(For the week of Nov. 19 to Nov. 25, posted the following Wednesday)***
Please feel free to use this image on your own site for picks this week. Right click this image to get the URL for the gif. If you link the image to your winning post at your home site that would be even better.
These are “best of’s” from people who have previously been chosen by editors. This is a way to broaden the output and get a feel for what others like, while remaining focused on great writing. The guidelines for choosing are HERE. I f you were chosen by an editor below, please read before choosing your own.
1. Mary K. Williams ::: Review: A Girl Like Sugar, by Emily Pohl-Weary by Bonnie, Nov. 24.
First, the title intrigued me. Then, the review did what it was supposed to do, make me want more. Bonnie gives us a well written, succinct review of the book, A Girl Like Sugar. She expresses her enjoyment of the book, while at the same time acknowledges its possible shortcomings. I can see myself checking this title out soon. Good stuff!
2. Don Baiocchi’s pick ::: DVD Review: Mr and Mrs Smith by Kirsten Cameron, Nov. 21
I haven’t seen the film, but this review is a pretty convincing reason not to. Using scathing humor and relentless personal and professional attacks on the film’s stars, you get the feeling that not only should Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie not have made this movie, they shouldn’t be allowed to make any other movie ever again until they learn (or re-learn) how to act. While I’d prefer the review to actually spell Ms. Jolie’s name correctly, you get the feeling that Ms. Cameron doesn’t even respect the actress enough to bother with her name. This review is harsh, yet hilarious. I hope Ms. Cameron sees other horrible films so I can read more reviews like this one. [Temple's note ::: spelling fixed]
3. deekay’s pick ::: My Editors Pick Pick would be Victor Lana’s Memories of Thanksgivings Past. Even if it’s about the wrong Thanksgiving for a Canadian like me, it’s a beautifully written piece evoking memories of family holidays, or at least dreams of family holidays I wish I had!
Withdrawal from Iraq: A Moral Quandary by Michael J. West, Nov. 20
It’s all well and good to want US soldiers out of Iraq right now. But as West reminds us in this eloquent piece, the US invasion caused – and continues to cause – the nation’s present woes. And when it comes to dealing with the havoc this nation has wrought, says West, there are no easy answers for either the left or the right.
Why I Love the ACLU in Spite of its Warts – With Hugs and Kisses to the NRA by Margaret Romao Toigo, Nov. 19
The American Civil Liberties Union is a polarizing force in the US – most people either love it or hate it. In this beautifully written essay, Toigo, a card-carrying member of the ACLU and the National Rifle Association, offers a defense for the organizations that work to defend the freedoms outlined in the nation’s Bill of Rights.
House Resolution 571: The US House of Representatives Puts On a Show by patfish, Nov. 19
Patfish paints a vivid, if one-sided, picture of a rowdy night on Capitol Hill, capturing all of the drama and shining a light on those lawmakers who, when push came to shove, could not back up their rhetoric with action. You don’t have to like or agree with the author’s conclusions or characterizations to find this piece highly entertaining.
Xbox 360 Launch: A Poem by Matt Paprocki, Nov. 22
In this, the beginning of the Gaming section at Blogcritics, we bring to you a poem written in the aftermath of an ugly situation that couldn’t get much worse. Most surprising is whom this poem came from, Matt Paprocki usually sticks to DVD and Gaming reviews. A hidden talent perhaps?
How to Bowl by Sam Jack, Nov. 20
Who hasn’t been there? You’re relatively bad at a sport, and everyone around you is “helping you out” by giving you a few pointers on how to master the sport. Hey Sam, how’d those tips work out?
“You see, you didn’t keep your eyes on the pins.” I tried keeping my eyes on the pins again. Got one of them.
McNabb: Victim of His Own Program by Sal Marinello, Nov. 22.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb became sidelined for the rest of the season due to a sports hernia. Sal posits it was McNabb’s own “innovative” – as Sports Illustrated put it – mobility training. Furthermore, Sal’s detailed explanation is done without using the phrase “Madden curse.”
