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Reviewers' Choice: 2019
For Magnify's round up of 2019, I polled reviewers about their favorite small press books published this year. Below are their choices, presented in no particular order. I'm grateful to the many reviewers who seek out small press books, write about them on blogs, and pitch reviews to journals and magazines. This critical engagement with books that might otherwise be overlooked helps create a vibrant literary community that I'm proud to Magnify. 
A Waking Life  by  Antonia Malchick (De Capo Press)
Covered by Christi Craig on her website. 
The Skinned Bird by Chelsea Biondolillo (Kernpunkt Press)
Covered by Lauren Cross for Sweet
Hunting the Devil by Suzanne Schafer (Waldorf Publishing)
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews

 
The Sin Soldiers (Fragments #1) by Tracey Auerbach (The Parliament House)
Reviewed by Ahanarao on Heart's Content
The Not Wives by Carley Moore (Feminist Press)
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews
Relief by Execution by Gint Aras (Little Bound Books)
Reviewed by Matt Rowan for Untoward Magazine
The Book of Jeremiah by Julie Zuckerman (Press 53)
Reviewed by Beth Castrodale for Small Press Picks
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed)
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell for Independent Book Review
Trump Sky Alpha by Mark Doten (Graywolf)
Reviewed by Kurt Baumeister for The Brooklyn Rail
Throw by Ruben Degollado (Slant Books)
Reviewed by Joe Walters for Independent Book Review

 
Pigs by Johanna Stoberock (Red Hen Press)
Reviewed by Jesi Buell for The Rumpus

 
Brainwashing Miss Teen Nosebleed USA by Ryan Werner (Passenger Side Books)
Reviewed by Zachary Kocanda for Heavy Feather Review
Gray Is the New Black by Dorothy Rice (Otis Books)
Reviewed by Angela Eckhart for Hippocampus Magazine
The History of Art by Rae Gouirand (The Atlas Review)
Reviewed by Rob McClennan for his blog
Tonic and Balm by Stephanie Allen (Shade Mountain Press)
Reviewed by Christi Craig for Fiction Writers Review
The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes (Angry Robot)
Reviewed on Starlit Book
As a River by Sion Dayson (Jaded Ibis Press)
Reviewed by Ann Beman for the Museum of Americana
The Art of Regret by Mary Fleming (She Writes Press)
Reviewed by Eleanor Bader for The Indypendent
Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias (Broken River Books)
Reviewed by Kurt Baumeister for The Nervous Breakdown
The Memory of Now Translated by Geet Chaturvedi, Translated by Anita Gopalan (Anomalous Press)
Reviewed by Sudeep Sen for The Asian Age
Birthright: Poems by Erika Dreifus (Kelsay Books)
Reviewed by Jonathan Kirsch for Jewish Journal
Double-Crossing the Bridge by Sarah J. Sover (Parliament House Press)
Reviewed by Justine Bergman for Whispers and Wonder
This One Will Hurt You by Paul Crenshaw (Ohio State University)
Reviewed by Christopher John Stephens for PopMatters


 
Give it to the Grand Canyon by Noah Cicero (Philosophical Idiot) Reviewed by Zachary Kocanda for Heavy Feather Review
Bettering American Poetry, Vol 3 edited by George Abraham, Chen Chen & Sarah Clark Reviewed by Vanessa Maki for Pagsulat Sa Mga Bulaklak
A Note! The reviewers identified in the list above may not be the same reviewers who nominated the books. My survey gave reviewers the option of linking to their own or others' reviews. Some reviewers nominated more than one book; some books on the list were nominated by more than one reviewer. I only included nominated books published in 2019. 
Another Look

Riding Fury Home by Chana Wilson (Seal Press) is a kind of dual memoir, in which Chana tells her story from her own perspective and about midway through takes up her mother Gloria’s story as well. There is so much pain in this book, but also joy, forgiveness, and compassion. There’s also understanding, which is so often missing in stories about parental relationship and trauma in particular. I loved that while Gloria didn't get to write her story before she died, Chana basically did, and that seeing her mother's story from that point of view affected the way Chana saw her own story. It's interesting that the early part of the book portrays her mother as potentially damaged internally or weak or unable to handle herself in the world. It turns out that it's society that can't handle her, and that she's such an incredibly strong woman, as is her daughter. We also get to see a bit of the early women's movement and the feminist circles and groups that popped up, and I loved reading about that time since I wasn't around to live it. This is powerful—about mental illness, about society, about being true to yourself, about forgiveness, about working hard to make yourself better.
Each month, Another Read Through owner Elisa Saphier will choose a small press book released a year or more ago for our Another Look column. Based in Portland, Oregon, Another Read Through ships, so if you want to order any of the books featured in Magnify, follow the links to order them from Elisa
Thanks so much for reading Magnify! If you have a review of a recent small press book you'd like to see included in our Critical Look, or questions about life as a small press author,  feel free to contact me. See you next month! 

 
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Copyright © 2019 Melissa Duclos, All rights reserved.


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