Book Review: State of Wonder

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett (New York: First Harper Perennial Olive Edition, 2014; originally published in 2012. 448 pp) Ann Patchett is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction. Notably, she has won the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books. The Power of Story Classically, the power of story resides in its ability to present a character that overcomes the odds. It might be the lowly knight that slays the dragon, the outcast in high school that gets the girl, the hard-working genius that pulls herself out of the standard stereotypes to be a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 4

Homeland Season 4

Homeland: Season 4 developed by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, Tracy Letts, Maury Sterling, F. Murray Abraham, Nazanin Boniadi, Laila Robins, and Mark Moses. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Representing Our Culture Psyche Sometimes, the success of a show emerges from its relationship with culture. 24 represents such an example. Launched shortly after 9/11, the show quickly gained acclaim and cultural status as an hour each week where America could collectively let off steam and kill some bad guys. The show earned a die-hard following with a take-no-prisoners philosophy and carried actual stakes with many beloved characters meeting the reaper. In the broader cultural milieu,… Read More →

Book Review: The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahirir

The Lowland: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.  352 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. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Reality Suspension Why do you read? One of the big reasons for me is the ability to transport into different settings, cultures, and points of view. When an author succeeds in suspending reality and… Read More →

Film Review: This Is the End

This Is the End

This Is the End written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Columbia Pictures, Point Grey Pictures, Mandate Pictures, R, 107 minutes) Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson. Signifiers of Comedy Is humor the only signifier of a good comedy? When it comes to giving a recommendation, humor is certainly a critical component of advocating for such a film. I certainly recommend Anchorman, even if it’s an onslaught for jokes without much depth to any of the characters. But I would argue a comedy could go deeper than the humor component. My favorite episodes of The Office—American style—include depth to the characters. Michael Scott is a caricature of an oblivious boss,… Read More →

Album Review: Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West

Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella, 2011. 46 minutes) Born in Brooklyn, Jay-Z is an American rapper, record producer, and business mogul. He has won 16 Grammys. Kanye West is an artist, producer, fashion designer, and film director, born in Chicago, Illinois. He has won 22 Grammys. Liberation Means Money Liberation: a major theme in literature from marginalized groups. When you don’t have choice, when the institutions and structures seem to operate in opposition to you, your goals, and your culture as a whole, then freedom becomes the cry. Freedom to make decisions without external repercussions. Freedom to practice beliefs, customs, and rites in the open. Freedom to make a living, equal to or better than those… Read More →

Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Where Pen Meets Paper

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2007. 191 pp) Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, given several awards, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His essays and short stories have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Review of Books. He was born in 1971 in Lahore, where he has spent about half his life, and he attended Princeton and Harvard. Among the other places he has lived are London,… Read More →

Book Review: How Soccer Explains the World

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer (New York: Harper Collins, 2004. 288 pp) Franklin Foer is an American journalist and editor of The New Republic. He is the older brother of Jonathan Safran Foer. Franklin graduated from Columbia University and lives in Washington D.C. A Term Paper During my freshman year in college, I regrettably stumbled into a few classes I had no intention of taking. You see, freshmen are last in line to sign up for classes and you pretty much just need to take whatever is left. For me, that class was “Globalization.” In all honesty, I enjoyed the class despite my earlier protest; it allowed me to view the world… Read More →

Book Review: Execution

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (New York: Crown Publishing, 2009 Revised Edition. 320 pp) Larry Bossidy earned a B.A. in Economics from Colgate University. He began working at General Electric in 1957 and worked his way up the corporate ladder finally securing Vice Chairman in 1984. He has also served as Chairman and CEO of AlliedSignal and Honeywell Corporation. An author, consultant, and scholar, Ram Charan has consulted with companies such as GE, KLM, and Bank of America. He has taught at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management, and Boston University. The Academy and the Company Having experienced this phenomenon over the last year or so, I can safely attest… Read More →