Properly Introduced: “Sea Girls”

Tin House Volume 18 Number 4

“Sea Girls” by Daniel Wallace in Tin House: Volume 18, Number 4 “I met her on the beach, standing beside the body of a mermaid that had washed ashore. We had learned about these creatures in history class, how the surf would occasionally carry one in, tangled in string and seaweed, barely breathing, sickened by the great sink of dishwater we called the ocean. Everything, at one time or another, seemed to end up on a beach—but even so I’d never known of anyone who saw an actual mermaid.”

Top 40 Albums of 2016

40. Happiness Is not a Place by The Wind and the Wave Catchy and upbeat folk rock.   39. Stay Gold by the Butch Walker A reincarnation of the boss. Pure rock ‘n’ roll.   38. Max Jury by Max Jury Reserved and introspective. A solid voice, soft but powerful.   37. Therapy Session by NF Christian hip-hop from the dark side. 36. Ouroboros by Ray LaMontagne Ray LaMontagne continues his quest to be a classic-rock star.   35. Hymns by Bloc Party Bloc Party adds an organ to their sound and questions of faith to their lyrics.   34. A/B by Kaleo In the spirit of all Icelandic music, Kaleo plays music against beautiful backdrops. The band also has the blues.   33. The Ride by Catfish and the Bottlemen The 2016 nominee for Oasis impersonation…. Read More →

January Playlist 2014

In an effort to switch things up and keep better track of my listening habits, I have decided to shift music reviewing strategies. Instead of trying to unpack an album and try my best to make sense of its artistic milieu, I will instead track music in short snippets on a monthly basis. Hopefully this direction can help get me out of the writer’s block I often experience when it comes to music criticism. As a disclaimer, this list doesn’t necessarily mean music released in January 2014; it’s just a reflection of what I’ve been listening to. Neko Case — The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You An indie-rock veteran,… Read More →

Book Review:Cooked

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan (New York: Penguin Press, 2013. 446 pp) Michael Pollan is the author of six previous books, including Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Michael Pollan: Crusader of Food Michael Pollan is known as the defender of food, of all things eaten. He wrote the manifesto for eating in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and even a manual in Food Rules. When I picked up Cooked, I expected some of the same, most of the same even. Luckily, I wasn’t… Read More →

Book Review: Hound of the Baskervilles

The Complete Sherlock Holmes: Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2009. 1077 pp) Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels. All Based on Sherlock My wife remarked to me the other night, “Have you noticed all police shows are based loosely off the Sherlock Holmes stories?” After a moment of pensive thought, I said, “Yes, but they are never quite… Read More →

Book Review: This Is How You Lose Her

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz (New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. 224 pp) Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Junot Díaz is a graduate of Rutgers College and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award, Díaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The Philosophy of Art The philosophy of art is a fascinating subject. Perhaps the most popular philosophy of art surrounds the idea of relationship. Tolstoy—I believe; I’m too lazy to look… Read More →

Film Review: Les Misérables

Les Misérables written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, directed by Tom Hooper (Working Title Films, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd., PG-13, 157 minutes) Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. The Airing of Grievances Before I go into the general plot summary and the merits of this particular musical, I need to air my grievances Seinfeld style. I love music, but I don’t like musicals. Music is very genuine, raw, and emotion-filled by its very nature. To me (I realize most don’t feel this way), it feels very disingenuous and hollow-hearted when someone randomly bursts into song whilst talking the rest of the time. Musicals usually create a new kind of world where reality doesn’t permeate, where song is the standard,… Read More →

Book Review: The Corrections

The Corrections: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 576 pp) Jonathan Franzen is an American author. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in German. Franzen has received widespread acclaim for his book, The Corrections. He has won the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California. A New Reading Style Without having read any of his work, Jonathan Franzen was the source for rethinking the books I read. After garnering more acclaim for his latest book, Freedom, a few female authors expressed displeasure about his books gaining prestige as literary novels while their books—highlighting the same themes—were labeled “chick lit.”… Read More →

Andrew’s Top Books of 2012

This year, both Donovan and I decided to break out lists up into separate posts.  As it turns out, we both read quite a bit. I’ve broken my top books up into three categories. First, books that I read that were published in 2012 (both fiction and non-fiction). Second, fiction books that I read that weren’t published in 2012, and lastly, the top non-fiction books that I read this year. Top 10 Books (Fiction and Nonfiction) I Read Published in 2012: 10. Blueprints of the Afterlife: A Novel by Ryan Boudinot 9. Calico Joe by John Grisham 8. The Newlyweds: A Novel by Nell Freudenberger 7. Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel by William Boyd 6. The Round House by Louise Erdrich 5. Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich 4. The Casual… Read More →