Book Review: The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth: A Novel by Thomas Mullen (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006. 432 pp) Born in Rhode Island, Thomas Mullen graduated from Oberlin College. His first novel, The Last Town on Earth received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune best book of the year. Mullen currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, I decided to take a stab at Mullen’s debut novel, The Last Town on Earth. Set in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest, a small town named Commonwealth quarantines itself in an attempt… Read More →

Book Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals By Michael Pollan. (New York: Penguin Books, 2006. 450 pp) Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for New York Times Magazine and the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written seven books and countless articles on current agrarian issues. In 2010 alone, Pollan added the Social Justice Champion Award from the California Center for Public Health to his many recognitions as well as being named to the Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people. He lives with his wife and son in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was young, I vividly remember receiving harsher punishments when I lied… Read More →

Quick Hits: New Music

Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz Out October 12th, The Age of Adz is the long-awaited follow-up to Come on Feel the Illinoise. Word has it that Stevens traded folk influences and acoustic timbres for glitchy electronic rhythms. Typically, I am a fan of change because when an artist makes three albums in a row, they become Creed. I expect good things from the Age of Adz. Junip – Fields A band fronted by José González, a famed Swedish singer-songwriter of Argentine origins. In content and feel, Fields resembles the González’s collaboration with Zero 7. José’s trademark voice and nylon-stringed guitar mold particularly well with electronic tones. The Walkmen – Lisbon This New York band bears raw tonal qualities… Read More →

Book Review: Lake Overturn

Lake Overturn: A Novel by Vestal McIntyre (New York: Harper Perennial, 2010. 443 pp) Born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, Vestal McIntyre is an award winning novelist. He has twice won the Lambda Literary Award. In 2006, he received a Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. McIntyre lives in both New York City and London. Literary fiction takes many forms. Sometimes it takes the shape of social satire placed within a simple narrative, other times it takes the form of an author, self-aware of the words he or she places on the page, and even still, other times it takes the form of a complexly interwoven plot. Partly… Read More →

Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcίa Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa (New York: Harper Perennial, 1967. 417 pp) Gabriel Garcίa Márquez is a Colombian novelist whose notable books include Love in the Time of Cholera, The Autumn of the Patriarch, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, Márquez is considered one of the most significant authors of the Twentieth Century. With a foundation in magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude follows the growth of the Buendίa family and the city of Macondo. Drawing from childhood stories, Márquez pens an extraordinary tale of love, death, and loneliness. The book begins with a foreboding sense of determinism when Márquez writes: “Many years… Read More →

Book Review: Tortured Wonders

Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, Not Angels by Rodney Clapp (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004. 278 pp) Rodney Clapp is the executive editor of Brazos Press. Previously, he was employed as an editor at Christianity Today and InterVarsity Press. Clapp has written countless articles on the church and culture as well as seven books. I hate Spirit 105.3. If you like that radio station and I hurt your feelings, I apologize. In all honesty, I really do not want you to have hurt feelings, but I find Spirit 105.3 less wholesome and family friendly (as they advertise) and more vomit-inducing otherworldly fakery. Of course I am painting this station in broad strokes and I have no special insight regarding… Read More →

Film Review: It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud directed by Davis Guggenheim (Thomas Tull productions and Sony Pictures Classics, NR, 98 minutes) Starring Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White Everyone loves electric guitar. Beyond its pleasant aesthetic and varying tonal qualities lies an iconic cultural status. From the metal-head who spends more time shredding in Guitar Center than in the classroom to the almost universal urge to play guitar in the air when a real guitar does not suffice, guitar wins. I am unaware of the competition guitar entered but it totally won. It Might Get Loud caters to our dreams and desires. While our rock star fantasies died before inception through Junior High and High School bands or garage rock with friends,… Read More →

Book Review: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen (New York: Random House, 2010. 397 pp) Born in Rhode Island, Thomas Mullen graduated from Oberlin College. His first novel, The Last Town on Earth, received  the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune best book of the year. Mullen currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. “Large than life, she’d heard someone say. What can be larger than life? Death, or is that smaller? People do tend to become larger in death, their finer qualities extending outward like an endlessly serialized tale, their flaws and foibles forgotten, their stories continually retold. Larger… Read More →

Book Review: The History of the Siege of Lisbon

The History of the Siege of Lisbon: A Novel by José Saramago (San Diego: Harcourt & Brace, 1998. 314 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize winning author from Portugal. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Before we begin, I must confess that José Saramago is one of my favorite authors. His creativity, social critiques, and pseudo-realism in works… Read More →

Film Review: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes directed by Guy Ritchie; Warner Home Video, 128 minutes. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachael McAdams, and Mark Strong. The mystery genre has always been slightly problematic for me because it seems easy to connect events through tenuous circumstances and odd observations. Suppose the killer has dirty hands: the mystery writer makes the detective deduce that the killer works in the coal mine in the neighboring county. However, dirty hands do not guarantee the occupation of this individual. The killer perhaps recently landscaped his or her backyard. The foundational reasoning in Sherlock Holmes carries these same inferences. Logic aside, Sherlock Holmes mixes both good and bad in a strikingly mediocre movie. Concerning what is good; Robert Downey,… Read More →