Sports: The Real Holiday Tradition

Benjamin Baruch Woody As we gracefully ease into the holiday season it is incumbent upon all of us to count our blessings and truly realize what this time of the year is all about. Sports. Yes, that's right, sports. Many of you may be terribly excited to sit at the Thanksgiving table and hear Aunt … Continue reading Sports: The Real Holiday Tradition

The Greatest Book Ever Written?

Benjamin Baruch Woody Every year I have the same thought. "Is Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum the greatest novel ever written?" I guess I sort of know that this is preposterous. As a former English major I have been conditioned to know that the Canon is set. The greatest works are the usual suspects: War … Continue reading The Greatest Book Ever Written?

Art Out of Chaos: The Literature and Movies of World War II

Benjamin Baruch Woody June 6, 2019 was the 75th anniversary of D-Day. As most of you probably know, this is the day that the Allied forces began the offensive push to defeat the German Army. This anniversary got me thinking about sacrifice, heroism, a generation that is quickly fading away, and it got me thinking … Continue reading Art Out of Chaos: The Literature and Movies of World War II

The Miracle of Libraries

Benjamin Baruch Woody I have often thought that one of the most tragic events in history is the partial destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria. Who knows how much human wisdom was lost? A certain kind of "alternative history" has sprung up from speculation about the truth about Ancient History. Writers such as Graham … Continue reading The Miracle of Libraries

The Shadow of Dune: Sci-Fi Examined

Benjamin Baruch Woody   What is science fiction? The term seems like an oxymoron. Science is facts and fiction is make-believe, right? Why would the two go together? To quote the great Wikipedia "Science is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, … Continue reading The Shadow of Dune: Sci-Fi Examined

Hobbits and More: A Cursory Exploration of Fantasy Literature

Benjamin Baruch Woody Any conversation about fantasy literature must begin with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are earlier practitioners, but Tolkien is almost single-handedly responsible for many of the familiar tropes of fantasy literature. Tolkien was the Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College, Oxford. He was considered a worldwide … Continue reading Hobbits and More: A Cursory Exploration of Fantasy Literature

Documentaries: Truly Stranger Than Fiction?

Benjamin Baruch Woody I have often heard the phrase "Truth is stranger than Fiction." I have never found this to be true. The world is a truly fascinating, ever shifting, and diverse place, but it isn't nearly as strange as a desert world with huge sandworms that a messiah figure rides into battle. Fiction can … Continue reading Documentaries: Truly Stranger Than Fiction?

Scandinavian Noir: Bleakness and Joy

The most famous work of Scandinavian Noir is Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Of course the artistic genre we now call Noir was not called such in Shakespeare's day, but Hamlet shares many Noir characteristics. I, personally, enjoy Wikipedia's definition of Scandinavian Noir: "a genre of crime fiction written from a police point of view. The language is plain … Continue reading Scandinavian Noir: Bleakness and Joy