Book Group: The Revisionists

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen (New York: Mulholland Books, 2011. 448 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. The Plot In The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen, Zed is an agent from the future. He is sent back in time to Washington D.C. to make sure the world’s problems continue in order that the future he lives in is preserved. It is his goal to make sure that every catastrophe… Read More →

Book Review: Legend

Legend by Marie Lu (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. 305 pp) Marie Lu was born near Shanghai, China, in 1984. She attended the University of Southern California, and before becoming a full-time writer, she was an Art Director at a video game company. She lives in Pasadena with her boyfriend and three dogs. Capitalizing on the Trend Capitalizing on teen, angst-driven dystopian fiction, 27 year-old Marie Lu obviously had a target market for the novel, Legend. I certainly can’t blame her for exploiting the newest craze, especially since the movie rights already have been purchased from the same people who produced the poorly written Twilight franchise. For this reason, Legend came across my radar, and having a penchant for dystopian… Read More →

Book Review: Zone One

Zone One: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (New York: Doubleday, 2011. 272 pp) Colson Whitehead was born in 1969 and raised in Manhattan. He attended Harvard College and afterward he began working as a reviewer for The Village Voice. Out of the gate, Whitehead’s fiction gained acclaim when his first novel, The Intuitionist, won the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. His work has earned him the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Also, Whitehead has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Knives and Reason Aristotle, when expanding on his defense of virtue ethics, contends that humans act ethically when… Read More →

Book Review: The Flame Alphabet

The Flame Alphabet: A Novel by Ben Marcus (New York: Knopf, 2012. 304 pp) Ben Marcus is the author of The Age of Wire and String and Notable American Women. His stories have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, and Conjunctions. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and awards from the Creative Capital Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York, where he is on the faculty at Columbia University. The Curious Case of Parenthood They say life transforms once you become a parent. The transition is instant. One day you care about music and video games; the next, you… Read More →

Book Review: Blueprints of the Afterlife

Blueprints of the Afterlife: A Novel by Ryan Boudinot (New York: Black Cat, 2012. 430pp). Ryan Boudinot is the author of the novel Misconception, as well as The Littlest Hitler, the latter which won the book of the year from Publisher’s Weekly. He is on the faculty of Goddard College’s MFA program in Port Townsend, and blogs about film at therumpus.net. A native of Washington state, he currently lives in the city of Seattle. New York Alki Setting off in mild trepidation down my newfound odyssey of contemporary literature, I have found some amazing novels. Despite my fear, Blueprints of the Afterlife takes home the proverbial first prize. In this weird, somewhat dystopian, mainly dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic world, Ryan Boudinot carefully… Read More →

Album Review: Mylo Xyloto

Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay (Parlophone, 2011. 44 minutes) Coldplay are a British alternative rock band led by vocalist Chris Martin. Recently produced by Brian Eno, Coldplay has enjoyed a high level of acclaim and success. The band has won numerous awards throughout their career, including seven Grammy Award wins from twenty Grammy Award nominations. Coldplay has sold over 50 million records worldwide. What is in a Name? “Mylo Xyloto.” Upon hearing these words, the first thing that came to mind was this exact thought: what? Martin claims that it means “xylo toes”, as in musical toes from a xylophone. But, album title aside, Mylo Xyloto is wonderful. Despite the aid of Brian Eno, it took me a while to get… Read More →

Book Review: Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2010. 326 pp) Born in 1972, Paolo Bacigalupi is a science fiction and fantasy writer. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Compton Crook, Theodore Sturgeon, and Michael L. Printz awards, and has been nominated for the National Book Award. His most famous work, The Windup Girl was named one of the top ten books of 2009 by Time Magazine. Dystopia  Dystopian novels always reveal something about the human condition, and that’s why I tend to gravitate toward them. I read not for a love of seeing what the world would be if it fell into disarray, but to catch slight glimpses of the human condition put against the backdrop… Read More →

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (New York: Scholastic Inc., 2008. 384 pp) Suzanne Collins began her writing career in children’s television. While working for Nickelodeon, Collins wrote for many shows, chief among them Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Eventually, Collins moved to children’s literature writing a five-part series, The Underland Chronicles. Her Hunger Games trilogy, however, has received high acclaim, and the first book has been adapted into a major motion picture. Collins lives in Connecticut with her family. A Trilogy Trilogy is not only a word that piques the interest of an avid subset of moviegoers, but is also a word that equals a goldmine for movie executives. No matter the genre… Read More →

Book Review: The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (New York: Doubleday, 2009. 448 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. Dystopia Everyone knows Orwell’s 1984. The classic dystopian novel depicts the frightening consequences of an authoritarian state. Without removing much of its well-deserved praise, I wonder if 1984 remains a masterpiece not for its… Read More →

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451: The Temperature at Which Book Paper Catches Fire and Burns… by Ray Bradbury (New York: Del Rey Books, 1953. 208 pp) With over five hundred published works to his name, Ray Bradbury is one of the heavyweights in American literature during the 20th century. Born in Illinois, Bradbury’s family moved to California when he was thirteen. He graduated from Los Angeles High School and did not enter college. Drawn to writing from an early age, Bradbury attended the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society meeting many of the influential writers in the region. Bradbury began writing professionally by publishing stories in magazines. As his stories encountered praise, Bradbury began writing longer works. As the say, the rest is history…. Read More →