Watched and Read Over Break

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Sigh. I’m back at Yale and it’s so sad because it’s so cold and not my home but at the same time it’s so good because Lily’s here and Minerva (my cat) is so happy to be an only cat again.

I have my new calendar up and I used my unpacking as a chance to rearrange and to admire everything I own. I think there’s a great value in taking the time to want the things you have. I also bought that pair of J. Crew houndstooth socks I’ve been ogling for months (I made Dad buy them for me as a going away present). Proud to say they were $5.30 marked down from $12.50. We had dinner at Blue State and I failed to get to Bass Library before it closed. I have a foot high stack of things to return (and even more to check out- I think my check out list may be on the table for tomorrow).
And I think the new semester is the perfect time to debut a new toothbrush. It’s time, you know?
Now that I’m back on campus, I hope that my pleasure reading and film viewing won’t stall out too much, but realistically I know that it will.

So first books: What did I read over break? Truthfully, not much.

  • With Borges, Alberto Manguel: Hey, I loved this! I added so much Borges, Manguel, and Ocampo to my reading list because of this. So while it’s a short book (less than 100 pages) it promises LOTS and LOTS more reading. Manuel writes about reading to Borges as a young man, in the years that Borges was ailing and blind. Borges sounds like an interesting man with interesting thoughts. I’ve not read anything of his before, though I tried Labyrinths and had to set it aside. I think it’s time to try again with a different book of his.
  • Swann’s Way, Proust: It’s time to get the Proust’s underway if I want to finish all seven before my dying day! I enjoyed it. Proust’s writing is very interesting and individual. I imagine Swann’s Way would really reward close reading… but that’s not a project I’m enthusiastic about undertaking. Excited for number two! (But not too soon)

Movies?

  • Misses: Mad Love, Best in Show, Calvary, The Insider, Raging Bull, Barefoot Contessa, Rules of the Game, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), Camille Claudel, Allied, The Nice Guys, Sing, Loving (the last four being from 2016)
  • Okay: Mulholland Drive, The Old Maid, Spartacus, 20 Feet from Stardom, The Raid, Fantastic Beasts (AWTFT), Patema Inverted, Eye in the Sky, Green For Danger, Brief Encounter, The Conversation, The Seventh Victim
  • Watch on the Rhine, 1943: This was amazing and not just because I’m obsessed with Bette Davis (see, I didn’t like The Old Maid!). It’s a World War II/family drama/suspense film about an American woman and her German-born husband returning to her family home on the eve of America’s involvement in WWII.
  • The Intouchables, 2011: My whole family loved this film. It tackles a difficult subject with so much warmth and (tasteful) humor.
  • Moana, 2016: AND NO ONE KNOOOO-OOOOWS/ HOW FAR I’LL GOOOOOOOO
    It was okay I guess. 😉
  • Rogue One, 2016: Ahh, so good. I’ve been a big Star Wars fan since my dad showed me the original trilogy in elementary (We saw this one together and he cried. Frequently).
  • The Witch, 2015: Underrated and under-watched, I think. Basically a family in puritanic 1630s New England (pre-Salem witch trials) is buffeted by forces beyond their understanding- psychological and possibly otherwise. I know it’s been said before, but this is what The Village could have been if The Village were any good. Sorry Shyamalan, BDH, and Joaquin.
  • The Scarlet Claw, 1944: Sometimes the old Sherlock Holmeses ware the only right thing. Sometimes they make you want to kill people with a handheld garden rake. Sometimes they do both.
  • How Green Was My Valley, 1941: THIS IS A MASTERPIECE GO WATCH IT NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T BEFORE! The majesty. You get to be heartbroken by the harsh realities and everyday happinesses faced by the Morgan family in a Welsh mining village. Like the Welsh version of The Grapes of Wrath. Extra points for the Welsh names- Gwylim and Angharad, anyone? Also very relieved to know the title is a statement and not a question, because I had no idea what word to stress for years. (How Green Was My Valley?, How Green Was My Valley?, etc.)
  • Bright Star, 2009: I’ve talked about this one already, a few posts back. Will just mention that now I’m noticing Ben Whishaw everywhere (definitely not a bad thing).
  • The Neon Demon, 2016: Well. That was weird. There’s a definite genre of films this fits in with, and I think I’ll create a list sometime- but in the meantime watch for surrealism, bright colors, and a dreamlike feel.
  • The Danish Girl, 2015: Lily recommended this to me a year ago I think, after having seen it in the theater. It’s absolutely good. The best I’ve seen Eddie Redmayne or Alicia Vikander. It’s a film (a loose interpretation, I believe) of the transition of transgender pioneer and landscape artist Einar/Lili, as well as the effect of her relationship with wife and portraitist Gerda.

And that’s everything I saw at home. Even if I just finished the last 2/3 of The Seventh Victim at Yale, it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Happy weekend!

(The picture shows some of Proust’s notes and doodles for Swann’s Way)

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