Reading List 1

I am once again trying to read more of the articles, posts, essays that I find interesting and keep adding to read later queue only to be forgotten about. As part of the effort I am starting this new category of post on my blog where I share the things I’ve read in list form. To keep things nice and ordered, I am going to be numbering these, starting at 1. Whenever I have five or more things I’ve read I’ll do one of these.

Okay, now onward to the links in this first reading list post.



If you live in Toronto, you should be reading The Local.

The Local is an independent magazine exploring urban health and social issues in Toronto. We take a data-driven, yet authentically human approach to storytelling on pressing issues facing the city, from poverty and homelessness, to mental health, aging, and food insecurity.

About | The Local

I found Tamara Saade’s essay about the 2020 Beirut explosion a well written expression of recovering from an extremely traumatic event:

It turned out that the only way for me to move forward with my life was to talk about August fourth and to listen to other people’s stories. It has taken me over two years to begin to write this story. It was hard to put words on paper, black on white. Procrastination may not be another symptom of PTSD, but avoiding confronting trauma only delays acceptance. It only takes more space in my brain and heart, space that I would love to empty out for happier, healthier memories.

Tamara Saade in Beirut, at Sunset

Melissa Febos talks about exploring emotion and vulnerability in writing:

MF: Yes. I mean, anger is real but it’s a response to hurt or fear. And so I think for me, it’s only when I’ve found a way to get to that more primal emotion that I can change my relationship to [the anger]. And it really has been through writing that I’ve done that. It’s through stepping outside of the story of myself and redrawing it in an objective way, so that I can see myself the way that I see other people. The result is almost always that I feel compassion for myself, or really deep grief, or I don’t know, sometimes forgiveness, sometimes apology, but it is so vulnerable. It’s much more vulnerable than anger or the more analytical modes that I can work in that are much more comfortable for me. I had all these ideas when I was younger about what it meant to be tough or strong, and it’s just the opposite of what I thought then. Vulnerability is the hardest, bravest place to go.

Melissa Febos in her interview with Lizz Dawson

I found Mandy Brown’s essay about the relation of time to art very helpful myself:

It turns out, not doing their art was costing them time, was draining it away, little by little, like a slow but steady leak. They had assumed, wrongly, that there wasn’t enough time in the day to do their art, because they assumed (because we’re conditioned to assume) that every thing we do costs time. But that math doesn’t take energy into account, doesn’t grok that doing things that energize you gives you time back. By doing their art, a whole lot of time suddenly returned. Their art didn’t need more time; their time needed their art.

Mandy Brown in Energy makes time

I have long thought that Deltron 3030’s self-titled album is one of the best concept hip-hop albums ever made. Will Hagle does a excellent job going into just why this album is rightfully considered a classic:

The most dystopian thing about 2023 is everyone thinks they’re in a dystopia for a different reason, and they’re right. These songs tap into that paranoia, which was present in Y2K but not to the current relentless, overbearing degree. Then and today, Deltron 3030 eased the pain through funk and idioms. It isn’t nostalgia that brought me back to the album. It’s fresh, now, still, somehow. Deltron 3030 is cryogenically frozen both right at and way past the millennium, but it is not a corpse; it is capable of reanimating at the push of a button.

Will Hagle in Mastermind: How Deltron 3030 Predicted The Future

I love when JSS absolutely bodies a mediocre video game:

Immortals of Aveum is so derivative as to make me question the accuracy of the word “uninspired” – this game absolutely is inspired. It’s taken so much inspiration from so much existing media there’s not a single unique element. Less of a story and more the creative slag oozing from a smelter full of adventure tropes, its narrative is matched in banality only by its gameplay. A bog standard, repetitive shooter that offers nothing new and does none of the old stuff well enough to justify doing it.

James Stephanie Sterling in Immortals of Aveum – Magic: The Blathering (Review)

Nicole Carpenter concisely expresses just why I can’t get along with Bethesda RPGs:

Starfield exists in the push and pull between a carefully crafted world and the vastness of procedurally generated planets. Bethesda embraced the idea of more, and in turn, watered down the parts of space exploration and discovery that are most compelling to me: how humans relate to it. The expanse of Starfield’s world leaves gaps unfilled, and Bethesda has opted instead to simply spread further, rather than flesh out what’s already there.

With Starfield, Bethesda has put all of its efforts into exploring the dark, vast corners of outer space. In the process, it has drained a lot of the humanity I was hoping to find in its wake. In trying to do everything, Starfield obfuscates its most compelling mysteries.

Nicole Carpenter in Starfield sterilizes the final frontier

If there was ever a article that expresses the saying “going down a rabbithole” it is going to be this long article trying to solve the mystery of the Bloomfield bridge:

It is at about this point in the story that whoever is enduring hearing about it from me inevitably asks: “Hold on, why do we care about this bridge so much?” Which, yes, fair question.

Up until this point, it was curiosity. From here on out though, it is stubbornness.

I don’t understand why this question is so difficult to answer. There IS a reason that bridge was built, and by golly I am going to find it! Will it be a bribe from a local business? A conspiracy with the construction company? An ordinance that requires a bridge every 5 miles? A makeshift deer crossing built by the DNR? Someone accidentally copy-pasted a bridge when playing Cities: Skylines of Minnesota?

Whatever it is, I want to know!

Tyler Vigen in The Mystery of the Bloomfield Bridge

Last but not the least, the saddest bit of writing I have read in a while:

My mom told me that when she picked up my little sisters from school, she asked if they were OK. Apparently, her visible distress confused them.  

“Why wouldn’t we be? Mom, it happens all the time.” 

We are the Sandy Hook generation. We grew up crouching behind desks in pitch-black darkness, as our teachers barred the doors shut in case a “scary person” stepped on campus. 

Georgia Roda-Moorhead in A love letter to those grieving: You are not alone.

That’s all from me this time around. See y’all whenever I have another set of links I’d like to share.