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Book Review: ‘Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper’ by Lori Erickson

Life as a travel writer and spiritual itinerant was jolted, for Lori Erickson, by the sudden death of a brother and the precipitous progression of her mother’s dementia. Seeking in part to cope with the proximate loss and to recalibrate her own spiritual equilibrium, Erickson looked anew, far and near, upon death. She invites us to join her […]

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Book Review: ‘Walter Benjamin Reimagined’ by Frances Cannon

Artist, former Iowa Citian and sometime-Little Village contributor Frances Cannon has delivered a delightful, insightful nugget of wonder with Walter Benjamin Reimagined. This book is everything a fan of the German Jewish cultural critic and philosopher could ever hope for, and it offers an accessible window into his brilliance […]

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Book Review: ‘Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir’ by Andy Douglas

What can music do for the incarcerated soul? Turning trauma into personal transformation, music and art creates a nest in even the most locked-up hearts. Iowa City author Andy Douglas explores this idea in his 2019 book, Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir. […]

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Book Review: ‘God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America’ by Lyz Lenz

I heard about Lyz Lenz’s newest book, ‘God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America’ (out Aug. 1), a few months ago and had been eager to read it, as it brought together almost all of my personal and professional interests: art, religion, community, Iowa, theology, space, place, stories. It is an audacious attempt to synthesize […]

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Book Review: ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’ by Claire Lombardo

In Claire Lombardo’s debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had,’ she isn’t afraid to tackle the biggest of topics, specifically for women—sisterhood, fear, general annoyance and birth or the absence of it. The reader gets an intimate look at the conception of the Sorenson family (literally, considering Lombardo’s plethora of sex scenes),
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Book Review: ‘Look, Black Boy’ by Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey

With his first self-published chapbook, Look, Black Boy, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey confronts and challenges his readers while communicating with them on a variety of levels. The central theme of this short collection is how it feels to be a young black man in 2019 in the Midwest. […]

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Book Review: ‘Gangster in our Midst’ by Betty Brandt Passick

Gangster in our Midst is a multiple-perspective historical fiction by Betty Brandt Passick, about Louie Da Cava, a man with alleged ties to Al Capone, who married a woman from Oxbow, Iowa. The first chapter introduces us to Louie in his brother-in-law’s home in Oxbow as he hesitantly welcomes the paperboy […]

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Book Review: ‘Voices After Evelyn’ by Rick Harsch

In 1953, La Crosse, Wisconsin underwent a traumatic cultural upheaval as the disappearance of local teenager, Evelyn Hartley, led to grief, suspicion and social unrest, en masse. Former La Crosse resident and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Rick Harsh has turned that chaotic moment in small-town history into the speculative mystery novel Voices After Evelyn. […]

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Book Reviews: Five titles from the Indie Star Book Festival

Craig Hart is becoming something of a force on the local literary scene. A resident of Iowa City, Hart is a writer of mysteries, thrillers and more. He’s also the host of The Games & Writers Show podcast, which launched in February and features extended interviews with authors and actors. On May 18, Hart, via his own Northern Lake Publishing, is hosting the Indie Star Book Festival. […]

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Book Review: ‘Gondra’s Treasure’ by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt

It’s an age-old tale to those of us who lived it, but there are still too few children’s books out there featuring mixed-race families. There’s a uniqueness to the experience of being multi-racial that transcends any of the individual heritages involved […]

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