BHB’s Prose Editor Reviews Brewer’s Latest

Charles Rammelkamp, our prose editor here at BHB, recently reviewed Shirley J. Brewer’s Bistro in Another Realm.  The review appears in the August edition of The Lake.  Rammelkamp’s insightful review highlights Brewer’s masterful musicality and humor.  You can read the review here.

Shirley J. Brewer is an accomplished Baltimore poet currently in residence at the Carver Center for the Arts & Technology.  Bistro in Another Realm is her latest collection of poems.

New review for Doritt Carroll’s GLTTL STP

Featured on Washington Independent Review Of Books, Grace Cavalieri reviewed Doritt Carroll’s GLTTL STP while showcasing Carroll’s poems.

Check out Cavalieri’s review below:

GLTTL STPThe title stands for glottal stop, a choking sound produced in the throat; and the words’ conversion to a book title without vowels is just one  sample of a woman who is a risk taker and a safety net all it once. Dorrit Carroll is sublime. What does she do and how does she do it? First, we start with the quality of her mind – the poem cannot be any better than the person who presses it into being. Her mind is like a giant constellation from which tiny zodiacs occur perfectly formed.

From the poem father:

… I say that I can’t miss you/because you are inside me/is it your lips/or mine/that press together/as if they are sealing off/an envelope of disappointment//your or my finicky way/of straightening a desk/pinching each paperclip/between thumb and forefinger/as if it’s a dead fly//and whose measuring eyes/appraise me/from the mirror//composed/perhaps/to a fault

Or look at this poem titled p.m.:

the night you/ gurgled yourself dead/your breaths sounded like/bubbles blown through a stroll//as if the milk of you were being drunk /by a greedy child somewhere/with no manners// and then at last the straw hit/the bottom of the glass/because the bubble stopped//and you/glass that you were/looked no different/empty/than you had/full

Sometimes she just snapshots a scene:

the Christmas trees

lie on their sides

on the curb

as if they’d been shot

just steps from their

front doors

as if they’d almost

made it

to safety

Doritt Carroll’s poetry is concrete and allegorical at once. Poetry never repeats itself and yet   poems are made of the same old words we all use. Caroll’s impulses are her ideas. She hones each thought diligently until it acts precisely the way she chooses. Anyone can have a flash/an inspiration, but the implementation tells all. These are carefully made poems from templates that have antecedents in our craft, but that are particularly targeted on a page that could belong to no one else. Who knows what Carroll is made of and she, herself, wonders here:

valentine

the heart

is a complicated instrument
 

four adjoining chambers

in which
 

God knows what

goes on

To check out more of Cavalieri’s reviews, go here.

A huge congratulations to Charlie Bondhus!

Charlie Bondhus’ second poetry book All the Heat We Could Carry won Main Street Rag’s Annual Poetry Book Award for 2013. Bondhus has also published How the Boy Might See It which was a finalist for the 2007 Blue Light Press First Book Award. His chapbook What We Have Learned to Love won BrickHouse Books’ 2008-2009 Stonewall Award. Congrats Charlie!

Calling all WWII enthusiasts…

path-of-valor-a-marines-story

For all our readers interested in World War II novels, check out BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ review for Path of Valor: A Marine’s Story by George Derryberry.

To read the review go here.

For more reviews, check out Chamber Four’s blog here.

Book Review for BhB Director’s The White Rail

whiterailBlog Chamber Four has recently reviewed BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ book The White Rail in their recent literary reviews. Filled with details, analysis, and a strong summary, reviewer Charles Rammelkamp assess The White Rail with great enthusiasm and understanding of the novel.

Below is an excerpt from Rammelkamp’s review:

Reading Clarinda Harriss’s fiction is like reading another version of Laura Lippman’s and Anne Tyler’s Baltimores mixed up together, from the genteel dilapidation of old Baltimore to the dangerous underbelly of the city’s streets. The White Rail is a slender volume, precious as a poetry collection, consisting of six stories, all set in Baltimore or nearby…

To read the full review go here and make sure to check out Chamber Four and their other literary reviews!

New review for All the Heat We Could Carry

Chamber Four, a blog that provides a plethora of information about publishing, literature, and ereading technology, has reviewed All the Heat We Could Carry by Charlie Bondhus. The review does a wonderful job of providing background on the author and book along with providing their favorite lines from All the Heat We Could Carry.alltheheatwecouldcarry

Short preview of Chamber Four’s review:

Winner of the 2013 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, Charlie Bondhus’ All the Heat We Could Carry is a meditation on war, the effects of war, particularly on gay soldiers, specifically with regard to the endless war in Afghanistan in the 21st century.  Shifting scenes from the home front in America to Afghanistan and back again, these poems expose the emotions and perspectives of soldiers, in the midst of conflict in the strange, alien terrain of  war and in the familiar, but now no less alien, environs of home.

