Category Archives: weekly blog

The Year of Living Biblically

I have a small pile of books on my nightstand that I read whenever I get a chance, which isn’t often. I’ve been reading The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible for about a year now. The story isn’t really linear so it’s easy to put down and pick up almost anywhere.

A.J. Jacobs, an agnostic member of a Jewish family, decides that he is going to spend 365 days following the letter of the law of the Bible. He begins by reading the Bible cover to cover and making a list of all the suggestions, commandments and rules. He crafts the resulting list of 700 into a daily guide to live the next year of his life by.

Most people are familiar with the more common commandments, such as “love thy neighbor” and “thou shalt not steal,” but Jacobs’ experiment into the world of spiritual literalism uncovers some of the more bizarre and humorous. For instance, Jacobs is not allowed to sit on any seat that a menstruating woman has sat on, so he carries a travel seat with him everywhere goes.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but it is interesting, humorous, and at times disturbing to think of what some faithful will do to follow their gods.

A.J. Jacobs' book on Amazon

– Laura Riess


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Filed under Class blogs: General, Novel, Recently read, weekly blog

Love in a Mix Tape

Love In a Mix Tape is a book by Rob Sheffield, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. I found the book by chance at Urban Outfitters for $4. Personally, I would have paid a lot more for such a good read.

The story is his own with a twist. Throughout his life, Sheffield had made many mixtapes. They’ve guided him through the years each telling their own unique tale of the point in life that he is in. He begins each new chapter with a track list of a mixtape.

Personally, I found this to be the greatest, most unique trait of any book I have ever read. Mix making is a great hobby of mine. A good friend from back home gives me mix assignments occasionally and I will make a cd based on different emotions, or topics depdending on what he says. Currently I am working on my funeral mix. (I have been for a few years.)

The story is not as idealistic as the title may suggest. It follows his relationship with a woman named Renee. It follows the trials and tribulations that make up the soundtrack to their lives.

I recommend it for everyone.

By Mo Hnatiuk

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Filed under Class blogs: General, Mo Hnatiuk, weekly blog

Picking Up An Old Favorite

By Nick Bryant

So I finally had time to sit back and relax a few days ago, and I picked an old favorite book of mine from a tote full of books I have.

The book, “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. I was forced to read it back in an elementary school reading class, and I’ve kept that copy throughout the years, reading it at least once a year. I still get all teary-eyed at the end.

For those of you who don’t know, the book follows the story of Billy Coleman. It starts with him as a men seeing an old coon dog in a fight in the city, and he thinks back to his hunting days in the Ozark Mountains. As a boy he wanted coon dogs, worked for two years to raise the money to get a pair of coon dogs, went off to get them, came back, raised them, trained them, and ended up winning a competition. In the end the dogs die and the boy moves away. Very simple. But the story is beautifully written. The reader really feels connected with the character. Like I said, I still cry.

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Burglars break into prison?

By Nick Bryant

So, our current events quizzes may be over, but that doesn’t keep me from checking out odd news.

Twice in the last month and a half a prison in Hoorn, 26 miles northeast of Amsterdam, has been robbed. The prison houses criminals nearing the end of their sentences. The inmates are being eased back into society, and are allowed leave on certain weekends. On two of these weekends, the prison was broken into and the televisions were stolen. The prison officials don’t have any suspects, nor do they know how they got in.

The odd articles I find are very well constructed. Most of them are either from AP or from Reuters, and they’re all short and sweet. The articles say what happened, cite a person or two, and they’re done. Great for people who don’t have the time to sit down and read full-length articles. Also great for the choice of article. People don’t care enough to read an entire article on some of this odd news. They read it for a laugh. The shorter the better.

The article can be read here

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Writing an Effective Music Review by Rich Leigh

By Patrice Hendrix

“When writing a music review it’s important that you get plenty of personal opinion across.”  That line jumped off the screen at me when I read Rich Leigh’s article on how to write music reviews.  I was enthused because it goes against the heart of what I have learned thus far in journalism, which is to be objective.  My dream as a journalist is being able to write how I feel or how I see things.

Leigh said that you should thoroughly express what you get from the music.  You must be very descriptive.  You should try to capture how strongly or not so strongly, you felt about the album.

Leigh recommends reviewing three or four tracks that can capture the overall feel of the album.

However, I was a bit confused when about three paragraphs into the article Leigh said to remain “fairly objective.”  The entire article is on writing how you feel about the music, so where does the objective part come in?  He suggested referring back to earlier albums from the artist and said it was ok to add that you favored a previous album over the current one.  So when must the writer be objective?  Hmm.

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Filed under Class blogs: General, weekly blog

The Underrated, Timeless and Savvy Femme Fatale -Anais Nin

By Patrice Hendrix

The late Anais Nin, a writer of erotica, was a very liberated and phenomenal French author and diarist in the 30s and 40s.  I became hooked on the bold and beautiful writings of this woman while reading one of my favorite fiction writers Eric Jerome Dickey.  Dickey, obviously a Nin fan, quoted her throughout his book, Pleasure, a story about a woman in pursuit of an unhinged and highly passionate affair.

Nin was super fierce with her commentary on relationships, the world, sex, race, class and pretty much everything.  She said things in the 30s that some women in 2010 would be afraid to say.  “I can only tell you that my surroundings are me.  Everything is me, because I have rejected all conventions, the opinion of the world, all its laws.  I am not obliged,” wrote Nin in volume one of her published diaries. She is also known for making statements like, “Man’s vanity is greater than a woman’s -because his whole life is based on a manly cult of conquering, from the Dark Ages, when the one who could not hunt and was not strong died.”

To make a long story short, Nin is a favorite of mine because she was timeless, unapologetic for her views, and was liberated not only as a woman, but more so as an individual.

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Filed under 1, Class blogs: General, weekly blog

Former DPS school teacher could become Supreme Court nominee

By: Allen Martin

President Barack Obama is considering Ann Claire Williams, a former third-grade Detroit Public Schools teacher, as his next Supreme Court nominee. I was intrigued by this article because it brings the very essence of localization to life. Here you have a national story with a local twist to it. The article also caught my attention because I used to attend Detroit Public Schools during my elementary school days and it would be great to see a teacher from where I’m from make it to our Supreme Court.

Williams is from Detroit and has attended Wayne State University and University of Michigan. She also attended the University of Notre Dame to acquire her law degree. Adding to her impressive list of accomplishments, Williams has served as a U.S. attorney and federal U.S. district court judge in Chicago.

I love how the article adds a homely feel by talking about how when she a small child she wanted to become a Motown star, at times breaking out in song. Hearing about her possible nomination is exciting to me because it shows kids in my town that you can make something of yourself, no matter where your from.

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Filed under Freep stories, Localization of National Story, News Event, weekly blog