Reading conditions, insomnia and me

This past weekend, I spent an afternoon in a car, midway through a family trip from the eastern US to the Midwest, reading through and making what are probably my last edits to Therapist book 3. And I think my work might be best suited to moments when you’re a captive audience, like car trips — assuming you don’t get motion sickness, of course. (I’m very lucky; I wouldn’t have survived childhood without reading in cars. I remember reading one sentence at a time as we passed under lights on the highway.)

Similarly?, I started reading Wyngraf issue 3 — a literary magazine focused on “cozy fantasy”, and one I highly recommend — in the middle of the night, on vacation, kept awake by acid reflux. Which are precisely the conditions under which I started reading issue 2 last year. There’s at least some rhyme and reason to that; short stories are nice when you aren’t sure how long you want to keep reading, and when you’re cursing your own body’s mundane failures, something cute and soothing hits the spot.

The latter is also why I read large stretches of the Dreamhealers series in my first few rounds of a style of insomnia that I can look forward to “enjoying” for the next ten years or so. (Maybe. It’s complicated.) Now I’ve settled into slowly reading through a nonfiction book which I only pull up under those conditions.

So sometimes it’s not just a matter of finding a book that matches your taste; it’s a matter of finding a book that compliments your situation. Not necessarily matches it, but compliments it.

Or maybe it’s just how my broken brain works: I remember where I read some particular books more than the details of the story. Over lunch, in a particular room at my day job: that’s I am Livia or The Thief or The Goblin Emperor. One park bench is Winter Tide, another is Glitter Up the Dark, a picnic table in the same park is Cryoburn. I also remember reading a lot of Song of Achilles while awake in the middle of the night due to stomach problems. At home that time.

Who knows. Moving on.

Okay, so out of the four series I thought I’d watch this season:

  • Too Cute Crisis continues its one joke/bit, and I truly don’t know how long I’m going to put up with it. We’ve made it through three episodes so far. Somehow.
  • I put Yuri is My Job! on the “meh” shelf after three episodes because I can’t bring myself to care about any of the characters. They don’t seem to want to do anything interesting with the lead’s apparent sociopathy / need for validation / ???, or anything else, really. It’s not a bad show overall; maybe it’s just a slower burn than I can take right now.
  • I haven’t started Witch from Mercury part 2 yet for a completely silly reason: it fits into my “treadmill show” slot (fast-paced / engaging), and right now I’m still working on The Executioner and Her Way of Life. Which is, while we’re on the topic of squandered premises (see also YIMJ), less of an isekai subversion than it looks, and more of a dull yuri slow-burn. Sorry. I’m still watching, but I do not care about Highschooler-chan. I just don’t. So far I’m in it for the flickers of worldbuilding and for Princess Just Swaggered In from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure What Are You Going to Do About It, Punk. I mean, I recently watched an episode with a sword vs. razor wire fight on top of a speeding train. How is this show boring me? It’s an accomplishment.
  • Finally, Skip and Loafer, light of my Tuesday evenings, have watched three episodes of A+ adorableness so far. Everything about this show is good?? I’m incoherent?? I don’t know why I seem hellbent on finding shows set in high school that don’t irritate me; as a terminally awkward asshole at the peak of my depression at the time, I hated high school in real life. Maybe that’s why, actually. That, and playing chicken with romantic comedies: so many of them uphold and glorify gender essentialist nonsense that I dislike, so when I find one that doesn’t, I grab onto it like a magnet. Even being kinda-pretty-good will get me to watch an entire show (hello, Toradora). But Skip and Loafer seems to have … so far… none of that? and a great supporting cast! and some layered character work! and some fun comedy bits! and careful attention to detail! It’s good, is all. Also, the opening is great.

(Am I obviously kind of a sucker for that workaholic vs. golden retriever dynamic? Maybe. Kinda. I was wary of [okay his name isn’t Loafer, it’s Sousuke] being a manic pixie dream boy, but it seems like they’re building in more layers slowly. I believe it’s not going down that path, while acknowledging that it could.)

tldr, everyone on the internet is probably already yelling it, but Skip and Loafer is a Good Show, Y’all