Film Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (Annapurna Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Netflix, R, 133 min) Starring Tim Blake Nelson, David Krumholtz, James Franco, Stephen Root, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Sam Dillon, Bill Heck, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson, and Tyne Daly. The Next Great American Author Ever since Mark Twain, the literary-minded in the United States have been clamoring for the next Great American author. Well, maybe arguing more than clamoring. However, as I explore the many genres of the written word, I’m starting to believe the argument for or against a specific author is fruitless. Instead, I’m coming to believe there’s a Great American genre, the short story. About a year… Read More →

Book Review: Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Vintage, 2010, originally published in 1985. 368 pp) Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in 1933. One of six children, Cormac’s family moved multiple times in his childhood as his father accepted different occupations. In 1951, McCarthy attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Liberal Arts. Midway through his studies, McCarthy served in the Air Force for four years. After his service, McCarthy returned to college, writing his first short stories. In 1959 and 1960, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for Creative Writing. Mccarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Several years, grants, and fellowships later, McCarthy published Suttree, Blood Meridian, and All… Read More →

Album Review: Lonesome Dreams

Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron (Iamsound Records, 2012. 45 minutes) Lord Huron is an American indie folk group from Los Angeles. They are signed to Iamsound Records and released their debut album in 2012. To Innovate or to Perfect: That is the Question? What’s better: the innovator or the perfector? We are often wowed when an artist appears, utilizing a new technique. Ernest Hemingway popularized short, staccato sentences where the content left out is as important and meaningful as what remains. However, since his time, many authors have used this technique, some perhaps to better effect. Likewise, consider Jimi Hendrix. His use of heavy distortion and lightning riffs revolutionized the sound of guitar. But is he the best guitarist ever?… 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 →