The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, Translated by Jennifer Croft (Books 2022, 29)

I am unreasonably happy about having finished this before the end of the year. I started reading it at the start of the year. In fact, possibly before the start of the year, since it was a Christmas present.

Of course, I’ve read 28 other books while intermittently dipping into this behemoth, something I alluded to once or twice.

It’s a historical novel set in the middle and end of the 18th century, telling the story of Jacob Frank, a Polish Jew who led a cult, or alternative religious community if you prefer. He converted to Islam, then to Catholicism, taking his followers with him on the second of those changes. But they remained ‘true believers’, treating Frank as the true Messiah.

It took me so long to read partly because it’s so long, and certainly not because it was uninteresting. In fact it’s surprisingly compelling, considering the subject matter. But it is complex. Not least because of all the Polish place names and names of people. The latter is compounded when they get baptised into the Catholic church. They take on new names, so now most characters have two sets of names.

I got a surprise when I first picked up the book to find that it’s numbered backwards. Chapter 1 of Book 1 starts on page 892. The story ends on page 27. (There are some notes and blank pages after that.) At first I thought I might have to read it ‘backwards’, but no: the story proceeds in the direction I’m used to. It’s just the numbering.

I wondered if this was a reference to the direction of Hebrew writing, and Tokarczuk’s note at the end confirms that it is,

as well as a reminder that every order, every system, is simply a matter of what you’ve got used to.

Which is fair enough. I quite liked knowing how many pages I still had to go, with having to subtract. Especially as I got near the end.

Coincidentally, in the last couple of weeks I read this in ‘Shift Happens’, a newsletter about a book about keyboards:

(in Poland and parts of Europe, books have their tables of contents at the end, and so will mine).

Which isn’t the case here, but I thought it was an interesting slightly-connected idea.

It’s a huge work, in more ways than one, and also an incredible example of the translator’s art.

This is disappointing: Apple have removed the delightful page-turn animation from the Books app: Apple’s taken the joy out of its Books app with iOS 16 - The Verge.

Bring it back! Joy! Whimsy!

The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 28)

And so I circle back and reread the book I read just over a month ago.

This has been a most enjoyable experience, reading through the whole series. Rereading this one so soon was an excellent opportunity to see if I could spot any clues that I missed the first time (certainly one or two).

The apparent logical jumps the characters make at the climax made more sense this time, so that was good.

Excellent stuff. I look forward to the next one.

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 27)

For some reason this is the one whose title never sticks in my mind. When I try to think of the books in the series I always seem to have a hard time bringing this one to mind.

Which is by no means because of the story, which is excellent. Strike and Robin take on a cold case, 40 years old. When I wrote about this before I said I thought there was too much time spent on the other cases. That didn’t seem so this time.

Also back then, I was recovering from being sick. This time I was just starting to be. And indeed, I was reading a section where Strike gets flu and tries desperately to convince himself that he can’t be getting it; to no avail, of course. I was reading that and thinking, ‘Yes, I’m definitely getting it.’ And not flu.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 26)

The rereading continues. It’s actually now a couple of weeks since I read this, this time. what with forgetting, and then coming down with Covid, and what have you.

Politics is the background for this one, with Robin going undercover at the House of Commons to try to find out who’s blackmailing a government minister — or rather, why? The blackmailers are know, but nobody outside of the minister’s family knows what it is they have on him.

All good stuff, as ever. I had totally forgotten who was behind it all (where ‘it’ is the murder that follows the blackmail), which just goes to show you can easily enjoy a whodunit a second time.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 25)

This is, by far, the most gruesome book in the Strike series. The crimes, the killings are, that is to say.

It also gives Robin the most action she’s had, as well as the most danger.

And I still, since reading it seven years ago, haven’t investigated Blue Öyster Cult. Oh well.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 24)

A satire of literary London wrapped in a murder mystery. Robin gets more to do than in the first one.

Which comment makes it mildly amusing to me that I wrote seven years ago that there isn’t enough of her.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 23)

So we move into a(nother) period of rereading. Reading the new Strike novel immediately made me want to go back to the start. Mainly, I think, because I wanted to stay with these characters. As I type I’ve just finished the second in the series.

