Book Review: The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Téa Obreht (New York: Random House, 368 pp) Born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, Téa Obreht grew up in Cyprus and Egypt before immigrating to the United States in 1997. Her writing is published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Her first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in The National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York. Faith or Reason With the death of famed author and theist critic Christopher Hitchens… Read More →

Book Review: The Ultimate Question

Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth by Fred Reichheld (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. 224 pp) Born in Cleveland, Fred Reichheld is an author and business strategist employed by Bain & Company. Holding a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Reichheld writes on the loyalty business model. His most popular books are The Loyalty Effect, Loyalty Rules!, and The Ultimate Question. In 2003, Consulting Magazine named Reichheld one of the world’s top 25 consultants. Good Ethics Is Good Business? Spend any time with a business executive and you might hear the cliché, “Good ethics is good business.” Setting aside the clear disassociation between this statement and the way American businesses operate, the… Read More →

Donovan’s Top Albums of 2011

For me, 2011 represented a transition year in my musical taste. Where music previously defined a large portion of my life, now, my relation to music, and by default, my musical consumption, diminished greatly this year. While I used to listen to everything under the sun hoping to find new artists, diamonds in the rough, and great music from bands I had previously written off, I spent most of 2011 listening to artists I have previously enjoyed. Even though my list contains some new artists, I must admit that I am less convinced about this list representing the best of 2011’s music. Nevertheless, I hereby submit my top 25 albums of 2011. 25. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light Wasting Light… Read More →

Book Review: Boxer, Beetle

Boxer, Beetle: A Novel by Ned Beauman (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011. 256 pp) Ned Beauman was born in London in 1985 and studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge. His writing appears in Dazed & Confused, Another, The Guardian, and The FinancialTimes. His first novel, Boxer, Beetle, was shortlisted for the 2011 DesmondElliott Prize and the 2010 Guardian First Book Award. Review copy provided by Library Thing. What Pawn Stars Can Tell Us about Nazis A couple weeks ago, I watched an episode of Pawn Stars. Setting aside its obvious staged events and scripted dialogue, the show carries an appeal for those interested in the artifacts of history. In fact, I venture a guess that most hope to see someone… Read More →

Film Review: Red State

Red State directed by Kevin Smith (The Harvey Boys and NVSH Productions, R, 88 minutes) Starring Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, and John Goodman. Disorientation Honestly, I love complex narratives. When a storyteller leads me down a path and then pulls the rug from under my feet, I take a certain amount of perverse joy in the deception. So then, Kevin Smith’s Red State, with no discernible protagonist and antagonist, ought to be a film that suits my interests. Sadly, not so. A fine line exists between an artistic shredding of stereotypical plot lines and lazily writing a complex mess. Red State is a complex mess. Horny Teenagers Meet Fundamentalist Zealots The movie begins with our first faux-protagonist, Travis (Michael Angarano) being… Read More →

Book Review: God, Freedom, and Evil

God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977. 121 pp) A well-known American philosopher, Alvin Plantinga is the emeritus John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Born in 1932, Plantinga earned his B.A. from Calvin College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Known for defending orthodox Christian beliefs by analytical philosophy, Plantinga has published numerous books including God and Other Minds, The Nature of Necessity, and Warranted Christian Belief. During his distinguished career, Plantinga received multiple honorary degrees and fellowships. In 1980, magazine named Plantinga “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.“ The Problem of Evil Suppose that God, as most Christians believe, is wholly good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and… Read More →

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (New York: Scholastic Inc., 2008. 384 pp) Suzanne Collins began her writing career in children’s television. While working for Nickelodeon, Collins wrote for many shows, chief among them Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Eventually, Collins moved to children’s literature writing a five-part series, The Underland Chronicles. Her Hunger Games trilogy, however, has received high acclaim, and the first book has been adapted into a major motion picture. Collins lives in Connecticut with her family. A Trilogy Trilogy is not only a word that piques the interest of an avid subset of moviegoers, but is also a word that equals a goldmine for movie executives. No matter the genre… Read More →

Book Review: The Cave

The Cave by José Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2002. 320 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize winning author from Portugal, who passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Margaret Jull Costa translates Portuguese and Spanish fiction and poetry. For her work she has won the Portuguese Translation Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the… Read More →

Album Review: Metals

Metals by Feist (Cherrytree Records, 2011. 50 minutes) Feist is the stage name for Canadian singer-songwriter, Leslie Feist. Having played in bands since she was 15, Feist rose to fame as a member of Toronto-based indie rock group, Broken Social Scene. While touring with the band, she recorded a collection of songs that eventually became her first solo record, Let It Die which won her two Juno Awards. Her second major label release, The Reminder, was certified gold in the U.S. and won her a Juno Award for album of the year. Her latest record, Metals, has received widespread critical acclaim. Palladium My wedding ring is composed of palladium. With the chemical symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46, Palladium,… Read More →

Book Review: Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Knopf Publishers, 1998. 292 pp) Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in 1933. One of six children, Cormac’s family moved multiple times in his childhood as his father accepted different occupations. In 1951, McCarthy attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Liberal Arts. Midway through his studies, McCarthy served in the Air Force for four years. After his service, McCarthy returned to college, writing his first short stories. In 1959 and 1960, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for Creative Writing. Mccarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Several years, grants, and fellowships later, McCarthy published Suttree, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses marking his rise in literary… Read More →