In Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa wakes up only to realize he is now living as a giant insect, his life immediately overturned without warning or foreboding. I guess these two pieces have more in common than I thought then, since my life—though not as ridiculous as that of Samsa’s—was also thwarted into an unpredictable trajectory this year…

In an accident, Beth Harmon loses her mother and is sent to an orphanage where she learns chess under the tutelage of Mr. Shaibel, the janitor. Upon ingesting sedatives before bed, hallucinations take shape of chess pieces on the ceiling of her dormitory, allowing her to mentally recreate games. Just like that, under the dusty ceiling of a dimly moonlit room, a chess prodigy was born—a riveting tale of a genius who uses chess to keep her sanity in check.

Police brutality and abuse of authoritative power is a tale we are all too familiar with, given the happenings of this year. We have previously discussed how police brutality is a rudimentary problem in the system of the United States, but today, let us pan our attention over to the African country that sits on the Gulf of Guinea.

Just as your eyes were about to close completely, you see a permanent shine of light. There it stood in the middle of the pitch black sea, and you fixate upon it—the golden arches. You scramble to sit up straight, eager for a clearer glimpse for fear that your eyes had tricked you, but there they were—unmoving, shining warmly in the dead of winter, welcoming you home.