Showing posts with label haruki murakami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haruki murakami. Show all posts

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Deju Vu Review (4)

The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to mini-review books that I read in my pre-blogging days.  This week's topic is novels with strange names.  And both of mine happen to be dystopian!

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I loved Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, so when I saw the unique title on her list of other novels, my interest was piqued.  And the first chapter helped, too--the main character, Snowman, wakes up in a world where it seems that all other humans are dead.  How can you not be taken in by such a scenario?

While I did find the book enjoyable, I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite dystopians.  As you learn more about Snowman's problematic situation, you get his backstory, which includes Crake (his former best friend) and Oryx, a woman they both loved.  After the initial "OMG what is happening here" moment in the first chapter, I felt that the plot got a bit slow and disjointed.  For a dystopian novel, it doesn't have a very energetic pace, and it jumps around in a way that is very confusing.  However, in the last quarter or so, things started to come together, and the climax at the end left me interested enough to seek out the novel's sequel, The Year of the Flood.  Overall, not the best dystopian I've ever read, but it's intriguing in terms of world-building, and you'll like it if you have your thinking cap on.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Oy vey, this book.  This book is the first book I ever (EVER!) did not finish.  This and Middlemarch (I gave up on them on the same day. It was a frustrating day).

I still feel I have the right to (mini) review it though, because I spent over 6 weeks on it.  Which is eternity for me!  It's 954 pages long and I read about 600 of them in that time, so I have to get a little credit here.

Most people I talk to ADORE 1Q84.  Cannot say enough good things about it.  I, on the other hand, found it extremely tedious and boring.  It centers on Aomame, a young hit-woman who enters 1Q84, a parallel existence to her life in the year 1984.  At the same time, it follows Tengo, a writer whose complicated story begins to mingle with Aomame's as time goes on.  The plot is much more complex than all that, but Aomame and Tengo's relationship is the basis for all else in the novel.

Why did I dislike it?  One, it was just so.darn.slow.  I don't mind wordy/long novels, if they actually take me somewhere, but I felt stuck in park for the majority of these pages.  And two, the characters.  They were weird and quirky in a way that made me completely unable to connect with them or their intentions.  Plus, one of them always speaks in a completely flat, monotone voice (always states questions, doesn't "ask" them), which drove me nuts.  I found none of them likeable and after a while, just couldn't muster the energy to care about their lives anymore.  Overall, a huge no-go for me.

Do you have any good books with weird names?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted each week by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's top ten are your best bookish confessions...oooooh scandalous!

1. I have a VERY difficult time giving up a book once I've started it, even if I really can't stand it.  People have told me "life is too short to read bad books," but I still get agita over leaving one unfinished.  I actually "gave up" my first two books, ever, this summer, because they were both very long and getting quite painful (1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and Middlemarch by George Eliot).

2. I gave up on Middlemarch by George Eliot.  Book connoisseurs the world over are writhing in agony at this confession.  In my defense, I tried to finish it for almost a YEAR!

3. I staunchly resisted the idea of an e-reader for a very long time, insisting that nothing could be better than a real, honest-to-goodness, book-smelling book.  Then my darling husband gifted me with a Kindle in May 2011, and I saw the light.  Real books are still amazing, but my Kindle is basically a third arm at this point.

4. This is my only confession that borders on criminal behavior, but hopefully the statute of limitations is up.  In my book collection are at least 3 books that somehow made their way to my home, but may or may not have originally belonged to my high school.  What can I say?  We had really good reading assignments in high school, and I didn't have a lot of money for books back then.  **hangs head in shame**  If Mrs. Roth is reading this, I apologize and beg for mercy in the name of good literature.

5. I won't take the Borders Rewards key fob off my key ring.  I CAN'T DO IT.

6. If my son grows up and doesn't enjoy reading for fun, I will probably feel a little bit (a lot?) like a failure.

7. I do not care if people have different reading tastes than I (heck, go forth and READ, I don't care if it's a shampoo bottle), but I have made an exception for 50 Shades of Grey.  I've read enough excerpts, reviews, etc. to know what I think of it.  And if this ranks up there on your list of favorite books, you can rest assured that I am silently judging you.  It's not so much the content (though that's part of it)--it's the writing.  'TIS SO BAD.  I could go on about this, but I'll spare you my standard diatribe.

8. There are many things that scare me about death, and one of them is the fact that I have 616 books on my TBR list.  There are few moments more depressing than when you realize you will never READ ALL THE THINGS.

9. I have had late library fees exactly twice in my life (both times in the months shortly after my son was born--not a fast reading period for me).  In each instance, I brought the book back as soon as I could, and paid the fees that very instant.  One time the librarian said, "You know you don't have to pay right now, right?"  I said, "YES I DO" with a terrified look of shame, and handed over my 50 cents.

10. I have read while driving in traffic before.  (Hey, at least it was heavy traffic...)  In the same spirit that Mythbusters tells their viewers not to try this at home, I do not recommend this.  Audiobooks are an admittedly safer alternative, but you know, I get desperate if I don't have one available.
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