Memories of Murder is simply excellent

When I lived in Korea, the country’s famous street protests had mostly died down. They continued to happen, but they were no longer violent. Mostly it was a question of knowing that if you saw the riot police taking up position, it was best to get home soon – not because you were afraid for…

The Specialty of the House – a review

When I was in high school, I used to think that I liked mystery novels because they were literary puzzles. But then I went to college, got a degree in Literature, and discovered that it was more to do with their inherent metafictionality. Mystery is a highly conventional genre that exists to surprise. How else…

Beat not the Bones – a review

Chalotte Jay wants you to think she is Joseph Conrad. She isn’t. Beat not the Bones is likewise no Heart of Darkness – but it wants to be. Falling short of Conrad is no crime, but this book does leave me in a tough spot: do I hold it to its own standards, or do…

Whispering Corridors: Learning Subtlety the Hard Way

For whatever reason, I recently got a hankering to rewatch 여고괴담 – apparently incorrectly translated Whispering Corridors for its English language release (one presumes because “Girls’ School Ghost Story” just doesn’t grab you) – a 1998 Korean horror movie (probably the earliest one worth watching) that I happened to catch on TV one weekend while…

From Russia with Love just isn’t what it used to be

I’m what you might call a Bond-enjoyer, but not a Bond fan. Even if it hadn’t been for the Broccolis’ presumably intentional decision to go camp, I don’t think I would have been a big fan: Ian Fleming’s writing and his character are classic “good-but-not-great.” James Bond, even in the books, is fun, but there’s…

The Way Forward

By one measure – raw vote total – Gary Johnson polled the best LP presidential result ever. By another – percentage of the popular vote – it’s only the second-best. As impressive as that sounds, it’s a good result neither way you look at it, because the Libertarian Party has yet to break 2% in…

Nate Silver? Whatever Next?

Ballots for the Great Irony of Election 2012 are still being collected, and I think mine will end up going to “Adulation of Nate Silver for repeating what the polls said.” I’ve noticed a lot of self-congratulation among my left-leaning friends that Nate Silver got every state right in predicting a narrow Obama win. But…