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Sarah Guan

Review: Stan Shake’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The Stanford Shakespeare Company traditionally stages its spring show outdoors, in scenic and visually interesting parts of campus. This year is no exception: The group mounts "Romeo and Juliet" in a small, sunken amphitheatre on the Engineering Quad, with a large tree bathed in violet lights as the centerpiece of the stage. The setting is intimate -- the first ring of stone benches is level with the actors -- and the players enter and exit from behind the audience.

Vienna Teng, Stanford renaissance woman

A decade ago, Vienna Teng was a Stanford computer science major. She was set to work at Cisco upon graduating and played her songs on dorm pianos for her friends, just for fun. Since then, she's toured around the world, appeared on Letterman and had multiple albums hit the Amazon bestseller list. In what is undoubtedly an unconventional career move for a successful musician, Teng is currently attending graduate school at the Erb Institute of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; meanwhile, she's still writing music and playing the occasional concert, including a performance at TEDxStanford this Saturday. Intermission was fortunate enough to catch up with her and ask a few questions before the show.

Book Critiqua: ‘Space Chronicles’

The astrophysicist and prolific science writer Neil deGrasse Tyson, popularly hailed as the intellectual heir of the late Carl Sagan, has recently published a collection of essays and interviews, entitled “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier” (W. W. Norton, Feb. 2012). In a style reminiscent of the bestselling “Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman,” “Space Chronicles” discusses such varied topics as the history and future of space exploration, the state of science education in the United States and the continued relevance of NASA in today's political discourse.

Book Critiqua: Ann Patchett talks novels and news

It takes a bit of star power for any lecturer to fill Cemex Auditorium on a school night -- but the New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett spoke to a full house on Monday evening. She was introduced by Professor Tobias Wolff, who fondly recalled a 20-something Patchett just embarking on her literary career.

Book Critiqua: ‘Daughter’ lacks flourish

In her new release, “The Baker's Daughter”, Sarah McCoy weaves together the stories of two very different women who, in attempting to outrun their pasts, end up in El Paso, Texas. Reba Adams is a lonely journalist whose latest assignment, a Christmas feature, leads her to Elsie's German bakery. In researching her piece, she finds a kindred spirit in the proprietress, Elsie Schmidt, whose story began six decades previous in Germany as a teenaged girl under the oppressive rule of the Third Reich.

Book Critiqua: Authors share their most life-changing ‘moments’

Our culture is fascinated by the idea of epiphany--the elusive moment that alters the course of one's life. It is said that a chance encounter between Newton's skull and a wayward apple redefined physics, that the serendipitous meeting of J. M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies children led the former to produce the novel “Peter Pan.”

Book Critiqua: Holiday guide

The holidays are almost upon us; that means Christmas shopping. If finals are draining your brainpower and Amazon recommendations are letting you down, fear not--Book Critiqua has something for everyone on your list.

Honey, I shrunk the grad students

Part tech-thriller and part wilderness adventure, “Micro” is the story of seven graduate researchers at a Harvard biology lab who go on a recruiting trip to Nanigen MicroTechnologies, headquartered in Hawaii.

Gaiman and Palmer read, rock and talk

When it was first announced that Neil Gaiman and his musician wife, Amanda Palmer, would be performing in a string of small theaters on the West Coast, the San Francisco event sold out so quickly that they decided to put on a second show, which took place on Wednesday evening. It was, appropriately, Day of the Dead-themed.

A not-so-unfortunate visit from Lemony Snicket

San Jose’s not exactly the first place you would think to head to for a book reading, especially given the plethora of literary events happening right here on campus. Daniel Handler, however, reading from his 2006 book "Adverbs" and introducing his forthcoming novel, "Why We Broke Up," was well worth the trip.

Author finds humanity in sci-fi books

Stephenson, in formal, nondescript black, took the podium amidst vigorous applause and opened with a succinct plot summary of "Reamde," his latest novel: "It's a lot of people running around shooting each other." It's that, and so much more.

Essential summer reading

With classes and finals almost out of the way and the joys of summer about to begin, everyone needs a few good books to read on the beach, on the plane or during their commute to work, especially ones that aren’t textbooks or academic studies.

Review: ‘Red Glove’

The world and the premise of "The Curse Workers" trilogy is fascinating, in a noir-fiction-meets-psychological-thriller-meets-"The Sopranos" kind of way, and that's what will keep the readers coming.

Science geeks rule

Dutton's inspired treatment of this niche subject is just what today's America needs; she has turned science into a sport as competitive and compelling as football.

Review: ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem’

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem" is a truly scholarly treatment of a very relevant topic and one of the least biased works this reader has seen from an author of such unique perspective. It is well worth the while of anyone interested in the historical background of today's Middle Eastern conflict.

Review: ‘The Sworn’

Ever since "Twilight," it seems like everyone and their mother wants a piece of the vampire-and-werewolf pie. Gail Z. Martin takes it a step further, combining a whole host of fantasy clichés in her latest novel, "The Sworn."
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