She switches to the backstroke after ten laps. Ten more and she rolls over again; breaststroke. She has waterproof headphones and an audiobook going.
"I'm - really glad you got out of there."
"Let's talk about happier things. What d'you do between the awesome blog and swimming?"
"I watch my sister when my parents are busy, I go to arcball games and take notes. I read a lot."
"What do you like to read?"
"Mix of old fiction - only Anitami or hand-translated, the thing I like about old fiction doesn't survive machine translation reliably - and sorta popular-level nonfiction, I don't drill deep into most topics to the point where I can go around nibbling on legit research papers but I read the sort of thing nonspecialist greens would read. Like, uh, I liked Mountains, Ilata Imentami, it's cultural geography."
"That's cool! What is it you like about old fiction?"
"The stuff that's still read is usually still read because it's good along multiple axes - cultural resonance and linguistic sophistication disappear in machine translation but a good manual translation can keep it or transform it."
"...you know, I never thought about it like that before. Maybe I should give it a try."
"If you tell me what your taste's like generally I can recommend something."
"I like some science fiction, but more for the - exploration of our capabilities, of the ways society would or could be - that aspect. So that's sort of hit-and-miss, when it's miss it misses badly but when it's hit it's pretty good. I like stuff that explores the way society - is, the day-to-day things, the way people live their lives, especially in other castes and other cultures. And I like speculative fiction."
"Science fiction about future technology gets incredibly dated so it's convenient that's not the kind you're into. Hmm, how do you feel about time travel?"
"Try Pahmo Alti's Thousand Tomorrows."
He grabs his pocket everything and writes that down. "Thanks!"
"I like some nonfiction, too, but it's usually some pretty specific stuff. Blue stuff."
"Like biographies or like transcripts of debates on credit policy?"
"Bit o' both, and also some of the more - sciencey parts, I guess those would be mostly green but I can't imagine blues don't learn some of that social psychology and economics."
"I'm sure they do, yeah, just in distilled form."
"Maybe I should get some distilled versions and see what's up with those."
"Let me know if they're interesting."
"You know, I'd actually expect them to, I'd stereotypically expect that blues probably don't care about the subject matter as much as greens do so the author had better make it otherwise interesting."
"But they don't need all blues to pop out of school ready to do things, they can mostly live off investments."
"I suppose that's true, they wouldn't need to make it that much more otherwise-interesting."