All Articles: Book/Movie Reviews

Beliefs and rationale challenge when catastrophe hits

By Juan Haines In a fictionalized future world, the worst possible global scenario occurs (nuclear annihilation). Robert Mailer Anderson brings three characters on stage, struggling to rationalize their beliefs in individuality and collective humanity. An unassuming coffeehouse, Café Dante, is the setting for Anderson’s play, The Death of Teddy Ballgame (2016). This setting works because […]

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Hybrid novel discusses women’s empowerment issues

By Juan Haines When Caits (pronounced cats) Meissner ventured inside San Quentin last summer to meet with inmates taking a creative writing class, she talked about a new kind of writing, at least for me, called “hybrid literature”. I didn’t realize that Rosemary Jenkins previously had written in the same style. When I worked my […]

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The rocky road traveled by Black American athletes

By Juan Haines Professional athletes have always earned higher salaries than the average wage earner. Yet, the lack of African-Americans in sports team ownership is a carefully crafted plan, according to Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete (2006) by William C. Rhoden. To show athletes are in a […]

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Brown Is The New White makes book of the year

By Juan Haines There is a book I read, but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did not. If they had read Brown is the New White, Steve Phillips (2016) and had taken its advice, I believe Democrats would be holding both houses of Congress and the presidency in 2017. Phillips accurately pointed out some solid […]

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Government worker’s job to destroy millions of lives

By Juan Haines Senior Editor Adolf Eichmann was a regular guy who found his calling by being an efficient government worker. A deeper look into his life reveals a not-so-average guy who had failed in many things, including academically and at several jobs. Nevertheless, he was a dedicated public servant and a pretty good community […]

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The powerful voice of Jennifer Richter

By Juan Haines Poetry has always had the ability to make me, unintentionally, think of things or someone in unexpected ways. So, when I pick up a poem, I am open to finding out what the writer is trying to say through the combination of words that have a rhythm or cadence that just sounds […]

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The hopeful resilient human spirit behind bars

By Juan Haines Zek: An American Prison Story (2016), by Arthur Longworth, captures the tedious and mundane, the miserable and disappointing, the irrational and vicious aspects of doing time behind bars. But it also offers keen assurance that, in spite of these highly toxic dynamics, the resilient human spirit retains the ability to hold on […]

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A Look Back Into Voting History of Minorities

By Juan Haines A coalition of America’s minorities, voting with liberal Whites, could dramatically change the nation’s political landscape, a progressive author says. However, disenfranchisement laws diminish the impact of the largest minority group, African-Americans. States throughout the country have varying laws that play a role in taking away a person’s right to vote. In […]

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Boy’s Childhood Engulfed in a Decade-Long Civil War

By Juan Haines The first time Ishmael Beah held an AK-47 rifle, it stood nearly as tall as he did. Later the teenager talked about a contest that involved slicing a man’s throat. This was Beah’s childhood after he was recruited by a government lieutenant to fight a rebel army in Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil […]

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Man Grapples with Retaliation and Revenge

By Juan Haines When Tobias Wolff came to San Quentin State Prison on June 15 to sit in Zoe’s Class-Creative Writing, the class had already read his short story, The Chain. The story begins with Brain Gold remembering the day a dog on a chain attacked his daughter. It should be put down. It was […]

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