Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (New York: Scholastic Inc., 2008. 384 pp) Suzanne Collins began her writing career in children’s television. While working for Nickelodeon, Collins wrote for many shows, chief among them Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Eventually, Collins moved to children’s literature writing a five-part series, The Underland Chronicles. Her Hunger Games trilogy, however, has received high acclaim, and the first book has been adapted into a major motion picture. Collins lives in Connecticut with her family. A Trilogy Trilogy is not only a word that piques the interest of an avid subset of moviegoers, but is also a word that equals a goldmine for movie executives. No matter the genre… Read More →

Television Show Review: Once Upon a Time: Season 1

Once Upon a Time: Season 1 created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Kitsis/Horowitz, and ABC Studios, airs Saturday nights at 8/7c on ABC Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, and Lana Parrilla Why Fairy Tales All of a Sudden? Last week I reviewed the television program Grimm. Naturally, I thought it appropriate to review its ABC rival, Once Upon a Time. Both shows are incredibly alike in that they use common fairy tales as a point of reference. However, the two could not be any more different. The creation of both seems to coincide with fantasy, a niche market, achieving widespread popularity. Since an adaptation of Harry Potter and Twilight means paying lots of money for the rights to broadcasting… Read More →

Book Review: The Cave

The Cave by José Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2002. 320 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize winning author from Portugal, who 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. Margaret Jull Costa translates Portuguese and Spanish fiction and poetry. For her work she has won the Portuguese Translation Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the… Read More →

Christmas Albums 2011: #1 – Christmas

Christmas by Michael Bublé (Reprise Records, 2011. 52 minutes) Michael Bublé is a Canadian singer and actor, who found wide acclaim interestingly through performances at business parties, and later a wedding. He has won three grammy awards for best traditional pop album, and multiple Juno awards as well. With his 2007 album, Call Me Irresponsible, he reached the top of the Billboard top 200 chart. Christmas Time! Christmas time is here, and with it, new Christmas albums. These albums range from good to bad, but a few have caught my attention. So be forewarned; I will be reviewing one album a week through Christmas with an effort to spread the word and good cheer. So, Merry Christmas! Crooners Michael Bublé’s album, Christmas,… Read More →

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 →