Book Review: Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go, Where Pen Meets Paper, Book Review

Ghana Must Go: A Novel by Taiye Selasi (New York: The Penguin Press, 2013. 336 pp) Taiye Selasi was born in London and raised in Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale and an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford. Ghana Must Go is her debut novel. She lives in Rome. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Penguin Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. On Death The funeral, a tried-and-true literary device. Whether the desired… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3 Part 2

The Walking Dead Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Part 2 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Warning: Spoilers ahead for earlier seasons. Memento Mori Recently, the AV Club published a piece on how The Walking Dead succeeds at making death a character. Todd Van Der Werff offered sound reasoning for the artistic concept of the memento mori, the subtly inserted reminder to viewers that someday they might die. For me, this article offered the framework for understanding why I remain so invested in this series. I’ve mentioned it before in reviews of previous seasons, and… Read More →

Book Review: Love Is a Dog from Hell

Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 by Charles Bukowski (New York: Ecco, 2003; originally published in 1977. 312 pp) Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose. He was born in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother in 1920, and he moved to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three. For a Friend I recently lost a friend of mine…. Read More →

Book Review: Lost Everything

Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery (New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2012. 304 pp) Brian Francis Slattery was born and raised in upstate New York. He is an editor for the U.S. Institute of Peace and the New Haven Review. He is the author of Spaceman Blues and Liberation, and is also a musician. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. No One Should Be Mother Teresa I vaguely remember a provocative paper assigned in ethics during my undergraduate years. Since I forget specifics, it’s probably not the best analogy, but I find it particularly fits with Brian Francis Slattery’s Lost Everything. The author of this paper argued that nobody should aim to act like Mother Teresa. First off, the baseline… Read More →

Film Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild directed by Benh Zeitlin, written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Journeyman Pictures, Cinereach, Court 13 Pictures, and Fox Searchlight Pictures, PG-13, 93 minutes) Starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. Tunnel Vision Sometimes, pain provides tunnel vision. Nothing else matters, whatever the circumstances. Like a burrowing mole, a sufferer wants nothing more than solitude. When trauma occurs, how do you face it? Do you ignore it? Do you subconsciously let it dictate your life, leading you to avoid facing pain face-on? Exceedingly metaphorical, Beasts of the Southern Wild provides a wildly stylistic account of suffering. Hushpuppy and Wink Beasts of the Southern Wild portrays a fantastical story of a daughter, Hushpuppy (impressively played by then… Read More →

Film Review: Bernie

Bernie written and directed by Richard Linklater (Castle Rock Entertainment, Collins House Productions, Deep Freeze Productions, PG-13, 104 min) Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey. Justice and Utility If an action resulted in the happiness of an entire community, you would support it, right? Stated as an ethical position, this idea is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism suggests the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. If someone commits a crime, they have negatively affected others. Thus, the greatest good is to punish them for the benefit of others. But what if everyone likes the person who did the wrong? Should justice be distributed by order of how much we like the defendant? Most often, people don’t need… Read More →

Book Review: Me and the Devil

Me and the Devil: A Novel by Nick Tosches (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012. 400 pp) An American journalist, novelist, and poet, Nick Tosches lives in New York City and is uniquely acquainted with the half-lit world in which Me and the Devil is set. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Little, Brown and Company. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. That Uniquely Human Trait Addiction—a uniquely human trait. It arrives in many forms; it burrows deeply into… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Setting Standards Since its initial airing in 2010, I’ve held The Walking Dead to a higher standard than most television shows.  For starters, the series airs on AMC, a network branded as a place for high quality acting and writing. With such sterling dramas such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead airs among the best shows on television. Second, the genre is groundbreaking. We’ve all seen our fair share of post-apocalyptic zombie films. But the nature of a… Read More →

Book Review: Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi (New York: Riverhead Books, 2011. 336 pp) Helen Oyeyemi is the author of The Icarus Girl; The Opposite House, which was a nominee for the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and White Is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Riverhead Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. Occam’s Razor In general, I recommend living under the Occam’s razor principle. It urges its followers to submit… Read More →

Book Review: Catch-22

Catch-22: A Novel by Joseph Heller (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996; originally published in 1955. 544 pp) Born in Brooklyn, Joseph Heller joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, Heller studied English at USC and NYU before earning an M.A. at Columbia University. Later, he studied at Oxford University as a Fulbright Scholar. Famous for Catch-22, Heller became a world renowned author and satirist. He died in 1999. That’s it for Me! George Costanza never spoke more truth than the day he decided to follow Jerry Seinfeld’s advice and leave on a high note. Whenever he enraptured a room with an exceptional joke, he immediately left. While reading Joseph Heller’s groundbreaking Catch-22, I… Read More →