Book Review: A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age by Daniel H. Pink (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005. 288 pp) An author of 4 books on the changing world of work, Daniel Pink earned his B.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. In 2011, Thinkers50 ranked Pink one of the 50 most influential business thinkers in the world. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and three children. How Then Shall We Work? It seems all parents urge their children to earn a marketable degree. Even though evidence exists which confirms the importance of a college degree of any kind helping workers earn more over the average lifespan, parents want a… Read More →

Book Review: Shop Class as Soulcraft

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (New York: The Penguin Press, 2009. 256 pp) Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago and served as a postdoctoral fellow on its Committee on Social Thought. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia. An Apple Nowhere Near the Tree They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Whether it’s culinary taste, similar joys in sports, or comparable career paths, parents and children often resemble each… Read More →

Book Review: Embassytown

Embassytown by China Miéville (New York: Del Rey, 2011. 345 pp) China Miéville is the author of several notable novels, including King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council, and Un Lun Dun. He describes his own work as “weird fiction.” He teaches creative writing at Warwick University, and is active in the Socialist Workers Party in his home country of England. In the Mood for Weird For some reason, I was in the mood for some China Miéville. Having previously read an earlier novel, Kraken, I wanted to take a stab at a well known, mind-bending science fiction thriller. Miéville’s Embassytown has three parts two it: a political thriller, a civil war tale, and a commentary on the use of language. The latter is what interested me the… Read More →

Book Review: Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems by D. A. Powell (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2012. 110 pp) D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including the trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, and Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He lives in San Francisco. The Who Who are you? The defining characteristics of each person are often both varied and unusual. As humans we can all claim similar traits. We love; we laugh; we live; we die. Externally, we even define ourselves through the region in which we live. I am a Seattleite; I am Cascadian. My region… Read More →

Book Review: The Supper of the Lamb

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon; edited by Ruth Reichl (New York: The Modern Library, 2002; originally published in 1967. 320 pp) Robert Farrar Capon is the author of numerous books on theology, cooking, family life, and, sometimes, a combination of the three. His works include Between Noon and Three; Kingdom, Grace, Judgement; and Genesis: The Movie. An Episcopal priest, Capon is the father of six children and two stepchildren, and lives on Shelter Island, New York. In Consideration of the Cookbook Don’t get me wrong; I love cookbooks. But they are a hollow medium. At its core, a cookbook is an instruction manual—many more pretty pictures, but an instruction manual nonetheless. A successful… Read More →

Book Review: Alif The Unseen

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (New York: Grove Press, 2012. 431 pp) G. Willow Wilson is an American author who divides her time between the US and Egypt. Her articles about modern religion and the Middle East have appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, was named 2010 Best Book of the Year by The Seattle Times, and her comic book series, Air, was nominated for an Eisner Award. Worlds Collide Wilson, previously unbeknownst to me, is best known as a graphic novelist. Her first work of fiction is presented in her novel, Alif the Unseen. I’m not immersed by any stretch of the imagination in the graphic novel world, but I can see… Read More →

Book Review: Endpoint and Other Poems

Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 112 pp) John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. He was the father of four children and the author of more than sixty books, including novels and collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His books won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Howells Medal, among other honors. He died in… Read More →

Book Review: The Keep

The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pp) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction…. Read More →

Book Review: The Nasty Bits

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones (New York, Bloombury Publishing, 2006. 288 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 Reservations. Bourdain resides in New York City. The Final Tour As Anthony Bourdain, traveler, culinary icon, author, and chef enters his last season of the television show No… Read More →

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (New York: Random House, 2004. 528 pp) David Mitchell is an English author most noted for his fiction. He attended University of Kent earning a degree in English and American Literature as well as an M.A. in Comparative Literature. Mitchell’s debut novel, Ghostwritten, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His next two novels, Number9dream and Cloud Atlas found themselves on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Cloud Atlas has been adapted into a feature film. A Kaleidoscope of Ambiguity How does it feel moments after newly opened puzzle pieces cascade out of the box? The colorful mélange sits nestled on the table—a kaleidoscope of ambiguity, the box your only clue to the end goal…. Read More →