Please Read Empire State

(available for a mere £7.99!)

A few days ago I mentioned that I had bought a book for the Hell of buying it, that book being Adam Christopher’s Empire State. And while this isn’t a full-scale review, because I’m only a hundred pages into it, I can say that you need to go read it, because it’s rather good.

Although it’s not particularly well-written, and the setting relies more on characters’ interactions with it to define it than any radical ‘introductory’ sentences like ‘there was a window next to him’, the sheer breadth of themes and topics introduced in those first hundred pages is rather impressive; I hate trying to put things into genres, but so far Empire State is a parallel universe-superhero-detective-historical fiction-noir story, with some racial and sexual repression thrown in for good measure. All these relatively dark concepts are also balanced out by the lack of outright violence or excessive harm: there is a car chase, but its fatal consequences aren’t described as they happen, but after the event; a person is murdered and their body hidden, but this is only revealed to the reader a few chapters later once the body is found, so we don’t actually see any grizzly murdering occurring, which I’d be fine with normally but might make the whole thing a bit too dark given the rest of the subject matter.

But by far the best part of the book’s opening is that it’s actually fun to read, which is the main thing I was talking about in the post from a few days ago, that you can read things for fun rather than to write an essay on them in a few weeks. And today I saw the third Hobbit film, which I don’t intend to review, and I’ll be at the North London Derby in February for the first time in years, another thing I’m not going to write about.

I know that my point here – that stuff can be enjoyed without having to be formally written up later as I often find myself doing – is undermined a bit by writing about Empire State, but I’m now realising, after a year of an industrious but rather uneventful life, I don’t need to be documenting everything on here, or in a magazine, or anywhere else. I don’t like taking pictures of things I’m doing because I prefer to do things with my life than take pictures of other people doing them, but my means of documenting all the crap I do – written, as opposed to visual – generates the same problems, that sometimes I do things just to write about them later, or I start seeing events in my life as they would be written down in a blog post.

But now that I do way more things (spontaneous things too), I can’t really comment on everything: I went ice-skating yesterday, which I didn’t mention, I’ve not talked about my grades at all this term (all 2.1s) and I’ve not reviewed my first three months at university, all of which would have been sure-fire post ideas and themes a few months ago.

Equally, I keep up this thing, so I need things to write about; I think I’ve found a decent balance at the moment, where I do enough things without thinking about documenting them that they’re enjoyable, but enough things I intend to write up that I have things to write about every day. So I’ll keep doing things to write about, and doing things for the Hell of it, for the foreseeable future.

Just don’t expect pictures.

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