Album Review: Metals

Metals by Feist (Cherrytree Records, 2011. 50 minutes) Feist is the stage name for Canadian singer-songwriter, Leslie Feist. Having played in bands since she was 15, Feist rose to fame as a member of Toronto-based indie rock group, Broken Social Scene. While touring with the band, she recorded a collection of songs that eventually became her first solo record, Let It Die which won her two Juno Awards. Her second major label release, The Reminder, was certified gold in the U.S. and won her a Juno Award for album of the year. Her latest record, Metals, has received widespread critical acclaim. Palladium My wedding ring is composed of palladium. With the chemical symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46, Palladium,… Read More →

Book Review: The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (New York: Penguin Group, 2009. 402pp). Lev Grossman is the senior writer and book critic for TIME. Among several notable publications, he has written for The New York Times, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal. At only forty-two years of age, he is beginning to gain wide acclaim for his work in TIME magazine as well as his novels. Doubt and Humanity I love fantasy novels. I find that they provide a way of escape from a world filled with some terrible things. In fact, I re-read The Chronicles of Narnia every summer, and have done so since I was about fifteen years old. I’ve also read the Harry Potter novels, and loved every moment. Unlike Harry… 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 →

Book Review: Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Knopf Publishers, 1998. 292 pp) Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in 1933. One of six children, Cormac’s family moved multiple times in his childhood as his father accepted different occupations. In 1951, McCarthy attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Liberal Arts. Midway through his studies, McCarthy served in the Air Force for four years. After his service, McCarthy returned to college, writing his first short stories. In 1959 and 1960, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for Creative Writing. Mccarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Several years, grants, and fellowships later, McCarthy published Suttree, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses marking his rise in literary… Read More →

Television Show Review: Grimm

Grimm: Season 1 created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, and Jim Kouf  (Universal Television, GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, and Open 4 Bisiness Productions, LLC, airs Friday nights at 9/8c on NBC) Starring David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz, and Reggie Lee The Grimm of Old Historically, the Brothers Grimm collected folklore and published these stories in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. With fairy tales acting as an oral tradition, the Grimm brothers met with people to write down their stories. Being an oral tradition, fairy tales obviously varied from town to town, and the stories from the Germanic origin were much darker. For instance, in the Grimm version of Cinderella, the evil step sisters chop off their… Read More →

Film Review: Visioneers

Visioneers directed by Jared Drake (Fireside Film and Mayfly Films, R, 94 minutes) Starring Zach Galifianakis, Judy Greer, and Mía Maestro. Absurdity Since the birth of existentialism, absurdity has worked as a delightful comedic medium. In low brow settings, Monty Python (let’s not fool ourselves, the troupe is brilliant despite their silly sketches) explores absurdity when is depicts a couple of safari men performing the fish slapping dance. On the other side of the spectrum, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is a play that portrays two men with minute attention spans waiting for God. In both instances, the writer finds comedy in the absurdities of life. When considered deeply, life contains many strange and downright silly aspects. In a similar… Read More →

Guest Film Review: In Time

In Time directed by Andrew Niccol (Regency Enterprises, New Regency Pictures, Strike Entertainment, PG-13, 109 minutes) Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy Science without Morals In Time, the newest work from writer-director Andrew Niccol, is a thoughtful addition to the genre of dystopian futuristic films. Niccol wrote and directed Gattaca, which is easily one of the best science fiction films ever created, and he returns to the theme with a film about a society that has embraced science and technology to the point where it loses its moral compass. In Time shows us a society where genetic engineering has effectively solved the problem of aging and death — everyone is immortal and stops aging beyond their 25th birthday. Thus, we are presented… Read More →

Book Review: Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche: The New James Bond Novel by Jeffery Deaver (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. 432 pp) Born outside Chicago, Jeffery Deaver earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. Prior to becoming a bestselling author, Deaver was a journalist, folksinger and attorney. Having written thirty books, Deaver has won numerous awards. For The Bodies Left Behind, he won Novel of the Year from the International Thriller Writers Association; The Cold Moon was named Book of the Year by the Mystery Writers Association of Japan and the Grand Prix Award. Additionally, he has received the Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the… Read More →

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 352 pp) Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision (US) and former chief executive officer of Lenox Corporation, a luxury tableware company. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. The Hole in Our Gospel won the 2010 Christian Book of the Year. The World versus the Pulpit A few years ago, my theological convictions about the world shifted. Born and raised in a conservative evangelical church, I found the things I observed in the world to differ… Read More →

Concert Review: Bon Iver and Other Lives

Concert at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle. September 26, 2011 The Opener I’ve been to three concerts lately where the opening act is just as good, if not better, than what I came to see. This phenomenon certainly rang true when Bon Iver came to town. His opening act was Other Lives. Like most opening acts, I was incredibly skeptical at first. But, soon a voice akin to Brandon Summers (frontman of Helio Sequence), with complex instrumental melodic lines intertwined with atmospheric bliss changed my mind.  The band is a Sigur Ros LP and a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album all rolled up in one. Unlike Sigur Ros (or Bon Iver for that matter), the lyrics are actually aurally intelligible.  I immediately swam… Read More →