Book Review: The Plague

The Plague by Albert Camus; translated by Stuart Gilbert (New York: Vintage International, 1948. 320 pp) Born in French Algeria, Albert Camus was a renowned author and philosopher. He attended the University of Algiers. Camus is best known for his novels, The Plague and The Stranger as well as his view of absurdism in philosophy. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957 and died in a car accident in 1960. Stuart Gilbert was an English literary scholar and translator. He translated into English works from André Malraux, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Georges Simenon, Jean Cocteau, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Awaiting the Big One It seems every couple of years, a potential pandemic arises. Whether swine or bird flu,… Read More →

Album Review: Ten Stories

Ten Stories by mewithoutYou (Pine Street Collection, 2012. 40 minutes) mewithoutYou is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band includes Aaron Weiss (vocals), Michael Weiss (guitar), and Rickie Mazzotta (drums) with a carousel of supporting musicians. mewithoutYou signed with Tooth and Nail Records releasing their first four records with the label. Ten Stories is self-released and offers a return to the band’s earlier sound. Circular Narrative “All circles presuppose they’ll end where they begin, but in their leaving can they ever come back round.” – Aaron Weiss adapted from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Looking back on the music that defined my teen years, not much of it carried staying power. I liked ska, but the genre died in… Read More →

Book Review: Ambiguous Adventure

Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane; translated by Katherine Woods (Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing, 2012; originally published 1962. 176 pp) Cheikh Hamidou Kane was born the son of a local chief in Senegal in 1928. He studied philosophy and law at the Sarbonne in Paris and later at the École Nationale de la France d’Outre-Mer. While in Paris, Kane wrote Ambiguous Adventure basing it on his experiences. Upon returning to Senegal, he published his novel to considerable acclaim winning the Grand Prix Littéraire d’Afrique Noir. Kane garnered employment in the Senegalese government in multiple ministerial positions. Kane lives in Dakar, Senegal. Besides her translation of Ambiguous Adventure, Katherine Woods is best known for her translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The… Read More →

Television Show Review: Awake

 Awake created by Kyle Killen (Letter Eleven, Teakwood Lane Productions, 20th Century Fox Television. Airs Thursday night on NBC.) Starring Jason Isaacs, Laura Allen, and Dylan Minnette. Cogito Ergo Sum  René Descartes seemingly graces the annals of history exclusively for the quote, “I think; therefore I am.” The sentence is an answer on a high school history quiz; it is chiseled in the foundations of university philosophy departments. Unhooked from its preceding line of reasoning on the pursuit of epistemological truth, the sentence sounds painfully obvious. By positing that thinking is his conclusive proof of his existence, Descartes asserts that all other sensory experience might be false. As such, the all-too-familiar notion of a realistic dream offers questions. If a… 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 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 →

Book Review: God, Freedom, and Evil

God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977. 121 pp) A well-known American philosopher, Alvin Plantinga is the emeritus John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Born in 1932, Plantinga earned his B.A. from Calvin College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Known for defending orthodox Christian beliefs by analytical philosophy, Plantinga has published numerous books including God and Other Minds, The Nature of Necessity, and Warranted Christian Belief. During his distinguished career, Plantinga received multiple honorary degrees and fellowships. In 1980, magazine named Plantinga “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.“ The Problem of Evil Suppose that God, as most Christians believe, is wholly good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and… Read More →

Book Review: The Cave

The Cave by José Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2002. 320 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize winning author from Portugal, who 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. Margaret Jull Costa translates Portuguese and Spanish fiction and poetry. For her work she has won the Portuguese Translation Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the… Read More →

Book Review: Island of the Day Before

The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver  (Orlando: Harcourt Books, 2006. 528pp)Umberto Eco was born January 5, 1932 and is a Knight Grand Cross of the Italian Republic. He is the founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione at the University of San Marino, an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College at the University of Oxford, and is best known for his novels The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery. He is also President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici at the University of Bologna, and a member of the Accademia dei Lincei. In addition to fiction, he has also written both academic texts on literary theory and children’s books. William Weaver is… Read More →