Book Review: The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season by N. K Jemisin

The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth Book One by N. K. Jemisin (New York: Orbit Books, 2015. 512 pp) N. K. Jemisin is the first author in the genre’s history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo awards, all for her Broken Earth Trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula, Locus, and Goodreads Choice awards. She is currently a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and she has been an instructor for the Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. The Holocene It snowed recently. The kids stayed home for many days. We had cabin fever. End of short story. But for the purpose of this review, let’s talk about weather and climate. Too often, commentary about the… Read More →

Book Review: John Henry Days

John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead

John Henry Days: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (New York: Doubleday, 2001. 400 pp) Colson Whitehead was born in 1969 and raised in Manhattan. He attended Harvard College and afterward he began working as a reviewer for The Village Voice. Out of the gate, Whitehead’s fiction gained acclaim when his first novel, The Intuitionist, won the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. His work has earned him the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Also, Whitehead has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. The Legend The legend of John Henry remains resonant after all these years. A man, at the peak of his occupational powers faces the risk and uncertainty of the… Read More →

Book Review: Doughnut Economics

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth

Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017. 320 pp) Kate Raworth is an economist that teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. She has a BA in politics, philosophy, and economics, and an MSc in economics for development, both from Oxford University. Whiteboarding Within the rhythms of my current role, I meet daily with my fellow team members to strategize and create deliverables for our clients. These working sessions often involve whiteboarding our ideas. Having a handful of completed projects under the belt, I’ve come to see how valuable that whiteboard becomes when a group of people are trying to solve a problem. It’s true, a… Read More →

Book Review: Nocturnes

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 240 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. Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, was adapted to a full-length film featuring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. In 2017, Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature…. Read More →

Book Review: The Idiot

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot: A Novel by Elif Batuman (New York: Penguin Press, 2017. 432 pp) Elif Batuman holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. She has been a writer in residence at Koҫ University in Istanbul, the Sidney Harmen Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College, and a fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library. Her work has been published in n+1, and The New Yorker. Freshman Feelings Freshman year represents the nexus between adulthood with its responsibility and adolescence with its singularity of the moment. For those of us seeing increasing space between the present and those college years, that brief era feels like the glory days. These early moments outside the parent’s… Read More →

Book Review: No-No Boy

No-No Boy by John Okada

No-No Boy: A Novel by John Okada (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014; originally published in 1957. 282 pp) John Okada was born in Seattle in 1923. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, attended the University of Washington and Columbia University, and died of a heart attack at the age of 47. No-No Boy is his only published novel. Who Wore It Best? There’s an age-old debate between those that did it first and those that mastered it. Often, the innovator lacks the technical skills of the master, but the master hasn’t done something original, he or she just has done it better. So, when handing out a superlative, how should the judge dictate between that… Read More →

Book Review: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Stories by David Foster Wallace (New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. 336 pp) Born in Ithaca, New York, David Foster Wallace was a regionally ranked junior tennis player in his youth. He earned a degree in English and Philosophy from Amherst College, winning the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. Later, he earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Wallace taught literature at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and later became the Roy E. Disney Professor of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Pomona College. Over the course of his career, he earned a MacArthur Fellowship, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and the Lannan Literary Award. Wallace died… Read More →

Properly Introduced: “Self-Interpreting Animals”

Human Agency and Language by Charles Taylor

“Self-Interpreting Animals” by Charles Taylor 1. Some of our emotions involve import-ascriptions; 2. Some of these imports are subject-referring; 3. Our subject-referring feelings are the basis of our understanding of what it is to be human; 4. These feelings are constituted by the articulations we come to accept of them; and 5. These articulations, which we can think of as interpretations, require language

Book Review: Conversational Design

Conversational Design by Erika Hall

Conversational Design by Erika Hall (New York: A Book Apart, 2018. 134 pp) Erika Hall has been working in web design and development since the late twentieth century. In 2001, she cofounded Mule Design Studio, where she leads the strategy consulting practice. Her enthusiasm for evidence-based decision-making led her to write Just Enough Research. She speaks frequently to international audiences on topics ranging from collaboration and design research to effective interface language. Her current talks explore the limits of using quantitative data to make design decisions. Computer Talk It feels like a couple of years ago society hit a fulcrum, and conversation shifted dramatically. Where communication between people often occurred verbally, communication with machines happened largely through code or writing…. Read More →

Book Review: There There

There There by Tommy Orange

There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. 300 pp) Tommy Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing By Writers Fellow. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California. Birthday Expeditions Recently on a birthday expedition, my wife and I played tourist for a day and ventured to the Seattle waterfront. A changing city, the waterfront operates at the front edges of its own transformation, a tunnel underneath burrowing to replace the dangers of a viaduct highway. A… Read More →