A Cultural History of the Chinese Language, by Sharron Gu

A Cultural History of the Chinese Language by Sharron Gu attempts to provide a means for non-specialists to approach Chinese, not from the technical and scientific discipline of linguistics, but from the discipline of literary history. Continue reading A Cultural History of the Chinese Language, by Sharron Gu

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80sSFF: Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

The first part in a series dedicated to examining the science fiction and fantasy films from 1979 to 1989.  The series will investigate whether these films possess certain ineffable qualities missing from today’s films of the same genres. Kurtz: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin? Willard: I’m a soldier. Kurtz: You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill. Why are we beginning a series devoted to the science fiction and fantasy films of the 1980s with Apocalypse Now?  Francis Ford Coppola’s epic Vietnam War film holds the … Continue reading 80sSFF: Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

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Hav by Jan Morris

Hav by the Welsh travel writer Jan Morris is a very Borgesian work, bringing to mind the Argentinean writer’s love for mirrors and labyrinths.  There is even a character named Dr. Borge and Hav’s major cultural motif is the labyrinth.  Morris achieves distinction in creating a place that goes beyond being a second-rate pastiche of Borges themes.  Unfortunately, the field of science fiction is riddled with examples of good ideas soured when executed.  Poor execution usually involves sloppy writing where the author received payment by the word. New York Review Books has released a stellar volume with Jan Morris’s Hav.  … Continue reading Hav by Jan Morris

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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

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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

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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

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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

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