thanks helenjanuary - dill & fennel

dill & fennel

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january

2020 began in earnest, and despite it being winter, in the Bay Area it’s delightfully sunny. I spent the first week largely sitting by the window of my apartment, reading and studying Japanese. So far, I really enjoy the slower pace of this decade.

Books

Mainline — Deborah Christiansen

A fun throwback to the world of cyber decks and assassins. I wish I’d found this in 1996, but it holds up well. The plot got a little convoluted, but supposedly there’s a very recent sequel, so perhaps there will be payoff.

Uncanny Valley — Anna Weiner

Ah, the tech industry. I’ve been working in this world for over a decade and this book felt like a survey of it. I know a few people mentioned in the chapters, and am unfortunately very familiar with many of the events. I think Weiner did a great job of capturing the constant, weird feeling of trying to survive and often getting lost in the self-satisfied world of tech founders and “disruption”.

Throne of Glass — Sarah J. Maas

I was drawn to this book by the front cover and the vague notion that it might be like Gideon the Ninth. It’s not exactly super different, but it’s clearly YA, where Gideon is not. I may continue the series, as it was decently compelling, but I wish it were more genre and less youth.

Unsubscribe — Jocelyn Glei

Although this book is deep in the details of email, most of it applies just as well to Slack and other forms of messaging. I appreciate her approach to mindful work, as well as how she thinks about the problems of people and communication. A worthwhile read, especially if you struggle with a mountain of other people’s problems

The Walking Man — Jiro Taniguchi

The art in this manga is gorgeous. I especially love the way the leaves and grass are drawn. The stories are largely dialogue-less vignettes that meander through cities and the countryside, taking it all in. When I open this book, I wish I were in Japan again, following stray cats around town.

Emily Eternal — M.G. Wheaton

This is an interesting take on apocalyptic fiction. With an AI protagonist and a dying sun, the story careens across the Americas and then even further. There’s a strange love story I didn’t care much for, but otherwise this was a nice romp.

Movies

Weathering with You

I found out I don’t need to worry about climate change because it’s just rain, ya know? This film was gorgeous and fun and o loved the cat in it with my entire heart.

Matrix: Reloaded

Really starting the year off right. We talked through most of the exposition, which was like 75% of the movie. I hadn’t seen this since it came out, and it really didn’t hold up.

The Lighthouse

The first thing I noticed in this film was the tight, constrained feel of a square frame with deep black and white images. I immediately had to look around for how this was made. The VVitch is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Eggers doesn’t disappoint in this haunting film either. The dread builds as the antipathy between the two men grows. A joy.