Finally! You must be saying. A post that's not another ramble on about my life. Well, you're right. School isn't kind to reading habits as we all know, but here's a couple of titles I've been able to squeeze in somehow and quite thoroughly enjoyed.
1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
This isn't actually the first time I'm coming across this book. I was first introduced to Murakami by Cait in Sec school, when she lent me this book to read. But that was a long time ago, and I thought it would be nice to go back to where it all began in this crazy Murakami journey. It wasn't as exhilarating as the first time, but I could read it more leisurely, and kind of appreciate the little plot details more as an older person.
Basically, the book is about this man who is still coming to terms with his depression over being suddenly dumped by a bunch of really close mates from high school. It's been a good few years but he doesn't know why they did it, and he ends up seeking these friends out one by one, discovering things along the way. There's a sweet little romance side-plot action too.
Definitely one of Murakami's easier reads, I'd say, and a good read.
2. Hum If You Don't Know the Words, Bianca Marais
Ever since reading that Norwegian book last year, I've been more interested in pursuing ethnically-inclined (is that even a word?) books because they seem to be more immersed in foreign culture which is exciting, cool and different- like you want a break after reading Crazy Rich Asians because of all the tiresome Singlish / Singaporean references. And if you want a healthy dose of Chinese (specifically Chinese immigrant) culture, read Amy Tan.
This one is set in apartheid South Africa, told by two alternate perspectives: one, a white girl (Robin) whose family had moved to Africa for business; two, a black woman (Beauty) whose daughter goes missing in a school rally she organized. Somehow, the two stories weave into one, and magic happens.
I liked this because the narratives from both females were captivating, each really sounding like they came from the mouths of who they're supposed to be. Robin faces reverse racism- jeez, I'm really at it with the weird phrasing today- being a white person in black land and whose parents have definitely mistreated the locals. And Beauty struggles to place her daughter while escaping the people who pursue her. Amongst all this you can find the main theme that's love.
3. Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami
In the same vein of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; this is a book of short stories by Murakami, but focused specifically on relationships between men and women. Obviously.
The thing about Murakami is I never really know what I'm reading it for- there seems to be no point, no moral lesson or underlying reason as to why the story is told: it's open to interpretation, so you take as much away from the stories as you want to. Mostly, I just like to simply enjoy the characters and their journey without thinking too much about why or how it applies to me.
That being said, it's a collection of some exotic and sometimes fantastical stories, undercut with Japanese-type contemporary mythology. (That's the best way I can describe it.) Oh, and there's a lot of sex involved. Personally, I prefer something like Norweigan Wood for a more in-depth kind of Murakami take on relationships, but this is recommended if you don't want to dive right in and prefer to have breaks in between reading sessions.
4. Precious and Grace, Alexander McCall Smith
I highly doubt people would pick up this book if you aren't already somehow acquainted with the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. In any case this book review won't be fair because...I didn't read it. Oops. I have literally no recollection of what happened inside. But if it's like all the other books in the series, they'll get into some kind of conundrum, and Mma Ramotswe will save the day. Some titles are more moving than others. Try the first book, Kalahari Typing School for Men, or Morality for Beautiful Girls.
For now, this will just get a generic rating.
L / 18 / SG / ACJC
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last updated: 5 september