I am still reading (and enjoying) The Gate by Natsume Sōseki. I find more and more I enjoy books about historical zeitgeist, and this is exactly what The Gate embodies: Japan between the old world and the new.
I’ve also picked up Pictor’s Metamorphoses and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. I was so impressed by Beneath the Wheel that it’s sent me on a mission to read the other Hesse ebooks my library has. The author’s note to Steppenwolf captivated me entirely, along with the first pages introducing a mysterious protagonist. The only reason I’m not well into it by now is because of life busyness. I hope to settle down with it for an hour or two this evening. Any other Hesse readers? I’m shocked he’s not more famous.
I watched Europa Report (2013) again with my mom, who hadn’t seen it before. I’m not sure if she enjoyed it quite as much as I did, but even on second viewing, it’s still one of my favorites! Told in “found footage” (webcams, vlogs), it reaches a level of plausibility that few sci-fi films can. Most of all, I love the subtle characterizations, social commentary, and gutsy female lead.
I recently reviewed two martial arts films on my other blog: The Swordsman and Shaolin. Both were excellent stories with sumptuous costumes, music, and cinematography. There is something so timeless about the “Robin Hood” story arc, central to The Swordsman and significant in Shaolin, along with the themes of family, love, and betrayal. It really shows you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you write a good story—you just need to put your own take on it.
And speaking of storytelling… Yesterday I watched Snowpiercer (2013) with my siblings. I enjoyed the trailer and the concept of the story: humanity’s last survivors segregated on a high-speed train during an ice age. I didn’t like the film itself… for me, there was too much unnecessary gore, socialist undertones, and unlikely scenarios, and the story was mostly told through expository dialogue. Your mileage may vary (no pun intended); my brother really liked it. I will say, it was a lot like the novel Blindness except significantly better!
I’ve been really getting into the band Deep Sea Diver lately, which is actually based here in Seattle. The musicality of the frontwoman, Jessica Dobson, is incredible. The songwriting also reaches that level of depth and philosophy I especially gravitate towards. Their music won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like rock, post rock, and indie folk, it’s worth a listen.
It’s been about two months since my grandpa passed away, suddenly. The last time I saw him, we were alone in a dark hospital room and I had to trust he could hear me because he couldn’t respond. I didn’t feel like writing about it online till some of the grief had gone. Well, it still makes me cry sometimes, but the reality of his absence has really solidified now.
He left behind a lot of books, many of which I’ve kept because he had excellent taste. He was a skilled learner, maker, and artist, though never one to boast. It faded as he struggled with memory loss in his last years. But what really stands out to me now, two months later, is that Grandpa is one of the few people I know who can be said to have left a true legacy, the family and home he cultivated and the faithfulness he lived. In that sense, he still lives on here on Earth, as well as in Heaven.
I loved ‘Steppenwolf’ so I’d be interested to see what you thought about it.
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Steppenwolf was a cult imperative in the early sixtie’s; if you hadn’t read it you were persona non grata… i read it back then and, if I recall, didn’t think much of it one way or the other. Mrs. M is watching Chinese historical romances: she watches them on her phone. the last one lasted 66 hours; she loves the clothes and ambiance… condolences re you grandfather. i know what it’s like as i’m old and have been thru grief quite a bit… now i’m just sort of philosophical about the whole life thing…
Thank you – yes, I think part of the difficulty is realizing this is just the beginning of griefs to come. But I’m very grateful for the time we did have together.
66 hours, wow!! I will have to give those a try. I feel like there’s been a dearth of costume dramas recently… good ones, anyway.
Oh really saddened by the fact that your grandpa passed away. And I can’t appreciate much about the effect of legacy that a person leaves behind them. I am not fortunate enough to meet my grandpa since he passed away long before I was born, but grandpa from my mother’s side, I had a great interaction with. And needless to say, grandpas are the most learned and experienced in the whole family in terms of age. My grandfather from mothers’ side taught me the true meaning of god, he was a firm believer of human and I find myself inclined towards that than some superpower unexplainable godlike object. He told me very interesting things like in olden days there was little to no information preservation, that’s why a good person who did some good things for society, with time their capability gets exaggerated by humans. For example, if Elon Mask was born in B.C. we could easily attribute some superpower to him. Which I think is a great knowledge breakthrough when I see people blindly following godlike things. I didn’t tell this to hurt any religious feeling but we should see religion as a teaching of a well-learned person who was just like us a simple man or woman but alas people are confining themselves in the name of religion and fighting with each other and whatnot.
It seems I wrote unnecessary stuff, but could not find the edit/delete option, I really apologize for that.
I should put Hesse on my list, maybe my next Classic Club list.
I’m sorry about your grandfather. He sounds like one of my grandfathers in his talents and depth.
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