it's really cool that i can find pretty much any, every book i've ever heard of on libgen or zlibrary, download and read it on a tablet. 350+ downloads later, however, i must embrace the reality: i am incapable of reading on a tablet. i don't think i've ever finished an ebook, and i've been trying all year. it's maybe worth struggling through for the academic texts that i can't find at the library, but i must embrace my limits.

thankfully, C and i finally found time to make it to the nearest public library last month, and one of the books they picked out for me was There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura.

over several days' worth of commutes and couch time i finished my first book of 2022! and i enjoyed it okay. a set of comfortingly mundane short stories about a woman who drifts between niche jobs, each presenting its own set of dilemmas and strange (not quite supernatural) occurrences. the narrator constantly weighs the aspects of each new job, its merits and idiosyncrasies, always unsure whether she should stay on or move on. being so focused on the mundane, the book stayed within a kind of narrow range in terms of emotions and ideas. i thought it was a pleasant read, but not one i'll be thinking about much. the spacing and font were pretty big, which i appreciated for readability.

pretty soon afterward, i started a new book--also one C recommended, since they'd just borrowed and finished it: Search History, by Eugene Lim. a short book, but very emotionally and philosophically dense. i really liked it! it's uneven, but the better parts really shine. i remember, at 16 or 17 i read Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and i remember finishing that book and holding it to my chest, feeling like my world had been rearranged. i haven't read his books in years, but i'm not as uncritically enamored of them as i was able to be in high school. still, i think the sections of search history that resonated most were ones where i felt echoes of vonnegut: the way grief and longing are buried in a narrative about chasing a robotic dog--in general, the way sci-fi mediates here in a way that's wry and heartbreaking. comparisons aside, i found much of the novel, from its formal playfulness to its meditations on death and art, fresh and moving and compelling. i wasn't as moved or convinced by some of the musings on asian-american politics, or some sections, some formal gestures that felt less vital to the work as a whole. if not for them i'd love this book more wholeheartedly. i appreciate works that embrace disjunction, fragmentedness; i think search history sometimes loses the thread a bit in the middle (maybe somewhere around 3rd quarter?). but i was drawn in by that breathless beginning and when the ending came i was satisfied.

two books!

the nice thing about getting back into reading is having finally built up a sense of momentum. my next book was going to be The Maze of Transparencies by Karen An-Hwei Lee, but for some reason i jumped into The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada instead. 40 pages in.

thanks for reading!

i've been thinking recently about whether i want to try to cultivate more of a presence online. it's hard to build a habit of blogging (and putting things out in general). but i do appreciate reading other people's blogs; i like knowing what friends and acquaintances are up to, especially when we don't talk one-on-one. it's important to be able to share (and hear) some of the things you've been thinking about and feeling in a space outside of the flow of everyday conversation... ← me hyping myself up for future blog posts.

well, that's all for now. take care, reader.