Book Review: Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff (New York: Harper, 2016. 384 pp) Matt Ruff (b. 1965) wrote his first novel, Fool on the Hill, from his senior thesis at Cornell University. His fourth novel, Bad Monkeys, received a Washington State Book Award for fiction, an Alex Award, and a PNBA Book Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Lisa Gold. True to Identity What scares you? Ask the average person this question and you’ll likely receive as many answers as individuals asked. Given our current society, some may say assault rifles; some may suggest weapons of mass destruction. Some people might fear ghosts; others might fear monsters. In all likelihood, most people wouldn’t propose ethereal, systemic, or philosophical… Read More →

Film Review: O.J.: Made in America

OJ Made in America

O.J.: Made in America directed by Ezra Edelman (ESPN Films, Laylow Films, 464 minutes) Starring O.J. Simpson, A.C. Cowlings, Ron Shipp, Marcia Clarke, Gil Garcetti, F. Lee Bailey, Carl E. Douglas, Barry Scheck, Mark Fuhrman, and Tom Lange. Back to the 90s 2016 is the O.J. renaissance. Stylistically, our fashion trends begin to mimic those of our counterparts two decades ago. Our music pushes toward that synthetic sheen or the grunge discord depending on your tastes. Trends aside, the 1990s represent the last moments before computer and internet ubiquity. Consider the large monitor sitting on Judge Ito’s desk during the trial. Today, the computer would be in the judge’s pocket. Even more, today’s omnipresent cell phone society manufactures clearer cases… Read More →

Television Show Review: American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (20th Century Fox Productions, Ryan Murphy Productions, Color Force) Starring Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Christian Clemenson, Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, and Courtney B. Vance. But a Quarter We are but a quarter into 2016 and I would suggest the current cultural milieu continues to ask questions about the meaning of justice and diversity in our modern age. Perhaps in part to the demagogues running for president, society asks questions about non-white perspectives on the world. What does life mean for those without privilege? Culture wants this question answered. Ta-Nehisi Coates publishes a critically acclaimed… Read More →

Television Show Review: Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero written by David Simon and directed by Paul Haggis (Blown Deadline Productions, Pretty Pictures, Home Box Office) Starring Oscar Isaac, Carla Quevedo, Alfred Molina, Ilfenesh Hadera, Natalie Paul, Peter Riegert, Jon Bernthal, Winona Ryder, and Brianna Horne. Literary Quotes “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald The path of righteousness is a lonely road. The right side of history does not often equate with the populace. When a hero takes a stand, you better bet she’ll face opposition. It’s the nature of the beast. Even more interesting are the people whose leadership emerges in shades of gray. Taking a stand occurs as a matter of convenience, or as the best… Read More →

Book Review: Youth Without God

Youth Without God by Ödön von Horváth, translated by R. Wills Thomas (Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing, 2012; originally published in 1939. 224 pp) Ödön von Horváth was a playwright and novelist born to an Austro-Hungarian diplomat. He studied at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and spent most of his career in Germany. When the Nazis came to power, Horváth moved to Vienna. He died in 1938 when a falling tree branch struck him. R. Wills Thomas’ (1908-1955) translations from French and German include Ödön von Horváth’s A Child of Our Time. Time Travel One of my favorite aspects of reading is the way it scoops you up and envelopes you in a new culture, setting, or era. I’m a white… Read More →

Book Review: Invisible Man

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (New York: Vintage International, 1995; originally published in 1952. 608 pp) Ralp Ellison was born in Oklahoma and trained as a musician at Tuskegee Institute. After visiting New York and meeting with Richard Wright, he felt called to write fiction. His novel, Invisible Man, won the National Book Award and the Russwurm Award. Ellison taught at Bard College, the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, the University of California, and New York University. He was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was a charter member of the National Council on the Arts and Humanities, a member of the Carnegie Commission on public television, a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for… Read More →

Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Where Pen Meets Paper

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2007. 191 pp) Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, given several awards, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His essays and short stories have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Review of Books. He was born in 1971 in Lahore, where he has spent about half his life, and he attended Princeton and Harvard. Among the other places he has lived are London,… Read More →

Book Review: How Soccer Explains the World

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer (New York: Harper Collins, 2004. 288 pp) Franklin Foer is an American journalist and editor of The New Republic. He is the older brother of Jonathan Safran Foer. Franklin graduated from Columbia University and lives in Washington D.C. A Term Paper During my freshman year in college, I regrettably stumbled into a few classes I had no intention of taking. You see, freshmen are last in line to sign up for classes and you pretty much just need to take whatever is left. For me, that class was “Globalization.” In all honesty, I enjoyed the class despite my earlier protest; it allowed me to view the world… Read More →