Book Review: The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011. 528 pp) Chad Harbach grew up in Wisconsin and was educated at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He is a cofounder and coeditor ofn+1. The Art of Fielding is Harbach’s first book. Failure: The Sad Story of Rick Ankiel As the playoffs dawned in 2000, I was at the height of my baseball fandom. The Seattle Mariners – my hometown team – were in a period of sustained success, my joy for playing the game had yet to dwindle, and I held an acute awareness of Major League players. During this time, I vividly remember game one of the NLDS featuring the St. Louis Cardinals… Read More →

Book Review: The Wordy Shipmates

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008. 272 pp)                                                                                                                        Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Sarah Vowell is an author, journalist, and social commentator. She earned her B.A. from Montana State University and an M.A. in Art History from the School of Art Institute Chicago. Having written six nonfiction books, Vowell brings a witty voice to her historical topics. She… Read More →

Album Review: If Not Now, When?

If Not Now, When?  by Incubus (Epic Records, 2011. 50 minutes) From California, Incubus is a rock band comprised of Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger, Jose Pasillas, Ben Kenney, and DJ Kilmore. With seven full-length albums, Incubus has reached multi-platinum sales and is arguably considered the most successful rock band of the early 2000s. Gaining prominence during the nu-metal trend of the late nineties, Incubus is often classified with Limp Bizkit, Korn, and P.O.D. Yet, the band’s style contains alternative rock, hip hop, jazz, funk, and metal influences. Post-Hiatus After years of constant touring, Incubus faced a dilemma: either they continued prolific songwriting with diminishing returns or they take a break, fall in and out of love, experience life in all… Read More →

Guest Book Review: Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2009. 604 pp) Born in 1952, Hilary Mantel is a novelist, short story writer, and critic. Mantel began studying at the London School of Economics before transferring to the University of Sheffield where she graduated with a degree in jurisprudence. While employed as a social worker after her studies, Mantel began writing. After a decade of travel with her husband, Mantel published her first novel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, in 1985. On the heels of her first novel, Mantel found employment as a film critic for The Spectator. Over the course of her writing career, Mantel has won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for Fludd, the… Read More →

Film Review: Paul

Paul directed by Greg Mottola (Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Working Title Films, R, 104 minutes) Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, and Kristen Wiig. I Hated This Movie So Let Me Be Brief I wanted to see this movie because I had faith in the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Starring in the soon-to-be cult classics, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, these actors have blended comedy and social satire through an artful presentation. With the funding of a major studio, Paul ought to be even better with a larger budget. Wrong! A Mandatory Plot Mention Pegg and Frost play nerds on holiday in the United States. Having attended Comic Con, the duo travels the southwest encountering… Read More →

Book Review: The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (New York: Doubleday, 2009. 448 pp) Born in Ottawa in the autumn of 1939, Margaret Atwood grew up in Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She attained her B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto and her M.A. from Radcliffe College. Atwood has written more than 50 works of poetry, children’s fiction, fiction, and non-fiction. While she is most known for her many novels, her book, Blind Assassin, received highest acclaim winning the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Currently, she lives with Graeme Gibson in Toronto. Dystopia Everyone knows Orwell’s 1984. The classic dystopian novel depicts the frightening consequences of an authoritarian state. Without removing much of its well-deserved praise, I wonder if 1984 remains a masterpiece not for its… Read More →

Book Review: West of Here

West of Here: A Novel by Jonathan Evison (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2011. 496 pp) Born in San Jose, California, Jonathan Evison moved to Seattle and formed a punk band named March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Before writing professionally, Evison worked as a laborer, caregiver, bartender, and syndicated radio host. His first book, All about Lulu, garnered critical acclaim winning the Washington State Book Award. Evison was awarded a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation in 2009. Currently, he lives on Bainbridge Island in Western Washington. Prior Tenants Have you ever considered the history around the place you live? Since the earth is older than us (I know; strange right?), the… Read More →

Album Review: Burst Apart

Burst Apart by The Antlers (Frenchkiss, 2011. 41 minutes) The Antlers is an indie rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. The band is a three-piece outfit consisting of Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner, and Darby Cicci. Originally a solo project created by Silberman, the band formed after Silberman self-released two records. The best songs later became Hospice, an acclaimed record independently released by the band. After the success of Hospice, The Antlers signed with Frenchkiss Records. With Burst Apart, The Antlers look to build on the success of Hospice. The Cultural Sensation that Was Emo Before a careful evaluation of Burst Apart commences, we must begin by exploring the nature of emotion-based music. Rooted in the cathartic tones of Sunny… Read More →

Book Review: Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2009. 604 pp) Born in 1952, Hilary Mantel is a novelist, short story writer, and critic. Mantel began studying at the London School of Economics before transferring to the University of Sheffield where she graduated with a degree in jurisprudence. While employed as a social worker after her studies, Mantel began writing. After a decade of travel with her husband, Mantel published her first novel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, in 1985. On the heels of her first novel, Mantel found employment as a film critic for The Spectator. Over the course of her writing career, Mantel has won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for Fludd, the… Read More →

Album Review: Little Hell

Little Hell by City and Colour (Vagrant Records, 2011. 49 minutes) Dallas Green – who performs under the ironic moniker, City and Colour – first entered the music scene with the post-hardcore Canadian band, Alexisonfire. Having already released two albums as a solo artist – Sometimes and Bring Me Your Love – Green has encountered considerable success in his native Canada. He has won a MuchMusic Video Award, Juno Awards for Alternative Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, and has been named artist of the year by Chart magazine. Modus Operandi Honestly, my critical modus operandi for music reviewing is based on structures, creative musicianship, and lyrics. If an artist exhibits strength in one area, I am… Read More →