Tag Archives: Haruki Murakami

Review of the Year 2013- Fiction


Only three 5/5 books this year, but the competition is still fierce! Although if you’re a regular visitor you may know which book I will pick as my book of the year…


Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Is the story of Ursula. Ursula lives, and dies, and lives, and dies, again, and again, and again. It’s a sort of dramatic groundhog day. Living the same life again, and again and again, but things change. Ursula doesn’t exactly know about her other lives, just a vague sense occasionally.


The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Is the story of Ichmad. Ichmad is a Palestinian living in an Israeli occupied area. When Ichmad is 12 his father is arrested on terrorist charges and Ichmad’s family get evicted from their house. Ichmad has to start supporting the family.


1Q84- Haruki Murakami

Arguably not a 5/5 book, as I found the beginning difficult. How do you give a blurb for Murakami? Ok so. Tengo and Aoname find themselves in a parallel world. 1984, but with two moons, and little people, and general strangeness. Can they find each other and leave 1Q84 unharmed?

And my book of the year is…

Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life

If you didn’t guess already! I’ve been forcing this book on people all year. It just, wow, swept me away. I couldn’t read anything else afterwards, everything just paled in comparison. I got so involved. I was shouting and Ursula, disappearing, cheering, hoping. READ IT! READ IT NOW!

(Thought I would put up the new cover for interestingness)

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1Q84 (Book 3)- Haruki Murakami


1q84, 1q84 book 3, haruki murakami
Please note this review contains spoilers for 1Q84 books 1 and 2

Synopsis (from amazon)

Book Two of 1Q84 ended with Aomame standing on the Metropolitan Expressway with a gun between her lips.

She knows she is being hunted, and that she has put herself in terrible danger in order to save the man she loves.

But things are moving forward, and Aomame does not yet know that she and Tengo are more closely bound than ever.

Tengo is searching for Aomame, and he must find her before this world’s rules loosen up too much.

He must find her before someone else does.

Review

Maybe I’ve been reading 1Q84 for too long (I picked this up as soon as I finished book 2) but I found this one strangely…normal. Imean it wasn’t exactly, but it seemed to make sense, and I found myself being able to predict things before they were revealed- and even how they could logically make sense- or at least make sense within the context of 1Q84. Even though the rules of the world were still not what one would expect in a normal world it was like I knew what the rules were.

I think it might have been better if I didn’t know the rules. It was kind of satisfying to find out I was right but it made the novel less compelling to read. I’m not sure I was meant to work out things though, at least most of the time.

I feel I should have more to say, but I don’t really. Maybe more Fuku-Eri would have been nice. There was something about her as a character but she didn’t really factor much into book 3.

I still enjoyed book 3. However book 2 is undoubtedly my favourite.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.59)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£11.99)

Paperback- books 1, 2 & 3 (£9.09)

Other Reviews:

Word by Word

Sam Still Reading

Nose in a Book (books 1, 2 and 3)

Keep Watching the Words (books 1, 2 and 3)

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review

1Q84 (book 2)- Haruki Murakami



Synopsis (from amazon)

The year is 1Q84.

This is the real world, there is no doubt about that.

But in this world, there are two moons in the sky.

In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both.

Something extraordinary is starting.

Review

You know what? I have missed Murakami. I struggled a little with 1Q84 book one and felt I needed a rest before book two. I wanted to read Murakami but I wasn’t letting myself read anything by him until I had read book two. So I waited and waited and waited. I finshed reading book 1 in April 2012. I started reading book two in August this year. That’s quite a gap.

I was a bit nervous that I would find book two hard, it’s part of the reason I left it so long. However it didn’t take long for me to wish that I had returned to the book sooner. Book two was much more classic Murakami. There were parts of it which reminded me of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (one of my favourite Murakami novels).

To give a review of a Murakami novel is really difficult. They’re so bizarre that you can’t really explain them, you have to experience them. Even though they have similar themes that you can compare to each other they continue to surprise you.

