The Idiot: A Novel by Elif Batuman (New York: Penguin Press, 2017. 432 pp) Elif Batuman holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. She has been a writer in residence at Koҫ University in Istanbul, the Sidney Harmen Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College, and a fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library. Her work has been published in n+1, and The New Yorker. Freshman Feelings Freshman year represents the nexus between adulthood with its responsibility and adolescence with its singularity of the moment. For those of us seeing increasing space between the present and those college years, that brief era feels like the glory days. These early moments outside the parent’s… Read More →
Re:Piano by Chad Lawson (Chad Lawson, 2018. 40 minutes)
Black Mirror: Season 4 created by Charlie Booker (Netflix, Zeppotron, Channel 4) Starring Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Brenna Harding, Andrea Riseborough, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, Maxine Peake, Douglas Hodge, and Letitia Wright. Normative Questions of Technology Recently, comedian Kumail Nanjiani, Star of The Big Sick and Silicon Valley, launched a viral thread on Twitter. As an actor in a comedy focused on tech culture, Nanjiani has access to many tech startups in Silicon Valley. Usually, such a relationship represents a nice you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-your-back scenario. While Nanjiani researches the culture to better perform his role; these tech firms get to wow employees and bring in notable people to increase morale. But recently, Nanjiani’s relationship with… Read More →
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel by Eowyn Ivey (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016. 424 pp) Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and an international bestseller published in twenty-six languages. A former bookseller and newspaper reporter, she was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. Magic I’ve never felt more like a magician than in my early iPhone years around my grandparents. When visiting their domicile, the juxtaposition between the phone desk with a decades-old phone matched with the rolodesk-style address book. This picture paints a stark contrast to the sleek super computer in the pocket. Want to see a… Read More →
Silicon Valley: Season 4 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.) Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. Season 4 of Silicon Valley offers more of the same. If you like the template of one step forward, two steps backward, this show has enough humor to satisfy you. It makes me chuckle. That’s good enough for me.
Her written and directed by Spike Jonze (Annapurna Pictures, Warner Bros., R, 126 min) Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. Newspaper Trains There’s a photo that’s been making the social media rounds. It shows a black-and-white image of a commuter train with passengers reading newspapers. The inference of the image being: times haven’t changed human nature much. The only difference between then and now is the medium of information. Now our eyes are glued to the iPhone. This image struck me because it made me think deeper about the relationship between technology and human interaction. No matter what innovations occur, we all have the same desire and anger, the same hopes and fears. If… Read More →
The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pp) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction…. Read More →