Book Review: No Thanks

No Thanks by E. E. Cummings

No Thanks by E. E. Cummings (New York: Liveright, 1998; originally published in 1935. 288 pp) Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, E. E. Cummings was a poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. His many awards included an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Bollingen Prize. Fueling Art The intersection between creativity and philosophy functions as the most efficient fuel for art. Our view of the world and the way we express our beliefs about it translate remarkably well into deep and beautiful art. Alternatively, art also works well as criticism. Those positions—philosophical, political, theological—can become rather absurd when taken to logical conclusions. Think Orwell’s work… Read More →

Album Review: Mosquito

Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Dress Up, Interscope, 2013. 47 minutes) Yeah Yeah Yeahs is an indie rock band from New York City consisting of Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase. The band has released 4 studio albums, 3 of which have been nominated for Grammys. Mosquito Metaphors Have you ever felt like your significant other is a parasite? Have you experienced those days where you continue to give and he continues to take? Is it frustrating trying to balance the ship? Is it even worth continuing? Whether you’ve been married for 30 years or have only been dating for a couple months, relationships ebb and flow. Thus, it can be easy to liken relationships to warfare. Someone lives… Read More →

Book Review: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, Where Pen Meets Paper, Donovan Richards

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté (Berkely: North Atlantic Books, 2008. 520 pp) Born in 1944 in Budapest, Hungary, Gabor Maté and his family moved to Canada in 1956. Maté earned a B.A. in English from the University of British Columbia and a teaching degree from Simon Fraser University. Later, he returned to school to become a medical doctor. Dr. Maté ran a successful family practice in East Vancouver before taking a position in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood. Maté has published 4 books and has earned an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree from the University of Northern British Columbia. Dr. Maté recently was appointed Adjunct Professor in… Read More →

Book Review: Hikikomori and the Rental Sister

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister Where Pen Meets Paper

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister: A Novel by Jeff Backhaus (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2013. 256 pp) Jeff Backhaus has been a cook, an art director, and a professional pilot. He has lived and worked in Korea, and now lives in New York. Etymologically Speaking Etymologically speaking, agoraphobia stands for a “fear of the marketplace.” By definition, the marketplace is a crowded, expansive, and anxiety-inducing space. Everyone goes to the market. We all have daily needs; a centralized space answers to those needs; we all frequent these spaces as a result. Conceptually, I understand agoraphobia. If you feel as if the world is a burden and you are unsure of how to interact socially, why go outside? Why even try?… Read More →

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 →

Film Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower written and directed by Stephen Chbosky (Summit Entertainment, Mr. Mudd, Lionsgate, PG-13, 102 minutes) Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Sometimes Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough Context matters. How often have you experienced a work of art—whether music, film, letters, or sculpture—and recognized the skill and value of the piece without really liking it? Most of the time, this negative reaction comes down to preference. You might understand Salvador Dalí, but perhaps your eye moves toward the softer impressionistic colors of Monet. Perhaps you recognize the skill of Stevie Ray Vaughan but you hate the whiny sounds emerging from his amplifier. Sometimes, it all comes down to context. You’re not in a rap… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 1

Girls: Season 1 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet. A Millennial Decade for a Millennial Generation Life in the 2nd millennial decade has not been easy for the millennial generation. Twenty-somethings are stuck somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. Some relish in these circumstances, life—as in, job opportunities and serious relationships—is out of reach, so these people decide to remain childish. Others react in the opposite direction; the lack of opportunity offers many frustrations and life is in a standstill. Given these circumstances, HBO’s series, Girls, feels current and trendy with a humorous take on what the millennial generation encounters in this day and age. The Economics of an Unemployed Generation… Read More →

Book Review: Tulips & Chimneys

Tulips & Chimneys by E. E. Cummings (New York: Liveright, 1996; originally published in 1923. 208 pp) Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, E. E. Cummings was a poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. His many awards included an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Bollingen Prize. Let’s Tear It Down! Deconstruction is easy. Whenever someone takes a stand, a myriad of critics file out of the woodwork like termites scoping a new meal. Whether it is art, philosophy, theology, political theory, or a position on parenting, the easiest response is a critique—objections to an argument’s premises in order to render the entire idea void. And… Read More →

Book Review: Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems by D. A. Powell (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2012. 110 pp) D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including the trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, and Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He lives in San Francisco. The Who Who are you? The defining characteristics of each person are often both varied and unusual. As humans we can all claim similar traits. We love; we laugh; we live; we die. Externally, we even define ourselves through the region in which we live. I am a Seattleite; I am Cascadian. My region… Read More →

Book Review: Alif The Unseen

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (New York: Grove Press, 2012. 431 pp) G. Willow Wilson is an American author who divides her time between the US and Egypt. Her articles about modern religion and the Middle East have appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, was named 2010 Best Book of the Year by The Seattle Times, and her comic book series, Air, was nominated for an Eisner Award. Worlds Collide Wilson, previously unbeknownst to me, is best known as a graphic novelist. Her first work of fiction is presented in her novel, Alif the Unseen. I’m not immersed by any stretch of the imagination in the graphic novel world, but I can see… Read More →