What to Read in February 2018 | Hudson Valley Authors | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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What to Read in February 2018 | Hudson Valley Authors 

Six short book reviews

Last Updated: 02/01/2018 3:57 pm
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Memory is the Medium
Graham Wood
Codhill Press, 2017, $20

This multimedia oversized meditation from New Paltz-based publishing company combines poetry with visually striking black and white images. The 6" x 12" pages are aligned with bold typography spouting poignant verses which stimulate your mind. Reading almost as a collage of some sort, the Tomato collective founder's latest publication is as aesthetically pleasing as it is mentally stimulating.

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Help I Am Being Held Prisoner
Donald E. Westlake
Hard Case Crime, February 13, 2018, $9.95

The first of four rediscovered novels from the late Donald E. Westlake—arguably his most funny tale—returns to bookstores after 30 years. Protagonist Harold Kunt's prison sentence is almost as funny as the mispronunciation of his name. A practical joker jailed for a prank gone wrong (unfortunately leaving 20 cars wrecked on the highway and careers in shambles) once Kunt is behind bars he meets a selection of characters and gets wrapped up in yet another heist. Buy Help I am Being Held Prisoner from Oblong Books.

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Last Respects
John Essick
Black Opal Books, 2017, $16.99

The daring first line of the inaugural book in the Wes Graham series will have readers laughing, flipping pages for more: "The reason I'm showin' ya the door, is despite whatever great reputation you may believe you have, I think your writng's crap." So begins the saga of once crime reporter Wes Graham who returns to his familiar town of East Hastings for a childhood friend's funeral, although locals and members of his past suspect a different intention. With most everyone thinking that Wes is there to investigate the murder surrounding his friend's death, he soon must expose the culprits to save his own life. Buy Last Respects from Oblong Books & Music.

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A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia
Sandra Allen
Scribner, 2018, $26

Margaretville-based author Sandra Allen's debut book offers a personalized account on paranoid schizophrenia. Inspired and created, in part, from the 60-page type-written error-prone manuscript she received from her paranoid schizophrenic uncle Bob narrating his life, Allen compiles interviews with her immediate family to portray both Bob's story as he tells it himself alongside conceptualized background information from those closest to him as well. Part biography, part autobiography this informative read sheds a new light on a commonly misunderstood mental illness. Allen will read at Rough Draft Bar and Books in Kingston on February 13 at 7pm. Buy A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise from Oblong Books.

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The ABC'S of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (And regular folks too)
Shira Adler, Foreword by Andy Kadison
Valposa Books, 2018, $13.99

The ABC's of CBD explains the "other" ingredient in pot—cannabidiol, which doesn't get you high and can have positive health effects. Adler, a Ridgefield-based author and wellness advocate, posits herself as a CBD expert and offers a comprehensive guide that's easy to digest, answering often-muddled questions like "Is it legal?," "Is it safe?," and "How can it help?" Buy The ABCs of CBD from Oblong Books.

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Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself
Mark Epstein MD
Penguin Press, 2018, $17.25

Doctor Epstein's latest self-help book teaches how to tame the ego. The Woodstock author and psychotherapist marries Western practicality and Buddhist spirituality in a method that leads to personal growth. Taking mindfulness to a new level, he writes, "When we let the ego have free reign, we suffer. But when it learns to let go, we are free." Buy Advice Not Given from Oblong Books.


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