This will be the first of a series called fresh reads: books or authors that I've been really into lately and think deserve a worthy mention.
I don't expect to have the luxury of reading whenever I want once the school term reopens, due to my mother's banning of me reading. Strange, isn't it? You would think any mom would be HAPPY to have a bookworm for a child. Not mine. My head was stuck in a book so often that my mum decided to put a stop to it once and for all. I still get the shivers when she sticks her head round the corner and I'm holding an illicit novel.
Still, the holidays means that I can put my nose into anything and SHE CAN'T COMPLAIN. Take that! I've recently discovered Murakami thanks to the likes of my sister. Thankfully, our dodgy I've recently discovered Murakami thanks to the likes of my sister. Thankfully, our dodgy school library has him stocked and I was grateful to grab some off the shelves.
1. DANCE DANCE DANCE
I mostly only liked this book because of the interesting title, but I turned out liking the inside as much as the outside.
This is a sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase (not included in Fresh Reads because I found it extremely tiresome and boring). Dance is written in the view of an unnamed writer who does foodie pieces for women's magazines, and thinks his job is like "shovelling snow", an allegory used often throughout the book. He goes back to the Dolphin Hotel, once a rundown and derelict building now transformed into a modern glitzy establishment. He once stayed at the old Dolphin Hotel with his lover, Kiki, and he thinks that she is calling out to him in his dreams.
In the hotel, he forms friendships with a hotelier, Yumiyoshi, and along the way befriends a clairvoyant 13 year old Yuki. There's also a guest appearance of the Sheep Man, a kind of being that transcends space and time to control what is happening in real life, to make everything link.
This was a pretty easy book to follow. I really liked the twists and turns of the book and how there were links between the characters. It seemed like at any moment, you could leap into a parallel universe too where only utter darkness exists and a stale air permeates at the 16th floor of a glitzy hotel.
"No promises you're gonna be happy," the Sheep Man had said. "So you gotta dance. You gotta dance until it all keep spinning."
2. KAFKA ON THE SHORE
Kafka n the Shore follows the journey of Kafka Tamura, the world's bravest 15 year old boy, and an old man Nakata- how their stories collectively intertwine.
This book is one heck of a wild ride. I feel like it's a bit crazier than usual (which is saying something for a Murakami) as it borders on fantasy storytelling- fish and eel rain from the sky (what happened to just dogs and cats?), Nakata calmly converses with cats after an apparent alien invasion in the quiet countryside, and when Kafka travels deep into a forest he finds two wandering soldiers that haven't aged in 10 years.
t's an adventure that brims with tales of lost love and a dark prophecy- in which Kafka is destined to "be with" his long lost mother and sister. Read: have sex with.
I really liked how the two people's stories combine together flawlessly into one.
3. NORWEIGAN WOOD
This is a book that my friend's mother banned her from reading, so I was really curious as to why. As it happens, I found out quite soon.
Not more than halfway through the book and there's a 13 year old female slick who seduces her 31 year old woman piano teacher. There's some pretty graphic description, so watch out if there's any babies near you and avert their eyes immediately.
Norwegian Wood explores the young love life of Toru Wantanbe. While a part of his heart is dedicated to the gentle and pure innocence of mentally unstable Naoko, he also loves energetic, vicarious Midori whom he meets in university.
It's a book that expands on both concurrent love stories with great detail. I find myself not able to choose either one of the girls that would be better for Toru: as the book itself says, it's like riding a boat out on a scenic day and liking both the sky and the sea. Sometimes it's impossible to choose.
These book are perfect to read on and off, chunks at a time, with poetic sighs and musings in between. Otherwise your brain will go into overdrive and nothing will make sense.
L / 18 / SG / ACJC
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last updated: 5 september