Mat Brewster delivers an exceptional review with his Nov. 20 offering – CD Review: Jerry Garcia Band – Pure Jerry: Theatre 1839. He includes a comprehensive look at Garcia, and his work with the Grateful Dead, as well as the review of the current work.
Concert Review: Bauhaus Live(s) was Shannon Okey’s contribution to Blogcritics on Nov. 20. Complete with photos of the show, she gave a detailed and expressive review that put the reader in a front row seat.
Kay Bell weighs in with her opinion of Shopgirl and of comedians turning over a new leaf. More than that, she provides thoughtful perspective: “I think the real message in all these films is that it is damn hard to find, much less maintain, personal connections in today’s hectic world.” Look for that sentence for even more insightful commentary about timing, comedy, tragedy, and life itself.
Movie Review: Capote by David Wester, Nov. 21
Capote is boffo. No, really, David says so. But even without considering David’s great choice of words, his review of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s new film would have been worth reading simply for his description of the gentle monotony of Kansas. And hey, Chris Cooper’s in it, too.
Review: Beasts of No Nation by Tim Gebhart, Nov. 25
Tim’s review of this critically-hailed short novel by Harvard graduate Uzodinma Iweala manages to capture both the author’s Ivy-League origin and the plight of the African youth whose story he has told. In short, this is a literary (and literate) review — and it also reveals Tim’s own emotional response to the story.
Review: Rogue State: How a Nuclear North Korea Threatens America by William L. Triplett II by Damian Penny, Nov. 24
“It’s one thing to blow yourself up thinking there are 72 virgins waiting for you…, but something else to give your life when your ideology precludes belief in a deity greater than Kim Jong-Il.” Whether that’s a paraphrased quote from Triplett, or his own synopsis of the book, Damian has neatly packaged the alarming central theme. Even better, he accurately cites the problems with Triplett’s work.
Review: Walking it Off by Doug Peacock by John Spivey, Nov. 21
Wilderness might be author Doug Peacock’s salvation, but John shows us that it is human society that is terra incognita for the Vietnam vet. His excellent review manages to introduce us not only to Peacock’s memoir, but also to the fiction written by his friend, Edward Abbey, who based the main character of The Monkey Wrench Gang on Peacock.
Review: ‘Tis by Frank McCourt by Scott Butki, Nov. 20
I read ‘Tis first, and remember wondering what all the fuss over author Frank McCourt was about. Scott read Angela’s Ashes first, and he brings that perspective to his review of McCourt’s second memoir, and cites two excellently-chosen excerpts in evidence of the reason for his disappointment.
A Smoker Needs His Rest by Cameron Elliott, Nov. 22
Cameron is trying to quit smoking. Making this an Editor’s Pick means now everyone knows it and Cameron will have to answer to us if he slips.
Ten Things to Consider in Web Design by Gregory Shoppe, Nov. 22
Are you finally getting around to designing your own Web site (what took you so long)? If so, read Gregory Schoppe’s article on the top ten things you need to know before taking the plunge.
Sick Puppies: A Disreputable Crop in Lancaster County, Pa. by Steven Hart, Nov. 20.
Thinking of getting a cute little puppy from the pet store this Christmas? Steven Hart says don’t do it.
Introduction to Climate Prediction by Johniac, Nov. 24
Take one continent, age it 50 years, add a little greenhouse gas and a pinch of solar energy and what do you have? Johniac tells you how to find out. How come my school never had cool tutorials like this when I was growing up?
Politics Editor Natalie Davis picked: Where Is Our John F. Kennedy? by roving editor Dave Nalle, Nov. 23
On the 42nd anniversary of JFK’s assassination, this thoughtful, heartfelt piece reflected on the former president’s ability to put America before politics. Reading it, I thought of today’s political leaders and recalled the words of former vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen: They’re no John Kennedy.
***(See here for our selection guidelines.)