Book Review: Shop Class as Soulcraft

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (New York: The Penguin Press, 2009. 256 pp) Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago and served as a postdoctoral fellow on its Committee on Social Thought. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia. An Apple Nowhere Near the Tree They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Whether it’s culinary taste, similar joys in sports, or comparable career paths, parents and children often resemble each… Read More →

Book Review: Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems by D. A. Powell (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2012. 110 pp) D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including the trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, and Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He lives in San Francisco. The Who Who are you? The defining characteristics of each person are often both varied and unusual. As humans we can all claim similar traits. We love; we laugh; we live; we die. Externally, we even define ourselves through the region in which we live. I am a Seattleite; I am Cascadian. My region… Read More →

Television Show Review: Doctor Who: Series 7

The Critical Importance of Relationship In my latest contribution to Fieldnotes Magazine, I explore the latest series of Doctor Who. Series 7, which began in September 2012 and will run through Spring 2013 highlights the increasing tension between The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gilian) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). In my article, I link this tension to the importance of relationship and the theological principle of being made in the image of God. “One principle becomes clear: The Doctor is alone—and his solitude has influenced his judgment. There’s much to learn much from this atrabilious narrative. Relationship is crucial to a leader’s decision making process (even if that leader is a Time Lord).” So meander over to Fieldnotes Magazine… Read More →

Book Review: The Supper of the Lamb

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon; edited by Ruth Reichl (New York: The Modern Library, 2002; originally published in 1967. 320 pp) Robert Farrar Capon is the author of numerous books on theology, cooking, family life, and, sometimes, a combination of the three. His works include Between Noon and Three; Kingdom, Grace, Judgement; and Genesis: The Movie. An Episcopal priest, Capon is the father of six children and two stepchildren, and lives on Shelter Island, New York. In Consideration of the Cookbook Don’t get me wrong; I love cookbooks. But they are a hollow medium. At its core, a cookbook is an instruction manual—many more pretty pictures, but an instruction manual nonetheless. A successful… Read More →

Film Review: Looper

Looper written and directed by Rian Johnson (DMG Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment, and FilmDistrict, R, 118 minutes) Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Everyone’s Favorite Mind Bending Paradox Time travel. A mind bending paradox worthy of many late-night conversations. Setting aside plausibility, there seems to be two competing views on the subject. One, made famous by the Ashton Kutcher film, The Butterfly Effect, posits that altering small aspects of the past—as little as harming a butterfly—result in drastic changes to the present. The other suggests time travel carries no inherent danger to the present, think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you travel back in time and alter the past, that altered past… Read More →

Album Review: There’s No Leaving Now

There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man on Earth (Dead Oceans, 2012. 39 minutes) The Tallest Man on Earth is the stage name of Swedish singer-songwriter, Kristian Matsson. Matsson has released three full-length albums and two EPs. He is heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. Matsson is married to fellow singer-songwriter Amanda Matsson of Idiot Wind. In Exploration of Top-Notch Analysis In case you didn’t notice, my previous review explored a book of poetry—the first poetry review on this blog. I’ve avoided poetry because I don’t know what to do with it. It has been said to critically review art one must question whether the artist completed her purpose. If you don’t like the art… Read More →

Book Review: Endpoint and Other Poems

Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 112 pp) John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. He was the father of four children and the author of more than sixty books, including novels and collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His books won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Howells Medal, among other honors. He died in… Read More →

Book Review: The Keep

The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pp) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Season 5

An Announcement I am pleased to announce that I’ll be contributing reviews occasionally for Fieldnotes Magazine, a recently launched publication providing practical wisdom for emerging leaders. A Review My first review highlights the first half of Breaking Bad: Season 5. Midway through the fifth season of Breaking Bad, a watershed moment occurs—one with familiar but important resonance for those who would lead any enterprise. Anti-hero Walter White (Bryan Cranston) sits upon a newly-established throne as the kingpin of the New Mexico methamphetamine business—merely a year removed from learning of his terminal cancer and devising an illicit plan to earn money for his family upon his passing. So check out my review and give Fieldnotes a follow, it’s an excellent source of content!

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (New York: Random House, 2004. 528 pp) David Mitchell is an English author most noted for his fiction. He attended University of Kent earning a degree in English and American Literature as well as an M.A. in Comparative Literature. Mitchell’s debut novel, Ghostwritten, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His next two novels, Number9dream and Cloud Atlas found themselves on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Cloud Atlas has been adapted into a feature film. A Kaleidoscope of Ambiguity How does it feel moments after newly opened puzzle pieces cascade out of the box? The colorful mélange sits nestled on the table—a kaleidoscope of ambiguity, the box your only clue to the end goal…. Read More →