Film Review: Senna

Senna directed by Asif Kapadia (Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, and Working Title Films, PG-13, 106 minutes) Starring Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, and Ron Dennis. Motor Sports in the Blood Whenever I feel the need to impress a new acquaintance, I often find myself telling stories of my dad and uncles. You see, my father (before he met my mother) raced hydroplanes. As a child, my dad would take me to the pits during Seafair and while I marveled at the loud engines and sleek boat frames, my dad would socialize with drivers, mechanics, and boat owners. Both of my uncles to this day dabble in motor sports. Whether go-karts or open-wheeled Formula Four vehicles, my uncles have the… Read More →

Book Review: The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Téa Obreht (New York: Random House, 368 pp) Born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, Téa Obreht grew up in Cyprus and Egypt before immigrating to the United States in 1997. Her writing is published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Her first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in The National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York. Faith or Reason With the death of famed author and theist critic Christopher Hitchens… Read More →

Book Review: Medium Raw

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain (New York: Harper Collins Books, 2010. 281 pp) Anthony Bourdain, born in 1956, attended Vassar College and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He has worked as a cook and chef in many institutions strewn across the New York City map. Bourdain contributes articles to the Times, New York Times, Observer, the Face, Scotland on Sunday, and Food Arts Magazine. An addition to Kitchen Confidential, he has written two crime novels – Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat. Bourdain was the executive chef at Brassiere Les Halles and is currently the host of the Travel Channel program: Anthony Bourdain: No… Read More →

Book Review: The Ultimate Question

Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth by Fred Reichheld (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. 224 pp) Born in Cleveland, Fred Reichheld is an author and business strategist employed by Bain & Company. Holding a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Reichheld writes on the loyalty business model. His most popular books are The Loyalty Effect, Loyalty Rules!, and The Ultimate Question. In 2003, Consulting Magazine named Reichheld one of the world’s top 25 consultants. Good Ethics Is Good Business? Spend any time with a business executive and you might hear the cliché, “Good ethics is good business.” Setting aside the clear disassociation between this statement and the way American businesses operate, the… Read More →

Film Review: Margin Call

Margin Call directed by J.C Chandor (Before The Door Pictures, Benaroya Pictures, Washington Square Films, R, 107 minutes) Starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quito, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Aasif Mandvi, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci A Financial Crisis Margin Call catalogues a thirty-six hour period of the events that took place at a prestigious investment firm, which looks similar to the notorious firm Lehman Brothers. Through the lens of the firm, the audience gets to see the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and how investment bankers handled the crisis. The film also had what I considered to be a particularly stellar cast, including Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, and Jeremy Irons. I was excited to see this… Read More →

Andrew’s Top Albums of 2011

For 2011, it felt like I listened to a lot of music. But in retrospect, I didn’t listen to that much. As a result, instead of listing my top forty albums as I did last year (on Facebook, here’s my list from 2010), I have limited this list to twenty-five artists who I feel span a vast array of genres, representing what I feel is the best of the year. 25. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours  Though I hadn’t previously heard much of Cold War Kids, I really thought Mine Is Yours was super catchy, singable, and really fun to listen to; it’s a good album for a road trip. 24. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead With their sixth album,… Read More →

Donovan’s Top Albums of 2011

For me, 2011 represented a transition year in my musical taste. Where music previously defined a large portion of my life, now, my relation to music, and by default, my musical consumption, diminished greatly this year. While I used to listen to everything under the sun hoping to find new artists, diamonds in the rough, and great music from bands I had previously written off, I spent most of 2011 listening to artists I have previously enjoyed. Even though my list contains some new artists, I must admit that I am less convinced about this list representing the best of 2011’s music. Nevertheless, I hereby submit my top 25 albums of 2011. 25. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light Wasting Light… Read More →

Andrew and Donovan’s Top Books of 2011

You Win! Not these Trophies Though… Photo by Snap Before we dive into our lists for the best books we have read in 2011, a brief explanation is in order. Unlike our musical tastes, the books we read span generations. Thus it makes little sense to only create a “best of list” around books published in 2011. In fact as you will see, Donovan has only read 10 books published this year. Therefore, we have separated our “best of” list into four specific lists. First, Donovan will present “Top Ten Books Published in 2011” list which will include all ten books he has read published this year. Second, he will share his ten favorite novels read this year that have… Read More →

Christmas Albums 2011: #3 – A Very She & Him Christmas

A Very She & Him Christmas by She & Him (Merge Records, 2011. 32 minutes) She & Him is comprised of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, and was originally formed in the city of Portland, Oregon. A Very She & Him Christmas marks the band’s third release, following their previous albums Volume One(2008), and Volume Two (2010). My Exception  I must confess that I love Zooey Deschanel. Ever since she appeared in the movie Elf, I have found her sarcastic wit and beautiful, sultry voice to be absolutely breathtaking. Especially in this highly produced and vocally auto-tuned age, I find her voice refreshing. Having stated my confession, I bought A Very She & Him Christmas, as well as She &… Read More →

Book Review: Boxer, Beetle

Boxer, Beetle: A Novel by Ned Beauman (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011. 256 pp) Ned Beauman was born in London in 1985 and studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge. His writing appears in Dazed & Confused, Another, The Guardian, and The FinancialTimes. His first novel, Boxer, Beetle, was shortlisted for the 2011 DesmondElliott Prize and the 2010 Guardian First Book Award. Review copy provided by Library Thing. What Pawn Stars Can Tell Us about Nazis A couple weeks ago, I watched an episode of Pawn Stars. Setting aside its obvious staged events and scripted dialogue, the show carries an appeal for those interested in the artifacts of history. In fact, I venture a guess that most hope to see someone… Read More →