The characters, though, are very different back here. Well, Strike not so much. Robin is new-minted, still unformed, and doesn’t get nearly as much pagetime as she deservedly does in later books.

Good stuff, this tale of a famous model who dies in a fall from a balcony. The police have written it off as suicide, but Strike, when asked to investigate, has other ideas.

Keeping the whodunit alive, I had completely forgotten who actually was the guilty party. Or rather, I remembered it as being someone other than it was. So I was surprised by it, which you don’t really expect on a rereading.

The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 22)

This may be the best so far of the Strike books. My favourite so far, anyway.

Despite being set in 2015 (time flows differently in Galbraith world) it’s very much of now. People being bullied online, right-wing terrorist organisations. Crossrail still being built. Oh wait, they finished that. If the novels ever catch up with reality, Cormoran and Robin won’t have to pick their way past roadworks around Denmark Street.

And The Tottenham pub won’t be there any more. What will Strike do then? Well, OK, he’ll just complain about it being renamed The Flying Horse, I imagine. I think I was in The Tottenham once, years and years ago, and didn’t think too much of it. But who knows.

Anyway, the book! Yes, it is excellent. I loved it. The only thing I didn’t like was the sheer physical size. It’s over 1000 pages, and when it’s not breaking your wrists, it feels like it’s breaking its own spine.

The titular Ink-Black Heart (it should, of course, be hyphenated, as an adjectival phrase) is a cartoon series, initially on YouTube, moved to Netflix. Having read the description, I really want to see it.

It spawns a fan-created game, and therein lies the problem. Fans, you know? They can be troublesome types. Even dangerous.

Parts of the book are presented as in-game chat threads, with up to three streams running in parallel down the pages. It could get very confusing. It doesn’t, it’s fine.


Dead Air by Iain Banks (Books 2022, 20)

Banksie’s most political book, I think it’s fair to say. In the sense that the real-world politics and opinions of the author and the first-person narrator most closely align, and that it was written at about the time it is set and is often about the time it was written, as well.

It starts on 9/11, though that tragic event is only background. A London-based Scottish radio DJ and commentator gets up to mischief and into trouble.

It stands up well twenty years on.

The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick (Books 2022, 18)

On my MA course, in the Creative Nonfiction module, we were assigned the first chapter of this as one of our readings. It intrigued me enough that I ordered a copy.

Pages of Hackney had to order it from the US, and it took a long time to arrive. The module (and possibly the course, though I don’t actually think so) had finished by the time it arrived.

It took me even longer to finish reading it, despite it being a very slim volume.

It’s subtitled ‘The Art of Personal Memoir’. She starts one section by saying:

Thirty years ago people who thought they had a story to tell sat down to write a novel. Today they sit down to write a memoir.

And it was published in 2001, so she was seeing a change since the seventies. That may be even more true now, as creative nonfiction, memoir, the confessional story: that’s a huge publishing category.

But I’m not sure to what extent this book will help people who want to sit down and write one.

Gornick likes to teach by example. I would estimate that between 40 and 50% of the words in this book are other people’s. All properly cited and credited, of course, and the relevant permissions listed at the back. But she uses huge long quotes.

Nothing inherently wrong with that, of course. How else do we first learn to write at all, other than by the examples of things we read? But I felt she spent too much time quoting the examples, and not enough explaining why she chose those. I don’t know, maybe use smaller examples, or break the big quotes up with interjections on technique.

Early in the book she talks about the nonfiction writer:

Here the the writer must identify openly with those very same defenses [sic] and embarrassments that the novelist or the poet is once removed from. It’s like lying down on the couch in public … Think about how many years on the couch it takes to speak about oneself

The casual synecdoche of ‘couch’ to mean ‘therapy’ or ‘analysis’ amused me. So commonplace must analysis be in her circles, that she assumes everyone knows what ‘lying down on the couch’ is like. Whereas most of us, I would guess, only know about it from seeing it in films.

Interzone Issue 292/293 Edited by Andy Cox (Books 2022, 17)

Not strictly a book, but a double issue of a short-story magazine seems substantial enough to treat as one.

