dill & fennel

June

Ah, summer! So much reading and a few movies while still hiding out inside from the continuing pandemic. I watched a few notable tv shows as well, like the 3rd season of Dark, and Berlin Station. Lots of comics as well.

Books

The Glass Hotel — Emily St John Mandel

An interesting twisty novel. This reminded me a bit of how David Mitchell constructs his plots, but slightly more straightforward. I wish we’d gotten a little more Vincent.

The Summer Book — Tove Jansson

This was a delightfully banal book about a girl and her grandma on an island off the coat of Finland. All the small stories were a joy, and I imagine I’ll return to this book often when I need a smile.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning — Margareta Magnusson

It’s nice reading a book by an older woman who has such a clear love and appreciate for her life, but has accepted the inevitability of death. Far from being grim, this book was a delightful look at what we value and how to make sure no one else has to clean up our mess when we’re gone.

Woman in the Dunes — Kobo Abe

Abe is one of my favorite authors, and consistently makes me smile with his surreal plots and characters. Woman in the Dunes is not my favorite of his, but is a fascinating look at how our spirit can be ground down by sand and society.

Abolish Silicon Valley — Wendy Liu

“Capitalism Is a disease in the venality of Silicon Valley is a morbid symptom, the fingers turning ashen”

As someone who is somewhat begrudgingly started working in Silicon Valley after studying literature mostly as a way to make ends-meat, this book resonated strongly. The front half establishes Liu’s history, but the back half is the juicy bit. I love reading a hopeful vision of how we might reconfigure society to support humans, and not capital.

Last Rituals — Yrsa Sigurdadóttir

A solid Scandinavian noir with a nice amount of occult content. I think the translation could’ve likely used work, as some of the phrasing seemed oddly stilted, but I can’t read Icelandic to check up on that.

Movies

Bridge of Spies

A solid Spielberg feel-good negotiation thriller. I only knew a little about the U2 bomber and our history of capturing spies until I watched this film and dove into Wikipedia. This movie made me miss Berlin, which I’ve only visited once for a few weeks, but was delightful. If you enjoy the work of Tom Hanks, he does his thing well in this movie.

Gemini Man

I can only imagine a certain “religion” has also cloned Will Smith at some point. This was way more fun than it had a right to be, and weirdly enough the young Will CGI was pretty solid. How long until we see movies with young Cruise, or Washington? Have a bottle of wine and turn your brain off for 2 hours.

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This was a lot of movie. When I was younger I think I had more patience for particularly slow films, but I ended-up being a little distracted during 式日. I’m glad I finally got to watch it though, as it was pretty interesting seeing Iwai on the other side of the camera. Also I really miss being in Japan now.

Waiting for Guffman

Ah, a classic. It’s wild seeing Fred Willard in this looking so young comparatively. I watched this obsessively in high school and it really, really holds up.