The Passage by Justin Cronin

What happens when a literary author goes renegade and rewrites the vampire novel playbook? With The Passage, Justin Cronin leaves the literary arena behind (he won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Stephen Crane Prize for his past novels) and leaps (bat like!) into the world of speculative fiction. But this is no teenage love story, or southern waitress’s adventure. Cronin’s world of vampires is monstrous, terrifying, and more than plausible. In Cronin’s near future gas is $13/gallon, the FBI works illegally and without accountability, California secedes from the union, and Jenna Bush…continue reading →

MLA 2009 Update

The Modern Language Association published a major update of the manual this year. MLA style is a popular citation style at John Tyler; this change will affect multiple disciplines. This 7th edition has changed the rules for citing sources to make things clearer in electronic sources and bibliographies. No underlining. MLA now asks for italicizing the titiles of journals, books, and films. No URLS. Pasting a web address is no longer required. Publication form is required. Now citations must include the form of the material: Print, Web, performance, etc. at the end of…continue reading →

Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-code Hollywood

Mark Vieira's book Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, published in 1999, offers a fascinating window into a Hollywood era that many people know little about.  It focuses on films made between 1929 and 1934 when studio filmmakers often ignored what became known as the Hays Code. This was basically an attempt by the major studios to head off government censorship by establishing their own code of conduct and enforcement body. In that sense, the term pre-code is a bit of a misnomer , as the code was in place by 1930, but not actively enforced until the summer of 1934. Before rigid…continue reading →

A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation

Ever sat through a long history lecture on kings or presidents and thought, "There must be more to the story?" Or even "What was everyone ELSE doing when Washington and his friends were crossing the Delaware?" A Peoples' History of the American Empire tells the real tale--the grassroots history--in graphic form (graphic=sequential art or comic book style). This is history with grit, drama and pictures. The book begins with the modern pain of 9/11, then jumps backwards to the Massacre at Wounded Knee, surveys World War I, Vietnam and looks at the US…continue reading →