Book Review: Lake Overturn

Lake Overturn: A Novel by Vestal McIntyre (New York: Harper Perennial, 2010. 443 pp) Born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, Vestal McIntyre is an award winning novelist. He has twice won the Lambda Literary Award. In 2006, he received a Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. McIntyre lives in both New York City and London. Literary fiction takes many forms. Sometimes it takes the shape of social satire placed within a simple narrative, other times it takes the form of an author, self-aware of the words he or she places on the page, and even still, other times it takes the form of a complexly interwoven plot. Partly… Read More →

Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcίa Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa (New York: Harper Perennial, 1967. 417 pp) Gabriel Garcίa Márquez is a Colombian novelist whose notable books include Love in the Time of Cholera, The Autumn of the Patriarch, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, Márquez is considered one of the most significant authors of the Twentieth Century. With a foundation in magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude follows the growth of the Buendίa family and the city of Macondo. Drawing from childhood stories, Márquez pens an extraordinary tale of love, death, and loneliness. The book begins with a foreboding sense of determinism when Márquez writes: “Many years… Read More →

Book Review: Tortured Wonders

Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, Not Angels by Rodney Clapp (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004. 278 pp) Rodney Clapp is the executive editor of Brazos Press. Previously, he was employed as an editor at Christianity Today and InterVarsity Press. Clapp has written countless articles on the church and culture as well as seven books. I hate Spirit 105.3. If you like that radio station and I hurt your feelings, I apologize. In all honesty, I really do not want you to have hurt feelings, but I find Spirit 105.3 less wholesome and family friendly (as they advertise) and more vomit-inducing otherworldly fakery. Of course I am painting this station in broad strokes and I have no special insight regarding… Read More →

Film Review: It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud directed by Davis Guggenheim (Thomas Tull productions and Sony Pictures Classics, NR, 98 minutes) Starring Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White Everyone loves electric guitar. Beyond its pleasant aesthetic and varying tonal qualities lies an iconic cultural status. From the metal-head who spends more time shredding in Guitar Center than in the classroom to the almost universal urge to play guitar in the air when a real guitar does not suffice, guitar wins. I am unaware of the competition guitar entered but it totally won. It Might Get Loud caters to our dreams and desires. While our rock star fantasies died before inception through Junior High and High School bands or garage rock with friends,… Read More →

Book Review: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen (New York: Random House, 2010. 397 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. “Large than life, she’d heard someone say. What can be larger than life? Death, or is that smaller? People do tend to become larger in death, their finer qualities extending outward like an endlessly serialized tale, their flaws and foibles forgotten, their stories continually retold. Larger… Read More →

Book Review: The History of the Siege of Lisbon

The History of the Siege of Lisbon: A Novel by José Saramago (San Diego: Harcourt & Brace, 1998. 314 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize winning author from Portugal. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Before we begin, I must confess that José Saramago is one of my favorite authors. His creativity, social critiques, and pseudo-realism in works… Read More →

Film Review: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes directed by Guy Ritchie; Warner Home Video, 128 minutes. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachael McAdams, and Mark Strong. The mystery genre has always been slightly problematic for me because it seems easy to connect events through tenuous circumstances and odd observations. Suppose the killer has dirty hands: the mystery writer makes the detective deduce that the killer works in the coal mine in the neighboring county. However, dirty hands do not guarantee the occupation of this individual. The killer perhaps recently landscaped his or her backyard. The foundational reasoning in Sherlock Holmes carries these same inferences. Logic aside, Sherlock Holmes mixes both good and bad in a strikingly mediocre movie. Concerning what is good; Robert Downey,… Read More →

Book Review: Justification

Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision by N.T. Wright (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009. 279 pp) N.T. Wright studied at Sedbergh School and Exeter College before being ordained as a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College. Wright taught at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford University before becoming the Bishop of Durham. Recently, he took a position as a Chair in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. There are times when I wish I lived during the era of saints and heretics. As orthodox Christianity developed, people fought over differing theological positions and often resorted to name calling. It is best to view N.T. Wright’s book in a similar fashion. In short, Justification reads as an extended… Read More →

Film Review: Paper Heart

Paper Heart directed by Nicholas Jasenovec. Starring Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, and Nicholas Jasenovec. What is love? Is it a tangible experience? Can a scientist find it in the brain? Some people fall in and out of it; some people do not believe in it; some people think that love is a verb. In Paper Heart, Charylne Yi seeks to understand this complex phenomenon. Paper Heart holds a unique characteristic coined as a “hybrid documentary” by the producers. The movie is partly a documentary because it details the stories of actual human beings, yet at the same time the movie tells a fictional story about the relationship between Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. For this reason, the movie often breaks… Read More →

Book Review: Soccernomics

Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey–and Even Iraq–Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport By Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (New York: Nation Books, 2009. 328 pp) Simon Kuper writes weekly sports columns for the Financial Times. Of his many books written on soccer from an anthropological perspective, Kuper’sSoccer Against the Enemy won the William Hill Prize for sports book of the year. Kuper lives in Paris with his wife and daughter. Stefan Szymanski is a professor of economics and the director of Sports Network Research Center at Cass Business School in London. He has published many articles on the business of sport with a… Read More →