I don’t know when the last issue came out, but I had actually forgotten that I still had a subscription. It was good to get this, not least because it’s going to be the last to be edited by Andy Cox and published by TTA Press — Interzone 2.0, we might call it, after the David Pringle years.

From the next issue the editor will be Gareth Jelley, and the publisher MYY Press. The surprising thing about that is that the press is based in Wrocław, in Poland. Which is odd because then, is it a British SF magazine anymore?

That probably doesn’t matter, because of course it’s an international genre, and it’s not like they ever only published British writers. But still, quite a dramatic shift. It’ll be intersting to see how the magazine changes.

I enjoyed this a lot. There was perhaps too much Alexander Glass1 — three stories and an interview — but I guess sometimes you have a special focus for an issue (or two). And they’re all good.

Several of the stories suffer from something I’ve complained about before, which is to say, they don’t have endings. Or, put another way, the authors chose to end them at a point that I find unsatisfying; or I don’t understand why they chose to end there.

But in this case, I don’t think any of the ending-choices let the stories down too. much.

  1. Who weirdly doesn’t seem to have a website. Or at least, I can’t find it, and it’s not linked from his Twitter, which is what I’ve linked to here. ↩︎

Inverted World by Christopher Priest (Books 2022, 9)

With its fairly famous opening line — ‘I had reached the age of six hundred and fifty miles.’ — I kind of thought I had read this before, long ago, maybe as a teenager. But no. It turned out definitely not.

A young man learns his place in a city — Earth City, as they call it — which is moving. Rails are placed before it and lifted up behind it so they can be laid in front again. The city is winched along on the rails by fits and starts. Why? Why is it in motion, and why do the inhabitants work desperately to keep it so? And why is the fact kept hidden from city dwellers who are not ‘guildsmen’?

The answers, or some of them, are within. Though there is no answer to why ‘guildsmen’ is the correct word. Women are second-class citizens in the city. And worse outside it, on the whole.

The people of the city are human, they speak English mostly. They know their ancestors were from Earth planet, as they refer to it. The people in the villages they pass also seem to be human, and they mostly speak Spanish. The sun appears not as a sphere, but as a kind of disk with spikes top and bottom. What can be going on? The title suggests some kind of inversion, but what is it?

Ultimately the mystery isn’t solved in a very interesting way, and the ending is sad, but maybe happy, but maybe sad.

Priest has written much better books, but it bears reading.

Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan (Books 2022, 7)

This came to me by way of The Guardian’s summer reading recommendations last year. I ended up reading it in the tail end of winter, or spring, but that doesn’t matter. In his review, M John Harrison describes it as ‘brilliantly strange’, and that’s about right.

It’s a tale told across times, and tied to place. That place is number 10 Luckenbooth Close, in Edinburgh. Just off The Royal Mile, in fact, which is a place I lived as a student. I was in an alley called James Court, though, not the fictional Luckenbooth Close.

The close may be fictional, but the idea is not: luckenbooths were a kind of market stall in the High Street (part of The Royal Mile). Presumably that’s where Fagan got the street name from.

Though I discover today that a luckenbooth is also a piece of jewellery: a kind of heart-shaped brooch , named after the market stalls in turn.

The book, though, is about none of those things. Instead it’s about a series of people who live in the titular tenement block across the centuries. We start with the Devil’s daughter, who — well, I won’t go into spoilery details. William Burroughs is one of the characters, strangely. Apparently he did visit Edinburgh.

It is an astonishing work, involving the saving of ghosts, murders, the Millennium celebrations, homelessness, and much more. Highly recommended.

Planetfall by Emma Newman (Books 2021, 27)

This is a novel about a human colony on an unnamed planet. There are, as we soon learn from the first-person narrator, Renata, lies and mysteries at the heart of the colony. Not least of those is how and why the humans came to live on this particular planet, in this particular place.

The place is at the foot of a mountain-like, biological, probably engineered structure they call the ‘City of God’. Twenty years ago — or more: the colony has existed for twenty years, but it’s not clear how long the journey through space took — a small group of humans managed to get there in a spaceship. They were led by ‘The Pathfinder’, a woman who, we discover through flashbacks, knew what planet to head for because of a revelation she had had after ingesting the seed of a mysterious plant.