So what can I say about 1Q84? I loved it, I have the big hardback edition and towards the end I started carrying it with me to read rather than my kindle, I haven’t done something like that with a book for a long time, and never with a hardback. When I went to the new library I went and looked for, and borrow book 3 before I would even look around the library- because I knew I would want to start reading it straight away. It just had me hooked!

It had a plot which in ways was similar to a crime novel, you really wanted to know what would happen next. But of course with Murakami there are twists and plots which you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams. Things which could not happen in 1984, only 1Q84.

I can’t really say anything of substance, just if you too struggle with book one please, please, PLEASE, don’t give up! I promise it’s worth it.

5/5

Buy it:

Hardback- books 1 and 2 (£13.20)

Paperback- books 1 and 2 (£6.29)

Kindle- books 1 and 2 (£5.98)

Paperback- books 1, 2 and 3 (£9.09)

Other reviews:

Sam Still Reading (books 1 & 2)

Claire @ Word by Word (books 1 & 2)

Kate @ Nose in a Book (all books)

Una @ Keep Watching the Words (all books)

Marie @ Girl Vs Bookshelf (all books)

Have I missed your review? Post your link in comments and I will add it here.

 

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Top 10 ‘Older’ Books Not to be Forgotten


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s

Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

I’m trying to use books which I think may end up being forgotten. Not sure if I can make it to 10 but I will try my best.

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas Scarlett Thomas is probably better known as the writer of The End of Mr Y but I preferred this one. Her more recent releases haven’t quite met up to standard so I hope this one doesn’t get lost because of them.

2) Random Acts of Heroic Love- Danny Scheinmann I read this book before I started my blog. It had been very popular for a while but I haven’t seen a review of it in a long time. When I read it I adored it and wanted to share it with everybody.

3) An Equal Music- Vikram Seth This is another one I read in my pre-blog days. I read it when A Suitable Boy (which I have never managed to finish) was at the height of its popularity, and it’s probably overshadowed by A Suitable Boy. The descriptions of music and playing made me want to pick up my violin again.

4) The Historian- Elisabeth Kostova Beware about this vampire novel, it gave me funny dreams! I was in half a mind whether to include this one or not. It still seems to be quite well know, but it didn’t have the greatest amount of hype so I thought I would add it just in case.

5) The Lover’s Dictionary- David Levithan Considering this wonderful little novel is written by a traditionally YA author I worry that it will be drowned out, or will be seen as a book for teenagers, rather than the adult novel it actually is.

6) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: when I read the review which put me onto this book I didn’t even know it existed. Louis de Bernieres is best known for Captain Correli’s Mandolin, and a lot of his work prior to that is given little notice. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, however, is the best I have read by him.

Yup 6 is my limit.

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Top 10 Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog


It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday (which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I only occasionally join in with this meme but I really liked the look of this week’s topic.

Top Ten Books Read in the Lifetime of Your Blog.

Well my blog is almost 3 years old (in fact my blogiversary is at the end of this month) and in that time I’ve red and reviewed almost 200 books. So it’s a bit difficult to pick just 10…I shall see what I can do. In no particular order…

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas This is the story of a woman who creates spy kits for kids as part of a large toy company- Pop Co. One day she receives a strange coded message, who is it from and what do they want?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me think about things like the morality of corporations, and see more everyday things in a different light.

2) Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter. This book is basically feminism for the modern world. It’s one that I recommend all women read, whether you consider yourself a feminist or not.

3) Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile. These are a series of short stories set in Brooklyn and all have a connection to food. The descriptions are especially good. I’m not usually a reader of short stories but I loved these, plus they show that just because something is self-published doesn’t mean it’s no good!

4) The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo: I studied psychology at uni and this means that a large proportion of my non-fiction reading is psychology related. The Lucifer Effect is the book written about Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment which studied how a person’s authority would effect their behaviour. The experiment had to be cancelled because of some of the effects, and it took a long time for Zimbardo to feel he could write this book. This meant he could apply his findings to new world events and actually means it was published at a time when people were looking for answers. It’s a scary book to read because it suggests there are things we could all be capable of but I think it’s important too.

5) Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult: I’m quite a fan of Picoult and this one is my favourite, probably because I connect with it personally. It’s a story about a woman suing her midwife because her daughter was born with severely brittle bones which should have been picked up on her scan. Well really, no, it’s more about her daughter.

6) How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran: This book is basically Caitlin Moran’s biography, with a bit of a feminist kick. It pretty much made me fall in love with her.

7) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: since reading Captain Correli’s Mandolin I had been looking for a Louis de Bernieres’ book as good. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts does that and more. It’s basically about a South American country with dodgy politics and the goings on of different groups and people

8) Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami: I discovered Murakami thanks to the bookish community online and Kafka on the Shore is my favourite of his that I have read.  I can’t really adequately describe it, and I had trouble reviewing it, but it is fantastic.

9) Mockingbird- Kathryn Erskien: is the story of Caitlin, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose brother has just died. It is a story about grief but ultimately it’s a story about Asperger’s, and Caitlin is portrayed wonderfully.

10) Middlesex- Jeffery Eugenides: Is the story of Cal, who is a hermaphrodite, about her growing up, and about his family. It’s one of those books that you can’t really tell people why they need to read it, just that they have to.

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1Q84 (Book 1)- Haruki Murakami


Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.

Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

Review

I read this book as part of the longer book which holds books 1 and 2. I had always intended to write a review at the end of book one then continue on to book to immediately, however just book 1 has taken me the whole of the year so far (alongside my kindle books, and with a break for Catching Fire) so I really feel I need a break. It’s not that I haven’t liked 1Q84 so far exactly, but I have struggled some what. The story seems to be going quite slowly, although it’s become more interesting in the last 100 pages or so.

The book is split into chapters from Aomame and chapters from Tengo, one from Aomame, one from Tengo, then switching back. At first I found Aomame’s story the most interesting, although I loved Tengo as a character, I can certainly see why he is so popular! Gradually though I became just as interested in each storyline. In fact Murakami seemed to have a tendency to finish the chapter just as it was starting to interest me- which was a little annoying because it made me just want to skip to their next chapter. It was interesting as well how he built in areas of the two storylines which fitted together but only really mentioned them briefly. It made me want to read more to find out exactly how the two stories linked together, and just work out the general puzzles of Murakami’s normal oddities. Having said that the oddities were few and far between in comparison to other Murakami books. Not really sure how I feel about this though as the oddities did seem to be building as the links became more frequent.

Overall. Well, book 1 was a bit like an introduction. I didn’t feel like much happened despite it being almost 400 pages long- however things were introduced which I think will be important later on, and it very much opened up avenues for the other 2 books. I’m still going to have a break in case I find book 2 hard going but I am certainly not going to give up

3/4

Reviews of 1Q84 from other challenge participants:

Sam Still Reading

Tony’s Reading List

The Akamai Reader

Buy it:

Hardback- Books 1 & 2 (£12.00)

Kindle: Books 1 & 2 (£9.59)

Paperback: Books 1-3 (£13.00)

Paperback: Books 1 & 2: pre-order (£8.09)

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Filed under Contempory, Crime, Dystopian, Fiction review, Literary

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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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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Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami’s novel is at once a classic quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.

Review

In a way this is a coming of age novel, but to call it that is far too simple, and to compare it to any other coming of age novel would be pretty much impossible. As with my previous experiences with Murakami this book is completely bizarre and like nothing else I’ve ever read- even, to some extent, Murakami’s other novels. I found this one a little more logical than the others. Maybe it’s just because I am used to Murakami’s style. It’s not that the story itself was ‘normal’ but that the events fitted together more logically than in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles for instance. I can’t say I could exactly predict things most of the time but what happened didn’t surprise me. There was one point when I was able to predict what would happen but when it did happen the way it was written was as if Murakami expected you to have guessed, almost like he was saying ‘yeah you thought you’d got to the point where you understood me but I’m way ahead of you, I meant for you to guess’.

