An Interview with David Schmahmann, author of The Double Life of Alfred Buber

Why is Alfred Buber an important character for modern readers? Alfred Buber’s story is a riff off several things: isolation, male loneliness, a feeling some of us may have that for others life is richer, more sensual, more rewarding than it ever will be for us. Buber is frozen by that feeling, by the sense that he is a spectator at his own life, shut out of any chance at love, at being wanted, at feeling full and satisfied. He mistakes these feelings, I think, for desire, and I believe many men do this: conflate loneliness with desire, as if … Continue reading An Interview with David Schmahmann, author of The Double Life of Alfred Buber

Rate this:

Play Fair! The Art of Friendship and Relationship by Kimberly A. Taylor

    One doesn’t have to walk far into a bookstore to get assaulted with self-help books and memoirs.  Much like people with blogs, everyone thinks they have something valuable to say.  In addition to memoirs by randomly generated Kardashians the upcoming election season brings with it the fatuous “campaign biography” ghostwritten by the candidate’s staffers not currently concocting an attack ad or planting a piece of journalism with a compliant member of the Fourth Estate.  It is with relief that Kimberly A. Taylor’s hybrid memoir/self-help book is available.  Play Fair! The Art of Relationship and Friendship presents the reader with … Continue reading Play Fair! The Art of Friendship and Relationship by Kimberly A. Taylor

Rate this:

The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann

KUMAR(to Goldstein)Well, if you have the yellow fever tonight, there’s a rocking Asian party over at Princeton tonight. GOLDSTEIN Man, I have the yellow plague. There’s nothing sexier than a hot Asian chick…or dude for that matter… Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (Danny Leiner, 2004), script by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing.  But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (1867) by Karl Marx A Woman of Property David Schmahmann … Continue reading The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann

Rate this:

Brothers in Arms: The Story of Al-Qa’ida and the Arab Jihadists by Camille Tawil

“I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” Patton (1970), screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola. “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things … I would not refer to him as a dictator.” Vice President Joe Biden (2011) “God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them … Continue reading Brothers in Arms: The Story of Al-Qa’ida and the Arab Jihadists by Camille Tawil

Rate this:

Years of Upheaval (1981) by Henry Kissinger

A Second Term and a Third-rate Burglary Now Watergate does not bother me Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth. “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)   Years of Upheaval, the second volume of memoirs by Henry Kissinger, continues his personal account of public service, spanning the time of Nixon’s re-election to Nixon’s resignation following the Watergate scandal.  The memoirs record a short span of time although it encompasses a plethora of geopolitical, domestic, and personal events.  In the words of Homer Simpson, this volume has it all, “the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles.” Riding on … Continue reading Years of Upheaval (1981) by Henry Kissinger

Rate this:

Critical Appraisal: The Landscape of Hell

The representation of Hell as a cartographic region has its origins in Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Dante adapted the imagery already present in medieval painting and sculpture to comment on his political situation and his own scientific and theological beliefs.  He populated it with real people, including political heroes and villains, good popes and bad popes, adulterous princesses, and monsters human and mythological.  On Dante’s spiritual journey, he traveled with the Roman poet Vergil down the various circles of Hell and then up Mount Purgatory.  Finally, led by his beloved Beatrice, he journeyed through the heavenly spheres until he was in … Continue reading Critical Appraisal: The Landscape of Hell

Rate this:

Dollhouse Riffs: Special Edition: Victor’s Chin and Sierra’s Cheekbones: Dollhouse and the Reinvention of Beauty on TV

Author’s Note: I wrote this for the Smart Pop Books essay contest featuring Joss Whedon’s beloved-but-canceled TV series Dollhouse.  Since they did not choose my essay, I am posting it here on my blog. Introduction “A mask is but a sum of lines; a face, on the contrary, is above all their thematic harmony.” – “Garbo’s Face,” Mythologies by Roland Barthes Dollhouse is revolutionary television in its depiction of beauty.  The beauty presented on the program encompasses the social, economic, and visual.  We get the exotic beauty of Sierra and Victor, Bennett Halverson’s nerdy beauty, the damaged Dr. Saunders, Alpha’s … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Special Edition: Victor’s Chin and Sierra’s Cheekbones: Dollhouse and the Reinvention of Beauty on TV

Rate this:

Tiny Book Reviews

The Line of Beauty (2004), by Alan Hollinghurst Alan Hollinghurst reveals his mastery of English prose with The Line of Beauty, the 2004 Man Booker Prize-winning novel set in the decadent days of Thatcher’s Britain.  In the novel, Nick Guest, a Henry James scholar, spends time as a houseguest of the Feddens.  Gerald Fedden is the newly-elected Tory MP and lives with his wife and children in a glorious mansion in Notting Hill.  Nick’s long-burning infatuation for Gerald’s son Toby gets extinguished and then transfigured in the two loves he meets.  The first love is with Leo, a West Indian, … Continue reading Tiny Book Reviews

Rate this:

Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part II (Non-fiction)

The act of reading can exact a demanding price from the reader.  If one lacks preparation, he or she can be left in a wallow of ignorance.  Certain titles exist that a reader approaches with caution.  The Cantos of Ezra Pound, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and many others.  Non-fiction works also intimidate potential readers.  I am currently reading the second volume of Henry Kissinger’s memoirs, Years of Upheaval, and the first volume of Capital by Karl Marx.  Each extracts certain demands from the reader in its own particular way. Yes, this book actually exists. … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part II (Non-fiction)

Rate this: