Book Review: Horrorstör

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady Hendrix (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2014. 240 pp) Grady Hendrix has written for Variety, Slate, the New York Post, Playboy, Village Voice, Strange Horizons, and the anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. He spent several years answering the phone for a parapsychological research organization. He is currently employed by Orsk, Manhattan. Work as Occupation It’s startling and a bit over the top, but the theory behind work hasn’t changed much. We still live in a Taylorist world where the heart and soul of employee matter little and the efficiency and productivity of the employee matter greatly. The marketing team can dress up the work in all these high-minded ideals but too often this corporate… Read More →

Book Review: The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers: A Novel by Tom Rachman (New York: Dial Press, 2014. 400 pp) Tom Rachman was born in London in 1974 and raised in Vancouver. He attended the University of Toronto and Columbia Journalism School, then worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in New York and Rome for the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His first novel, The Imperfectionists, was an international bestseller, translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in London. Onions Have Layers Life is like layers of sediment in a canyon. Each layer is completely different. Its materials are unique to the era, weathering storms and earning a history. Stacked together, these layers make the geological formation we call a… Read More →

Book Review: Raising Boys By Design

Raising Boys By Design

Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal About What Your Son Needs to Thrive by Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian with Ann McMurray (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2013. 228 pp) Gregory Jantz is a nationally certified psychologist with a doctorate in counseling psychology. The author of more than twenty books, he regularly counsels parents and children of all ages to develop communication strategies, strengthen family bonds, and raise healthy kids. Michael Gurian is a marriage and family counselor noted for his secular expertise in brain science and his bridge-building in faith communities. He is a New York Times best-selling author of more than two dozen books, including The Wonder of Boys. Gave It a Shot… Read More →

Book Review: What We See When We Read

What We See When We Read

What We See When We Read: A Phenomenology with Illustrations by Peter Mendelsund (New York: Vintage Books, 2014. 448 pp) Peter Mendelsund is the associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf, the art director of Pantheon Books, and a recovering classical pianist. His designs have been described by The Wall Street Journal as being “the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction.” He lives in New York. Why Read? Why read? In an age of mass media, doesn’t it seem a touch quaint? Our iPhones can keep us entertained indefinitely with the amount of apps available, not mention the Internet sitting in your pocket. We live in the Golden Age of television; high quality shows illuminate the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 5

Boardwalk Empire Season 5

Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Shea Whigham, Stephen Graham, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Wright, Gretchen Mol, Vincent Piazza, Anatol Yusef, and Kelly Macdonald. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Nuclear Daydream What would it take to desensitize your soul? How many times must the dice roll the wrong way before you feel somnambulant, checked out, indifferent to anything? I’ve always felt like there’s a precipitous cliff involved with sporting interests. When your favorite team is really good, you care extensively. As the team gets worse, you care even more, as if your rooting energy and support can somehow will the team into a… Read More →

Book Review: The Secret Place

The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place: A Novel by Tana French (New York: Viking, 2014. 529 pp) Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the U.S. and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film, and voicover. The Need to Rise above the Noise Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back and read something uncritically. While a book has the power to transform a mindset, or present a compelling argument artistically, depth isn’t necessary. It can be refreshing to sit back and read. Although Tana French’s The Secret Place offers this kind of experience, I would not suggest it rises above the noise. A Murder Mystery The… Read More →

Book Review: The Organized Mind

The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin (New York: Dutton, 2014. 512 pp) Daniel J. Levitin earned a B.A. in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. He is the James McGill Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Music at McGill University, and Dean of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI. Codes and Keys Have you forgotten your keys? Do you remember where you put them last? Chances are, you probably misplaced them, carelessly setting them in the wrong spot at the other end of the house. The usual spot for your keys, in actuality, represents an external… Read More →

Book Review: The Human Body

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The Human Body by Paolo Giordano, translated by Anne Milano Appel (New York: Viking Press, 2014. 318 pp) Paolo Giordano is the author of the critically acclaimed international bestseller The Solitude of Prime Numbers, which The New York Times called “mesmerizing,” and which has been published in more than forty languages. He has a Ph.D. in particle physics and lives in Italy. Afghani Doldrums The Human Body is not what it sounds like. Upon looking at the title, one might think the book is a novel of anatomy and physiology. However, The Human Body by Paolo Giordano is a darkly comic novel inspired by the author’s two ten-day tours in Afghanistan as an embedded journalist reporting on the most recent… Read More →

Film Review: Rush

Rush

Rush written by Peter Morgan, directed by Ron Howard (Exclusive Media Group, Cross Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, R, 123 min) Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brūhl, Olivia Wilde, and Alexandra Maria Lara. A Good Sports Film Is Hard to Find A quality sports movie is hard to find. Sporting events, in fact, seem to be the only thing in the world that’s rating-proof. Each game has a sense of drama. The viewers don’t know the result and the potential narratives seem endless. These facts could contribute to the difficulty of creating that iconic sports movie. Scripting a story—whether fact or fiction—feels false compared to the narratives we all can watch on a daily basis. Actually, I would argue this reality functions… Read More →

Book Review: The Farm

The Farm By Tom Rob Smith

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014. 368 pp) Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father. His bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international best sellers. Smith has won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The Day It Changes Do you remember the day it all changed in your family? Do you remember the moment the bubble burst around the family utopia? It might have been early in life. It could be much later after you are out of the house. But it always seems like life… Read More →