Book Group: In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote (New York: Random House, 2007; originally published in 1965. 343 pp) A Brief Recap “Mister Clutter was amused. ‘I’m not as poor as I look. Go ahead, get all you can,’ he said. Then, touching the brim of his cap, he headed for home and the day’s work, unaware that it would be his last.” (13). Reading like a precursor to one of the many CSI crime television series, the quote above summarizes the feel of In Cold Blood incredibly well, a novel where both innocence and brutality collide, where beauty meets tragedy. In Cold Blood highlights the grisly murders of the Clutter Family… Read More →

Book Group: My Name is Red

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk; translated by Erdaǧ Göknar (New York: Knopf, 2001. 536 pp) Set in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire, My Name Is Red functions as a murder mystery at its core. In its simplest construction, the plot of this novel seeks to find out who-done-it. Yet, the strength of this prize-winning story lies not in its plot but in its poetic language and descriptive setting. The main characters frequent the miniaturist scene painting illustrations for the Sultan. With a recent commission from the sovereign causing uproar, a murder occurs and the victim’s associates become the most likely suspects. Andrew: This novel has an intriguing narrative structure. How do you feel that impacted the novel as… Read More →

Book Review: Medium Raw

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain (New York: Harper Collins Books, 2010. 281 pp) Anthony Bourdain, born in 1956, attended Vassar College and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He has worked as a cook and chef in many institutions strewn across the New York City map. Bourdain contributes articles to the Times, New York Times, Observer, the Face, Scotland on Sunday, and Food Arts Magazine. An addition to Kitchen Confidential, he has written two crime novels – Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat. Bourdain was the executive chef at Brassiere Les Halles and is currently the host of the Travel Channel program: Anthony Bourdain: No… Read More →

Andrew’s Top Albums of 2011

For 2011, it felt like I listened to a lot of music. But in retrospect, I didn’t listen to that much. As a result, instead of listing my top forty albums as I did last year (on Facebook, here’s my list from 2010), I have limited this list to twenty-five artists who I feel span a vast array of genres, representing what I feel is the best of the year. 25. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours  Though I hadn’t previously heard much of Cold War Kids, I really thought Mine Is Yours was super catchy, singable, and really fun to listen to; it’s a good album for a road trip. 24. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead With their sixth album,… Read More →

Book Review: Wise Blood

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O’Connor (New York:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1962. 248 pp) Born in Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor attended Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University) graduating in 1945 with a degree in Social Sciences. A year later, she enrolled in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she studied journalism. While at the Workshop, O’Connor first drafted her seminal novel, Wise Blood. Later, she published the novel, The Violent Bear It Away, and two books of short stories: A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge. Her writing is informed, often paradoxically, by her devout Catholicism and the grotesque. She died in 1963, at the age of 39,… Read More →

Book Review: The Unconsoled

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. 535 pp) Born in 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan, Kazuo Ishiguro moved with his family to England in 1960. Ishiguro attended the University of Kent receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1978 and continued his education at the University of East Anglia obtaining a master’s degree in creative writing in 1980. A celebrated novelist, Ishiguro has been nominated four times for the Man Booker Prize, winning it in 1989 for his work, The Remains of the Day. Recently, Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, was adapted to a full-length film featuring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. Ishiguro resides in London with his wife and daughter. The Unconsoled as Broccoli… Read More →

Book Review: East of Eden

East of Eden: A Novel by John Steinbeck (New York: Penguin Books, 1952. 601 pp Born in Salinas, California in 1902, John Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. In 1919, he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years, he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City. He published his first novel, Cup of Gold, in 1929. After a marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, California, Steinbeck continued writing novels. Popular success and financial security came with Tortilla Flat in 1935 and he became best known for… Read More →

Book Review: Tree of Codes

Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer (London: Visual Editions, 2010. 285 pp) Born in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Safran Foer attended Princeton University earning a degree in philosophy. While at Princeton, Foer developed a senior thesis around the life of his Holocaust surviving grandfather. Eventually, this thesis became Foer’s first published book titled, Everything Is Illuminated. The book received critical acclaim winning the National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Award. Eventually, the novel was adapted into a film starring Elijah Wood. Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel garnered both praise and derision for its use of 9/11 as a narrative tool and its use of visual writing. Foer currently teaches in the Graduate… Read More →

Musical Review: How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

 How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser (Playing at AlHirschfeld Theatre, 2 hours and 45 minutes) Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway, John Larroquette, Tammy Blanchard, and Christopher J. Hanke. On Broadway For those unaware, my wife and I recently returned from a trip to New York. I had the opportunity to present a paper at an international business ethics conference and we spent some time afterward “vacationing.” If I had to pick one unanimous piece of advice given by those who have traveled to New York before us, it would be “see a Broadway show.” Since tickets cost an arm and a leg, Tara and I waited… Read More →

Album Review: The Rip Tide

The Rip Tide by Beirut (Pompeii Records, 2011. 33 minutes) Originally the music project of New-Mexico-native Zach Condon, Beirut is an indie rock band which combines Eastern European music, Balkan folk, and Western pop music. While traveling through Europe in his youth, Condon fell in love with world music. This love prompted musical experimentation that resulted in the band. While attending the University of New Mexico, Condon recorded his first record, GulagOrkestar, in his bedroom. He shopped the record to labels and ultimately signed with Ba Da Bing! Records. Before releasing The Rip Tide, Condon founded Pompeii Records giving him full control over his music. Evaluative Difficulty I find it difficult to review music. Of all art forms, it is… Read More →