To All the Pretty Titles I’ve Loved Before (+ Still Do!)

In which, I basically recommend you things with pretty titles or names.

As someone who used to read a lot, I take pride in crossing path with so many beautiful book titles. Later on, when I started my first full-time job, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to, but I was still lucky as I crossed path with some beautiful song titles and lyrics. Then, in the past three years, I’ve been having quite intense flings with some movie/series titles. Here they are (minus song titles and lyrics, cos this article will be too long).

Books

Everything I Never Told You

This book tells a pretty grim story beautifully. Everytime I read the title, a wave of melancholia rushes towards me — the feeling of… almostness mixed with regrets. While the title itself is already beautiful, please read the book. If you’re into hidden truth, a sprinkle of thriller, and a story about dreams, you may like this one!

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Gosh… what a title, right? Not lying, when I held the book and read the title, I held my breath for five seconds. I got my hands on the hardcover version and boy it’s a gem. Without much thinking, I bought the book. Though, I ended up gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, I have to say it’s one of my most favorite books!

The way Ocean Vuong — the author plays with words and writes with such conviction are so admirable. He’s not intimidated with big words. And this is where I think the words become double-edged sword. Since it’s too beautiful — I thought I was reading book of metaphors, but it actually has a quite interesting storyline. I wish the storyline would be stronger and not swallowed by all the beautiful words and phrases.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Still from Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a collection of poems — now this is the book that I appreciate more than On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Why? Because it fits the context of the content. Since Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a poetry book, it’s expected to be written beautifully — full of metaphors, big words, and perfect timing to disconnect with each story.

I only read some of the poems on the internet (the hardcopy is on its way to my house! Yay!) and I was already smitten by his words (as always). He writes so beautifully!

A Lesser Love

A Lesser Love was my first E.J Koh’s book. It’s full of love poems — from many different points. There are poems for you who have hurt tremendously, there are poems for you who fumbled and lost your way, and there are poems about the diaspora community and their 정 (jeong, translated as deep, tight-knitted bond). After reading this, I felt warm inside. Try reading it if you like to be swayed by sweet words.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Before knowing Haruki Murakami, there was Neil Gaiman in my heart. I was infatuated by the way he twists “haunting” stories into beautifully written pieces. Here, read the synopsis of The Ocean at the End of the Lane:

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Some people marked The Ocean and the End of the Lane as a boring, lame, and draggy book. But, to my surprise, I have found the joy in reading something so beautifully “boring” like this. Well, I might have my own bias too, since I’m a sucker for a story that begins with childhood memories.

The Magical Language of Others

Since I have fallen for A Lesser Love, I decided to also put my hands on another beauty by E.J Koh, The Magical Language of Others. It’s a story told in letters, exchanged between a mother and a daughter. The mother writes in Korean alphabets — unfamiliar symbols in the eyes of the daughter, until years later the daughter decided to translate her mother’s letter.

I have not finished this one yet, but so far… I’m enjoying it! It’s quite slow, but I think beautiful book tends to take its time to its glory.

Movies/Series

5 Centimeters per Second | Netflix

I have a soft spot for stories that involve childhood crush, flashback to the past, friends to lovers trope, and 5 Centimeters per Second has it all. Everything’s drawn so beautifully in this movie — the color, the texture matches the real things, and the movement is just… mwah!

The movie is divided into three segments with beautiful titles also; “Cherry Blossom”, “Cosmonaut”, and “5 Centimeters per Second”, each following our main character, Takaki, and his relationships throughout his life.

I Told Sunset About You | LINE TV, Drama Cool

Oh my, where do I begin with this one. Dare I say this is one of my most favorite series of all time! I first watched it in December 2020, and it’s almost the end of March 2021, I’ve watched it 9 times (together with people that close to me), and I still feel butterflies in my stomache! The series is just painstakingly beautiful!

I gushed about I Told Sunset About You here (full review!).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | Netflix

A lot of people think that liking Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is disingenuous and probably an attempt to be edgy or cool, when in fact I love this movie for its originality in story line.

If you haven’t watched this movie (ok, I need you to watch it like now), it’s a story about Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) — *sigh* I know what you’re thinking, “Clementine? What a pretentious name!” cos that’s what I thought too before watching the movie. One day, they break up and Joel ask for his memories to be clinically erased.

Isn’t it interesting?

I’m Thinking of Ending Things | Netflix

You might tilt your head and be like, “Is this girl alright? What’s pretty about this title?”. Well, the title sounds grim to you, but it still sounds poetic to me — at least.

Still from Charlie Kaufman who wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is another favorite of mine. It’s like ESotSM but on steroids, I’d say. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is darker, bleaker, more bizarre, and fully unexpected.

The story follows a young woman who travels to her boyfriend’s hometown to meet his parents. She keeps saying that she’s thinking of ending things, making me wait until the end of the movie for the moment she actually ends things. But uh… the ending was more complicated than the thought of ending things.

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