March 2020 | Books & Links

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Sanshiro – Natsume Soseki

I enjoyed the first couple of chapters but then found the pace quiet slow and almost gave up reading this one. I’m glad I persevered, as it picks up after the halfway point and is a very gentle, atmospheric read. It’s a simple coming of age story following a semester in the life of a quiet, shy young man called Sanshiro as he moves to Tokyo from the countryside to start university. The writing is lovely, though I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was more familiar with the culture and history of the era in which it was set.

March has been a strange month, and I have been too distracted by current events to read as much as I usually do. Next month I plan to keep my phone switched off in the mornings and evenings to stop me binge-reading articles and opinion pieces about the coronavirus as it’s not going away any time soon, and I don’t want to lose these six, nine, who knows how many months, staring at my phone in a state of permanent panic. If I can’t work, and I can’t go outside more than once a day, I want to put my time to good use elsewhere.

Articles & Links

I don’t want to say that the people who think Old War Britain would be great are many of the same people who voted for Brexit, but only because I’m not YouGov, and me saying so would be a hunch not backed by data. But if you did the polling, you’d find out that I’m right. The Venn diagram of people who currently have a garage full of toilet roll, those who think national service would “sort the youth out, because they have too many iPads” and those who would ideally quite like a wall built between us and France, is basically a Covid-19 virus-particle shaped circle.

Battle for the Bog Roll

The earth fights back | Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Two articles about factory farming, animal welfare, and the spread of new zoonotic diseases that I found pretty interesting are here in the Guardian and here in the New Yorker. I’ve been vegan for animal welfare reasons for fifteen years but have long accepted that many people don’t share my views and that a major shift for most people won’t happen until people can see what’s in it for them as humans. These two articles offer a pretty damning critique of factory farming and show how poor animal welfare standards – globally – can effect humans too.