Book Review: Strategy

Strategy by Lawrence Freedman

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 768 pp) Lawrence Freedman studied at Whitley Bay Grammar School, Victoria University of Manchester, University of York, and University of Oxford. Freedman has held positions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and currently as Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy, appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. What’s It All Mean Anyway? There’s a lot going on in the world. Be careful or you might get run over. With millions of people attempting to… Read More →

Book Review: Calling & Clarity

Calling & Clarity by Doug Koskela

Calling & Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life by Doug Koskela (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015. 136 pp) Doug Koskela is associate professor of theology and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. What Will You Do? I would argue the question of purpose represents one of the central conundrums in life. As a child, endless potential allows for dreams to span the universe. You can be that 7-foot center in the NBA, no matter your actual height, commandeering the driveway to practice your sky hook. But eventually, the dream fades to basic reality. At 5’11’’ with no hops, your professional basketball years are a mirage. No matter… Read More →

Film Review: Interstellar

Interstellar

Interstellar written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan and directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, PG-13, 169 min) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, and Matt Damon. What Would You Do for Love? Certain research posits kinship as a powerful actor that compels people outside of self-interest. If I unpack this idea a little bit, these people suggest the standard setting for human beings is selfishness. We act out of interest for the things that provide the most pleasure to us. When it comes to presenting a positive or helpful demeanor to other people, there’s a chance this person will recognize the common humanity in the other, but if it’s a… Read More →

Book Review: Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury (Santa Barbara: Joshua Odell Editions, 1994. 176 pp) With over five hundred published works to his name, Ray Bradbury is one of the heavyweights in American literature during the 20th century. Born in Illinois, Bradbury’s family moved to California when he was thirteen. He graduated from Los Angeles High School and did not enter college. Drawn to writing from an early age, Bradbury attended the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society meeting many of the influential writers in the region. Bradbury began writing professionally by publishing stories in magazines. As his stories encountered praise, Bradbury began writing longer works. As they say, the rest is history. Bradbury’s best-known books… Read More →

Television Show Review: True Detective: Season 2

True Detective Season 2

True Detective: Season 2 created by Nic Pizzolatto (Home Box Office, Anonymous Content) Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn. Do You Really Need to Clean Your Room? I’m watching a lot of children’s television these days. It’s awful and paradoxically not that bad. Children’s programming follows a clear set of rules. We need to teach the kids important lessons, lest television rots the brains of our most impressionable. In one episode, the protagonist preferred not to clean up after playtime. Picking up toys is a chore. We all want to play as much as we can. Am I right? Thus comes a social experiment. What if we didn’t tidy up? Unfortunately, our young hero lost everything… Read More →

Book Review: The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir (New York: Broadway Books, 2014. 387 pp) Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel. Spaceman Spiff The earth is not a cold dead place. It’s pretty amazing to consider how it perfectly situated itself for life. Orbits, size, rotation, gravity. It all plays a part. Our closest neighbor, on the other hand, will kill you if you visit. It is a cold dead place. If and… Read More →

Book Review: When She Woke

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke: A Novel by Hillary Jordan (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2011. 368 pp) Hillary Jordan earned her B.A. in English and Political Science from Wellesley College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She worked as an advertising copywriter for 15 years before she became a full-time author. Jordan has received the Bellwether Prize and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. The Scarlet Letter When I was a wee boy learning the ways of the six string, I would attempt to write a new guitar riff every day. Most of these musical progressions stunk like durian fruit. Occasionally, I would write something adequate. These moments excite. Something I could share with the world! Maybe?… Read More →