Book Review: Silence

Silence by Endo

Silence: A Novel by Shūsaku Endō, translated by William Johnston (New York: Picador, 2016; originally published in 1969. 256 pp) Born in Tokyo in 1923, Shūsaku Endō was raised by his mother and an aunt in Kobe, where he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of eleven. At Tokyo’s Keio University, he majored in French literature, graduating with a BA in 1949, before furthering his studies in French Catholic literature at the University of Lyon in France between 1950 and 1953. Before his death in 1996, Endō was the recipient of a number of outstanding Japanese literary awards: the Akutagawa Prize, Mainichi Cultural Prize, Shincho Prize, and the Tanizaki Prize, and was widely considered the greatest Japanese novelist of… Read More →

Book Review: The Promise

The Promise by Chaim Potok

The Promise: A Novel by Chaim Potok (New York: Anchor Books, 1969. 384 pp) Chaim Potok was born in Buffalo, New York in 1929. Potok became a rabbi after studying at Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He later received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Potok is known for his best-selling novel, The Chosen. He died in 2002. *Spoiler Alert: This Book Is a Sequel* The Threat of Change The threat of the new ostensibly dominates the thoughts of many conservatives. At a basic level, the conservative line suggests no need for change. Things work well the way they are. What’s the use in transforming? When religion emerges in such debates, the eternal soul is at stake…. Read More →

Album Review: Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend.

Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend (XL, 2013. 42 minutes) Vampire Weekend is an American rock band from New York formed during the member’s time at Columbia University. The band has released 3 studio albums to critical acclaim. We All Change Whether Evangelical, Catholic, Buddhist, agnostic, or atheist, it seems as if the belief tradition in which you grew up changes with age. Some completely shift from one side of the spectrum to the other; others discover a more nuanced change, keeping the root beliefs but applying them differently. What was once blindly accepted due to parents’ beliefs now becomes something worth testing. Is this belief true? Does it withstand scrutiny and a critical eye? On the other… Read More →

Album Review: Silver & Gold

Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 by Sufjan Stevens (Asthmatic Kitty, 2012.) Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter born in Detroit, Michigan and based in Brooklyn, New York. Stevens has released many albums of varying styles but is perhaps best known for Come On Feel the Illinoise, a concept album based on the state of Illinois. Stevens collaborates often with a variety of musicians and his work has received much critical acclaim. A Magical Time of Year, A Complicated Time of Year Isn’t December a magical time of year? The air seems to fill with the spirit of the season. People buzz around grabbing gifts, attending holiday parties, imbibing in spirits, and viewing Christmas lights. There is a… Read More →