Book Review: Stanley Park

Stanley Park: A Novel by Timothy Taylor (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2001. 432 pp) Born in Venezuela, Timothy Taylor grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. He attended the University of Alberta and Queen’s University. Taylor published his first novel, Stanley Park, in 2001. His two latest novels, Story House and The Blue Light Project were shortlisted for the CBC Bookie Prize. A winner of the Journey Prize, Taylor works as a contributing editor for Vancouver Magazine and has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers. Cascadia Although I am an American, I consider myself, equally (if not more so), a Cascadian. Culturally speaking, I feel a closer affinity to British Columbians than Americans residing on the Eastern Seaboard. Even if my national… Read More →

Book Review: The Shipping News

The Shipping News: A Novel by Annie Proulx (New York: Scribner, 1993. 352 pp) Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Annie Proulx earned her B.A. at the University of Vermont and her M.A. from Concordia University. While working as a journalist, Proulx published works of fiction in various magazines before publishing her first novel, Postcards, in 1992, winning her the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Of her many awards, she notably won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for The Shipping News and she adapted her short-story, Brokeback Mountain, into an award-winning feature film. She currently resides in Wyoming. The Dinner Table  There’s something pristine about a populated dinner table. The scent of freshly prepared food. The peace of… Read More →

Book Review: The Spirit of Food

The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting toward God edited by Leslie Leyland Fields (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2010. 284 pp.) Residing on Kodiak Island Alaska, Leslie Leyland Fields and her family operate a commercial salmon fishing business. On top of the family business, Fields teaches Creative Nonfiction in the Master of Fine Arts program at Seattle Pacific University. She has written seven books and numerous essays. Our “Thing” When I was dating my wife, I would often hear the question, “What do you two have in common?” While we enjoy similar bands, movies, and comedians, we do not have a “thing” that defines us. Some couples’ “thing” is theater, for others, it is season tickets for a… Read More →

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender (New York: Doubleday, 2010. 304 pp.) Author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, a New York Times Notable Book; An Invisible Sign of My Own, an L.A. Times pick of the year; and Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender lives in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her most recent book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, won the SCIBA award for best fiction and an Alex Award. Her short fiction has been printed in many publications allowing her to receive two Puschart prizes. A Case for Food and Family Food is one of the most basic needs for human beings, the symbol of… Read More →

Book Review: The Art of the Commonplace

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry; edited by Norman Wirzba (Berkley: Counterpoint, 2002. 352 pp) Born in rural Kentucky, Wendell Berry is a farmer, critic, and prolific author. He has published many works in novels, essays, poems, and short stories genres. Berry received his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky before attending Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. He obtained a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and taught English at New York University before taking a position on faculty at the University of Kentucky.  After a decade of teaching, Berry purchased a farm in the Kentucky countryside where he currently works and writes about the virtues of connecting with the land…. 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: 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 →