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Book Reviews by Title - W (81)

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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Ron MacLean
  • Date Published August 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0974428857
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 210pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Ron MacLean, author of the 2004 novel Blue Winnetka Skies, surges forward with his new collection of short stories, Why the Long Face? The collection’s witty, and at times wry, take on the ordinary stuff of life works to subtly reveal the extraordinary nature hidden in even the most common events.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Fred Arroyo
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8165-0233-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Sarah Carson
Don’t let the title of Fred Arroyo’s latest collection of short stories, Western Avenue and Other Fictions, fool you. “Fiction” is hardly the right word for what Arroyo has done here. If these insightful, living, breathing stories are fiction, I’d be hard pressed to imagine what reality must look like.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Margaret Christakos
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55245-204-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
Reading Margaret Christakos’s poetry on the page is like reading sheet music. You don’t get the full effect until you hear it. And when you do hear it, when you read it aloud to yourself, you realize that the music is wildly experimental and takes some participation. Christakos, in What Stirs, challenges you to meet her halfway. There’s nothing passive about these poems.
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  • Book Type Essays
  • by Fanny Howe
  • Date Published March 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-520-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 196pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Fanny Howe, author of more than two dozen books of fiction and poetry and two collections of essays, comes forth with a poignant new collection of essays in The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. Hers is an idea-driven collection that reveals her pursuit of the writing life, her “vocation that has no name.” The Winter Sun is ultimately a necessary work that finds its own moment in time both by looking back to trace the flight pattern Howe has traversed as an author, and by analyzing the means at which we come to arrive in the present.
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  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0811218375
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
These ancient Japanese poems, translated by Rexroth and selected by Eliot Weinberger, are mostly about love, and one who has never loved would be well advised to avoid them. The heartache in many of them is palpable, both through imagery and direct statement. Several, though, are nature poems keenly observed, as in this one by Fujiwara No Sueyoshi (1152-1211):
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Melissa Broder
  • Date Published February 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9841025-4-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Michael Flatt
Melissa Broder’s When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother is a collection of narrative portraits, most of them less than flattering. The speaker in this collection is nothing if not critical. Of the woman with suburban ideals, who “should be left to rot in her / dream car with a frozen Jenny Craig / glazed salmon.” Of an aging camp counselor, a “hippie phenomenon / but she is more crow’s feet than feathers.” Of middle-aged men wearing unhip t-shirts, “age 35, attempt / one last punch at design-y-ness.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Mary Hamilton
  • Date Published July 2010
  • ISBN-13 9780978984892
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 36pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Alex Myers
Winner of the Rose Metal Fourth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest, We Know What We Are is packed full of thirteen micro-fictions. Sometimes stories, sometimes beautiful word play, this collection is a stunning amalgam of brevity and depth.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Claire Becker
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9801938-4-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Kristen Heine
We tend to have expectations for who people should be, what things we should do, how language should act... all of these ideas for what the world and our lives should be like. Everything has its place. Claire Becker, in her collection of poetry, Where We Think It Should Go, asks us to take a step back from those traditional (mis)conceptions. She uses language to play with boundaries, and moves us to see that we can perhaps better make sense of things when they’re less clear:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jeremy Halinen
  • Date Published 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9830448-0-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Angela Veronica Wong
Jeremy Halinen’s debut book of poems, What Other Choice, is an urgent collection of poems, driven by acknowledging the physicality of being gay in spaces that do not always allow for it. Exploring bodies—“as if my body // had been the trap,” Halinen writes—through sex and through violence is a focus throughout the collection. Halinen writes the body as a thing understood and alien, as something presented and interpreted, as something that is not necessarily but also necessarily representative of the self: “If…this body / a magnet, // would you understand / why I was here?”
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Nora Eisenberg
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1931896474
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Jessica Powers
Nora Eisenberg tackles a touchy topic in When You Come Home – specifically, she writes about the mysterious Gulf War illness that afflicted a quarter of returning soldiers from the Gulf War, but, more generally, she explores the damage that soldiers sustain physically and emotionally during wartime.
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