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I have had a busy week; lots of errands and family activities and some stuff I don't care to talk about publicly. And for some reason I feel more exhausted than normal. Maybe just old age? Regardless, I don't have any world news or links for today, so I think I will eschew the usual format I've settled into for these weeknotes. It's good to wander off once in a while, after all.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

I suspect this review will be a good chunk of this post.

This is a short novella, a bit more than a hundred pages on my Kindle app, so it was a quick read. I first heard about it from other bloggers like Ana Ulin and Winnie Lim, and it sounded good, so I was happy when it was released as a freebie on the Tor eBook club (which I highly recommend - I got started on some series like the Stormlight Archive via this newsletter!).

Anyway, the book was really good. It may even be my favorite book I've read so far this year. It's not even a big action-y thing. It's a bit of a meditation about two beings, a monk and a robot, making their way through a forest, struggling not only against nature but also with their own philosophies and views on life. There is no real antagonist, other than the monk's questioning his own purpose. It's set in a kind of post-utopia world (decidedly non-Earth) where the excesses of industrialization ("The Factory Age") led to a transformation into a sustainable society, while the robots created by the Factories walked off into the wilds, never again to be seen by humans, until the monk and robot meet in this book.

The two blog posts I linked above have some great excerpts (and probably do a better job of selling the book), here's another couple I found myself highlighting during the read:

So, how fucking spoiled am I, then? How fucking broken? What is wrong with me that I can have everything I could ever want and have ever asked for and still wake up in the morning feeling like every day is a slog?”

You don’t, if you believe that. You’re an animal, Sibling Dex. You are not separate or other. You’re an animal. And animals have no purpose. Nothing has a purpose. The world simply is. If you want to do things that are meaningful to others, fine! Good! So do I! But if I wanted to crawl into a cave and watch stalagmites with Frostfrog for the remainder of my days, that would also be both fine and good. You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live. That is all most animals do.”

Overall, the book is a positive and uplifting look at what it means to struggle with your purpose in life, a stark contrast with all the pessimism that today's modern world brings us. I read 1 or 2 of the very short chapters every night and always felt a sense of calmness afterwards. Highly recommended.

Everything Else

I still managed my regular gaming stuff; got three of the endings in Triangle Strategy! Will probably try New Game+ for the secret ending.

Caught up with most of my regular TV series this week, and even started with Ms Marvel already. I'm definitely not the target audience for this show -- it's very much a "teeenage struggling with growing up" movie, but I can appreciate a lot of directorial decisions - the use of animation blending seamlessly with the real world shots is just fantastic. Hope the rest of the episodes are good too.

An old friend who I hadn't really spoken to since high school messaged me out of the blue last night wanting to catch up. I was a bit wary, because sometimes when people suddenly contact you it's for something like an MLM or such, but my friend seemed like he really wanted to reminisce about the old times, which is nice. He tried to call me when I was on a video call though, so that was a no go. Looking forward to when we actually get to speak.

This coming week:

Maybe we'll back to our regular format. Who knows?

Sun, June 12, 2022, 9:39 p.m. / / blog / #weeknotes #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 750 words

Last modified at: June 12, 2022, 11:32 p.m. Source file

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