December 2020 media
Stardew Valley version 1.5: News of an update to Stardew Valley convinced me to reinstall it after years away, and even though I haven’t seen very much of the added content yet the game immediately got its hooks back into me. I’ve got dozens of hours logged in just ten days or so. It’s been another raft to cling to in a year where I’ve felt myself constantly grasping for the next big distraction.
Surfacing: A couple of years ago I read and enjoyed Upstream by Mary Oliver, and Kathleen Jamie’s Surfacing is perhaps part of the same microgenre: essay collections written by poets who are keenly attuned to nature. I loved it just as much. I especially liked reading about her experiences staying at two archaeological sites, one at Nunalleq near Quinhagak in Alaska and the other at the Links of Noltland in Scotland.
Subprime Attention Crisis: This book explains how internet advertising works, why it ended up that way, what problems it’s currently facing, and how those problems might affect the broader culture, all using the subprime mortgage crisis as a point of comparison. It’s surprisingly accessible given the nuance of its argument and the complexity of the systems it discusses, thanks to Tim Hwang’s straightforward and lucid style writing. I’d recommend it to anyone who is online enough to still read blogs in the 2020s.