This January has been more miserable than most, grey and cold with a lockdown over us. It feels like a lifetime since further restrictions were announced. So I’ve had a lot of time to stay inside and consume media. Here’s some things I enjoyed.
Somehow I read ten books in January which seems like far too many, but there we go. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood was a sobering read about how totalitarian regimes operate on lies, and ultimately how they fall. There is hope, but it takes concerted effort and a lot of pain. I read it just before the January 6th storming of the capitol by far-right facists in the US and it felt sadly more relevant than ever.
Lanny by Max Porter was a very strange book about a mythological green man wreaking havoc on a small English village. Weird in all the best ways, some of the images will stay with me for a while.
In terms of poetry, Beth Caverly’s collection Brave Faces and Other Smiles is a delight, focusing on specific moments with a simple, direct clarity. There’s a lot of positivity, which is really hard to get right. Beth strikes the perfect balance and is direct, honest and illuminating. A great unified collection that deserves to be read.
I’ve got quite into The Blindboy Podcast, which is a weekly monologue about Irish history, mental health and so much more. It’s updated every week and is always interesting and thought provoking.
Here’s a gentle, soothing track by Hammock for the woes of January. Let all of the 12 minutes wash over you in its pulsing waves.
The Resturant Without Food by William Stephenson is tense and strange and feels more relevant to now than when it was published four years ago. It’s surreal cascade of images that speak to the privilege we all enjoy.
That’s all for now. I miss you all very much. Stay safe.