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#2: Michelangelo? I guess he's alright...

Hi! It's Tuesday again, which means I'm back with the second issue of Extremely Unannoying! This time around, I have something for you to read, something to watch, a place to visit, and a new essay of mine to check out. Let's dig in, shall we?

1) Fine books to start February with

I had the pleasure to read some excellent literature in the first few weeks of 2023, and I want to recommend the best of them to you:

  • If you love fantasy and Ocean's Eleven, give the Six of Crows duology a chance. It's fast-paced fun that will probably break your heart at times.
  • If you're into poetry (and read Hungarian), I highly recommend Virág Erdős's new collection: könnyei. It's largely about the time she spent as a Wolt courier during the pandemic, delivering food across Budapest. It's witty, sharp, and occasionally sad but never depressing.
  • And finally, if you enjoy reading about the love life of mildly infuriating Millennials, Normal People is a good, exceptionally well-written novel. If you attended university in the 2010s, as I did, it could be a slightly bittersweet, nostalgic trip down memory lane too.

2) The best damn piece of television (maybe ever)

I'm a scaredy cat, so I never finished playing the Last of Us. I got maybe ten hours into it, then started having mushroom zombie nightmares and decided that the jumpscare-laden horror survival game was not for me.

Fortunately, HBO has decided to make a show out of it, helmed by Craig Mazin, who was the showrunner of Chernobyl. Here was my chance to finally experience the story of Joel, the grizzled survivor, and Ellie, his foul-mouthed pseudo-daughter, trekking across the zombie-infested United States. So I started watching.

Then the emotional sledgehammer that is the third episode came down on me hard. Repeatedly.

It's a magnificent piece of writing, directing, and acting—as close to perfection as anything human-made can get, probably. Go watch it. And then block out the rest of your day because you will probably need it.

3) The Greek

I spent Saturday at The Museum of Fine Arts, visiting the El Greco exhibit. I felt a very 21st-century kinship to the 16th-century painter who struggled throughout his life to define himself and his work through the accepted and somewhat rigid definitions of the Renaissance. He would have made a great Millennial.

The exhibit does a great job of walking through the visitors of El Greco's artistic development while also contextualizing him by showing what his peers were up to at the same time and what the business of selling art looked like in 16th-century Europe.

The exhibit will be open until February 19, and I urge you to go if you have even just a passing interest in fine art.

Also, while you're there, definitely check out El Greco's annotated copy of The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects where he off-handedly mentions that Michelangelo is a great sculptor and a good man but a mediocre painter, who doesn't understand colors.

What a diss.

+1) How to be talented

As a generalist who loves to take up new skills, I think a lot about talent and practice. This essay is about those words and one of my favorite basketball players, Kobe Bryant. I hope you'll enjoy it.

And that's it; thanks for reading! See you back here in two weeks, and all the best to you until then! 👋