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 →

Television Show Review: The Leftovers: Season 1

The Leftovers Season 1

The Leftovers: Season 1 created by Damon Lindelof (Warner Bros. Television) Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, and Carrie Coon. Dream State Are you a dreamer? Do you spend those hours before sunrise drifting in the lightest sleep states while your mind explores surreal connections between ideas, people, and objects? How about those moments after you’re awake, stumbling to the shower hoping for the cascading water to rouse your slumbering soul? These moments can be confusing. Truth and fiction have little meaning. Your body reacts slowly as your brain works to restore consciousness. You probably have heard funny stories from others about the crazy things you’ve said in these states. For example, my… Read More →

Film Review: Noah

Noah Film Review

Noah written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel, directed by Darren Aronofsky (Paramount Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Protozoa Pictures, PG-13, 138 min) Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Douglas Booth. At Last Ever since I heard the announcement that Darren Aronofsky would make a biblical epic, I’ve been giddy. Darren Aronofsky, you see, is one of my favorite filmmakers. He has a tendency toward bringing light to the dirty aspects of humanity and exposing it for all of its flaws. Knowing Aronofsky’s style, I fully expected Noah to move me deeply, to revolt me, and to display the shades of gray we all experience in life. Despite many protests from Christians about its… Read More →

Film Review: Nebraska

Nebraska

Nebraska written by Bob Nelson, directed by Alexander Payne (Paramount Vantage, FilmNation Entertainment, Blue Lake Media Fund, R, 115 min) Starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. Thoughts of My Son My boy isn’t even 5 months old yet, but I imagine the day when he’ll need to take care of me… Or put me in a home if I’m being honest. It’s odd to consider this little man who can’t even use a toilet will someday be someone I’ll need to rely upon. But thus is the nature of the familial relationship and the nature of aging. We all needed our diapers changed. We all procured a driver’s license. We all will retire. We all will… Read More →

Book Review: The Hundred-Year House

The Hundred-Year House

The Hundred-Year House: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai (New York: Viking, 2014. 352 pp) Rebecca Makkai’s first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and an O, The Oprah Magazine selection. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review, and has been selected four times for The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, she lives in Chicago and Vermont. The History of Place I live in a house nearing its one-hundredth birthday. I am aware of a few of the inhabitants before me, perhaps 5 years worth of residency. The people meandering these rooms for the other 95 years are left to the imagination…. Read More →

Book Review: The Magician’s Land

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The Magician’s Land: A Novel by Lev Grossman (New York: Viking Press, 2014. 401 pp) Born in 1969, Lev Grossman has a degree in literature from Harvard, and spent three years at Yale in the Ph.D. program in comparative literature. He writes for TIME as their book reviewer and as one of its technology writers. Codex (2004) became an international bestseller, and The Magicians (2009) was named one of the best books of 2009 by The New Yorker. In August of 2001, he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He also has a wife and two daughters. Leaving Fillory Behind Our hero, Quentin Coldwater, has lost everything since the last installment of the Magician’s trilogy. His friends and his childhood world of Fillory are now restricted to him. Naturally,… Read More →

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. 432 pp) Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gillian Flynn earned undergraduate degrees in English and journalism at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Flynn wrote for Entertainment Weekly for 10 years—4 of which were as the TV critic. Her first book, Sharp Objects, won two of Britain’s Dagger Awards. Gone Girl has been adapted into a feature film. Page-Turner Sometimes there’s nothing better than a page-turner. I usually shy away from page-turners as for better or worse, I tend to label them guilty pleasures—they aren’t deep, literary fiction. But not all page-turners and New York Times bestsellers are created equal. When… Read More →

Book Review: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel by Joshua Ferris (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014. 352 pp) Joshua Ferris is the author of two previos novels, Then We Came to the End and The Unnamed. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and The Best American Short Stories. Ferris was chosen for The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list of fiction writers in 2010. He Lives in New York Modernity Examined The modern world offers an exorbitant amount of preposterousness when considered deeply. We’re an advanced culture that’s been able to push past the limitations of Babel, and yet we don’t want to go beyond “good morning” with our co-workers, people we… Read More →

Film Review: The Counselor

The Counselor

The Counselor written by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott (Fox 2000 Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Nick Wechsler Productions, R, 117 min) Starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. The Weakest Link There’s truth to the saying, “You’re only as strong as the weakest link.” In business, you could have the highest performing management, design sensibility, and customer service, but if your supply chain is poor, the customer won’t be happy. In sport, you can try your best to hide your weakness but you’ll inevitably need to rely on that part when the season is on the line. Penned by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Hollywood A-Listers — The Counselor ought to be… Read More →

Book Review: Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet (Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press, 2005. 532 pp) Lydia Millet has a master’s in environmental policy from Duke University. Her 2002 novel, My Happy Life, won the PEN-USA Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. In Appreciation of Beauty Radiohead introduced the computer age with the masterpiece of a record, OK Computer. It balanced pop accessibility with complicated song structures and intricate production. The hit single, “Karma Police” defines everything about this record. It starts off as a beautiful, artistic piece of music; it strategically ends with the music falling apart. The point being, our identity becomes unhinged the more we let the computer run our lives. If we let, we might spiral out… Read More →