The intrigue of the novel is about how that backstory and the rest is filled in, how the colony keeps going, and what happens in the ‘now’ of the story, when a mysterious human arrives.

How they designed and built a ship capable of getting there is not explained, and how far away from Earth it is is never stated. But I don’t think Newman really understands the scales applicable to astronomical distances. On several occasions characters refer to having travelled (or in flashback, being about to travel) ‘millions of miles’ to get to the new planet.

Our sun is 93 million miles from the Earth. If we’re talking about distances that are sensibly expressed in terms of millions of miles, then we’re talking about places inside our own solar system. And this is definitely not that.

Just to check, I asked Siri how far in miles it is to Alpha Centauri. It looked up Wolfram Alpha and told me, ‘About 25.8 trillion miles.’ That’s the closest star system to our own. It’s not wrong to call that ‘millions of miles’, but it’s not exactly accurate. A trillion, after all, is a million million. And that’s just the closest system.

It doesn’t affect the story, but it’s a weird thing for an SF writer to have missed, for no beta reader to have picked up, for an editor working at an SF publisher not to have caught.

Other than that, she does a great job of telling a first-person narrative from the point of view of someone who has some mental issues. All narrators are unreliable, and perhaps this one more so than usual. So we wonder how much we can rely on her telling of what happens, especially at the end.

There’s a religious background to this: the Pathfinder believed — and convinced those who came with her — that they would find God in the mysterious ‘city’. Did they? Maybe, maybe not.

It’s part of a four-book series, which apparently can be read in any order. The next one (in terms of when they were written) looks like it takes place back on Earth, so we may learn nothing more about what happened in the colony, which was cut off from home.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (Books 2021, 26)

The title comes from ‘henchman’ — or -woman. We are in a world where superheroes exist, and thereby, also super villains. Anna Tromedlov works as a ‘hench’ — or tries to. As the novel starts she’s using a temp agency, trying to pick up work.

At first it seems to be a comedy, but then she’s at a press conference given by the villain she’s working for, when the heroes arrive. Things get a lot darker.

Are superheroes, with their disregard for public safety, the real danger in a world like this? This novel takes a good look at that question, with accompanying adventure, threat, and romance.

It’s good. Cory Doctorow recommended it.

If she didn’t start out planning to call herself ‘The Palindrome’, would you ever think to read her surname backwards?

Comet Weather by Liz Williams (Books 2021, 25)

An enjoyable present-day story of magic in Somerset and London. Mostly the country, with Glastonbury and Avebury and such places featuring in passing.

Four adult sisters are making their different ways in the world, but their mother disappeared a year ago. Ghosts and the spirits of stars sometimes wander the family home, where one of the sisters still lives, and the others come and go. A comet is due in the sky soon, and magic threats appear to be building.

Magic realism, you could call it, in the sense that it’s set in the real worlds and magic is just there, for this family and a few other people at least. Everyday problems of relationships and such are part of it. The boyfriend of one of the sisters is a ghost.

I enjoyed it, and will probably read the sequel, which is out. My main problem with it was that the four sisters' voices weren’t distinctive enough. The story is told from their multiple viewpoints. This is helpful to me, because it’s something I’m struggling with myself. Indeed, my supervisor suggested that maybe I shouldn’t have so many viewpoints.

Three. I have three. Hands up who thinks that’s too many?

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones (Books 2021, 24)

I read this because I happened on an article about it on ‘Diana Wynne Jones’ The Time of the Ghost Breaks All the Rules of How To Write a Book’, by Emily Tesh. Let’s ignore the incorrect possessive apostrophe in the title1; it was the assertion about it breaking all the rules that drew me, made me want to read the article. A few paragraphs in I realised that I wanted to read the book, and the article was heading deep into spoiler territory. So I stopped reading it and downloaded the book. Read it as soon as I finished the last one.

It’s the story of four neglected sisters, whose parents run a boys' boarding school and have no time for anything else, including their daughters; and of a ghost that is haunting them, and who might be one of them. And of an ancient darkness that the sisters accidentally invoked.

But the real darkness is the neglect.

Highly recommended, and the article I linked above is very good and insightful (but deeply spoilerific) too.

