Forum Navigation: Forum Index » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books

Want FREE books and FREE Amazon gift cards?

Each day we announce via email a book that is either FREE or on a temporary sale at a great discount price. These are not your average free books. These are incredible insider deals on well-rated books. OnlineBookClub.org is where tomorrow's bestsellers are born. We also give away over $1,000 per month of free Amazon gift cards in free daily giveaways, exclusively to those signed up to these announcements! Hurry, sign up free now:

Sorry, this proves you are human.

Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cenac

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cenac

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 07 Sep 2017, 10:59

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Beyond The Thorned Holly" by Gregory Cenac.]

Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
Share This Review

Beyond the Thorned Holly by Gregory Cenac is an eclectic poetry collection that includes observations and reminiscences of places and people that touched the author in some way. The poems were written over the past five years or so. In addition to the poetry, there is a fable about a bear and a few short essays.

The poems are written in free verse and have an easy, rhythmic style. I found the author’s writing to be sophisticated yet accessible. The word choices are spot on and give the book that extra spark that makes it special. At its best, poetry should convey emotions, clear imagery, or a mix of both. The author has managed to present these elements well.

There is an underlying theme of Southern racism in a few of the poems, but it is written through the lens of the author’s personal observations of members of his family and others. The characters are realistically written and their attitudes are revealed to the reader in subtle ways.

It’s hard to pick a favorite in this diverse collection, but there are some standouts. In the very relatable “The Paseo,” the author reminisces about sights he has seen in different places, but is glad to be back in his beloved Missouri. The emotions leap off the page and the imagery is so clear that I felt like I was in each place he described. “Rene” is a haunting tribute to what appears to be the author’s flawed, racist grandfather. I also enjoyed the effective refrain, “did I mention that I am tall and that I have blue eyes,” in “The Narcissist” as a man struggles to understand why “she” left him.

While I loved most of the poems, there are a few that I found a bit obscure and I missed the point. I felt that there was some inside meaning that was personal to the author, but that the reader wasn’t let in on. These pieces were well written, but it was as if I had been given a peek into someone’s diary where I didn’t fully understand the context.

There are several errors sprinkled throughout the book. In five instances, I noticed a space between a word and the comma that follows. There are also a few spelling errors/typos (“wel l” instead of “well”, “teaclhing” instead of “teaching”, “iadioFound” instead of ???), an extra space between words, a period on the next line, and inconsistent line breaks. In a few instances, there are a couple of blank pages between poems; in one case, I initially thought the book was finished since I flipped at least four pages until I got to the next poem.

I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The errors prevent me from awarding the highest rating. Still, this collection is unique and thought-provoking, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys poems with perceptive observations and beautiful imagery.

******
Beyond The Thorned Holly
View: on Bookshelves

Like bookowlie's review? Post a comment saying so!
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
bookowlie's Latest Review: "My Bright Journal" by Irina Negovan
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6242
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 245 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 75%

Did you know?
 
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#2 by gali
» 19 Sep 2017, 10:16

It sounds like a great collection for fans of the genre. Poems aren't my cup of tea, but I am glad you enjoyed the book, errors and all. Thank you for the great review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
gali's Latest Review: "Enough Rope" by P.L. Doss
User avatar
gali
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24472
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
Location: Lost in a good book
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Currently Reading: The Bear and the Nightingale
Bookshelf Size: 1669 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle (E-Ink)
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 87%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#3 by kandscreeley
» 19 Sep 2017, 10:18

It's too bad about the errors. Still, it sounds like a nice collection of poetry if you can overlook those. I probably should try some poetry again as I don't read much any more. Thanks for a wonderful review.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway
kandscreeley's Latest Review: "The Crying Tree Diary" by Lorah Green
User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 2826
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 105 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 86%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#4 by bookowlie
» 19 Sep 2017, 10:28

Thanks Gali and Kandscreely for the nice feedback. This is one of those collections where I want to read some of the poems again since they moved me so much.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
bookowlie's Latest Review: "My Bright Journal" by Irina Negovan
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6242
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 245 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 75%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#5 by kandscreeley
» 19 Sep 2017, 10:58

Bookowlie- That's pretty high praise. I figure if they move you to want to read them again, I should probably check it out.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway
kandscreeley's Latest Review: "The Crying Tree Diary" by Lorah Green
User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 2826
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 105 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 86%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 19 Sep 2017, 11:03

kandscreeley wrote:Bookowlie- That's pretty high praise. I figure if they move you to want to read them again, I should probably check it out.


