meats. Turn the page and you’ll enter a scientist’s lab where a sexless robot falls in love. Further in still, you’ll discover a disease that feeds on teenagers, causing them to obsess over videogames or social-networking sites and to have a social withdrawal and “a voracious appetite for junk food.”

  • 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.
  • Subtitle A Novella & Stories
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Bonnie ZoBell
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941209-00-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Bad Things never choose their location. A storm’s path is traceable but its final destination can be wider and more destructive than projected. Earthquakes, tsunamis and twisters strike without warning.

Humans cause Bad Things too. The real-life event that connects the stories in Bonnie ZoBell’s unsettling What Happened Here is the kind of Bad Thing that receives attention when it occurs, on anniversaries, and when something equally terrible happens. In 1978, Pacific Southwest Flight 182 collided with a private Cessna plane over the San Diego neighborhood of North Park. The Cessna’s pilot failed to inform air traffic control of their course change, the other pilot was unable to see the other plane on the radar, and air traffic control ignored the alarm that the planes were heading toward each other. The result: 137 people from both planes were killed, seven died on the ground with nine more injured and 22 homes destroyed. It remains the deadliest air disaster in California history.
  • Subtitle (& Other Poems)
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jeanne Larsen
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0932412-959
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Why We Make Gardens, Jeanne Larsen’s second book of poetry, is divided into five sections: “Elementals,” “Generations,” “That Green Expiring Close,” “Annihilating All That’s Made,” and “Pleasance.” Each poem incorporates the word “garden” in the title in some way—some are more metaphysical, such as “Garden of Bitterness,” and some are more literal, such as “Garden After Winter’s First Storm.” The book is unified through this theme of gardens, yet Larsen’s finely tuned sensibilities never allow the poems to fall into redundancy.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matt Hart
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-453-83227-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 90pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
In a poem that couldn’t be more aptly titled, “Poem,” the poet philosophizes: “The problem of meaning can’t begin / until you think it.” Judging from these quirky and oddly appealing poems, I would say that Hart thinks about meaning, meaning he thinks about thinking, a lot. His preoccupations—running, his dog, his marriage, his baby, his students—are excuses (reasons?) to think about meaning.
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  • Book Type Essays
  • by Curtis Smith
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1934513286
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 150pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Ann Beman
Recently, I failed to participate in National Novel Writing Month. But…while I wasn’t writing a 50,000-word novel, I was staying abreast of NaNoWriMo’s weekly missives from well-known authors. I caught the pep talk penned by Lemony Snicket in the same week I read Curtis Smith’s Witness. “Writing a novel is a tiny candle in a dark, swirling world,” Snicket wrote.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sam Savage
  • Date Published February 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-312-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 152pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
Sam Savage’s narrator Harold Nivenson is, in Harold’s own words, a minor artist. Yet The Way of the Dog, though a slim novel, is anything but a minor work.
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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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