  1. Jones is not plural, so it should be Jones’s. ↩︎

The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren (Books 2021, 23)

Dan Moren writes about Apple stuff over at Six Colours, and at Macworld and so on, but he’s also an SF writer. This is his first novel, and there are already a couple of sequels. The series is described as ‘The Galactic Cold War,’ and that’s a pretty good description.

There are several planets, linked by wormholes. From what I can tell, they’re all originally Earth colonies, but there is at least one empire and one commonwealth, and Earth itself has been conquered by the empire. No aliens, at least so far.

It’s pretty good, in an ‘SF meets cold-war thriller’ kind of way. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but a set of characters I wouldn’t mind spending more time with, and an intersting situation.

What struck me, as a Scot, was the ‘Caledonian’ part. Moren is American, but he spent some time in Scotland. Caledonia is the name of one of the colony planets – predictably, the one where most of the action happens. Part of its capital city is called Leith. Just down the coast there’s Berwick.1 Various other towns or areas have names drawn from Scotland. It has moons called Skye and Aran. A group of terrorists or freedom fighters are called the Black Watch – though slightly oddly their leader is called De Valera.

Worth a read.

  1. Berwick is not actually in Scotland, though it has been at various times in history. North Berwick is in Scotland. ↩︎

Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson (Books 2021, 22)

Talk about not remembering books: I’ve got to ask myself whether I ever did read this one. I remembered one thing from it, but it’s not how I remembered it. When people jack in to the matrix they use headsets – ‘trodes’ – with electrodes that connect to their temples.

There is a transition between the real world and cyberspace when they connect, and I had this memory of one cowboy (people who enter the matrix or cyberspace are called ‘cowboys’ or ‘jockeys’) who had a set of trodes that made the transition feel like the world was falling apart. I’ve been half waiting for that bit through these three books. Here’s a quote:


‘Yes,’ she said, and Tick’s room was gone, its walls a flutter of cards, tumbling and receding, against the bright grid, the towering forms of data.

‘Nice transition, that,’ she heard him say. ‘Built into the trodes, that is. But of drama…’

So that must be the bit I remembered, but if you had asked me I’d have said I thought it came a book or two earlier, and was mentioned more than once.

But what of the book itself? It keeps up the standard, maybe raises it slightly. We have four interconnected stories, four viewpoint characters, told in alternating chapters. One of the stories – that of Kumiko, who is experiencing the flutter of cards, above – isn’t really relevant, in the sense that it doesn’t drive the plot at all. Things that happen around her do affect the main plot, but she’s not really aware of them.

What surprised me about this and the three books overall, is how much they really are a trilogy. I had the impression that they were considered only to be very loosely connected at best; essentially three stories set in the same milieu. But in fact not only do characters recur, everything here ties back to the events of Neuromancer, which happened some fourteen years before.

All very worth reading if you haven’t already.

Count Zero by William Gibson (Books 2021, 21)

The only thing I remembered about this was its opening line, which is nowhere near as memorable as that of its predecessor.

It’s also not as good as Neuromancer, by a long shot. Difficult second album syndrome, I’d imagine. It came out a year or two later. It’s not actively bad, don’t get me wrong. But it just doesn’t have the spark, it never quite catches fire, you know?

Still, plenty of gritty Sprawl-drama, and the obligatory trip to a space station.

Star Ratings

Giving star ratings to things I’ve watched, read, etc, is not something I ever did until I started using Letterboxd. It looks like I started logging films in September 2019 (the August ones were a bulk mental dump when I first set up my account). I didn’t start them automatically posting here until the November, and I’m sure I’ve missed one or two along the way.

My initial thought was just to log the films that I watched, as an aide memoire as much as anything. But Letterboxd encourages you to give the films star ratings. I’ve been doing that, but all the time I wonder what exactly I mean by them.

Which sounds like a strange thing to say. I made the choices, after all: I set the rating. Surely I knew what I meant when I did it?

And that’s true enough on each occasion. I know what I mean when I give the rating. But that’s the thing: it’s what I meant at that time. All it means is what I thought of the the film at the time I added the entry to Letterboxd. I’m not trying to make a statement about what is good in absolute terms. I’m just saying something about what I thought about the film at that time.

