August 28th to September 3rd, 2016

Walking: Purple Flowers

I sent all my checked out books back to the library on Tuesday. (And by sent back, I mean I ran from the train to my apartment to the library in under fifteen minutes, because the library closes at six. My chest still hurts.) My idea of reading all of Mary Renault’s historical novels over the summer has, obviously, dissipated, although I will continue to pick at them. I think I was unduly turned off by the fact that the copy of The King Must Die was truly vintage and therefore made me feel for its integrity during the wear and tear of my commute.

(Which reminds me: I want to find a nice laminated tote bag; my Walgreens tote is starting to tear.)

But I also think that my reading list has metastasized into a burden. It doesn’t help that it began life as a handwritten list in a notebook I started when I was eighteen or so. The notebook was presumably given to me by a well-meaning relative, and it has started to become aesthetically upsetting. I don’t like hanging onto things, real or ideal, out of obligation, especially things from my past. I like to keep what I need and burn the rest. My 2002 ticket to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is deeply important to me as a physical token; cookbooks I thought I would read when I was nineteen, far less so.

Despite this, I remain loathe to delete it outright. (Although give me a couple months and I’ll do it in the dead of night, motivated to do something.) But I have gone through it, pulled the titles that still speak to me, and created a new one. I’m going to hopefully go to Muji sometime this weekend (although my September is surprisingly busy, so I’m not sure exactly when) and buy a black notebook so that everything can match. I’ll even index the pages and mark that on the spreadsheet. Gosh, it’s relaxing just thinking about it.

I’ve been listening to “Here Comes a Thought” a lot this week. I don’t watch Steven Universe, as neither of my nieflings are in the right age group for it, although I hear great things about it. (And less great things about its fandom.) But it was recommended as a useful introduction or refresher on the concept of mindful meditation, and it’s been a great help with my anxiety this week. I try not to think about what would have been different in my life if I had Resource A or Resource B growing up, since it’s not like I can change anything about it, but this would have been really, really helpful. I’m really glad that anxious little kids—and any kids who suffer from upsetting thoughts of any stripe—might be able to have this as a helpful resource and coping mechanism.

I was shocked to discover that I only have about two seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars left on Thursday. I’m coming up on the end! I’ve made it through “Deception,” “Friends and Enemies,” “The Box,” “Crisis on Naboo,” “Massacre,” and “Bounty.” Both arcs—Obi-Wan using a Face/Off machine to go undercover as a criminal after faking his death and Asajj Ventress losing and then finding purpose after the slaughter of the Nightsisters—offers some solid characterization for Anakin and Asajj.

The Clone Wars does a fantastic job of filling in Anakin’s totally redacted characterization from the prequels, and here we have Anakin reacting terribly to Obi-Wan’s death. The only reason he doesn’t kill the assassin who killed Obi-Wan—who is, at that point, Obi-Wan in disguise—is because Obi-Wan wouldn’t want him to kill him. (So, uh, lucky.) I find Anakin really fascinating as a character because of how his love and compassion for other people is, due to the Jedi Order’s draconian teachings on the subject, curdling into possessiveness. That’s a gorgeously tragic flaw to me.

As for Asajj, losing her sisters? I loved the fact that the sisters choose to defend her, choose to stand against Dooku. There’s true horror in the dead sisters being reanimated to help—their rebirthings are one of those Clone Wars things that make me really wonder what the target demo was—but it works as an oblique way to love and protect Asajj. In a franchise that suffers a dearth of women existing, let alone interacting with each other, having the Nightsisters love and protect Asajj as well as never blame her for the droid army’s invasion? I loved it. And the light stinger of “Bounty,” where Asajj tries her hand at bounty hunting and realizes that there’s still some kernel of a good thing inside of her? Emotions.

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4 thoughts on “August 28th to September 3rd, 2016”

  1. I have definitely struggled with the “should I get rid of this/but I’ve had it forever and it kinda means something/but does it REALLY” thing. It’s annoying! I think I’ve been carrying around one reading list since the beginning of college (10 years ago!) and I barely even look at it any more, but I still can’t bring myself to throw it away.

    I like your plan for starting fresh with your reading list! Buying new notebooks is always so exciting~

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  2. I too do not watch Steven Universe, although I shall when my nephew gets to be the right age. Given his heredity I expect he will be quite an anxious little boy, and I do want him to have all the tools in the whole world to deal with that. I am feeling very very fond of my baby godson as he nears the time of arrival into the world.

    Delete your TBR list! Can’t recommend it enough! I did it at some blog transition period that I can’t remember, and it was such a relief. You’ve already pulled out the books you still want to read, and that’s what you can proceed from! I’ve made two adjustments that have improved my TBR stress immeasurably: One, if I find a book’s been on the list for quite some time without me reading it, I conclude I didn’t want to read it in the first place, and delete it. And two, I have a separate spreadsheet tab for nonfiction that I’m not planning to read immediately — it keeps a reference point for all the nonfiction I want to consume in my life, but the nonfiction doesn’t consume my whole list. If that helps at all!

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