Tag Archives: Kafka on the Shore

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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Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

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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Characters come to life


Writing samples: Parker 75

Image by churl via Flickr

For once the daily question over on the post a day/post a week blog is one I can actually answer without completely going off topic!

 

If you could bring one fictional character to life for a day, who would you choose?

Now to answer the question is pretty difficult. I mean there are characters that I’d love to meet and become friends with, Claire from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Luna from Harry Potter, Elphaba from Wicked, Hoshino from Kafka on the Shore. Then there are those who would be interesting to meet, Henry from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Max from The Confessions of Max Tivolli, Cal from Middlesex.

How to choose just one? I guess I could pick Claire, because I think she would be great to have as a friend and  she would have some of the interesting-ness from Henry. I think Cal would be someone I could get on with too, so they would be a pretty good pick.


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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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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review