This has been abandoned, or at least put on hold while I try to figure out what way of documenting the art I go through feels right to me.
|Things That Happen at Day
|The Grand Illusion
|Sure, fine. "Man In The Wilderness" is fucking great but otherwise I don't care that much. Some good guitar work here and there. I'd rather just listen to the bands they're pulling from, but yknow, whatever.
|Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto
|These metal fingers be holding (hot shit)
|sdgipjasdgaidmjsfi FUCK IM GAY
|Not much of a fan. The beats are nowhere near Rico's level, and she rarely has a chance to release the aggression I love her for. There's a lot of fucking awful hooks here, too. I never want to hear "Ice Cream" again in my life.
|I feel weird about how I (and basically anyone talking about Vonnegut) really fixate on building this narrative about his development as an author along with him trying to sort out his experiences in the war. I feel like it reduces the books to just blips on that timeline, but I still feel the urge. I'll just say that I think most of the value in Mother Night is contained in how I would explain it to another person, or what I'd read on Wikipedia. That's brilliant and all but I feel like this one doesn't try to reach for answers in the way that Vonnegut's best does. Instead, it chooses to sit in this space of ridiculousness and disbelief at evil being nonsensical. This is commentary on the stuff beyond the moral as Vonnegut puts it in the introduction, by the way. That point is crystal clear. Anyway, I find myself wanting to say I think it's much more interesting when Vonnegut tries his best to grapple with the nonsense, but that's not entirely fair to this novel. It's excellent at approaching what it does.
|New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
|Nintendo Switch Cartridge
|Really shockingly short and the levels feel like they're designed to be played much more slowly than your typical Mario game. Despite that, it's a good time and it seems like there's enough bonus stuff to make it worthwhile even though I don't think I'll be diving into that.
|Digital PC Game
|One of the best games ever, and certainly the best FPS I've ever touched. Where DUSK is what you play if you want a new fps that's exactly in the style of the classics, this is what you play if you want to see that classic style rocketed into the future. Holy fucking shit. I actually cannot believe this is real.
|That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime vol. 1
|Digital Light Novel
|Fuse ain't much of a writer, at least not after translation, but this gets by well enough on a clever and funny premise. I'll follow it for a bit, see where it goes.
|Kao Kalia Yang
|If I'm honest, because The Song Poet is one of my absolute favorite books ever I loved this simply because I want to read more of Kao Kalia Yang writing about anything at all. With how much this and her later work overlap, it's hard not to be constantly comparing them. This book is passive, giving us events and feelings with the goal of familiarizing the reader, likely because the author wanted to tell a stories which had rarely been written down and spread before. With that work done after this memoir, there was much more of an opportunity to be interpretive and making sense of it all. I prefer that approach, but this is still beautifully written and worthy of the praise it's received.
|Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
|Digital PC Game
|A really really good time. For the most part I echo BestGuyEver's video on Shantae, the movement in this is immensely satisfying and I love how it builds on itself. I did the 100% dark magic route and got past where the standard ending would stop the game (even got the achievement), but to be completely honest the 3rd phase in the 100% fight is a giant pain in the ass and I don't plan on doing that. Still, great game.
|Nintendo Switch Cartridge
|There's so many creative little NPC stories and stuff all over the place, the region feels so varied and just fucking cool, so many little ways to play with your Pokemon and otherwise feel like they're your friends, so many unique animations for each Pokemon...I love this one. Maybe even my favorite. It's so lovingly crafted and reminds me why I love Pokemon. Not having all old Pokemon was a bad move, sure, but it really doesn't bother me that much. I wanna play this forever.
