Review – Ruins

My review of Ruins by Achy Obejas is up on PopMatters.

When everyone is cheating the system, is it still cheating? From his wife, to his family to his neighbors, everyone Usnavy knows is scheming and scraping for dollars in order to afford the things that make life bearable and functional, like a new pair of shoes, a bicycle, or even real meat.

A Liberal Arts Education

This is the best defense of a liberal arts education I’ve read in awhile.

But these are Twittery, fragmentary messages. In her first-year composition course, we’ll teach her to craft a strong argument, use contemporary research tools and extend her ideas from a couple of lines to many pages. We’ll emphasize writing in her first year and stay after her until she graduates. Writing is crucial.

As she continues in her studies, we’ll add novels that require her to develop skills in analysis and interpretation (abilities necessary in any business or organization), poems that require her to slow down and pay close attention (a fundamental life skill), and plays or films that ask her to understand how human beings relate to one another, how they are motivated, how they succeed or fail. She’ll learn about people — and about herself.