Book Review: Sepharad

Sepharad: A Novel by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2003. 400 pp) Antonio Muñoz Molina is a Spanish writer and member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He studied art history at the University of Granada. While working as a journalist in Madrid, Molina published a collection of his articles for his first book. As an author, he has won Spain’s National Narrative Prize twice and the Planeta Prize once. Molina currently lives in New York City. Margaret Sayers Peden is an American translator and professor who received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Currently a Professor Emeritus, she teaches classes on Spanish, Spanish American literature, Translation, and Interpretation. Her English-language translation of Molina’s… Read More →

Book Review: Business for the Common Good

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace By Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011. 288 pp.) Kenman Wong, professor of business ethics at Seattle Pacific University, teaches courses in the fields of ethics and microfinance. A graduate of Biola University, the University of Washington, and the University of Southern California (where he received his doctorate in social ethics), Wong as also authored Medicine & the Marketplace, Beyond Integrity (also with Scott B. Rae), and many articles published in scholarly journals. Scott B. Rae serves as professor of biblical studies-Christian ethics at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and the University of… Read More →

Album Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver by Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar, 2011. 39 minutes) Founded by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, Bon Iver is an indie folk band featuring Vernon, Michael Noyce, Sean Carey, and Matthew McCaughan. The band began when Vernon self-released his first record, For Emma, Forever Ago, after spending three months working through the breakup of a band and a relationship. With much critical praise surrounding the first record, Vernon signed with Jagjaguwar. In the wake of For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon collaborated with Kanye West on his latest record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Bon Iver released its self-titled second record on June 12, 2011 and entered the Billboard charts at number 2. Sending Chills Down the Spine In certain ways, music contains… Read More →

Book Review: Falling Sideways

Falling Sideways: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011 304 pp) Born in New York City, Thomas Kennedy wanted to become a writer after reading Dosteovsky’s Crime and Punishment. Kennedy earned a B.A. in language and literature from City College of New York. Immediately after his undergraduate studies, Kennedy took a job as News Editor of World Medical Journal based in France. After a few years at the journal, Kennedy took a job with the Danish Medical Association. It wasn’t until 1981 that Kennedy published his first work in a literary journal. In 1985, he received his MFA from Vermont College and, then, received a Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Copenhagen. Kennedy has won… Read More →

Book Review: A Paradise Built in Hell

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (New York: Viking Press, 2009. 368 pp) Based in San Francisco, Rebecca Solnit has authored thirteen books on art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. A product of the California education system, Solnit attended San Francisco State University as an undergraduate and the University of California, Berkeley where she received a Masters in Journalism. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s and often contributes articles to During her career, Solnit has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and a 2004 Wired Rave Award. Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short… Read More →

Film Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick (Cottonwood Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, and River Road Entertainment, PG-13, 139 minutes) Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. Why Me? Do you remember the last time you cried uncontrollably? In those moments when tears threaten to disrupt breathing patterns and life seems to change course, did you ask, “Why me?” Though circumstances differ from person to person, we all encounter these life altering and painful-to-the-bone scenarios. With Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning opus, The Tree of Life, such existential crises are exquisitely depicted on film. Job As the movie commences, Job 38:4 flashes over a blank screen. In this biblical passage, God declares, “Where were you when I laid the foundation… Read More →

Looking for a Job? Consider Writing a Personal Biography

We all want to grab the attention of someone we hope to impress, and we’re tempted to do just about anything to be noticed. Remember Elle Wood’s pink and scented resume in Legally Blonde? She is not alone; officious employees have tried a myriad of attention grabbing techniques over the decades. Photo by Jason Tavares With a new crop of fresh graduates submitting resumes on the open market, Michael Margolis at the 99% suggests in a recent article entitled, “The Resume Is Dead, The Bio is King” that job applicants should reconsider submitting a weighty resume in an effort to impress. Instead, a well-crafted narrative will do a better job of piquing the interest of potential business associates. On the surface, the reason for the shift in… Read More →

Book Review: Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (New York: Anchor Books, 2003. 376 pp) Born in Ottawa in the autumn of 1939, Margaret Atwood grew up in Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She attained her B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto and her M.A. from Radcliffe College. Atwood has written more than 50 works of poetry, children’s fiction, fiction, and non-fiction. While she is most known for her many novels, her book, Blind Assassin, received highest acclaim winning the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Currently, she lives with Graeme Gibson in Toronto. Patenting Nature Last year, my wife and I watched Food, Inc. on Netflix. While much of the movie shocked us, nothing was more appalling than the brazen… Read More →

Film Review: Super 8

Super 8 directed by J.J. Abrams (Amblin Entertainment, Bad Robot, and Paramount Pictures, PG-13. 112 minutes) Starring Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, and Riley Griffiths. Mystery Shrouded in mystery, the trailer for Super 8 reveals very little plot. From it, we get a clear picture that J.J. Abrams is interested in telling a story through concealment. Much like Ernest Hemingway’s writing style, this form of narration builds suspense as the human mind fills in the blank spaces. Super 8 is a science fiction film that depicts a small town’s encounter with a dangerous unknown being. The protagonists of the film are a group of children who are filming a Super 8 zombie movie. While filming a scene at the… Read More →

Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut (New York: Dell Publishing, 1969. 216 pp) Kurt Vonnegut was a fourth-generation German-American who lived in easy circumstances on Cape Cod (while smoking too much), who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, “the Florence of the Elbe,” a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. Slaughterhouse-Five is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from. Peace. The Muzzle of a Gun Despite the glorification of war on the silver screen, the principle of war is not only brutish and disheartening but… Read More →