As far as characters go I felt much more attached to the characters in Kafka on the Shore than I have in previous Murakami novels. I think there was something sort of more realistic about them, except they weren’t like anyone I’ve ever known, at least for the most part. I guess what I mean is that I got a clearer view of them as characters. I really liked Hoshino, mainly because he seemed like the reader, completely confused by everything going on but still enthralled.

In a way I think Hoshino was the reader. Murakami speaks a lot of the importance of metaphors and I think that explains his writting to a certain extent, although God knows how long it would take to get to the bottom of the metaphors. I did get the sense by the end that everything had been a metaphor for something Kafka has to go through on his journey. In a way though I think the metaphors are a little misleading and Kafka puts too much emphasis on them and gets into trouble for it.

Every time I read a new (to me) Murakami I love it even more than the next. I think I forget how beautiful and engrossing his writing is. If you have the chance you should really give him a try.

5/5


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Norwegian Wood- Haruki Murakami


Norwegian Wood (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

This review was written 27/07/09

Synopsis(from Amazon)

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

Review

You know what I’m really bad at writing good reviews…what do you think that say about me?!
Anyway I thought this book was beautiful. It wasn’t what I expected really, I expected more of a classic love story I suppose…but this wasn’t that. I much prefered Midori to Naoko. There was something kind of sweet about Naoko but I found her, I’m not sure if boring is the word but she certainly didn’t bring the same kind of excitement as Midori. I am probably more like Midori…but a bit more conventional! (highlight for spoiler)In fact I prefered reading about her illness than actually reading about her, whereas with Midori I was always looking forward to what she might say next. I was glad when Watanabe realised that he really loved her.

I didn’t expect there to be as much graphical sex descriptions in it either. It didn’t put me off but I can imagine it might for some people

4.5/5

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Book Blogger Hop


Again I’m taking part in the Book Blogger Hop, which is a great event taking place every week that helps book blogggers to find one another. To have a look just click the picture. If you’re here from over there welcome! I hope you enjoy looking around, feel free to comment anywhere and pop in to say hi here- I promise to visit your blog in return.

As usual I will be posting my best finds on Monday.

Over the last couple of weeks Jennifer has been asking questions so we can get to know each other better this week she’s asking about our favourite authors and why they are our favourites.

I have a few favourites. JK Rowling because I just love the Harry Potter books, they completely take you into a different world- it’s escapism, and it’s what really brought me to the online world (for more see my me and books section). Jasper Fforde because his books are so clever, there are all types of references that readers like us will appreciate, plus his books are funny and exciting. Sebastian Fawkes because he can really take you into another time and get inside another person’s head. Birdsong remains one of my favourite historical fiction books even though I read it when I was back in school, and Engleby actually made me like a potential murderer. Haruki Murakami, because his writing is so beautiful that it’s almost poetic and his stories are like nothing I’ve ever read before.

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The Complete Polysyllabic Spree- Nick Hornby


Synopsis (from the back of the book- because it’s what I want to say put more eloquently and the synopsis on Amazon, and on Waterstones, and Wikipedia are rubbish)

This is not a book of reviews. This is not a book which sneers at other books. This is a book about reading- about enjoying books whereever and however you find them.

Nick Hornby is first and foremost a reader and he approaches books like the rest of us: hoping to pick up one he can’t put down. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree is a diary of sorts, charting his reading life over two years. It is a celebration of why we read- its pleasures, its dissappointments and its surprises.

And above all, it is for you- the ever hopeful reader.

Review.

