Book Review: A Manual for Cleaning Women

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 432 pp) Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Her stories are inspired by her early childhood in various Western mining towns; her glamorous teenage years in Santiago, Chile; three failed marriages; a lifelong problem with alcoholism; her years spent in Berkeley, New Mexico, and Mexico City; and the various jobs she later held to support her writing and her four sons. Sober and writing steadily by the 1990s, she took a visiting writer’s post at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994 and was soon promoted to associate professor. In 2001, in failing health, she moved to… Read More →

Film Review: Paterson

Paterson

Paterson written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Amazon Studios, K5 International, Inkjet Productions, R, 118 min) Starring Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Rizwan Manji, Barry Shabaka Henley, Chasten Harmon, and William Jackson Harper. On the Quotidian Collectively, we need to reappraise the quotidian. In our pursuit of the next titillating meme, status update, or app notification, the simple pleasures of life seem to disintegrate like salt upon contact with boiling water. It’s ok to be bored. No. I’ll suggest a stronger statement. BOREDOM IS A VIRTUE. Now, a mind left in idle should never be the only aim. That said, the mundanity of life expands the subconscious atmosphere, opening our minds to creative juices left dormant when we’re always plugged in…. Read More →

Book Review: In Other Words

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri; translated by Ann Goldstein (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 256 pp) Born in London to Bengali immigrants, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to the United States at the young age of 3. Her first published work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. In 2007, Hollywood adapted The Namesake into a feature film.  A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Lahiri is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Primo Levi, Giacomo Leopardi, and Allesandro Baricco, and is the editor of The Complete Works of Primo Levi in English…. Read More →

Book Review: Art in Action

Art in Action by Nicholas Wolterstorff

Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980. 250 pp) Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has also taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. He has received numerous fellowships and serves on the editorial boards for Faith and Philosophy, Topics in Philosophy, and is the general editor for the Supplementary Textbook Project of the Christian College Coalition. In Pursuit of Art One of my most favorite classes as an undergrad explored the philosophy of art. Why do we pursue art? What constitutes a work of art compared to just work? How… Read More →

Book Review: Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury (Santa Barbara: Joshua Odell Editions, 1994. 176 pp) With over five hundred published works to his name, Ray Bradbury is one of the heavyweights in American literature during the 20th century. Born in Illinois, Bradbury’s family moved to California when he was thirteen. He graduated from Los Angeles High School and did not enter college. Drawn to writing from an early age, Bradbury attended the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society meeting many of the influential writers in the region. Bradbury began writing professionally by publishing stories in magazines. As his stories encountered praise, Bradbury began writing longer works. As they say, the rest is history. Bradbury’s best-known books… Read More →

Book Review: What We See When We Read

What We See When We Read

What We See When We Read: A Phenomenology with Illustrations by Peter Mendelsund (New York: Vintage Books, 2014. 448 pp) Peter Mendelsund is the associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf, the art director of Pantheon Books, and a recovering classical pianist. His designs have been described by The Wall Street Journal as being “the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction.” He lives in New York. Why Read? Why read? In an age of mass media, doesn’t it seem a touch quaint? Our iPhones can keep us entertained indefinitely with the amount of apps available, not mention the Internet sitting in your pocket. We live in the Golden Age of television; high quality shows illuminate the… Read More →

Book Review: The Organized Mind

The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin (New York: Dutton, 2014. 512 pp) Daniel J. Levitin earned a B.A. in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. He is the James McGill Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Music at McGill University, and Dean of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI. Codes and Keys Have you forgotten your keys? Do you remember where you put them last? Chances are, you probably misplaced them, carelessly setting them in the wrong spot at the other end of the house. The usual spot for your keys, in actuality, represents an external… Read More →

Album Review: Days Are Gone

Days Are Gone by Haim

Days Are Gone by Haim (Columbia, 2013. 44 minutes) Haim is a band from Los Angeles, California comprised of sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. A Trend Is But a Repeat of the Past With music, it seems as if we’re repeating ourselves every 20 years. The 90s mirrored the 70s. The aughts mirrored the 80s. Now it sounds like we’re giving a run at the 90s. When I was heavily involved in music during high school and college, I had a tendency toward demonizing these repetitions. I would mock popular music and be the first to point out how a musician sourced influences from the past. If I had to look at it introspectively, I would say my views… Read More →

Book Review: Varamo

Varamo by César Aira; translated by Chris Andrews (New York: New Directions, 2012; originally published in 2002. 144 pp) Born in 1949 in Coronel Pringles, a town on the southern edge of the Argentine Pampas, César Aira is a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He settled in Buenos Aires in 1967 and has earned a living through teaching and translating from French and English. He has published more than eighty novels. Chris Andrews has won the TLS Valle Inclán Prize and the PEN Translation Prize for his New Directions translations of Roberto Bolaño. A poet who lives and teaches in Australia, he has translated eight Bolaño books and three novels by César Aira for New Directions. One Day A… Read More →

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 →