Zone One by Colsom Whitehead. Post-apocalyptic zombie novel with the protagonist a member of a cleanup crew as a new government tries to rebuild.
Plausible and atmospheric, with a kind of J.G. Ballard feel and a few Philip K. Dick touches.
Not much of a plot though and I kept struggling to pick it back up. I feel like it's a kind of trend along with Becky Chambers to have characters with no particular drive or mission just sort of drifting around. Chase-the-mcguffin isn't much better but it's good if the main characters has some kind of goal.
What I'm Reading 2
Science(ish): The Peculiar Science Behind the Movies by Rick Edwards, Michael Brooks. Pop-science book taking a few movies from the last couple of decades and looking at the science behind them, apparently based on a podcast. Somewhat interesting, but the banter between the two writers feels a bit forced in print.
What I'm Reading 3
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Read this to the kid, it's apparently a famous children's book in America which he found out about through a "Bookcraft" YouTube channel. Survival story about a teenager who survives a plane crash but has to survive in the Canadian wilderness with just a trusty hatchet.
Pretty good but a bit old for his age range: I censored out the suicide attempt and the more gruesome details of the pilot's decaying body.
What I'm Reading 4
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. Another classic I'd never heard of that I read to the kid. A balloonist discovers a mysterious society on Krakatoa before the eruption. Imaginative and worthwhile.
What I'm Reading 5
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. I know I must have read this as a kid but don't remember it: for some reason it didn't make an impact on me. The kid liked it and it had a good, nostalgic depiction of farm life.
What I'm Reading 6
Read Edward Snowden's autobiography Permananent Record. Good account of his life and what motivated him in his whistleblowing. Also has a good description of what life is like inside the murky world of the security state, with contractors shuffling through a complicated network of institutions. It's tragic that he's still an exile.
What I'm Reading 7
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. Very long science fiction thriller that started with an interesting premise where individuals just start walking in a trance towards an unknown destination, and a community of protectors forms around them.
Unfortunately the plot doesn't really live up to the strong start. It also turns out to be the first volume in a planned series. It was one of those books that didn't feel bad enough to abandon but ended up being a slog to get through. Not really recommended.
What I'm Reading 8
The Motion of the Body Through Space by Lionel Shriver. Satire where a wife watches as her retired husband takes up triathlon. Has some decent satire of the foibles and self-indulgence of some of the middle-aged endurance sports community.
However, Shriver, always somewhat right-wing, now seems to have descended firmly into Fox News / Daily Mail territory and it's weakened by unconvincing and fairly racist satire of the sort you might see in a Richard Littlejohn column.
For instance the husband loses his job as a town planner when a black woman is hired straight out of college without training or experience to become the department head, and cancels his project and causes him to lose his job. She doesn't seem to have any particular motivation for any of that, Shriver just seems to take it for granted that this is the sort of thing that happens in a world of political correctness gone mad.
So, lockdown 2. Kid's in school and work isn't a ton of extra COVID-related work, so it's not nearly as bad as the first time round. Still feeling pretty ground down though. Feeling pretty imprisoned in this cramped house, especially after the few weeks when it seemed like things were going back to normal and I was back in the office.
Did a socially-distanced 10k run when things were open, which felt great. Also got back to a decent weight. Been putting on a few pounds again now though, finding it really hard to stay motivated.
I think this is the longest gap between diaries I've ever done. Still on Mastodon though.
Sci/Tech. Huge wind-assisted car carrier ship planned for 2024 People expect technology to suck because it actually sucks. Why Wikipedia succeeded and not its rivals (PDF). How to use a browser window as a text editor. Ancient paperclip squid, fossil, more.
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