Tuesday, June 26

moving, books, and titles

in the mornings I put on a podcast and wash whatever dishes have accumulated over the previous evening. it is a nice routine for when I'm not yet really awake enough for much else.

our next place of residence will have a shiny dishwasher in it. and this means I will need to find a new morning routine of some sort. podcasts and doodling instead? maybe just skip straight to yoga? we shall see what the shape of our new place of residence might suggest. perhaps it will be checking on all the plants and reading under a tree.

June and mid-June and late-June have all arrived, rushingly. my dissertation is finished. a printed, bound copy is on its way to the graduate office in Heavilon Hall. I'm not a graduate student anymore. how strange. in four short days we'll be off on our way to another timezone, leaving things behind and hoping that the new place won't be too full of bugs or alligators.

this week is a weird in-between week. boxes galore. cleaning out bunches of dusty papers and things. planning at least two trips to goodwill. saying final goodbyes to people and places. returning all the library books.

there's one more left I need to return-- The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch. reading its Tournament of Books review/commentary intrigued me toward this novel, but I do not think I'll finish it. firstly, it has not managed to coax me into its world very well. secondly, we are moving away.

speaking of books, my old, dear friend Kalli (whom I have seen exactly once since her 2006 wedding, I think), tagged me in one of those facebook daily challenge things, with these instructions:
In no particular order, list ten books you love. Pick books that really made an impact and are still on your reading list, even if only now and then. You can post the cover. You don’t have to explain, but nominate people each day to do the same.
perhaps you have seen this interactive list-meme going around on social media yourself. I'm going to  break the rules a bit and not take one whole day per book and not nominate anyone else. if you are reading this and you'd like to do this thing or any other list-meme thing, just do it.

what I will do is list ten books. as I wondered which ten I would pick, I consulted my goodreads archives (where I famously do not rate the books I read unless I love them completely) and found, to my surprise, exactly ten books with five-star ratings on them.

so here they are, roughly in order of when I first read them, with brief notes about why I have found them so worthwhile.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was vivid and sensuous and a little bit mind-twisting with its dancing dichotomies. it impressed my impressionable self so much the first time I read it.

Ella Enchanted is a Cinderella story, and I for some reason just love those. this one is one of the most interesting, playful, and real versions I've ever come across.

Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, which I have blogged a little bit about previously, and should really re-read as soon as it gets unpacked next week. why did we have to pack up all the books first?

The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon Hale is a treasure. she should blog more often. I related to this book and its characters far more than makes any sense. I wonder what I would think about it upon re-reading.

The Book Thief was as beautiful and touching as any book ever could be. that and its narrator are all I remember about it. also the author has a cool name.

Einstein's Dreams, to quote a past blogpost, is "like the most delightful vacation you ever found yourself enjoying. new places and sights like postcards, bite size and almost (but not really, because there is the next place and the next) over too soon." I also called it "blatantly thought-provoking," which is one of the best things for art to be. I still don't own this book but I wouldn't mind owning it.

Americanah grabbed me in a bookstore one winter. it was gripping. meaningful. the kind of semi-autobiographical story that I have always wanted to write at least half as well as Adichie wrote this one. I don't feel the need to own this book, but I would enjoy re-reading it.

The Interrogative Mood was a gift. predictably, I reveled in it. sure, its form got slightly tiresome... but I loved it anyway. to write a novel of nothing but questions is silly and brilliant.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog came recommended by (and borrowed from?) friend Lizz, I think. honestly I don't remember what struck me so much about it. the ending, probably. I'm very picky about endings, so when endings surprise and delight me somehow, I notice.

Code Name Verity was one of the audiobooks that kept me company during the early months of longdistance-dating-a-fellow-in-Chicagoland. it was beautifully written, sculpted from pure, sparkling narrativium, and just as beautifully performed. the sequel, Rose Under Fire, is rather great too.

three young adult novels, two kind of strange, short experimental things, some classics and classic-ish books, and a couple of semi-autobiographical pieces. ten books. there are handfuls of others I could have chosen for different/better reasons. but for this I let my past self (via goodreads) choose for me.

and now, a ridiculous post-script that I've been meaning to blog about for several weeks. it is partially book-related, so it won't feel too out of place at the bottom here, I hope.

you know the Blade Runner film? and how I've always been mildly obsessed with why it was called Blade Runner even though it was based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I finally found an answer that mostly-satisfies my strangely tenacious need-to-know-why.

apparently the screen writer stole the title from a totally different script--one by William S. Burroughs, based on an older novel by Alan E. Nourse.

presumably, the screen writer and his colleagues thought this title sounded cooler. but now my questions is why? should I try contacting Mr. Fancher about it? would he remember his decision and why he made it? would his answers, if he did, be in any way satisfying?

I thought for the longest time that it was impossible to know how this weirdness with this random movie title happened. but it isn't.

now I need a new thing to wonder incessantly about.

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