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The epilogue on the year

part 1 of 4

I'm trying something a little different this week. I'm going to drop 4 short emails on you this week with the media and the moments that will define this year for me - a quick recommendation and a brief story about how I experienced it. We'll get back into the regular "every other week" rhythm in January, but I think of this as a complement to the planning rhythms - this is the unplanned, serendipitous stuff that makes life worth the living.

Literary gut punch of the year

The first chapter of Kim Stanley Robinson's near future climate crisis speculative fiction The Ministry For The Future imagines an intense heat wave in India through the eyes of an aid worker who is just biding his time until he can finish his tour of duty. If you've read it, you're already nodding along. If you haven't, I'm not going to say much more - just know that when you finish the last sentence of the chapter, Robinson has laid out the stakes for what he'll grapple with over the next 500+ pages.

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This year was very much a story of two halves, and in the first half of the year I lived in Mauritius - which for the first 3 months of the year was a COVID-free tropical paradise that was also tourist free. This meant I spent a disproportionate amount of time hanging out at 5 star resorts, because they were offering incredible local deals. It was in the open air bar of one such resort where I read that first gut punch chapter. Even then I remember thinking it was a strange juxtaposition to be drinking a fancy cocktail in an extravagant setting while reading about such devastation. What was meant to be a quick 30 minutes to read a chapter or two turned into a solid 2 hours before I finally came up for air.