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A good friend in Oregon once showed Andre Tarkovsky’s Solaris to his movie group, resulting in him never being able to choose a film for the group again. Complaints about slowness, confusion about who is who. Solaris is slow and confusing. That is the crux of its art.

In Solaris, psychologist Kris Kelvin is summoned to go to a space station orbiting an ocean planet called Solaris. The crew there has endured severe emotional traumas and the goal of trying to study the planet has gotten nowhere. Kris is to assess what is going on but shortly after he arrives he starts to have hallucinations himself.

Solaris defies expectations for a “science fiction” film but it also defies itself. It is jumbled, like our brain pans, by design. Its mysteries manifold, it is a film that communicates through its cinematography, a rarity, but this communication is something so rich that it can’t digested in one viewing, or two…

Coming up with a name for something is always fraught, and so naming my column here at The Nervous Breakdown proved to be challenging. While definitely easier than naming my daughter (sometimes I think it makes sense to wait until a child has reached a certain age to give them their final name) it nevertheless was still difficult. What I’ll be doing here is sharing my thoughts about the books I’ve read over the past month, why I’ve chosen them, where they’ve taken me, how they’re impacting me as a writer and a reader, and also, perhaps, offering you some detours, the kinds that will tempt you away from the computer screen and, yes, crack open (but please, not the spine!) some books. They are our friends. With this focus in mind for the column, some of the names I came up with were “Silverfish for Bookworms” (it’s one I’d used for my own blog and wished to resurrect, but I really wanted something new); “Once Upon a Time They Lived Happily Ever After” (a good title, but since it potentially narrows down my focus to “stories” instead of opening to include all fictions, I dropped it); “Babbling About Books” (yes, it’s corny but it did lead me to think of the next one which I also liked); “From the Desk of Babel’s Librarian” (I’m always happy to associate myself with Borges); “Well-Read Man’s Float” (I really liked this one, too, but it sounded kind of cocky and while “Unread Man’s Float” seems closer to the truth, it also felt wrong); and lastly, “A Community of Words” (it’s what William Gass calls texts—more on him later). But I finally came up with “A Reader’s Log(orrhea)”. Beware! The writing here will be unapologetically excessive and wordy, and maybe even (gasp!) purple. Here we go!