Shall I continue with my usual blog template (self-aware apology for not writing, general state-of-the-world angst, and then quick rundowns of consumed media)? Do I still want to do this? Does it matter if you (whoever you are) don’t care anymore? Does anything matter? Am I writing this mostly because I need to look busy? (The answer to that last question is a HELL YES.)
I know I’ve been struggling to keep this blog going, and I know this isn’t the first time I’ve said so. It’s just that I’m now more self-conscious about it than I used to be. Back in the LiveJournal days, I was Captain Oversharing, blathering about everything and nothing and filling in the empty spaces with iPod shuffle wars and personality quizzes. But I haven’t felt comfortable doing that in quite some time. Believe me, I’m just as self-absorbed as ever; it’s just that I think I’m embarrassed about it.
Let’s just say this: my default emotional state is no longer anxious or depressed. I’m starting to get… mad. The news everywhere is making me mad. Every hour that passes without impeachment proceedings is an hour that brings me closer to a Network-level meltdown. And the problem is, you can’t really take a pill for anger. And waiting until November 2020 to vote is a looooooong time to hold on.
So, then, let’s get busy with being distracted!
BOOKS: So I’ve noticed that most of what I’ve read this year has been either collections of short stories, or Weird Horror, or collections of Weird Horror. It seems fitting, in these troubled times, to find distractions from the awfulness of the news in the nameless dread of Cthulhu. That being said, you know what else works? Humor!
The Hunger, Alma Katsu. So this is a quasi-supernatural take on the infamous Donner Party. If you’ve read Dan Simmons’ The Terror, you’ll get the idea. It’s an interesting tale, just not particularly memorable. I’d give it a solid B+.
Inspection, Josh Malerman. I didn’t read or watch Birdbox, nor do I recall why I had this on my Kindle (it might’ve been on sale?). In any event, it’s an interesting premise that’s written in a somewhat by-the-numbers prose style, and with one of the most out-of-nowhere, completely batshit insane hyper-violent endings I’ve ever read. B-.
Calypso, David Sedaris. God, I needed this. It’s been a while since I’ve read any Sedaris and this collection absolutely killed me. The “Sorry!” essay in particular is absolutely hilarious, as is the story about shopping in weird Japanese stores with his sisters. (The mental image of Amy Sedaris gently fondling a giant wooden phallus as if it were a pepper grinder in particular is one for the ages.) A.
French Exit, Patrick deWitt. This is the third deWitt novel I’ve read, and certainly it’s the most different; it’s a strange but compelling story of an elderly rich widow and her emotionally inert son, escaping a legal catastrophe in NYC and hiding out in Paris. B+.
To Rouse Leviathan, Matt Cardin. Because I can’t stay amused forever, I finally finished this mostly very impressive Ligotti-meets-Lovecraft collection and if nothing else I’m gonna keep this author on my watch list. A-.
I had started and then put down Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner; I’ve heard great things about it, and there certainly appears to be a really good book here, but some of it hit a little too close to the bone. And I’m now finally reading Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, which I think won the Pulitzer despite being a comedy? I’m about 30 minutes into it and it’s certainly well-written; we’ll see how that pans out.
GAMES: I’m all over the place, again. My Xbox One X has been having some overheating problems lately, so my replay of Red Dead 2 is going to take some time. In the meantime, though, I’ve started playing Control and GODDAMN that game is so very extremely my shit. Absolutely gorgeous, very very weird, satisfying on multiple levels – combat is a blast, but also the environment is just jaw-dropping. Brutalist architecture taken to the extreme. Hard to explain without screenshots; alas, the game didn’t ship with a photo mode, which feels especially egregious because there are images in this game – even early on – that have been permanently seared into my brain. Hopefully that’ll get patched in shortly.
That’s probably it for now; have a good Labor Day weekend, everybody. Sharpen your guillotines.