Book Review: The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011. 416 pp) Born in Detroit, Michigan on March 8, 1960, Jeffrey Eugenides is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. As an undergraduate, he attended Brown University and later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University. Eugenides received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fellowship for a short story he wrote in 1986. In 2002, his novel, Middlesex, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Ambassador Book Award. Eugenides works on faculty at Princeton University’s Program in Creative writing and lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter. The Bachelor/ette-ization of America As a seemingly perpetual joke, The Bachelor/ette television… Read More →

Book Review: Second Treatise of Government

Second Treatise of Government by John Locke, edited by C.B. Macpherson (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1980; originally published in 1690. 124 pp) Widely known as the Father of Liberalism, John Locke’s work in epistemology and political philosophy has influenced countless nations. Born in 1632 in England, Locke attended Westminster School in London earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Having fled to the Netherlands to escape suspicion of an assassination plot, Locke began publishing his writing upon his return to England. With his writing gaining widespread influence, Locke died in 1704. He never married nor fathered children. C.B. Macpherson was born in Toronto, Canada in 1911. From 1935 to his death in 1987, he taught primarily at the University of Toronto… Read More →

Book Group: The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway Donovan’s Version: (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1955. 127 pp) Andrew’s Version: (New York: Scribner, 1980. 93 pp) Since both of the contributors are actively involved in a book group, we thought it might be interesting to review the books we read for this group in a “book discussion” style. What follows is less a critical reflection on the literary themes in a particular work and more a discussion about the novel. What we liked; what we didn’t like; what we thought the author intended to say; whether or not we thought the author succeeded in communicating those thoughts. Who knows how it will end up but here we go! Donovan:… Read More →

Book Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones: Book One of a Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (New York: Bantum Books, 1996. 720 pp) George R. R. Martin is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Born in New Jersey, Martin earned a B.S. and M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University. He began writing fiction in the early 1970s with his first works earning him a Hugo and Nebula award. In the 1980s, he began writing in Hollywood for the The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. Martin is best known for his critically acclaimed epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was developed into Game of Thrones, an HBO television… Read More →

Film Review: The Descendants

The Descendants directed by Alexander Payne (Ad Hominem Enterprises, R, 115 minutes) Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller. In Remembrance of Those Lost Tragedy does silly things to a human being. It can either bring family together, or ruin what little semblance of family remaining. It causes people to find religion, or causes others to dive headfirst into addiction. When a loved one passes, we speak of them glowingly as if our words create a halo around the deceased. Through tragedy we resolve to live better as if life changes could honor the memory of a loved one passed. Yet in death, just as in life, people carry their demons alongside their virtues. In Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, Matt… Read More →

Book Review: The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers: A Novel by Patrick deWitt (New York: Ecco Publishing, 2011. 336 pp) Born on Vancouver Island in 1975, Patrick deWitt is the author of Ablutions: Notes for a Novel. Currently living in Oregon, deWitt has also lived in California and Washington. His latest novel, The Sisters Brothers, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Giller Prize. Man Booker: A Controversy Last year, the Man Booker Prize committee encountered controversy when they proclaimed that the books shortlisted for the prize “had to zip along”. For many readers who value the artistic merit of such literary prizes, a quick-moving novel represented populist entertainment. This debate between art and entertainment cuts to the core of my reading pleasures…. Read More →

Book Review: God of the Possible

God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God by Gregory A. Boyd (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000. 176 pp The founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, Greg Boyd received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and his B.A. from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching at Bethel University, Boyd founded Christus Victor Ministries, a nonprofit organization that promotes Boyd’s writing and speaking. He is a recognized theologian and author of numerous books including best-seller, Letters from a Skeptic. Married to his wife Shelley for 28 years, Gregory resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. When Bible Study Becomes Scary When I was young, my parents hosted a… Read More →

Film Review: Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen (Gravier Productions, Mediapro, Televisió de Catalunya, PG-13, 94 minutes) Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Marion Cotillard. Why Facebook Causes Covetousness With the advent of Facebook, a new form of the grass-is-greener mentality flowers from the ever-present news feed. Each day when we access our social media, we observe the seemingly wonderful and sometimes over-the-top lives of our friends, family, and acquaintances. Acutely aware of our own mundane existence, we see these contacts and covet their lifestyles. This person got promoted; that person bought a house; this family has a child; that family travels Europe; I’m sitting on a couch; woe is me. In Woody Allen’s new movie, Midnight in Paris,… Read More →

Film Review: Senna

Senna directed by Asif Kapadia (Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, and Working Title Films, PG-13, 106 minutes) Starring Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, and Ron Dennis. Motor Sports in the Blood Whenever I feel the need to impress a new acquaintance, I often find myself telling stories of my dad and uncles. You see, my father (before he met my mother) raced hydroplanes. As a child, my dad would take me to the pits during Seafair and while I marveled at the loud engines and sleek boat frames, my dad would socialize with drivers, mechanics, and boat owners. Both of my uncles to this day dabble in motor sports. Whether go-karts or open-wheeled Formula Four vehicles, my uncles have the… Read More →

Book Review: The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Téa Obreht (New York: Random House, 368 pp) Born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, Téa Obreht grew up in Cyprus and Egypt before immigrating to the United States in 1997. Her writing is published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Her first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in The National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York. Faith or Reason With the death of famed author and theist critic Christopher Hitchens… Read More →