The other thing is that many of the poems had layers of meaning. I could see understanding the poems more completely if I read them again.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
bookowlie's Latest Review: "My Bright Journal" by Irina Negovan
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6242
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 245 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 75%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#7 by geoffrey ngoima
» 19 Sep 2017, 13:57

As a(n amateur poet) I get what you're saying about poems, though I don;t like short stories, I'd rather read a long one rather than short ones even if they were two. Great review
To posit that the war brings us closer to faith is a sleight of hand that makes fools of us all. "There Are Only Atheists in Fox Holes"~ Michael Carson
geoffrey ngoima's Latest Review: "So Beware" by James Hockenberry
User avatar
geoffrey ngoima
 
Posts: 759
Joined: 11 Jul 2017, 06:41
Location: Kenya
Currently Reading: The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain
Bookshelf Size: 106 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device:
2017 Reading Goal: 50 Books
Goal Completion: 42%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#8 by MarisaRose
» 19 Sep 2017, 15:12

When it comes to poetry, errors and poor formatting can really distract from the flow of the prose. I'm glad there were a lot of positive atteibutes in this collection, but it sounds like it needs to be polished before it's ready for a wide audience. Thanks for the insight!
"No two persons ever read the same book." -Edmund Wilson
User avatar
MarisaRose
 
Posts: 905
Joined: 03 Sep 2016, 15:34
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Currently Reading: Little Fires Everywhere
Bookshelf Size: 184 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 25 Books
Goal Completion: 352%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#9 by Zelinda
» 19 Sep 2017, 15:30

Bookowlie, I like your review. I don't usually read poetry, but it sounds like you were impressed with it and your clear writing makes me think it is probably well-written also. As soon as I'm ready to take a break from my usual genres of reading, I shall give this one a read.
“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.”
― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
Zelinda's Latest Review: "The Expansion" by Christoph Martin
User avatar
Zelinda
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 12 Jul 2017, 09:51
Location: Rockville, MD
Favorite Book: The Swallow
Currently Reading: The Last Dragon Slayer
Bookshelf Size: 665 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 86%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#10 by CatInTheHat
» 19 Sep 2017, 16:29

I don't ever expect to like every poem in a book of poetry. It is nice to find one that has several enjoyable ones. I do find that grammar mistakes are more distracting in poetry.
Life without a good book is something the CatInTheHat cannot imagine.


Grateful to get the opportunity to explore new books with those in the OBC.
CatInTheHat's Latest Review: "The Spirit of Want" by William H. Coles
User avatar
CatInTheHat
Previous Member of the Month
 
Posts: 1025
Joined: 31 May 2016, 11:53
Currently Reading: The Surgeon's Wife
Bookshelf Size: 413 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 86%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#11 by Olainfinitee
» 19 Sep 2017, 17:45

I love the poem they are really good for heart, I will love to read more of it
User avatar
Olainfinitee
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 18 Sep 2017, 18:48
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 2 books
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#12 by bookowlie
» 19 Sep 2017, 23:07

Thanks everyone for your comments. CatintheHat - I agree that grammatical errors are more noticeable in poetry, especially short pieces. This is a relatively long collection (over 100 pages) so it's not like there are errors on every other page. Still, the mistakes were a little annoying. MarisaRose - It's true that formatting as well as grammar mistakes can take away from a smooth flow. Geoffrey -the short stories are more like a 1 1/2 page essay rather than a 10-page story - basically they were a quick read.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
bookowlie's Latest Review: "My Bright Journal" by Irina Negovan
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6242
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 245 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 75%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#13 by RegularGuy3
» 23 Sep 2017, 14:55

I don't read much poetry but this caught my eye initially because the book was sideways. Funny how something so small can change our behaviors. Thanks for the review--I might step outside my comfort zone for this one.
User avatar
RegularGuy3
 
Posts: 268
Joined: 08 Jul 2017, 10:50
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 14 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#14 by bookowlie
» 23 Sep 2017, 20:55

RegularGuy3 wrote:I don't read much poetry but this caught my eye initially because the book was sideways. Funny how something so small can change our behaviors. Thanks for the review--I might step outside my comfort zone for this one.


I assume this is just a system glitch when the cover was uploaded on this site. The cover is right side up on Amazon.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
bookowlie's Latest Review: "My Bright Journal" by Irina Negovan
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6242
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 245 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 75%

Re: Official Review: Beyond The Thorned Holly by Gregory Cen

Post Number:#15 by KeriCraven
» 10 Oct 2017, 18:55

Sounds like the poems would be great for people who enjoy reading that genre. I particularly have to be in the mood for poems. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your review.
KeriCraven's Latest Review: "Life Before" by K.L. Romo
User avatar
KeriCraven
 
Posts: 142
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 20:35
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 31 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 13%

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: KATRIKA HENRY and 8 guests

Navigation

Return Home » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books