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  the minderbinder review of books

The Premiere Resource for the One-Sentence Book Review

     Welcome to The Minderbinder Review of Books (TMRB), the premiere resource for the original one-sentence book review. TMRB presents simple, concise and thoughtfully condensed reviews of some of the most interesting and important books being published, imagined and fabricated at any time and in any dimension. And always in one sentence.
            Our intent is to challenge the business of what and why books get reviewed and how, in the end, they become irrelevant to those who have less and less time and inclination to read at all. By holding our profession up to a brighter light, TMRB  hopes to raise the bar while lowering it. Our reviews promote the Voltairean principle that any criticism, no matter how commendable or blameworthy, can and should be used in the defense of the fewest possible words.

         The Minderbinder Review of Books is an ever-changing, vastly confounding and always entertaining resource. Over time, our extensive list of titles will continue to showcase books by the well-known, the little known, the totally unknown and those known only to us and to us alone.  If you have a minute, you have time for TMRB. If not, perhaps you need to wind your watch--if that is, indeed, a watch you're wearing.

         

         

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TMRB Reviews

All reviews appearing in TMRB are staff-written and identified by the reviewer initials.

Books reviewed are conveniently listed alphabetically by author.

To find a title, simply scroll down to determine if a specific author's work has been reviewed.

JOHN BENNETT / Short Jabs

2013. Hcolom Press. www.hcolompress.com

     The legendary John Bennett is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the short jab, packing each knockout punch with such poetic force that even iPhone zombies look up in awe, if only for the briefest of moments. BL

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ERIN BRIED (Editor) / Kazoo Magazine

2018. Kazoo. www.kazoomagazine.com

       A big problem with boys is that they don't seem to know how to go about seeing the complete girl; how to care enough and respect enough to know why girls are just as smart, inventive, creative and inquisitive as they are (and, often times, more so)--which is to say: boys would do well to start reading Kazoo, a magazine that supports girls, helps them become more aware of their place in the world, and offers them ways to communicate with their brains and their hearts—something boys will appreciate someday if and when they decide to grow up. VB

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KURT BROWN / I’ve Come This Far To Say Hello: Poems Selected and New
2014. Tiger Bark Press. www.tigerbarkpress.com    
     You probably heard it before from some other reviewer recommending some other book, but this one you can take to the bank: if you’re thinking of buying just one book of poetry this year, for any reason at all, Kurt Brown’s hauntingly beautiful I’ve Come This Far To Say Hello is the one to spend your hard-earned money on—not because it offers the most bang for your buck (which it does), but because it makes those who never heard of Kurt Brown wonder how they could have ever missed him when he was alive; and it makes  those who did know who this gifted poet was only miss him all the more. BP 
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CHRISTOPER BUCKLEY / Varieties of Religious Experience
 2013. Stephen F. Austin University Press. www.sfasu/sfau.edu 
     Think: top of a mountain inside a volcano beneath the ocean and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the sheer mystery and mastery of Christopher Buckley’s Varieties of Religious Experience, which proves, by the way, that belief in poetry is belief enough. LZ  
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LUCILLE LANG DAY / Becoming an Ancestor (poetry)

2015. Cervena Barva Press. www.cervenabarvapress.com

     Becoming an Ancestor offers a narrative style that is warm, seductive, ironic and filled with the imagery of compassionate living, welcoming us into a world of experiences and creations where the author’s past is the reader’s present. PF

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DIANE DI PRIMA / Poems Are Angels
2013. Omerta Publications. www.lesgottesman.com
     The short and sweet of what poetry is all about is perfectly encapsulated in Diane di Prima’s Poems Are Angels which feed the reader tiny morsels of self-awareness that are  heavenly waged and gracefully won in the queendom of this legendary poet. CE
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DANTE DI STEFANO / Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight: Poems

2016. Brighthorse Books. www.brighthorsebooks.com     

DeStefano has the potential to become the next great American trapeze artist along the lines of Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. KP

