I thought it might be fun writing about the things that have taken my attention throughout the week. It won’t be an exhaustive list, but just the things others might find interesting themselves.
What I’m reading
I’ve finished the Liberation Day collection of short stories from George Saunders. I started it over the summer, reading Independence Day in one sitting, while mesmerized by the unraveling of a truly unique story. Part of the fun in reading these stories was looking for the themes of the collection. As the title conveys, the running theme was freedom and definitely the glue between each narrative. The stories have some experiences where the characters finding themselves would be the freedom they seek, while others are more physical combined with mental freedom. I gave the collection a four star mark on Goodreads.
The writing was also something new to me. I haven’t read any George Saunders, although I started Lincoln in the Bardo several years ago (reminder to pick that back up!). Most stories are first person, and often switch to different viewpoints deep into the story, which I found a bit jarring, but it also worked after I gave it a chance, especially in the story Mother’s Day where two women who have been enemies their whole life see each other on the street in their old age. There’s a lot packed into a very small narrative time window, spanning a dozen pages or so. The condensed time allows us to go deep into the narrator’s thoughts, with a first person narrative that I found to be close, but also at times the right about distance from the narrator. One of the narrator’s had a cheating husband, but she almost never allowed herself to believe it, even though this was years later, after his death, looking at one of the women who’d slept with him.
What I’m watching
The Gilded Age is a tv show on Max, an HBO original. The setting is the newly rich and seated rich of New York in the 19th century. The show has hallmark drama of catty, aristocratic women, but it also touches on race relations with a budding black novelist working in the home of one of the old families in New York and her visit to the racially tense south. There’s also union busting, worker rights, and other working class problems discussed, mostly from the viewpoint of Mr. Russel, the rich railroad tycoon, whose acting is by far my favorite of the series. He brings conscience to the show, maybe giving the audience of today an unrealistic outlook on the robber barons of the past.
Tech I’m into this week
I bought a Remarkable 2 recently and I’ve been learning more about it gradually. My handwriting has been lackluster at best. It’s awful, quite frankly. My daughter when I showed her my meeting notes commented, “I can’t read that.” And that’s as true as it gets. I’ve thought about learning cursive again, something I’ve talked with her about, wondering, as I know others have, if it was a lost art since they no longer teach it in most schools. All in all, I’m not entirely sold on the device, but it beats clacking out notes on a mechanical keyboard during meetings where I often have to be off mute.
What I’m playing
I’m a fan of Overwatch 2’s competitive scene for the most part. I spend more than a few hours each week trying to pull myself out of metal ranks, with little success. I did pickup a new narrative game, Alan Wake 2, that I hope to dive into over the long holiday break.
What I’m looking forward to
Spending time with my family in the coming weeks. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I’m also working through several different books, so I’m looking forward to time I’ll get to spend relaxing and reading those.