Book Review: The World to Come

The World to Come by Jim Shepard

The World to Come: Stories by Jim Shepard (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. 272 pp) Jim Shepard is the author of four previous collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which won The Story Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award, and his short fiction has often been selected for Best American Short Stories and The Pen/O Henry Prize Stories. The most recent of his seven novels, The Book of Aron, won the PEN/New England Award and the Sophie Brody Medal for Excellence in Jewish Literature. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children and three beagles, and he teaches at Williams College. Who Needs Pay? A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s… Read More →

Book Review: Before the Fall

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall: A Novel by Noah Hawley (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016. 400 pp) Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics’ Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film, Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as showrunner for ABC’s My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer for the hit series, Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX’s award-winning series, Fargo. Aviophobia I fear flying. While recognizing its irrationality, I can’t help but experience a quickening heartbeat and increased perspiration as a flight approaches take off. I know how safe such an action… Read More →

Film Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic World

Jurassic World written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and directed by Colin Trevorrow (Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, PG-13, 124 min) Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, and Nick Robinson. On Nostalgia Nostalgia can be a dangerous influence on art. Let me unpack that. Our Google overlords define nostalgia as, “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” Running with this definition, nostalgia predisposes the average person toward something; it causes us to think fondly of what came before and create positive associations with the thing that creates the connection. So nostalgia is dangerous for art because it can exist as… Read More →

Book Review: The Report

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

The Report: A Novel by Jessica Francis Kane (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2010. 240 pp) Born in Berkeley, CA, Jessica Francis Kane graduate from Yale University. Her work has earned her the Lawrence Foundation Prize and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and special mention in the Puschart Prize Anthology. She lives in New York with her husband and their two children. Unite and Divide National tragedies have a tendency to unite and divide. It whittles down to use against them. On the one hand, the “us” becomes extremely pronounced. The importance of neighbor increases when shared experience pushes a community toward teamwork and generosity. On the other hand, “them” becomes a nebulous evil…. Read More →

Film Review: The Impossible

The Impossible

The Impossible written by Sergio G. Sánchez and María Belón, directed by J.A. Bayona (Apaches Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema, Mediaset España, PG-13, 114 min) Starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland. Fatalist at Heart My wife calls me a fatalist. I can’t help it, but whenever I board a plane, relax at the beach, or cruise the speed limit on the open road, my mind does not wander far from the potential disasters in our midst. Perhaps credit the rise of technology and the way video depicts every possible outcome in our lives. But no matter the source, I can’t keep my mind away from these terrors. Now, my quality of life is fine. I can still enjoy spending time… Read More →

Film Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi written by David Magee (screenplay) and Yann Martel (novel), directed by Ang Lee (Fox 2000 Pictures, Haishang Films, Rhythm and Hues, PG, 127 minutes) Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and  Adil Hussain. Better than the Book So often you’ll hear from the average snooty moviegoer the statement, “the book was better than the movie.” Without thinking it, they’ve failed to realize that the movie and the novel are two different media, with two different sets of judging criterion. That being said, while committing the same fallacy the snooty moviegoer has made, I think the movie Life of Pi is far better than the book, and perhaps, should have always been intended for the visual medium instead of print. Director Ang Lee does a marvelous job of telling the story, and,… Read More →