Film Review: Moonlight

Moonlight

Moonlight written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Barry Jenkins (A24, PASTEL, Plan B Entertainment, R, 111 min) Starring Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Trevante Rhodes, and André Holland. Life-As-It-Is vs. Life-As-It-Should-Be As a father, I often think about my son and the life I want him to lead. I constantly fret over what will make him happy and how my parenting can facilitate a path toward flourishing within family, friends, and community. Looking back the foundations of my upbringing, specifically around my church community, I see the tension between my innate personality and the idealized view of what a person ought to be given the faith… Read More →

Book Review: The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet by Steven G. Mandis (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2016. 344 pp) Steven G. Mandis is an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and chairman and senior partner of Kalamata Capital. He earned his AB from the University of Chicago and his MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Thinking about My Life’s Work A life’s work. The phrase means less than it used to mean. For most people. A life’s work will be a series of stops, likely at companies with high variance of deliverables. The daily tasks of the worker may be the same but the overarching goals or the building of something bigger than… Read More →

Book Review: Here I Am

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Here I Am: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016. 592 pp) Born in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Safran Foer attended Princeton University earning a degree in philosophy. While at Princeton, Foer developed a senior thesis around the life of his Holocaust surviving grandfather. Eventually, this thesis became Foer’s first published book titled, Everything Is Illuminated. The book received critical acclaim winning the National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Award. Eventually, the novel was adapted into a film starring Elijah Wood. Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel garnered both praise and derision for its use of 9/11 as a narrative tool and its use of visual writing. Foer… Read More →

Book Review: The Price of Salt

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (New York: Dover Publications, 2015; originally published in 1952. 256 pp) Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1921. She studied English composition, playwriting, and short story at Barnard College. Highsmith wrote 22 novels during her career, including Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. She died in 1995. Who Are You? Identity is a tricky thing. When I was younger, I worried consistently about goodness. Did I possess good qualities inherently? Did I need to work for them? What did it take to be good? With a constant focus on these identity questions, I never felt whole. I had nothing obviously hindering me from living a decent life,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mad Men: Season 7.2

Mad Men Season 7.2

Mad Men: Season 7.2 created by Matthew Weiner (Lionsgate Television, Weiner Bros., AMC) Starring Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, and John Slatterly. Becoming Who You Are “To be a saint means to be my true self.” Thomas Merton utters these words in exploration of true meaning in this world. For him, humanity ventures forth as a shadow of its true identity. People wear masks every day, shrouding the real person underneath. Thinking practically, it’s easy to see this example illustrated. When was the last time you entered a job interview and willingly admitted your shortcomings and the deepest hurts and insecurities you might face daily? Or look at social media, how often do… Read More →

Book Review: The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers: A Novel by Tom Rachman (New York: Dial Press, 2014. 400 pp) Tom Rachman was born in London in 1974 and raised in Vancouver. He attended the University of Toronto and Columbia Journalism School, then worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in New York and Rome for the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His first novel, The Imperfectionists, was an international bestseller, translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in London. Onions Have Layers Life is like layers of sediment in a canyon. Each layer is completely different. Its materials are unique to the era, weathering storms and earning a history. Stacked together, these layers make the geological formation we call a… Read More →

Book Review: Elders

Elders by Ryan McIlvain

Elders: A Novel by Ryan McIlvain (London: Hogarth, 2013.  304 pp) Ryan McIlvain was born in Utah and raised in Massachusetts. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals, including the Paris Review. A graduate of the Rutgers MFA program and a recipient of the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, he currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Shotgun Gospel Even though I’ve grown up in the Christian faith and continue to hold to the basic tenets of its tradition, I’ve always felt a little uneasy about the Evangelical push toward proselytizing. There’s a sense in which your work holds value only as much as you are able to convert others to the faith. The gospel mandate to share… Read More →