Books available for review

Click the title to learn more about each of the books at

If you find a book you are interested in reviewing, write me and I will send you the book along with some brief reviewing instructions via “Media Mail.” If you prefer to review a book on a Kindle (if available), let me know.

If you see a book of interest on our “New Books …” page that interests you, contact me and I can try to get a review copy of it if we haven’t received one.

Marian at

The Casual Presence of Borders (poetry)

Mackie JV Blanton (Tunisia 1964–66)
The University of New Oleans Press
370 pages

Mackie JV Blanton is driven by two concepts: the protection of fiction inhabiting poems and a guiding principle of a post-contemporary sensibility that slips through and away from modernism and postmodernism to grasp elsewhere a possibly unfamiliar, hardly-quite-there-yet future. 

You Try Paa: A Love Song in Translation (poetry)
Cynthia Ann Caul (Ghana 2008–10)
Independently published
85 pages

A Peace Corps memoir detailing Caul’s time in Ghana in a series of episodic poems that explore white saviorism and U.S. American exceptionalism in the Peace Corps.

Goats: And Other Stories
Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)
Peace Corps Writers
March, 2021
305 pages

Ten Imaginative stories that weave together the mundane and the supernatural to reveal relationships that are at once humorous and humane.

The Price of Freedom
Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)
Peace Corps Writers
370 pages

This sixth and last novel of the American Revolution by Martin Ganzglass begins after the crucial victory at Yorktown in October 1781, and ends in the summer of 1784 in liberated New York City when Patriots and former Loyalists begin to overcome their wartime differences.

Discovering Tunisian Cuisine
Judith Dwan Hallet (Tunisia 1964 – 66) and Raoudha Guellali Ben Taarit, Hasna Trabelsi
Spirit Of Place/Spirit Of Design, Inc, 2019
148 pages

Judy Dwan Hallet has assembled a terrific collection of delicious and healthy Mediterranean Tunisian recipes along with insightful accounts of the country’s distinctive culture, art, and history.  No cook with an interest in the world’s distinctive cuisines should be without Discovering Tunisian Cuisine.


Fast Food for Thought: Poetry to Ponder
Eldon Katter (Ethiopia 1962–64)
A Peace Corps Writers Book
178 pages

The idiomatic title is meant to suggest that the words are something worth thinking about. It is a selection of the author’s poems, old and new, on a wide range of subjects. Identity, choice, change, aging, and the environment are just a few of the topics touched upon.

Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir
Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru 1964–66)
She Writes Press
315 pages

An adventurous and romantically inclined twenty-one-year-old seeks fulfillment volunteering in Peru and is assigned to the Andes where she falls in love with her village, her indigenous pupils — and a handsome university student who entices her to violate the sexual prohibitions of her Catholic upbringing.

In the Amber Chamber: Stories
Carrie  Messenger (Moldova 1994–96)
Brighthorse Books
260 pages

In the Amber Chamber combines dark fairy tales with disturbing history: a dust bowl, some famine, and some dessert.

Roost: Confessions of a First-Time Chicken Farmer
Bronwyn  Mitchell-Strong (Botswana 1994–96)
Apprentice House Press
166 pages

This is a story of what happens when two chicks in the suburbs open their home and hearts to four chicks from the hatchery, and is woven throughout with thoughts on chicken history, science, politics, pop culture, religion, social justice, and even psychosis.

A Cup of Stars: Stories
Joseph Monninger (Burkina Faso 1975–77)
Wood Heat Press
458 pages

Joseph Monninger has been publishing novels, non-fiction, and short stories since 1978.  This is a collection of 25 of his short fiction.

The Boy with Four Names
(for adults and young adults)
Doris Rubenstein (Ecuador 1971-73)
180 pages

A story of European Jews who escaped to Ecuador during WWII, The Boy with Four names tells of one such family, and one boy who ended up with four names.

‘The Mystical Land of Myrrh (short stories)
MaryAnn Shank (Somalia 1967–69)
Dippity Press
222 pages
$13.99 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle), $13.97 (audiobook)

Stories of a young Peace Corps Volunteer who stretched her senses to soak in every story, every song that was around her, but her missteps tossed a beautiful young woman into a whipping circle, and denied her students the futures they had worked so hard to obtain.

The Imaginal Marriage (poetry)

Eleanor  Stanford (Cape Verde 1998–2000)
Carnegie Mellon University Press
72 pages

The mesmerizing poems in Stanford’s third collection move deftly from the kiss of the hummingbird’s fringed tongue to apocalypse, from midwives’ magical cures to a gritty New Jersey overpass.

Love and Latrines in the Land of Spiderweb Lace: A Peace Corps Memoir

Mary Lou Shefsky (Paraguay 1974–76)
218 pages – full color

Open your mind to Peace Corps’ kaleidoscopic challenges and the rustic reality of rural Paraguay through the eyes of a health Volunteer, and follow her enduring host country connections from 1974 to the present.



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