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 →

Film Review: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Olympus Pictures, Blossom Films, and Odd Lot Entertainment, PG-13, 91 minutes) Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest. The Past Events of a Suffering Family Although I rarely discuss it, I lost my older sister when I was nine years old. Due to complications at her birth and negligent medical practice, she ended up brain damaged and bed ridden for her short life. Such a loss changes you at the core. Honestly, I think I was young enough to not fully understand the ramifications, but I see how the event has changed me. In many ways, I’m the oldest child and have assumed all the stereotypes involved with that title. Yet, biologically,… Read More →

Book Review: Bright’s Passage

Bright’s Passage: A Novel by Josh Ritter (New York: Dial Press, 2011. 208 pp) Hailing from Moscow, Idaho, Josh Ritter is best known as a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter. With his songs containing distinctive narrative lyrics, a jump to full-length fiction offered the natural next step. A graduate of Oberlin College with a self-created major of “American History through Narrative Folk Music,” Ritter launched his career in Ireland with the help of Glen Hansard and the Frames. While on a recent tour, Ritter began writing Bright’s Passage and after significant edits, released it with Dial Press on June 28, 2011. Currently, Ritter lives in Brooklyn. Literary Songwriting As a musician and an avid music fan, Josh Ritter’s albums have graced my… Read More →

Book Review: Sepharad

Sepharad: A Novel by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2003. 400 pp) Antonio Muñoz Molina is a Spanish writer and member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He studied art history at the University of Granada. While working as a journalist in Madrid, Molina published a collection of his articles for his first book. As an author, he has won Spain’s National Narrative Prize twice and the Planeta Prize once. Molina currently lives in New York City. Margaret Sayers Peden is an American translator and professor who received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Currently a Professor Emeritus, she teaches classes on Spanish, Spanish American literature, Translation, and Interpretation. Her English-language translation of Molina’s… Read More →

Book Review: Business for the Common Good

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace By Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011. 288 pp.) Kenman Wong, professor of business ethics at Seattle Pacific University, teaches courses in the fields of ethics and microfinance. A graduate of Biola University, the University of Washington, and the University of Southern California (where he received his doctorate in social ethics), Wong as also authored Medicine & the Marketplace, Beyond Integrity (also with Scott B. Rae), and many articles published in scholarly journals. Scott B. Rae serves as professor of biblical studies-Christian ethics at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and the University of… Read More →

Album Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver by Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar, 2011. 39 minutes) Founded by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, Bon Iver is an indie folk band featuring Vernon, Michael Noyce, Sean Carey, and Matthew McCaughan. The band began when Vernon self-released his first record, For Emma, Forever Ago, after spending three months working through the breakup of a band and a relationship. With much critical praise surrounding the first record, Vernon signed with Jagjaguwar. In the wake of For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon collaborated with Kanye West on his latest record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Bon Iver released its self-titled second record on June 12, 2011 and entered the Billboard charts at number 2. Sending Chills Down the Spine In certain ways, music contains… Read More →

Book Review: Falling Sideways

Falling Sideways: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011 304 pp) Born in New York City, Thomas Kennedy wanted to become a writer after reading Dosteovsky’s Crime and Punishment. Kennedy earned a B.A. in language and literature from City College of New York. Immediately after his undergraduate studies, Kennedy took a job as News Editor of World Medical Journal based in France. After a few years at the journal, Kennedy took a job with the Danish Medical Association. It wasn’t until 1981 that Kennedy published his first work in a literary journal. In 1985, he received his MFA from Vermont College and, then, received a Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Copenhagen. Kennedy has won… Read More →

Book Review: A Paradise Built in Hell

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (New York: Viking Press, 2009. 368 pp) Based in San Francisco, Rebecca Solnit has authored thirteen books on art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. A product of the California education system, Solnit attended San Francisco State University as an undergraduate and the University of California, Berkeley where she received a Masters in Journalism. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s and often contributes articles to Tomdispatch.com. During her career, Solnit has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and a 2004 Wired Rave Award. Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short… Read More →

Film Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick (Cottonwood Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, and River Road Entertainment, PG-13, 139 minutes) Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. Why Me? Do you remember the last time you cried uncontrollably? In those moments when tears threaten to disrupt breathing patterns and life seems to change course, did you ask, “Why me?” Though circumstances differ from person to person, we all encounter these life altering and painful-to-the-bone scenarios. With Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning opus, The Tree of Life, such existential crises are exquisitely depicted on film. Job As the movie commences, Job 38:4 flashes over a blank screen. In this biblical passage, God declares, “Where were you when I laid the foundation… Read More →

Guest Book Review: Moloka’i

Moloka’i: A Novel by Alan Brennert (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004. 400 pp) Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, Alan Brennert received a Bachelor’s degree in English from California State University at Long Beach. In addition to novels, Brennert writes short stories, screenplays, teleplays, and musicals. For his work on L.A. Law, he was awarded an Emmy in 1991. During his career, Brennert has also won a People’s Choice Award and a Nebula Award. When Disease Alters Everything Set in Honolulu in the 1890s, Rachel Kalama lives a normal life as a typical five-year-old girl when her mother discovers that she has a sore on her leg that won’t heal. The official health inspector quickly discovers… Read More →