Finally unpacking the books

Now that teaching is over and my wrist has healed enough to weight-bear, I have been dragging books out of storage (most of which have been gathering dust for the better part of two years). I am in the process of building my thesis nest to see me through the final gestation period (it’s a little under 9 months until submission, but as Dustin says of the Mind Flayer in Season 2 of Stranger Things, it’s the best analogy I have available…)

The top shelf of my biggest bookcase is dedicated to my two primary texts.

Joyce:

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Ulysses – I must have a box of Joyce material among the items still in storage because my Joyce collection used to outweigh my McCarthy collection, but now it seems to be the other way round…

McCarthy:

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Suttree (and other assorted McCarthy novels and criticism). This edition has travelled extensively and is starting to show significant wear around its edges. I might treat myself to a hardback edition once I’ve completed the diss. There’s something about seeing them all lined up that is aesthetically pleasing and inherently motivating…

I have to admit, though, my little flat is starting to resemble Gould’s (of Newtown fame):

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Pictured here: Top Shelf – a selection from my theory and philosophy collection. Mid Shelf – a selection from my North American modernists, beats, psychedelics and Native American literature collection. Bottom Shelf – A selection from my collection of books on walking/wandering. The shelves are already crammed to capacity, but I still have about 10 boxes to unload. I am wondering what other belongings I can jettison in order to make room for the rest… I don’t own much apart from books, so there are few options available. Dramatic sigh. What a dilemma…

When not grading papers, journalling, letter writing, hiking, or researching and writing Joyce and McCarthy-related thesis chapters, I’m currently getting into the Davids:

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Current read: David Foster Wallace’s short story collection: Girl With Curious Hair. I’m planning on tackling Infinite Jest over the coming months. Wish me luck!

Next up, more Mitchell:

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My friend Nadine put me on to Mitchell. I have all but one of his books in my possession now, but have been rationing them because I don’t want to reach the end of his oeuvre. If I had my time again, I would have included him as one of my thesis authors. As I was reading Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, I discovered that he (like Joyce and McCarthy), uses parallax as a thematic and structural device. I nearly fell off my chair. I am yet to investigate the full implications of this, but am thinking he will feature heavily in whatever project I come up with post thesis.

Having just taught Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale for a unit here at WSU, I have been winding back my online presence due to the dread those texts fill me with about becoming unwittingly complicit in a surveillant society (she says whilst updating the blog… yes, I see the irony in that sentiment). I’ve deactivated my Facebook and Whatsapp and am thinking of getting rid of my Insta as well. I can’t deactivate my Twitter account (though have never used it since opening it in 2011 as I can’t remember my password). The University have created a Linked In account on my behalf (without my permission, I might add), on which they have listed incorrect details, but which I can’t change as I am apparently not the owner of the account. Don’t even get me started – there are so many things wrong with this picture… Even Academia has transitioned from a lovely open source platform for the sharing of amazing ideas to yet another corporate money grab, so while it may be considered shooting myself in the foot, I’m thinking of deactivating that account as well.

I’m keeping the blog alive for now because I feel it’s a forum that people can visit if they wish (being one for choice in all matters), but visitors don’t have to be hit over the head with news feeds and constant status updates. Due to its economy of style, the Hemingway Rewritten theme has a nice feel to it, and I have paid for the domain in order to keep it ad free, so it is less insidious than some other forms of online communication. I also like having a visual diary of my hikes for reference and if I can get my act together, I’ll make it my go-to for keeping a record of completed books (thereby enabling me to deactivate my Goodreads). Goodreads – see, there’s another one! I didn’t realise how much social media I had been drawn in to engaging with.

I think I am suffering from hashtag ennui.

But before I complete the dismantling process, here are a couple of pics of the landscape (within walking distance or a short drive of home), as viewed through the magical-fantastical filters of instagram (Copyright Frances Murphy and Peter Davies for the “magical-fantastical” phrasing)! Images are mine.

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Wentworth Falls


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Junction Falls – South Lawson 


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The Three Sisters – Katoomba

And finally, a decade worth of journals – If I end up ditching this whole online thing altogether, I will still have these old friends…

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Ok, my landlord’s on his way up to the mountains to mow my lawn (what a legend!) so I’d better go clear the yard in preparation for his immanent arrival.

More from the thesis woman-cave soon!

Booknboot xo

 

2 thoughts on “Finally unpacking the books

    • Thanks Wes. I miss you! I want to visit you and Marian in Knoxville again, but it will have to be after the thesis, sadly. How have you both been? And how are Miss Landry and the rest of your kin?

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