Entries by Jay Ruud

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee 2020) During the Vietnam War, African Americans comprised about 11% of the total U.S. population, but at one point made up 32% of the soldiers serving in combat. During the period from 1966 and 1969, when the defense department increased the draft in order to build up troops in Vietnam, […]

Native Son

Native Son (Richard Wright 1940) You’re not going to like Bigger Thomas. Even from the beginning of the novel, the protagonist of Native Son is surly to his family, irascible and even violent with his friends, and resentful to his new white employer and his daughter and her boyfriend who try to relate to him on […]

How to Build a Girl

How to Build a Girl Coky Giedroyc (2020) There will never be a shortage of coming of age movies as long as people keep coming of age. Every generation gets its own set of them, and some are better than others. For every Ferris Bueller or The Graduate there are a dozen also-rans. But essentially, all such stories fall […]

Shakespeare for Squirrels

Shakespeare for Squirrels Christopher Moore (2020) If you are a casual Christopher Moore fan, you probably know him best as the author of Lamb, the boldly comic but oddly reverent Gospel according to Biff,  Jesus’s childhood friend. Or perhaps you are a new initiate to the Moore absurdist comic canon, and found him first in […]

The Half of It

The Half of It Alice Wu (2020) In Plato’s famous dialogue The Symposium, in which a number of guests at a dinner party are asked to discourse upon the nature of love, the character of Aristophanes (the famous comic playwright) relates an old fantastic myth that human beings were originally created as doubled beings, formed […]

Machines Like Me

Machines Like Me Ian McEwan (2019) Ian McEwan’s most recent novel is a departure from his usually realistic, historically-based narratives. Of course, his last novel, Nutshell (2016), was also a departure, being as it was a new twist on the Hamlet story told from the perspective of a fetus. But in Machines Like Me, McEwan enters the […]