Booknotes: March 2024

In which I briefly comment on the books I read each month, so a few years from now when I’m trying to remember one I think I read, I’ll be able to find it here. I’m also not going to limit this just to books because I’m a media omnivore. Maybe you’ll find something interesting, too?

Let’s find out!

Book Notes

Witch Hat Atelier, Volume 7 by Kamome Shirahama

  • (4.0; print) Another engaging volume, still one of my favorite manga series with the most beautiful art.

{STAR} Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy by Elly Blue

  • (4.0; print) Informative and insightful, peppered with personal anecdotes, Blue does a great job making the case for bikes, while also acknowledging the challenges bike advocacy has to deal with re: representation and equity. (I’m currently staring into a bike-shaped rabbit hole, opened by the War on Cars podcast, and being expanded by additional recommendations from Blue.)

What the Font?! – A Manga Guide to Western Typeface by Kuniichi Ashiya

  • (3.0; print) A breezy, informative, and occasionally weird (Gotham likes guns?!?) primer on fonts, perfect for teens and non-designers. I actually learned a few things I probably should know from my many years in publishing, the most important being that I probably picked a bad combination of fonts for the day job’s branding!

{STAR} A Journal of My Father by Jir? Taniguchi

  • (4.0; print) Literary fiction isn’t usually my thing, but Taniguchi delivers an emotional family tale of reflection and regret without any melodrama, combined with clean, beautiful artwork that subtly communicates the complicated feelings throughout. It made me think about the glimpses I’ve had into who my parents were in their early years, and how little I’ll ever know about who they were as individuals beyond my relationships with them.

Media Notes

Football Manager 24 (PC)

  • This might be the most intense and unsatisfying save I’ve ever played, and the first time I couldn’t find my footing in Spain as I’ve stumbled in Segunda with two separate teams: Cordoba and Granada. I’m currently guiding Pachuca to “best of the rest” levels in Liga MX, but now that Diablo IV is on Game Pass, this save may go dormant and I’ll get some more reading done this month.

Halo (Paramount+)

  • I was never a big Halo fan and don’t know much about the lore, so I don’t have the same issues with the adaptation that hardcore game fans do. That said, it was… not great, not terrible. It had a lot of potential, but often felt like the showrunners weren’t fully confident in their Silver Timeline, frequently rushing through key events, relying on fans’ knowledge of the lore they revised to fill in some blanks — so it’s ultimately unsatisfying for everyone. Pablo Schreiber does a good job of humanizing Master Chief, Kate Kennedy is great as a fellow Spartan, and most of the cast is up for it — but the plotting, random side quests, and script frequently leave them hanging. If it gets a third season, I’ll probably watch it, though.

Dune: Part Two (Theatrical)

  • I didn’t love Dune: Part One, mostly because I never read the books and didn’t really care about any of the characters, which limited the impact of everything happening on the screen because Villeneuve apparently had too much ground to cover and relied on his great cast instead. The cast wasn’t the problem, but the plot and pacing just didn’t fully engage me, and I forgot most of it a day or two after seeing it. The additional cast and trailers for the sequel were intriguing, though, and my son was convinced I’d like it more after his first viewing, so I found myself in a theater again for the first time since Mission Impossible last summer — and it was unexpectedly pretty amazing! I’m tempted to rewatch the first one now, mainly because I’d like to watch Part Two again with a closer eye and decide where they rank among my all-time sci-fi favorites…
@freddiesroommate Did i watch dune correctly? #dune #filmtok #movietok #thimotheechalamet #zendaya ? original sound – Justin

It’s The Bageler! (Blog)

  • I came across this blog randomly a while back, I think after he left a comment on one of my posts, and it’s become one of my favorite random reads ever since, first through Jetpack and now through Feedly (and email), the closest thing I have to a blogroll these days. The Bageler (I think? He doesn’t have an About page.) reminds me of the golden days of blogging, when randos (like me!) posted about whatever was on their mind, and the best of them had distinct voices you looked forward to seeing in your feed. (RIP, Google Reader.) His blog is an entertaining mix of insightful and humorous commentary on whatever he’s into at the moment, and we’ve aligned on enough things that he’s become a reliable source for books, games, and other media I might be interested in (or, occasionally, validating my lack of interest in something).

Your Notes?

If you’ve read (watched or played) any of these, let me know what you thought. And if you have related recommendations you think I’d like, drop ’em in the comments like we used to do in the good old days! Some of you prefer email, which is cool, too. You do you!

PS: Notes on Notes

Where possible, I’m linking to as the least offensive online shopping option for books, although I’ve been disappointed to find some books I’ve read don’t have a listing there, as if the book I held in my hand didn’t exist. They’re affiliate links, but feel free to switch to your preferred local bookshop if you have one and decide to buy anything. Where Bookshop doesn’t have a listing, I’ll link to the publisher’s page, which is often the best place to purchase your books anyway, although it may be a little more expensive and less convenient. If you’re lucky, some of them may also be available at your local library, in print or digital format!

Despite my day job, I still mostly read in print, but I’m noting the format along with my rating for context. If the format has any impact on my rating, I’ll mention that, but it rarely will since I try to avoid reading ebooks of anything that has a visual element.

2 thoughts on “Booknotes: March 2024

    One is pleased to be of service and honored to be of note!

    Also, A Journal of My Father did wreck me for the predictable Cat’s In The Cradle reasons I expected, but oddly my big takeaway from it was the realization that I literally wasn’t taught the postwar American occupation of Japan even HAPPENED, much less the depth and duration of its ramifications for the country, that shit is BONKERS

    If you enjoyed What The Font?! (and given your professional experience with the topic), allow me to recommend Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction, by Dave Addey, it is a catalog fulla candy!

    1. Yeah, Journal’s incidental history lesson was a nice bonus. One of those, “I knew about this but didn’t really KNOW about this.” moments.

      That Addey book sounds interesting; I’ll look for it. A friend recommended Marketing: Manga for Success, which looks like it’ll be a fun read, too. Gonna have to figure out how to claim MBA status via comics!

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