Book Review: 1Q84: Book Three

1Q84: Book Three by Haruki Murakami (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 1184 pp) Born in 1949 in Japan, Haruki Murakami studied drama at Waseda University. He began writing fiction at the age of 29, inspired to write a novel while watching a baseball game. Murakami earned literary fame with his best-selling novel, Norwegian Wood. In the wake of its success, he earned writing fellowships at Princeton University and Tufts University. Murakami has won the Franz Kafka Prize, the Kiriyama Prize, the Yomiuri Prize, the Jerusalem Prize, and the International Catalunya Prize. Check out reviews for Book One and Book Two. Do We Need the Answers? I recently confabulated with a friend about the hit television series, Lost. While I… Read More →

Album Review: Ten Stories

Ten Stories by mewithoutYou (Pine Street Collection, 2012. 40 minutes) mewithoutYou is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band includes Aaron Weiss (vocals), Michael Weiss (guitar), and Rickie Mazzotta (drums) with a carousel of supporting musicians. mewithoutYou signed with Tooth and Nail Records releasing their first four records with the label. Ten Stories is self-released and offers a return to the band’s earlier sound. Circular Narrative “All circles presuppose they’ll end where they begin, but in their leaving can they ever come back round.” – Aaron Weiss adapted from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Looking back on the music that defined my teen years, not much of it carried staying power. I liked ska, but the genre died in… Read More →

Book Review: Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change by Victor Papanek (New York: Pantheon Books, 1971. 394 pp) Born in Vienna, Austria in 1923, Victor Papanek immigrated to the United States to study design and architecture. He earned his B.A. at Cooper Union and his M.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Papanek taught design at many institutions worldwide and functioned as a strong advocate for socially and ecologically responsible design. The Many Hues of Charity  It’s very easy to become caught in the notion of charity equaling money. We see disasters on television and nothing seems easier than a monetary contribution from the friendly confines of our couch. Some, however, choose to dive deeper. They see a… Read More →

Book Review: 1Q84: Book Two

1Q84: Book Two by Haruki Murakami (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 1184 pp) Born in 1949 in Japan, Haruki Murakami studied drama at Waseda University. He began writing fiction at the age of 29, inspired to write a novel while watching a baseball game. Murakami earned literary fame with his best-selling novel, Norwegian Wood. In the wake of its success, he earned writing fellowships at Princeton University and Tufts University. Murakami has won the Franz Kafka Prize, the Kiriyama Prize, the Yomiuri Prize, the Jerusalem Prize, and the International Catalunya Prize. Check out my review of Book One. Discerning Between Unenviable Options Often times, life does not provide a right answer. When pondering between two choices, both have pros… Read More →

Film Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom directed by Wes Anderson; written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Focus Features, Indian Paintbrush, American Empirical Pictures, Moonrise, PG-13, 94 minutes) Starring Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman. The Pains of Growing Up Did you ever try and run away as a kid? It might have been to the end of the street, to a friend’s house, or maybe even farther. Why did you do it? Oppressive parents? An untenable friendship? A bad test at school? Often irrational, this escape can sometimes result from not wanting to grow up. When a child shoulders more responsibility, sometimes it seems easier to flee hoping to return to the… Read More →

Book Review: 1Q84: Book One

1Q84: Book One by Haruki Murakami (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 1184 pp) Born in 1949 in Japan, Haruki Murakami studied drama at Waseda University. He began writing fiction at the age of 29, inspired to write a novel while watching a baseball game. Murakami earned literary fame with his best-selling novel, Norwegian Wood. In the wake of its success, he earned writing fellowships at Princeton University and Tufts University. Murakami has won the Franz Kafka Prize, the Kiriyama Prize, the Yomiuri Prize, the Jerusalem Prize, and the International Catalunya Prize. Quizzical  Do you remember the last time you didn’t know that answer to a question? Did it bother you, your state of unknowing? I’m a big fan of… Read More →

Television Show Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 8 created by Larry David (HBO Films) Starring Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, and Susie Essman.   The Arid Wasteland of Network Television  Seinfeld is brilliant television. Now fourteen years removed from the last episode, Seinfeld receives regular air time on multiple channels. Its staying power is uncanny. Seinfeld’s jokes and awkward situations are countlessly retold in friend groups nationwide. In all honesty, I am surprised at Seinfeld’s staying power. With quirky writing a shade toward highbrow, I find Seinfeld’s stay on network television remarkable. The 2000s, to an extent, represent a failure of mimicry. Even though the networks endlessly search for the next smart hit comedy, the drive for profits and viewership causes plugs… Read More →

Book Review: Dumb History

Dumb History: The Stupidest Mistakes Ever Made by Joey Green (New York: Plume, 2012. 256 pp) A former contributing editor to National Lampoon and a former advertising copywriter at J. Walter Thompson, Joey Green is the author of more than forty-five books. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Plume Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. Mistakes Make Brilliance  Everyone makes mistakes, even smart people. To a certain extent, brilliance is a product of multiple failures. It’s easy to credit… Read More →

Book Review: Arcadia

Arcadia: A Novel by Lauren Groff (New York: Voice, 2012. 304 pp) Born in Cooperstown, New York, Lauren Groff graduated from Amherst College and later earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, and has had residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and Ragdale. Groff’s first book, The Monsters of Templeton, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons. Utopia  “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and… Read More →

Film Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close directed by Stephen Daldry; written by Eric Roth and Jonathan Safran Foer (Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures, PG-13, 129 minutes) Starring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Max von Sydow. A Grief Observed Grief is a difficult concept. It defies reason; it reacts in the visceral regions of the body. Some people immediately return to work in order for the dark feelings to subside. Others need weeks, months, and sometimes years to restore their soul. No matter the method by which people work through pain, grieving is a process we all must endure. With Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, we gain access to a particular way toward managing grief. Adapted… Read More →