The title comes from a line in “April,” the final poem in the middle section, a poem about the beginning of the end of a romantic relationship.  For one of the storylines in this collection is about the break-up of two lovers affected by the war.

Make sure to check out Chamber Four’s full review here and to check out their blog overall! Another great resource for book lovers. Many thanks to Chamber Four for their beautifully written review.

Master List of Finalists for National Book Awards

The National Book Awards are almost like the Emmys or Oscars for the book lovers out there. Yes, we will bet on who we think will win for the categories (Fiction, Non-fiction, Young People,  and Poetry). Yes, we make huge announcements who wins what and whether it was well deserved. While it might not be a Twitter trending topic nation wide, it’s important in the literary world. And this past Wednesday, October 16th, the finalists were announced. Now  we’ll scramble to read all the books and try to figure out who will win.

Each book and full review can be found on Amazon.

Fiction:

flamethrower1.  Rachel Kushner for The Flamethrowers (Scribner)

The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. At its center is Kushner’s brilliantly realized protagonist, a young woman on the verge. Thrilling and fearless, this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imagination.”

lowland

2. Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland (Knopf)

“Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.”

thegood

3. James McBride for The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead)

“An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.”

bleedingedge

4. Thomas Pynchon for Bleeding Edge (Penguin Press)

“If not here at the end of history, when? If not Pynchon, who? Reading Bleeding Edge, tearing up at the beauty of its sadness or the punches of its hilarity, you may realize it as the 9/11 novel you never knew you needed… a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for.” -Slate.com

tenthofdecember

5. George Saunders for Tenth of December (Random House)

“Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should ‘prepare us for tenderness.'”

Non-fiction:

jilllepore

1. Jill Lepore for Book of Ages (Knopf)

“To stare at these siblings is to stare at sun and moon. But in Jill Lepore’s meticulously constructed biography, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, recently placed on the long list of nominees for the National Book Award in nonfiction, this moon casts a beguiling glow….Consistently first rate.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

hiterlsfuries

2. Wendy Lower for Hitler’s Furies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“Hitler’s Furies builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally “lost generation” of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post–World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement—a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide…..Hitler’s Furies will challenge our deepest beliefs: genocide is women’s business too, and the evidence can be hidden for seventy years.”

theunpacking

3. George Packer for The Unwinding (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer’s novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.”

internalenemy

4. Alan Taylor for The Internal Enemy (Norton)

“This searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian reveals the pivot in the nation’s path between the founding and civil war.”

goingclear

5. Lawrence Wright for Going Clear (Knopf)

“In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.”

Young People’s Literature:

truescouts

1. Kathi Appelt for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum)

“Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt presents a story of care and conservation, funny as all get out and ripe for reading aloud.”

thingaboutluck

2. Cynthia Kadohata for The Thing About Luck (Atheneum)

“There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family in this novel from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.”

farfaraway

3. Tom McNeal for Far Far Away (Knopf)

“Veteran writer Tom McNeal has crafted a young adult novel at once grim(m) and hopeful, full of twists, and perfect for fans of contemporary fairy tales like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Holly Black’s Doll Bones. The recipient of five starred reviews, Publishers Weekly called Far Far Away ‘inventive and deeply poignant.'”

Picture Me Gone

4. Meg Rosoff for Picture Me Gone (Putnam)

“Printz Award-winning author Meg Rosoff’s latest novel is a gorgeous and unforgettable page-turner about the relationship between parents and children, love and loss.”

boxers

5. Gene Luen Yang for Boxers & Saints (First Second)

“One of the greatest comics storytellers alive brings all his formidable talents to bear in this astonishing new work.”

Poetry:

Frank Bidart for “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)1.  Frank Bidart for Metaphysical Dog (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

“A vital, searching new collection from one of finest American poets at work today.”

stay, illusion

2. Lucie Brock-Broido for Stay, Illusion (Knopf)

Stay, Illusion, the much-anticipated volume of poems by Lucie Brock-Broido, illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits. Her poems are lit with magic and stark with truth: whether they speak from the imagined dwelling of her “Abandonarium,” or from habitats where animals are farmed and harmed “humanely,” or even from the surreal confines of death row, they find a voice like no other—dazzling, intimate, startling, heartbreaking.”

the big smoke

3. Adrian Matejka for The Big Smoke (Penguin)

“Long listed for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry—a new collection that examines the myth and history of the prizefighter Jack Johnson.”

Black Aperture

4. Matt Rasmussen for Black Aperture (Louisiana State University Press)

“In his moving debut collection, Matt Rasmussen faces the tragedy of his brother’s suicide, refusing to focus on the expected pathos, blurring the edge between grief and humor.”

Mary Szybist for “Incarnadine” (Graywolf Press)

5. Mary Szybist for Incarnadine (Graywolf Press)

“In Incarnadine, Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color.”

Only United States citizens are eligible for the award which are administered by the National Book Foundation. The award ceremony is November 20 where we’ll learn who won what.

Do you have any favorites? What book do you think will win each category?

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