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  • Writer's pictureKara San

Capsule 202010

When I published my previous Capsule post, one of my friends actually texted me and asked why I didn't include a reading wrap-up for the month in that entry, so: I heard you, H. Here's my reading wrap-up for October:

  1. American Panda by Gloria Chao

  2. Loveless by Alice Oseman

  3. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

  4. Starless by Jacqueline Carey

  5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  6. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

  7. The Orchid Folios by Mok Zining

  8. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

As usual, I've linked them to my bookstagram reviews. I'm currently reading How Much of These Hills is Gold (C Pam Zhang) and listening to All Adults Here by Emma Straub.


I recently finished watching Bungou Stray Dogs, an anime series in which the characters are largely named after Japanese or American writers. Looking up all these Japanese writers led me down a rabbit hole of looking up their works and whether or not there are English translations available (since, in BSD, most of the characters have special abilities which may or may not allude to the author's own works e.g. Margaret Mitchell has an ability called Gone With the Wind and Dazai Osamu's ability is No Longer Human). As I was venturing down this rabbit hole, I stumbled across The Modern Novel, a literary database of stories from all over the world. The limitation is that it only documents works from the 20th century onwards, but this is still a lot to dive into.


Speaking of literature, I also came across this Twitter thread on why Singaporeans tend not to study Literature as a subject. The tl;dr is: capitalism sucks, particularly when it influences the education system. Okay, capitalism sucks in general.


Other than getting back into anime, I've also been watching more YouTube videos. A new YouTuber a friend recommended to me is linh truong, a Vietnamese American college freshman. She does all kinds of videos, but my favourites are her ones around art and books and sprucing up her studio apartment.


I haven't been reading many articles this month, or at least most of them didn't stand out enough to me. The only one that caught my eye for its title and that left any impression on me was this one in Guernica magazine on corrupting the youth. This concept originated from Socrates, who encouraged young people to defy authority; where Socrates' focus was on the elite, Toole seeks to empower the disadvantaged.


Life update: I got a new job offer! I'm pretty excited (but also ridiculously nervous) about this new job because it's something I'd like to pursue in the long term, but I'm also aware that this hope is from an outsider's perspective. I won't call it a dream job - I don't dream of labour - but if it's something I at least mildly like and can feel a bit of satisfaction or fulfilment from every now and then, that would be enough.


Come December, I won't be working from home anymore, and I'm going to miss having art or journal with me videos in the corner of my screen to help me get through the work day. Or being able to watch short YouTube videos or read a few pages of a book during my brief work breaks, for that matter.


Reflections on connection


One of my friends who's doing grad school did a Zoom call with me for a few hours. The reason behind it was that she wanted someone to keep her company while she studied, and I thought I could use the company doing work as well. So she ended up in that little window in the corner of my screen as I wrote out my emails, filled up forms and spreadsheets. Even if we were on completely different ends of the Earth (she's in Hawai'i), at least we had that semblance of company for a few hours. Every half-hour, we'd unmute our mics and chat for a while before returning to work/study.


SWF this year has gone completely online, and the line-up is exciting. As convenient as it is to simply log on to my Sistic account and tune in to the live streams, it's not the same as physically attending these authors' talks. For starters, I can nod enthusiastically to something a speaker is saying and no one would see me because it's a live stream and I don't like typing anything into the chats for everyone else to see.


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