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
|Digital SNES Game
|I'm not as much of a fan as I used to be, but it's still a good game. Joyfully free for its time in console gaming, combat is tighter and puzzles are more involved than 3D Zelda ever was brave enough to be, and everything just feels GOOD. Thing is, once you get to the last 2-3 dungeons, they get far too long and tedious...honestly at a certain point I was like "I get it" and pulled out a walkthrough + used rewind to rush to the end. I normally don't like to do that, but it was getting to be a bit dull.
|The Sirens of Titan
|Beautiful but clumsy. Clearly the blueprint for the work of Douglas Adams, though I was primed to think that going in by Adams' own statement to that effect. Still, it's hard not to be constantly thinking about Adams who took so much but, in my opinion, did it better. This floats in a strange area, where it comes off as a half-formed Adams but also a half-formed Vonnegut, less pointed than his previous novel but not as lean and playful as his later work would be. Everything in this was topped by Vonnegut himself and other people, especially considering a lot of the clumsy missteps that really remind you that this was published in 1959. Still well-worth a read.
|Singing the Traditional Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family
|Incredible and just the kind of shit I've been losing my mind for lately even in my current state of half-interest in music. I live for earthy folk like this.
|The Sound and the Fury
|I have a hard getting much out of this as a whole that I can comment on, but the moment-to-moment experience of reading it is something special. This deserves more effort from me sometime, I can tell that much.
|Reform or Revolution
|Really, I probably could've left this at what others say about it, as the content beyond that is mostly either too grounded in the times or in her personal beefs to be all that worthwhile. While Luxemburg's argument is solid, for me this is mostly valuable as a way to dip my toes back into a world I've been a bit distant from for a while. I'm a much better reader than I was back when I was reading more things like this (including the bits I had read of this before), but it's helpful to ease my way back into the style common in so much socialist writing.
|Walt Disney Animation Studios
|The best film Disney has ever produced, and one of my favorites in general. I'll probably make a full review for this, so I'll leave it at that for now.
|Really excellent writing. Shamsie has a way of tight pace control through slipping in and out of this really smooth stream-of-consciousness that I love. Also really good at building empathy in situations where I would normally be turned off by attempts at doing so.
|It took me a while to get over Vonnegut writing something so conventional, but all the important elements that make Vonnegut great are here. Fuck I love this. Will expand later.
|Did I just read a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that tries to convince me that gentrification isn't that bad? Jesus Christ.
|Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
|Robert Louis Stevenson
|Very obviously My Shit. Though I feel like the one thing everyone knows about it going in kinda makes it start off weakly, it saves most of the interesting bits for the last section when it actually comments on what the whole transformation thing fuckin means. Once we get there, it's Frankenstein Jr. and I love it. Not nearly as much as frankenstein, of course.
|Pride and Prejudice
|The Hate U Give
|I feel like this was a little too determined to be "fair" by showing so-called good cops and going a little too into Jay-Z style Black capitalism, but it has a power to it that I can't deny. I get why it's treated the way that it is.
|Fucking hilarious and vaguely informative, just as pop science should be. Randall Munroe is someone I practically worship, so I was never not going to love this, but even then my expectations were exceeded a bit. It's one of those books I feel the need to share with others, which is what I'll almost certainly do.
|Super Mario 64
|Nintendo 64 Cartridge
|I hadn't played this in a while, and most of my experience was with the DS version. Luckily, it had faded so much in my memory that while every environment felt familiar and comfortable, there were new things to find and secrets to figure out in each level. I'm not finished playing around in it (I managed to teach myself to backwards long jump in around a minute of trying things out, finishing at 50 stars and feeling very satisfied), but I beat the game and am marking it as "complete" in my head. My complaints are the same as ever, mostly focused around the controls being pretty awful at times and the camera having a mind of its own, but it's an overwhelmingly pleasant game to just walk around and enjoy. Wonderful.
|Parser Interactive Fiction
|Cute and positive.
|Disney's Magical Quest 2: The Great Circus Mystery
|Though outrageously short for a full console release of its era, this is a tight and well-animated platformer with a bit of charm. Taught me the work "palooka," which made it all worth it.
|The Fire Next Time
|Paperback Essay Collection
|The obviously good things are good, the obviously less good things are less good. There's so much I can talk about with this, but my thoughts aren't sorted out yet and I don't want to make a fool of myself. What complicates this all is that whenever I disagree with Baldwin on something, he throws in a comment that complicates it so much that I don't know if we disagree or if he's saying something I agree with but with a level of nuance that's just too much for me.