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PAUL FERICANO / The Hollywood Catechsim

2015. Silver Birch Press. www.silverbirchpress.com

     The Hollywood Catechsim does it better than most when combating our self-congratulatory selves by using various weapons of social and political mockery, tomfoolery, and pasquinade in the service of a brave and foolish new poetry ; unfortunately, smug, bored, and uniformed readers (which are legion)--nurtured on sexting and situation comedies—will undoubtedly miss most, if not all, of what Fericano is attempting to ignite and set fire to here, since, in the zombie world of trumpism, it's becoming increasingly difficult to satirize satire. GH

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GREGORY WAYNE KELLY / Defibrillator Blues

2015. Poor Souls Press. www.poorsoulspress.com     

     Sprung from the rich and fertile soil of activist storytelling, Defibrillator Blues does its part to green the landscape of a lost world devastated by flash fictions and narco narratives. LS

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ELLARAINE LOCKIE / Sex & Other Slapsticks

2019. Presa Press. www.presapress.com

     After reading the alluring and playful poems in Lockie's sly little chapbook, Sex & Other Slapsticks, don't be surprised if you find yourself reaching for a cigarette—even if you don't smoke. AB

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PAULA C. LOWE / moo

2014. Big Yess Press. www.bigyespress.com     

     Moo is one of the most powerful and inspirational series of narrative poems you will ever read. MG

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TEDDY MACKER / The Kingdom of God
2012. Privately printed and available from the author.

With original linoleum prints by Kaori Nakama.
     Should one seek enlightenment by asking: what is the sight of one eye reading? one might well answer: Teddy Macker’s exquisite poem, The Kingdom of God, previously published in Orion Magazine and graciously presented here as a lotus flower in book form. NS  

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TONY PRESS / Crossing the Lines

2016. Big Table Publishing. www.bigtablepublishing.com

     Crossing the Lines is a complete book of masterfully conceived fictions in which every story beats like a human heart pumping love and gratitude into its readers until compassion dares us to be decent to ourselves and to others. NF 
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DIANA RAAB / Writing for Bliss: A Seven Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life

2017. Loving Healing Press. www.lovinghealing.com

     For those who have been reluctant to explore their life through the written word ever since they picked up a pencil for the first time and began scratching their name at the top of a blank sheet of paper, Writing for Bliss will not only get their hand moving across that sheet of paper, but it will steady it with an infectious joy. RW

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JENDI REITER / Bullies in Love

2015. Little Red Tree Publishing. www.littleredtree.com

     If the human experience counts for everything, which it should, Bullies In Love is proof that poems, when crafted with honesty, wit and compassion, are capable of moving us at lightening speeds. BJL

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GEORGE SAUNDERS / Lincoln in the Bardo

2018. Random House. www.penguinrandomhouse.com

     A facile writer facilitates departed Victorians. GG

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ROBERT SCOTELLARO / Bad Motel

2016. Big Table Publishing.  www.bigtablepublishing.com   

     Like the short subjects and serials that played before the feature films in the movie palaces of the thirties and forties (which, for many, were the real reasons to spend a hard-earned dime and be roundly entertained by fast-moving narratives), the 100-word stories in Robert Scotellaro's Bad Motel keep the reader's best interest at heart while whittling words and honing the craft of great storytelling—something increasingly rare in a field of longer, self-congratulatory fiction. PF

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ROBERT SCOTELLARO / New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (co-editor)

2018. W.W. Norton. www.wwnorton.com

     This rollicking big-tent collection of very, very (very) short stories is not only packed with some of the most inventive storytelling around, but it also performs an amazing feat of derring-do high above the three ring circus of American fiction: whether by design or sheer happenstance, the editors of New Micro (James Thomas and Robert Scotellaro) have managed to present a subtle but cohesive narrative that links each of the 135 stories—from the first ("Letting Go" by Pamela Painter) to the last ("Grief" by Ron Carlson)—before anyone realizes it's happening without a net. MR

