Tag Archives: Haruki Murakami Challenge

Review of the Year 2012- Challenges


The Rory List (ongoing challenge)

This year I have read 5 (arguably 6) books from the Rory List

The Crimson Petal and the White

The Great Gatsby

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Pride and Prejudice

(Grimm’s Fairytales– I had already read a different version of this)

The Virgin Suicides

I beat last year’s total, which had been my aim, being able to get some for free on my kindle has helped.

Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Didn’t do well on this one at all this year, only one book. I had aimed to read 5, but I struggled with 1Q84 and I have an edition with books 1 & 2 together so I wasn’t allowing myself to get another Murakami until I had finished that- which I still haven’t done. The site doesn’t appear to be as active this year either so I don’t know if it will be happening next year.

1Q84 (Book 1)

Next year I am really excited for my own challenge The Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge. The idea is that you read books you wouldn’t usually read, and hopefully find something new to love.

Wishlist Challenge 2013

I’m also participating in the Wishlist Challenge 2013.

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Murakami Reading Challenge 2012


I signed up again for the Murakami Reading Challenge at the beginning of the year but somehow never got around to posting about it.

I had partly intended to post when I finished my first Murakami of the year, and seeing as I started 1Q84 in January I thought I wouldn’t have to wait long. Well I’ve been reading 1Q84 for 3 months now so I don’t think that plan is going to work!

The rules are the same as last year, read at least one book by Murakami. Last year I read 3 so am aiming for 5 this year

As with last year I will update this post as I go.

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Review of the Year 2011- Challenges


The Rory List (ongoing challenege)

This year I have read just 3 books from the Rory List

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Everything is Illuminated

Grimm’s Fairytales

Am hoping to get a few more of these in 2012.

Take a Chance Challenge 2011

I have read 8 books for this challenge. I missed out the What Should I Read Next? choice (number 7) and failed to finish the staff picks book.
I am Number Four- Pittacus Lore
The Siege- Helen Dunmore
The Hare with Amber Eyes- Edmund de Waal
About a Boy- Nick Hornby
The Terrible Privacy Of Maxwell Sim- Jonathan Coe
The Earth Hums in B-Flat- Mari Strachan
The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge

I read 2 books for this challenge. which gives me Hijami level of participation:

Sputnik Sweetheart

A Wild Sheep Chase

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Sputnik Sweetheart- Haruki Murakami


Image from Fantastic Fiction

This book was read as part of the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Twenty two year old, Sumire is in love for the first time with a woman seventeen years her senior. But, whereas Miu is a glamorous and successful older woman with a taste for classical music and fine wine, Sumire is an aspiring writer who dresses in an oversized second hand coat and heavy boots like a character in a Jack Kerouac novel. Surprised that she might, after all, be a lesbian, Sumire spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend, K about the big questions in life: what is sexual desire and should she ever tell Miu how she feels about her? K, a primary school teacher, is used to answering questions, but what he most wants to say to Sumire is “I love you.” He consoles himself by having an affair with the mother of one of his pupils. But, when a desperate Miu calls him out of the blue from a sunny Greek island and asks for his help, he soon discovers that all is not as it seems and something very strange has happened to Sumire.
Review
Wow 3 reviews in 3 days, must be some sort of record for me! I must say I loved Sputnik Sweetheart. It seemed to bridge that gap between the more ‘normal’ books by Murakami, like ‘Norwegian Wood’, and the more surreal of his novels, like ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle‘.
Initially the situation in Sputnik Sweetheart seemed pretty normal, a sort of twisted romance story. Boy (K) loves girl (Sumire), girl loves other girl (Miu), other girl is married but has never been in love. Not sure if you would call that a love triangle or what! After a while things began to get a little strange (just like the Murakami I know and love). Sumire and Miu go to Greece and after a few days K gets a phone call from Miu, a woman he has never met, saying that something has happened to Sumire. From then on things just get stranger and stranger. I really liked the surrealism in this book but it wasn’t overwhelming as it is in some of Murakami’s other books. This aspect did make it an easier and less confusing read but also meant it didn’t stick with me in the same way Kafka on the Shore did (for example). [highlight for spoiler]I do wonder what happened to Sumire, she does seem to have just disappeared without a trace, and did K ever recieve a phonecall from her or was it just the way his mind was working or a strange dream? If she did go to a dream world (hey anything is possible when it comes to Murakami) did she meet the other side of Miu there? And whatever happened to her cat!Oh and what happened to Carrot, what was that bit even about!
The language was still beautiful but maybe a bit more simple. That’s part of the reason I think this one would make a good introduction to Murakami, along with it’s less in your face surrealism. It still has an aspect of surrealism which would give a hint but not so much it makes it a challenge to read.
Also really appreciated the book references in this one.
Not my favourite but still loved it.
4.5/5

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A Wild Sheep Chase- Haruki Murakami


This book was read for the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge

Synopsis (from Amazon)

His life was like his recurring nightmare: a train to nowhere. But an ordinary life has a way of taking an extraordinary turn. Add a girl whose ears are so exquisite that, when uncovered, they improve sex a thousand-fold, a runaway friend, a right-wing politician, an ovine-obsessed professor and a manic-depressive in a sheep outfit, implicate them in a hunt for a sheep, that may or may not be running the world, and the upshot is another singular masterpiece from Japan’s finest novelist.

Review

I was really looking forward too reading another Murakami but it really took me a long time to get into this one. It felt very normal and that’s not what I’ve come to expect from Murakami, I was looking forward to some surrealism. For a long time it felt like a pretty standard mystery, maybe to sheep business felt a bit strange but it didn’t really feel like a sheep hunt most of the way through- I would have expected to find sheep. It did get more towards what I would call Murakami’s style, and I came to like this end, it felt a bit like a crazy, fast dream, but I felt like that was how the majority of the book should feel when really it was a majority.

I think it says a lot that it took me over a week to get through a 300 page book. That’s slow reading for me.

So not the best Murakami I’ve ever read, but the end saves it.

4/5

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Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge


I’ve decided to join in the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge. It’s a pretty easy one, all you need to do is read one book by Haruki Murakami, as I’ve done at least that the last 2 years that should be really easy so I’m going to go for the Sheep Man level which is to read 3 books…I think that’s achievable!

I’m going to add the reviews I’ve already read to the list too

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