Tess Gerristen’s Die Again

Cover of Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

By Cassie Valencia

It’s no secret that the jungles of Africa are a dangerous place, riddled with a hundred different species that could kill you in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful. But what happens when the thing that kills you is part of your own species? In Tess Gerritsen’s eleventh installment of the Rizzoli & Isles mystery series, entitled Die Again (Ballantine Books, 2014), this is exactly what happens. Continue reading “Tess Gerristen’s Die Again

In Defense of Young Artists

By Carly Fowler

Neil Hilborn reading “The Future”

Everyone has to start somewhere, yet there is a certain disdain for young creators. We turn our noses up at the first attempts made by anyone still in their twenties or younger. Reviews often read, “Amateurish,” or “Juvenile,” without ever explaining what makes the content deserving of such harsh criticism other than that the artist is of a young age. Of course, by taking this stance we are forgetting the young artists that have solidified the literary canon, such as S.E Hinton who wrote The Outsiders when she was just eighteen, and Mary Shelley who crafted Frankenstein when she was nineteen. We are likely to let potential classics go unnoticed if we continue to disregard work created by a younger generation. Continue reading “In Defense of Young Artists”

Ben Lerner’s 10:04, characterization in post-modern fiction

Cover of 10:04 by Ben Lerner

By Joe Krzyzewski

Ben Lerner is part of a new school of post-modern writers sometimes dubbed “alt-lit.” Like his celebrated contemporaries such as Tao Lin, Lerner’s work tends to question traditional notions of fiction and often employs meta techniques. While these traits are nothing new in the realm of what you might call “heady” fiction, what separates Lerner from the last batch of post-modernists (The Wallaces and Delillos of the world) is a deliberate slimness to his volumes. Unlike the meta-maximalists of the ‘90s and early aughts who famously tried to replicate real experience with their thousand page novels and excessive footnotes, were it not for the back-bin philosophical references, Lerner’s latest 10:04 could be eighth-grade summer reading material. Unlike the often-quoted yet rarely-finished game changers such as Underworld or Infinite Jest, Lerner’s latest seems to have accepted that reality is not a quantifiable experience but rather a patchwork of biases and distortions quite a lot like fiction itself. The fact that Lerner (like Mr. Lin) was originally published as a poet might contribute to these minimalist tendencies as well. Continue reading “Ben Lerner’s 10:04, characterization in post-modern fiction”

Prelude to Bruise

Cover of Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones

By Whisper Blanchard

“If I ever strangled sparrows/it was only because I dreamed/of better songs.”

Consider this line as an introduction into the work of Saeed Jones, a young poet who has recently published his debut collection, Prelude to Bruise, which was picked up by Coffee House Press and put on shelves in September of 2014. I’ve chosen this quote to show you what you will undoubtedly encounter upon reading: underlying desperation and frustration that spawns from the issues often present in these poems, such as an ambiguity with race, sexual orientation, and the exploration of the individual through such mediums. Brace yourself for the confusing comfort of vivid imagery offset by violence (or heightened by violence), a technique that defines Jones’ unique voice as a poet. Continue reading Prelude to Bruise

A Visit From Just Another Human

By Lukas Jennings

Photo credit: Gordon M. Grant

There’s something inherently exhilarating about meeting someone famous. They don’t need to be a household name, but as long as a Google search on them yields more than a link to a personal Facebook, you feel a certain sense of pride. This is what I felt when I was asked to attend a Q&A with the novelist Colson Whitehead—that I was cool enough to be in his presence. Continue reading “A Visit From Just Another Human”

On Writing, On Observing, On Anxiety

By Riley Dixon

Photo credit: Riley Dixon

In attempting quite fervently to ‘idle,’ I learned that I am almost incapable of remaining in a completely idle state. There is a buzzing inside and out that I cannot seem to shake unless I am totally at peace. I seem to have falsely convinced myself that a moment at rest is a moment wasted. There is not a single part of me that enjoys a passive existence—and so I write. Continue reading “On Writing, On Observing, On Anxiety”

The Movie Massacre of Your Favorite Books

By Alexis Anderson

Still from The Giver

When popular books are adapted into film, many people often disapprove of the film because they feel that it was not an accurate portrayal of the book. There are certainly many pros and cons to bringing a novel to the big screen. Each author weighs these pros and cons when making the decision to have their work adapted into film. Different arguments have been made for and against how filmmakers handle the challenge of producing a movie that accurately portrays the book from which it is based off. Continue reading “The Movie Massacre of Your Favorite Books”

Batman vs. Carver: Dawn of Black Comedy

By Michael Callari

Still from B
Still from Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Superhero movies, for all their domination at the box office, seldom take flight during awards season. Nonetheless, the winner of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography at the 87th Academy Awards was a film called Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Its secret? Well, despite the title, it’s not a superhero movie in the traditional sense. The protagonist, Riggan Thompson, is an actor whose career has never been the same since he turned down the lead role in a fourth Birdman movie in the early nineties. He’s attempting to make a comeback with a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” in which he is the writer, director, and star. Playing him is Michael Keaton, an actor whose career has never been the same since he turned down the lead role in a third Batman movie in the early nineties. Continue reading “Batman vs. Carver: Dawn of Black Comedy”