First I have to make clear this is not a books of reviews. Despite the synopsis (blurb, whatever you want to call it) saying this I still expected it to be. Yes he talked about how he felt about books but he didn’t so much talk about what they were about. I found this both intriguing and infuriating. When I like the sound of books he was talking about I wanted to know more, I wanted more on the content, or a little synopsis or something, but at the same time I feel if that mystery was gone I might not have been so interested, and this way I may read books I wouldn’t have usually. I like picking up books outside my usual circle, it’s the best way to discover something new you love and to expand your horizons, if you always read the same stuff how much could you be missing that you would love but just don’t look at? In that sense it had made me think about my reading (and as I read it as part of The Rory Gilmore book challenge it was in itself a books I wouldn’t usually read). In particular it made me think about my approach to reading books I’m not enjoying (the first review in this blog, from my blog thread– so before the WordPress blog started) was Rachel Ray a book I struggled with but kept reading because I hate abandoning books. I do already have a rule that I have to read 100 pages before abandoning, because I don’t think you can really get a feel for longer books before then but maybe I should be a bit more strict in what I call enjoying, there are so many books out there and so little time, why waste time on books you don’t enjoy.

I was glad when Hornby actually talked about a book I had read (early on he bought a copy of Norwegian Wood, a book I loved, but he didn’t read it, and I was disappointed) which was Death and the Penguin. It made me value his opinion more because it was a book he loved, and I had enjoyed- it made me feel I might be more likely to enjoy the books he had.

This book has really added to my wishlist. Thirteen books to be precise, plus one more I am unsure about and want to look in to more and one which I know my Mum owns so I can add straight to my To Be Read pile. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not. Browsing Amazon and adding books to my wishlist is one of my favourite hobbies, and I love discovering new books. But at the same time I am trying not to spend any more money on books, especially as my rule that my TBR pile has to be in single figures before I can allow myself to buy more books has been broken so many times this year. I did find that I had to carry round a notebook with me when reading this book just so I could note down books I was interesting in. I wish I had my own copy so I could mark interesting passages and the books I wanted to read- unfortunately I borrowed this from the library and as I don’t think I’ll want to re-read it it’s not worth buying a copy now. If you are interested though I would say buy rather than borrow.

I have such a love hate relationship with this book that I have no idea what to rate it. I love it so much I want you all to read it, but at the same time I wish there was more, and that there was less so my wishlist wouldn’t have expanded so much! Less than 4 seems too low, but 4 and 5 seem too high. So take the rating with a pince of salt!

4.5/5

The additions to the Wishlist

George and Sam- Charlotte Moore

Old School- Tobias Wolff

No Name- Wilkie Collins (to be looked in to)

How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World- Francis Wheen

Not Even Wrong- Paul Collins

True Notebooks- Mark Salzman

Assassination Vacation- Sarah Vowel

Early Bird- Rodney Rothman

Gilead- Marilynne Robinson

The Amateur Marriage- Anne Tyler

A Complicated Kindness- Miriam Toews

Then We Came to the End- Joshua Ferris

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Filed under non-fiction review, Reading/reviews

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle- Haruki Murakami


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Synopsis (from Amazon)

Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared and this has unsettled his wife, who is herself growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has started receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.

Review.

How do I describe this book. It is different (I suppose is the best words). Full of strange events which are never fully explained and seem random while still giving the sense that they may be linked. In fact I think a quote from the book actually explains it better than I ever could

“(She) did not offer any explanations, and I did not ask for them.”

I guess you could say this is a disadvantage, or that it makes the story seem unfinished. While I would like to know what happens next I also think Murakami of did a good thing leaving it up to the reader’s imagination. Plus in a way explaining everything would take away from what I loved about this book, the strangeness, the mystery. It gives the reader some choice too, they can choose to rationalise everything with their own expansion of the story, they can leave the ending as it is in the book, or they can give their own slant on the story which doesn’t diminish the strangeness. Personally I want to think about how things fit together, but I don’t want to rationalise anything- instead I want to extend the story to have the conclusion which I feel it would eventually come to and which I find most satisfying. I’m not giving full marks for this book because it took a while to really get going but I still rate it as one of the better books I’m read this year.

4.75/5

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review