I like to think that I judge each film on its own merits. At the very least, I try to judge it in terms of what it’s trying to achieve. A five-star drama and a five-star comedy are very different things. It won’t be very meaningful to compare the ratings I’ve given to different films and see if there’s a hierarchy of my preferences. Though it is fair to say that any film with five stars is one of my favourites.

While Letterboxd encourages star ratings, it pleases me that you don’t have to give one. Unlike, say in some online surveys, where zero is not an option. I don’t know, though, whether a Letterboxd ‘no stars’ should count as ‘zero stars,’ or just the choice not to rate it. I intended the latter with Can’t Get You Out of my Head, as I made clear in the post.

It seems that I rarely watch anything less than three-star, though. Either I’m very discerning, or I only watch things I know I’m going to like.

Neuromancer by William Gibson (Books 2021, 20)

I’m on a bit of a reread thing at the moment, partly because I moved some books around recently, which revealed some older ones.

This is another one that stands up really well. It has some amusing out-of-time moments, like ‘three megabytes of hot RAM’: imagine having that much computer memory! And the well-known geostationary satellite over Manhattan impossibility.1 But we don’t let those things bother us.

What’s interesting is just how much it influenced The Matrix. It was always fairly obvious that the Wachowskis named their virtual world after Gibson’s cyberspace, though Doctor Who got there first, and possibly others did too. But there’s a scene in Neuromancer where Case sees drifting lines of code overlaid on the reality that he’s perceiving. Very much seems the inspiration for Neo seeing the Matrix.

Anyway, it’s still a fine story, with some striking prose.

  1. You can only have a geostationary satellite over the equator, in case you don’t know. ↩︎

Lanark: A Life in 4 Books by Alasdair Gray (Books 2021, 19)

I read this a long time ago, and the strange thing now is that everything I remembered of it happens in the first two books: that is, in Book 3 and Book 1. As I’m sure you know, the internal books are ordered 3, 1, 2, 4.

Which sort of suggests that I didn’t finish it all those years ago, but I’m sure that isn’t the case. There were odd moments of the slightest sense of the familiar in the other books, so I guess it’s just vagaries.

Anyway, it was and remains a monumental work. It struck me as odd that the blurb describes it as ‘a modern vision of hell.’ I had never thought of it in those terms. True, Lanark’s situation is dark, difficult, and confusing, and he can be seen as Thaw after death, if Thaw dies at the end of Book 2, which seems likely. But hell? That seems extreme. Lanark has difficulties, but he’s not in a state of eternal torment.

He is, however, quite a frustrating character. He is thrown into a situation – several situations – where he doesn’t understand what is going on, or how the world works; and for the most part he doesn’t ask even the most obvious questions, or make any attempt to gain understanding. So he’s not so much protagonist as a character being pushed around by circumstance. Or by his author, whom we meet in the fourth-wall-destroying epilogue towards the end of the book.

Much more obviously, Lanark’s experiences in Unthank and beyond are a satire of late-stage capitalism. Which you could say is a form of hell, so maybe that’s what the blurb writer was getting at.

An American Story by Christopher Priest (Books 2021, 18)

It was strangely timely that I decided to start reading this a few days before the 9/11 anniversary, since it concerns a man’s obsession with what happened on 9/11. The narrator is a journalist who lost his partner in the attacks. Except her name doesn’t appear on any passenger manifest, and there are multiple mysteries around the whole event.

As there are in real life. But this story takes place in a slightly altered reality. Scotland already has its independence, and England – or at least the little we see of London – has become increasingly dystopian, plagued by militarised police and surveillance.

The action switches back and forth in location between the Isle of Bute (where Priest also lives) and various parts of the USA (and sometimes those places are oddly coterminous). And also jumps around in time, from the present of the story – roughly 2017-8, when it was written and published – to before and during the 11th of September 2001, to various points between the two. It even dips a few years into the future.

It touches on ideas and discussions that are considered the domain of conspiracy theories, but largely avoids going down those rabbit holes. As one review I read said, ‘Conspiracy theories purport answers, often paranoid and outlandish; An American Story is about questions.’

It’s well worth a read, though there a couple of threads that he starts and leaves hanging, that I think would have been interesting to follow.

I usually forget to link to the books I write about. Here we are.