Book Review: Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Rusell

Swamplandia!: A Novel by Karen Russell (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 336 pp) Karen Russell is an American novelist and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.” She received her B.A. in Spanish from Northwestern University and earned her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Needless Danger Do you recall the needless danger of your youth? Did you run away from home only to make it as far as your tree house in the backyard? Did you decide to make a cross-country trip over summer break with your friends without a dollar in your pocket? I’m sure most of us did something stupid when we were younger. Do you remember why? There seems to be an aura of youth where decisions… Read More →

Book Review: Red or Dead

Red or Dead by David Peace

Red or Dead: A Novel by David Peace (Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing, 2014. 736 pp) David Peace is an English writer best known for his Red Riding Quartet and The Damned Utd. In 2003, Peace was named one of the Best Young British Novelists by Granta. According to the Scriptures The Gospels represent a fascinating literary genre. As Luke mentions, they are written so that we might have certainty. This statement separates the Gospels from straight non-fiction, where historical fact takes on a level of scientific exactitude. But the narrative removes itself from fiction, where the crux of story pushes the reader into far-off places where truth functions as a non-entity. The Gospels are different. They approach history from a… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 5

The Walking Dead Season 5

The Walking Dead: Season 5 created by Frank Darabont (AMC, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Emily Kinney, Danai Gurira, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Chad L. Coleman. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Execution You can have the greatest ideas in the world but if you can’t execute, what’s the point? Millions of businesses start with a great idea. The ones that last are the ones that follow through on it. The dreamers need a balanced team capable of filling in the details of the plan. The Walking Dead has always suffered from this fateful issue. Season after season, the writers attempt to balance violence and action with the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 1

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 1

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 1 created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (3 Arts Entertainment, Little Stranger) Starring Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, and Dylan Gelula. Happy Comedy For years, the recipe for network comedy success required relatable characters, accessible locales, and a pinch of low stakes. Whether it’s Friends or Cheers, the comedy occurs in the screwball situations the writers can come up with. One character lies about something or another. A different character falls for said lie. By the end of the episode, it all resolves! The new creation from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock finds humor from a completely different avenue. Life after Doomsday Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt narrates the story of its titular character,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 4

Girls Season 4

Girls: Season 4 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Vocation When millennials think about work, the question of pay arises among a crowded group of factors. In many ways, the millennial generation grew up observing its parent’s generation reaping the rewards of capitalism. These baby boomers operated behind the Friedman philosophy of profit maximization. For many of the millennial generation, this philosophy rings hollow. In its place, we see the rise of social enterprise; we encounter philosophies around multiple bottom lines and stakeholder theory. There’s more to business than a dollar; there’s more to work than a paycheck. For most of the Girls storyline during its… Read More →

Television Show Review: Broad City: Season 2

Broad City Season 2

Broad City: Season 2 created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (3 Arts Entertainment, Jax Media, Paper Kite Productions) Starring Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, John Gemberling, Hannibal Buress, and Arturo Castro. A Millennial Show Slowly but surely, the Millennials are taking over. Most television barely gives reference to this sub-section of America, but the showrunners of the future are Millennials now. The writers too, they are up and coming. To a certain extent, the old guard of television writes what they know. The characters are defined and labeled by their demographic. There’s the white main character, the African-American friend, the Asian American, the gay character. It all feels calculated. The writing around these characters feel forced too. The lives and… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst directed by Andrew Jarecki (Home Box Office, Blumhouse Productions) Starring Robert Durst. Must-See TV In the age of ubiquitous Internet, there’s nothing much left that constitutes must-see television. The bigwigs of scripted television measure more than just standard Nielsen ratings. People, you see, have altered their viewing habits. Many have cut cords, focusing on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, et al. Others keep cable but stash shows on DVR so they can live their lives well. The only thing left that demands live viewing seems to be sports. Sure, you can DVR a game as well, but it seems as if sport has developed the tyranny of the now. Fans watch to… Read More →

Book Review: The Yellow Arrow

The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin

The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin; translated by Andrew Bromfield (New York: New Directions, 1996; originally published in 1993. 96 pp) Victor Pelevin is a Russian author best known for Omon Ra and Generation P. He has won the Russian Little Booker Prize and the Russian National Best Seller. He lives in Moscow. Andrew Bromfield was born in Yorkshire, England. He is a translator of Russian literature and an editor and co-founder of the literary journal, Glas. Metaphors for Life What’s your preferred metaphor for life? Are you in favor of “Life is like a box of chocolates; you’ll never know what you’re going to get.”? Perhaps you prefer, “Life is a game.” That one points toward the business-minded, the… Read More →