Throughout 2019, I’m going to commit to a recurring blog post practice that I think will help keep me motivated and reflective.
Here’s the idea: every two Fridays, I’ll publish a brief round-up of some of the interesting articles/blogs/YouTube videos/books/music/games that have come across my metaphorical and actual desk. I often get tremendous writer’s and blogger’s block because I worry that if I don’t have something sufficiently insightful to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. But this is a good way of sharing what I found interesting or noteworthy, every two weeks, and will force me to stop and reflect a little bit. I got rid of my Goodreads account last year because I’m trying to cut down on social media accounts, but I kind of liked having a place where I could jot down some fleeting notes. So, here we go. And thank you to @dellsystem (Wendy Liu) for the encouragement!
So without further ado, let’s jump off this assortment for 2019.
Simone Veil, Une vie, 2007
An autobiography I started on the train to Rennes in November but needed some time to get through during the holidays, because it’s dense and I kept having to put it down to do background research. It’s a memoir by Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor and lawyer who served as French Minister of Health and was one of the chiefs architects of the legalization of abortion in France in 1975. She was also President of the European Parliament from ’79 until ’93. I knew next to nothing about Veil before I started reading the book — and the first chapters which deal with her memories of deportation and the concentration camps (specifically Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she watched her mother die) were harrowing. I really do recommend the book.
Delphine de Vigan, Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit, 2011
A book I started in the summer, but only finished much more recently. I love the conceptual bones of this autobiography of a family. Essentially, Delphine explores the tragedies that struck her family by writing a memoir that lingers on her parents — especially her mother, who later in life ends her own life. In particular, I was really interested with how this book chronicles the events leading up to two tragedies which “broke” the family, and how those events became fault lines upon which all other struggles and conflicts echoed. I also really liked de Vigan’s notes on the power of writing and exposing what years or even decades of silence had pushed aside, and the difficulty of writing a memoir about family members, when facts, memory, and truth can be contradictory and can slip right through your fingers even as you try to impose order and chronology upon it.
Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time, 2018
Oh, this book on the physics of time was total brain candy — I really loved it. I finished reading it on New Year’s Eve and I was so inspired that later that night I (drunkenly…) tried to persuade my friend Ben to give me a stick and poke of the second principle of thermodynamics.
Lindsey Elis, Death of the Author, Dec 31, 2018
I discovered Lindsay’s Youtube channel earlier this year when I finally watched her three-part series on the effects of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies on the New Zealand economy, and I’ve really loved her channel ever since. She’s always got something interesting to say, whether or not you agree with it in the end, and I absolutely love the way she edits her videos. So, watch this! Even if you don’t care at all about the concept of death of the author, this video also touches fanfiction, Anne Rice, JK Rowling, John Green, Foucault and fandom was well researched and thought-provoking and I really dug the 1993 VHS vibe. (Embed below!)
I was going to write a small bit about KOTOR, a game I played throughout the holidays, but I’m still not quite finished the game, so I may write a tiny bit about KOTOR next time.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or reach me on twitter @gersandelf if you wanna geek out about cool stuff. Thanks for reading!