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 →

Book Review: Flickering Pixels

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith By Shane Hipps (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. 208 pp) Before committing to professional vocational ministry, Shane Hipps held a position with Porsche Cars North America working on communications strategy. After a stint in the corporate world, he received a master of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Hipps pastored Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Arizona, before he became teaching pastor of Mars Hill Grand Rapids in 2010. Little Dots Comprise the Image Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a pixel as any of the small discrete elements that together constitute an image. The pixel is a building block, a portion of the larger whole. Without pixels, no image exists. Similarly, people are the building blocks of culture… Read More →

Book Review: Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. Updated Edition 312 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 Reservations. Bourdain resides in New York City…. Read More →

Book Review: Salvation City

Salvation City: A Novel by Sigrid Nunez (New York: Riverhead Books, 2010. 288 pp) Living in New York City, Sigrid Nunez has published six novels in her career. She is the winner of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a residency from the Lannan Foundation. She has also received the Rome Prize Fellow in Literature in the American Academy in Rome, a Literature Fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Previously, Nunez taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Columbia University, as well as… Read More →

Book Review: The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth: A Novel by Thomas Mullen (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006. 432 pp) Born in Rhode Island, Thomas Mullen graduated from Oberlin College. His first novel, The Last Town on Earth received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune best book of the year. Mullen currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, I decided to take a stab at Mullen’s debut novel, The Last Town on Earth. Set in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest, a small town named Commonwealth quarantines itself in an attempt… Read More →

Book Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals By Michael Pollan. (New York: Penguin Books, 2006. 450 pp) Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for New York Times Magazine and the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written seven books and countless articles on current agrarian issues. In 2010 alone, Pollan added the Social Justice Champion Award from the California Center for Public Health to his many recognitions as well as being named to the Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people. He lives with his wife and son in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was young, I vividly remember receiving harsher punishments when I lied… Read More →