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DON SKILES / FOOTBALL

2014. Pelekinesis. www.pelekinesis.com

     Football is a tender, straightforward, character-driven novel about a young teenage boy coming to terms with his own loves, fears, and doubts in a small Pennsylvania town in 1956, written with a genuine inquisitiveness that's reminiscent of Jem Finch had he, and not his sister Scout, been the narrator of To Kill A Mockingbird—an apt description for those familiar with the work of Don Skiles, yet another un(der)-sung literary wordsmith who takes his place alongside other beloved weavers of the narrative word such as Tom Clark, Michael Lally, and Joanie Whitebird. BJL

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R.H. SLANSKY / Moss-Haired Girl: Confessions of a Circus Performer by Zara Zalinzi

2015. Anvil Press. www.anvilpress.com

     Moss-Haired Girl is a real gem of a little novel—Slansky writes like her hair is on fire. TC

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LAUREL SPEER / Election Day 2016

2018. Privately printed and available from the author.

       A master of the ironic turn of the other cheek, Laurel Speer sums it all up nicely in the very last poem of this short but perfect kick through the goalposts of our folly: Football / is about money / dementia / and death. SC

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PATTI SULLIVAN / Not Fade Away
2014. Finishing Line Press. www.finishinglinepress.com   
     One reading of Patti Sullivan’s simple but honest chapbook of poems, Not Fade Away, will cause you to grab your jacket or sweater and take a long walk outdoors where the light and the air are reminders of the truth of her words. CG
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PHIL TAGGART / Rick Sings
2014. Brandenburg Press. Available from the author. www.philtaggart.com
     Should you pass a homeless person on the street and think to yourself: there has to be family somewhere, you’re right, there is: it’s you and me and Phil Taggart, who explains it beautifully in his compelling book of poems, Rick Sings, a love letter to a brother with schizophrenia. RW

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JAMES THOMAS / New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (co-editor)

2018. W.W. Norton. www.wwnorton.com

     This rollicking big-tent collection of very, very (very) short stories is not only packed with some of the most inventive storytelling around, but it also performs an amazing feat of derring-do high above the three ring circus of American fiction: whether by design or sheer happenstance, the editors of New Micro (James Thomas and Robert Scotellaro) have managed to present a subtle but cohesive narrative that links each of the 135 stories—from the first ("Letting Go" by Pamela Painter) to the last ("Grief" by Ron Carlson)—before anyone realizes it's happening without a net. MR

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MELANIE VILLINES / Windy City Sinners

2015. Sugar Skull Press. www.sugarskullpress.com   

     Prepare to read this devilishly clever satire with your overcoat buttoned up tight, your back to the wind, and a firm grip on the real thing. MM

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MELANIE VILLINES (Editor) / Nancy Drew Anthology

2016. Silver Birch Press. www.silverbirchpress.com

     With the publication of the Nancy Drew Anthology, Silver Birch Press has produced another unique and compelling collection of poetry, prose and artwork that encourages us to continue challenging the highfalutinism of American literature and to playfully explore the rich terrain of popular culture. DB

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REBECCA WATTS / The Met Office Advises Caution (poetry)

2016. Carcanet. www.carcanet.co.uk

     Watts has the potential to become the next great British miler along the lines of Jackie Stewart and

Princess Anne. KP

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J.T. WHITEHEAD / The Table of the Elements

2015. The Broadkill River Press. www.broadkillriverpress.com

     If poetry were a neutron microscope (and who's to say it isn't?), the magnetic pull of J.T. Whitehead's scintillating collection, The Table of the Elements, would reveal amazing astronomical observations of the human condition with a decidedly atomic spin. FW

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BOB WOODWARD / Fear: Trump in the White House

2018. Simon & Schuster. www.simonandschuster.com

       Cheer: Trump in the Big House. MM  

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