Travel Writing review

October 29, 2009

by Andrea Burke

Travel Writing by Peter Ferry turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. I finished it in two days because I just couldn’t put it down.

In a nutshell: A high school English teacher, Peter Ferry, witnesses a young woman’s death. Specifically, he was in the car next to hers, and minutes before she drove into a light pole, he believes they had a moment. She was obviously shaky and he thought about stopping her somehow, but he didn’t.  And the event changes his life.

Probably what kept me glued to Travel Writing was the mystery- Ferry takes it upon himself to disprove that the young woman, Lisa Kim, willingly ended her life and to prove that someone else had a hand in her death. Because of his obsession, he begins to lose those around him, and you have to wonder how far he’ll go for someone he never knew.

And that’s really why I love this book- It all becomes about boundaries. Ferry tests the invisible lines between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, and our own limitations in travel and in relationships. The story searches for how we can change those lines, stretch ourselves and grow unexpectedly.

I loved this book, and I hope you enjoy it too.  A

Andrea’s Pop Culture Essentials

October 12, 2009

October 11-17

1. Paranormal Activity– Tis the season for scary movies, and I hear this one is a doozy. Too bad I’ll probably have to wait another month before it comes to my local  theater. It should be everywhere else Oct 16.

2. 30 Rock is back! 8:30 Oct. 15 on NBC

3. Paris, je t’aime – I’ll never forget seeing this collection of short films set in (you guessed it) Paris at the Bel Court theater in Nashville. Loved it.  New York, I Love You gets a limited release this week, but Paris is on DVD. Watch it and cross your fingers that New York will be half as good.

4. Congrats Obama, but I’m most interested in the other surprise winner of the Nobel Prize- Herta Mueller -this one in Literature. Never heard of her (I’m not alone, judging by the news articles) so I might be picking up her book The Land of Green Plums or The Appointment this week

5. So You Think You Can Dance– Finally the top 20 on Thursday (Oct 15)! Now is the time to start watching.

6. Drag me to Hell on DVD Oct 13- Never saw it, but I heard it’s scary.

7. Ugly Betty is back too. 7:00 Friday Oct 16 on ABC

Common Sense intro

October 7, 2009

by Andrea Burke

These posts are coming later than I wanted because I took a much-needed break from politics, but I’m back with Beck.

“We” start our journey in 1776, because “we” are in 1776 according to Beck (expect a post on this later) because “the abuses being perpetrated by the government are just as obvious now as they were then” (he doesn’t name any specific ones yet, I’ve only read through Ch. 1)  And Beck is off and running with the “we” and “You” statements. I picture him wearing an electric pink turban waving his hands over a crystal ball…

“I think I know who you are.” he murmurs.

“Youuuuuu sometimes argue with friend about politics…but You also have an open mind and a warm heart.”

“Youuuuuu have credit cards, but you pay them off.”

“You have a flat screen TV”

“You may go to church, but most weeks you don’t want to”

“After September 11, 2001, you thought our country had changed for the better. But the months that followed proved otherwise.” (all of these “YOU” quotes can be found on page 3)

Wow. He knows you! and me! I mean, these large generalizations only fit most Americans!

Kidding aside, I’ve had one serious question about Beck: What is his end game?

Because he’s very suspicious of where America is headed under the new administration, but where are those he’s leading headed?

If he’s comparing now to 1776, is he calling for revolution? And how?

In the note from the author, Beck makes it clear that its not violence “Violence is the easy way out, but its also a sure path to discrediting everything you stand for.”

And if you wonder any of these questions with me, Beck writes in the intro that he’ll lay out his ideas and “several options” in Common Sense. I think he’ll be answering the very questions I posed which is why I’m reading this book in the first place.

I’ll post on Chapters 1 and 2 soon.


The Pop Culture Essentials

October 4, 2009

by Andrea Burke

Oct 4- 10:

1. Zombieland– I’ve seen it but you have to!

2. An Education in theaters Oct 9. I hadn’t heard of this movie until I heard Fresh Air’s interview with writer Nick Hornby, who also wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy. The premise seems kind or ordinary, but I liked  Hornby in the interview so much that I’ll probably see it.

3. So You Think You Can Dance. I had to take a break from all the stupid auditions, but finally the best of the best journey to Vegas on Wed Oct 7!

4. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. The Pulitzer winner debuts his first work of non-fiction Tuesday (Oct 6)

5. Away We Go on DVD Oct 6. John Krasinski (better known as Jim Halpert- see #6) and Maya Rudolph play a couple expecting their first child who travel around looking for the ideal place to set up house and home. It got an A- from EW.

6. The office. Its the wedding episode! Jim and Pam finally tie the knot! Thank goodness because this last episode was terrible. Oct 8 on NBC at 8:00

7. Classic of the week: My Man Godfrey comes on TCM Thursday Oct 8 at 10:15. I heart this comedy starring William Powell.

8. Music. If you didn’t know, every month Amazon puts 50 mp3 albums up for $5 . October features a wide array of choices including albums by Nina Simone, Roy Orbison, Third Eye Blind, Kiss, Taylor Hicks, the Noisettes and (the album I just bought) The Avett Brothers

Book Season

September 9, 2009

I love books, and while browsing on, I noticed how many great book releases are happening in September. It’s a great month for book lovers everywhere, no matter what your taste.

The Ones I’m looking forward to: 

1) Audrey Niffenegger, author of one of my all-time favorite novels, The Time Traveler’s Wife, finally releases her first new book in 5 years, Her Fearful Symmetry. (Sept 29.)

2) Craig Ferguson, one of my favorite goofy late night TV personalities wrote a book which is sure to be funny and sad- The host struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for years. American on Purpose: the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot hits bookstores Sept 22.

3) I didn’t love The Da Vinci Code. It was okay. Angels and Demons I almost loved.  Sept. 15. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, featuring Robert Langdon will be available to the public. Seeing as how the pre-order is the #1 book on, I’m sure it will follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps to become a major success.

4) In college, I stayed up late to read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. It was an inspiration to my life. After that I read his Across Painted Deserts and Searching for God Knows What (this one is the best over all).  His next book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years comes out Sept. 29.

5) Catching Fire released Sept 1.

None of those up your alley? Well don’t worry Nicholas Sparks, Alexander McCall Smith, Mitch Albom, Margaret Atwood and Stephen King are releasing new novels while Ted Kennedy’s memoir True Compass gets released on the 14. Glenn Beck’s new book, Arguing with Idiots, also comes out this month- Sept. 22.

Happy Reading.