Book Review: Rust

Rust by Jonathan Waldman

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015. 304 pp) Jonathan Waldman has written for Outside, The Washington Post, and McSweeney’s. He has worked as a forklift driver, arborist, summer camp director, sticker salesman, and cook. He grew up in Washington, D.C., studied writing at Dartmouth and Boston University’s Knight Center for Science Journalism, and was recently a Ted Scripps Fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado. Let’s Make Non-Fiction Interesting My reading life exists in a pre E.O.A.M period and a post E.O.A.M. period. This crazy acronym of which I speak represents the book, Emperor of All Maladies. This groundbreaking book narrates the history of cancer. It takes a complicated topic rife… Read More →

Television Show Review: Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer created by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos (Synthesis Films, Netflix) Starring Steven Avery. Behind Bars I haven’t spent much of my waking tine daydreaming about what it would be like to live my life behind bars. Prison remains an ethereal concept. I know “bad” people are there; I realize a disproportionate number of inmates emerge from low socio-economic status. In truth, I don’t proceed on a daily basis with any level of fear about breaking the law and the corresponding need to do time. Aside from a riveting story of true crime, Making a Murderer renders me apart because of the way it portrays systemic issues in the judicial system that can lead to broken outcomes seeped… Read More →

Film Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Voltage Pictures, Truth Entertainment, Focus Features, R, 117 min) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto. Revealing True Colors There’s something about “life threatening” that reveals your true colors. The tough exteriors we all exhibit daily melt away and that vulnerable self you only show behind closed doors begins to peak out. Among many themes, Dallas Buyers Club focuses on this vulnerability and the value it can bring when you embrace it. 30 Days to Live Based on the true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), Dallas Buyers Club examines the milieu of a cultural crisis. An electrician and rodeo cowboy, Woodroof lives at 100… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 3

Homeland Season 3

Homeland: Season 3 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Morgan Saylor, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, and Tracy Letts. *Spoiler alert for previous seasons in effect* Utilitarianism Noted in the ethics world, utilitarianism is a system devoted to the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. It means if 99 people earn 5 “utils”—the metric for happiness created by the system’s founder, Jeremy Bentham—and 3 people receive -3 utils, then the action is valid and worth pursuing. The system is pretty popular. It seeps into everyday language—like when someone rationalizes an action because it limits harm, or the consequences… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 2

Homeland Season 2

Homeland: Season 2 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood, Diego Klattenhoff, Rupert Friend. *Spoiler Alert for Season 1 in effect* The Writers’ Conundrum I don’t envy television writers. In a serialized format, and hopefully over the course of many years, writers must pen consistent characters while simultaneously breaking barriers to keep the viewer interested. Just as the public grew weary of Creed’s act after 3 identical albums, so too will shows lose eyeballs if there isn’t a continual push for shocking developments in overarching narratives. Often times, this phenomenon carries the label, “jumping the shark.” But… Read More →

Book Discussion: The Round House

The Round House by Louise Erdrich (New York: HarperCollins, 2012. 326 pp) Louise Erdrich lives with her family in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. She is also the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels for adults, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves and the National Book Award finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. She is also the author of the picture book Grandmother’s Pigeon, illustrated by Jim LaMarche. A Crime, Unspeakable In the spring of 1988, a woman named Geraldine, who is living on a Native American reservation in North Dakota, is attacked. Her husband, Bazil, and son, Joe, find her in a car drenched… Read More →