Slow-Paced Life … Joyce and Studio Ghibli

Finished Dubliners yesterday. Goodreads says I had been reading it since January 23… amusing.

I seem to be a very slow reader this year. Having decided to exert no effort in reading, beyond reading as it feels right, I am creeping along at a snail’s pace and not an atom of reverse psychology has come into play. The books I have read, though, have been satisfying in their own way. Crime and Punishment was a milestone, and Dubliners (of which I will have more to say in the future) was an accessible introduction to the intimidating Joyce.

On a movie-watching note, I’ve seen a few more Studio Ghibli films in recent days, namely:

  • When Marnie Was There
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Ocean Waves
  • The Wind Rises

Of these, I would say The Wind Rises—about a real-life airplane designer in Imperial Japan—was the best story objectively. It’s a beautiful portrait of WW2 history and wholesome romance, greatly moving and morally nuanced in terms of the politics. I love this kind of depth in a children’s film.

From Up on Poppy Hill is also a romance, about school friends and a misunderstanding. I found the story a bit too tedious if I’m being honest, but it is still very sweet. Ocean Waves is another school story, though with an annoying female protagonist (and not enough ocean or waves).

I found myself most struck by When Marnie Was There, a Secret-Garden kind of tale about the friendship of two lonely girls suffering from trauma (!). It’s the kind of movie that has to be watched all the way through to make sense…the first 2/3 is rather strange and unsettling, keeping you on the edge of your seat and guessing at what it all means. But it’s one I will rewatch in the future, as well as read the book by Joan Robinson.

These Studio Ghibli films tend to be gently paced and challenge the modern viewer to take their time in the story. I have to smile at the realization that child-me would have had no problem with this; I used to have a very good attention span. For those looking to regain some of that ability to slow down, I would highly recommend this kind of anime. Only Yesterday is still my favorite, I think.