Book Review: C

C: A Novel by Tom McCarthy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 320 pp) Tom McCarthy was born in London and raised in Greenwich. Educated at Dulwich College and New College, Oxford, McCarthy worked as a literary editor for Time Out. In 2005, his debut novel, Remainder, received critical acclaim. He has published numerous essays, articles, and stories in The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement, The London Review of Books, Artforum, and The New York Times. McCarthy’s latest novel, C, was nominated for the 2010 Man Booker Prize. Bugs! The thorax is an interesting part of an insect’s body; it connects the head to the abdomen and provides the insect with it sectionalized look. Each section of the body is… Read More →

Book Review: The Art of the Commonplace

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry; edited by Norman Wirzba (Berkley: Counterpoint, 2002. 352 pp) Born in rural Kentucky, Wendell Berry is a farmer, critic, and prolific author. He has published many works in novels, essays, poems, and short stories genres. Berry received his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky before attending Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. He obtained a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and taught English at New York University before taking a position on faculty at the University of Kentucky.  After a decade of teaching, Berry purchased a farm in the Kentucky countryside where he currently works and writes about the virtues of connecting with the land…. Read More →

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1960. 376 pp) Born in 1926, Harper Lee is an author best known for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Although this novel was her only published work, its longstanding success contributed to Lee winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Lee attended Huntingdon College for one year before attending the University of Alabama. In the wake of success, Lee has accepted numerous honorary degrees. She currently splits time between New York City and Monroeville, Alabama. Just Because We Can Share the Same Water Fountain Doesn’t Mean We Are Sharing the Same Water Fountain According to a recent New York Times project, North Seattle is predominantly white… Read More →

Book Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X: A Novel by Keigo Higashino, translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander (New York: Minotaur Books, 2011. 304 pp) Born in Osaka and currently living in Tokyo, Keigo Higashino is a bestselling Japanese author. He is the winner of the Edogawa Rampo Prize and the Mystery Writers of Japan, Inc. Prize. Alexander O. Smith translates novels, manga, and video games. He has been nominated for the Eisner Award and won the ALA’s Batchelder Award for his translation of Miyuki Miyabe’s Brave Story. He lives with his family in Vermont. Telegraphed Influences I enjoy Mumford and Sons but they bother me. Mumford and Sons is a Grammy nominated music group from London, England. Their… Read More →

Book Review: Room

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 336 pp) Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland to Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended University College Dublin earning first-class honors in English and French. Later, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. In addition to Room, she has written the Sealed Letter, Landing, Touchy Subjects, Life Mask, the Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Slammerkin, Kissing the Witch, Hood, and Stirfry. Donoghue lives in Ontario, Canada with her family. All the Pretty Colors Consider infrared and ultraviolet light. We know it exists, yet the human eye is unable to perceive it. If we could view these portions of the spectrum, what would it… Read More →

Book Review: The Blasphemer

The Blasphemer: A Novel by Nigel Farndale (New York: Crown Publishers, 2010. 384 pp) Best known for his interviews in the Sunday Telegraph, Nigel Farndale is a British author and journalist. Farndale went to Barnard Castle School before receiving a master’s degree in philosophy from Durham University. On top of his work for the Sunday Telegraph, Farndale contributes articles to theSunday Times, Country Life, and Spectator. Of his five published books, Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce was shortlisted for both the 2005 Whitbread Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Additionally, The Blasphemer was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award. Farndale lives between Hampshire and Sussex with his wife and three sons. The Lifeboat The lifeboat… Read More →

Book Review: Easter Island

Easter Island: A Novel by Jennifer Vanderbes (New York: The Dial Press, 2003. 320 pp) Jennifer Vanderbes graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in English Literature and received her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has obtained both the Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowship and has taught at both the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Columbia University. Easter Island, her first novel, obtained the honor of “best book of 2003” by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor. Her most recent novel, Strangers at the Feast was published in August 2010. The Locals Call It Rapa Nui A solitary land mass with its closest neighbor over 1,200 miles away, Easter Island is famously known for its moai… Read More →

Book Review: No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Vintage International, 2005. 320 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… Read More →

Book Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2006. 350 pp) A Canadian-born dual citizen, Sara Gruen lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children. With a background in technical writing, Gruen is a devoted animal lover who has written numerous books dedicated to the relationship between animals and humans. While Water for Elephants tops the best-seller list, Gruen’s books also include Riding Lessons, Flying Changes, and The Ape House. Step Right Up Water for Elephants follows the life of Jacob Jankowski, an almost Ivy League educated veterinarian working in the Depression era circus industry. Although Jacob intended to follow in his father’s footsteps as a small-town veterinarian, an unfortunate accident left him orphaned… Read More →

Book Review: The Namesake

The Namesake: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. 304 pp) Born in London to Bengali immigrants, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to the United States at the young age of 3. Her first published work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. In 2007, Hollywood adapted The Namesake into a feature film.  A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Lahiri is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Home for the Holidays? Thanksgiving introduces an exciting portion of the year. I love sleeping in, wearing pajamas into the living room, and seeing a football game on the television. The turkey is already cooking… Read More →