Remember the thing Pace said about Wheatley.
|11/20/19 - DROPPED
|John Jeremiah Sullivan
|Paperback Essay Collection
|Fucking hell. Essay collection #3 where I read one of the best things I've seen in years, then run into bullshit that spoils the experience. "Essay collections are hit-or-miss" is as obvious as a statement can get, but it's getting tiring. I'm tired of left-field transphobia I didn't have my guard up for. I'm tired of being the butt of a joke.
|itch.io Visual Novel
|npckc games are always sweet, and this is no exception. Captures the mindless awkwardness of sitting around waiting for someone by leaving the majority of the playtime open for playing a clicker game, checking texts, and sipping your drink. This has the npckc charm, but isn't quite as interesting as their best work.
|I'm never quite sure if I should be honing in on the bitter moments or the sweet ones, but both are excellently done. For the inevitable comparison to her sisters, having read this I can now say that my thoughts go Emily > Anne > Charlotte. Of what I've read from the three, what stands out from Anne is her sense of humor, which comes through in this powerful (and witty) rage that often seems to leave the voice of the narrator and become direct ranting. I love that shit.
|11/13/19 - DROPPED
|How To Be Alone
|Hardcover Essay Collection
|The introduction and first essay are brilliant. The problem is, when Franzen isn't busy reflecting on how much of a bitter asshole he can be (which he is SO good at doing), he's just being a bitter asshole. I dropped it immediately after reading the next essay which is about how we actually have toom uch privacy and let the private invade the public. Ugh.
|The Summer Book
|The Summer Book was a good time. It's interesting how much it plays with the lopsided nature of interactions between adults and children that is typically ignored in this kind of "old person hangs out with little kid" story in favor of making the elder act like a child. The grandmother is clearly acting as an adult and she does not play at her granddaughter's level all of the time. These disconnects between them make their closer moments even sweeter.
|Slouching Towards Bethlehem
|Paperback Essay Collection
|Joan Didion's voice is, throughout most of this book, hidden from sight under stacks of dull localized bullshit about the least interesting place on Earth: California. When it does get a chance to shine, I find myself wanting the bullshit stacks back, as when she cares enough about a topic to insert herself into it, smug cynical bullshit is all that we get. In the world of Didion, everyone who cares is a misguided fool and she's enlightened with the gift of emotional distance. It's deeply frustrating.
On the other hand, "On Keeping a Notebook" is brilliant and the reason I switched to this commentary format instead of scores. So it kinda balances out.
|The Reluctant Fundamentalist
|I dig this, which is a relief. The previous books I've been reading for this postcolonial literature class have all either had no radical bite to them or been otherwise painful. This, on the other hand, is a head-on criticism of American imperialism, capitalist work culture and the spirit which drives it, and racism in the time immediately following 9/11. It's told as one big monologue which totally works in its favor, but ultimately builds to this "holding up a mirror" moment that isn't particularly compelling. Not that it ruins the rest of the book, but it does fall a bit flat. It's a smooth read, Hamid is really fucking good at injecting loads of charisma into this long monologue, the only moments where that skill starts to slip is when that mirror-turn is being set up. Hamid also kinda bites Murakami, but it's not too bad.
|J. R. R. Tolkien
|I'm not sure I like this much. What I remember liking about Tolkien was the extreme effort and overwhelming detail put into LOTR which is impressive despite being so unnecessary. That overload of extra shit is fun in and of itself, and The Hobbit is really stripped back. It's a children's story, of course, and if I ever adopt I'd love to read it to my kid...but it just feels a bit tedious for me reading it alone.