Archive for September, 2006

September Books

These are the September Books, the slightly creepy, fascinating, but ultimately very compelling edition.

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

This book came to me by way of the best recommendation, from my mom. My mother and brother both read it this summer and couldn’t wait for me to read it, now I’m holding it hostage until I give it to my Dad! But enough of the family matters, and onto the book.

Kafka on the Shore is a blend of Japanese and Greek mythology, Murakami takes one of history’s most troubling myths, the story of Oedipus, and blends it with fantastical elements of Japanese storytelling and culture. This book tells the story of Kafka, a young boy who runs away from his home in Tokyo. At first the book seems like another coming-of-age story. But while the book does at times echo that literary theme, it is deeper than the story of Kafka’s adolescence. Murakami takes the story of Kafka, combined with the Oedipal myth as well as a wartime mystery, and turns it into a unique story of society’s outsiders and their feelings. Of those outsiders, the most interesting character in the book is Mr. Nakata, whose connection to cats and Kafka’s fate entertwines with Kafka’s own questioning of his identity. Nakata’s way of speaking and earnest straightforward manner make him very likable, but he complicates this aspect of himself by his run in with Johnnie Walker, an event that puts him on a path towards Kafka. The vivid characters and relentless forward motion of the story leave the reader rushing towards the conclusion of the book while trying to unravel its mysterious elements.

Never Let You Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Instead of drawing on existing mythologies, Ishiguro creates one all his own, and that doesn’t mean it is any less unsettling. In fact, this book is probably one of the most provocative books I’ve read in a long while, mostly by virtue of the fact that Ishiguro’s brilliance sneaks up on you and is surprising in every way.

This book takes place, like many of Ishiguro’s books, in English society, this time at a private boarding school. But this school is not for children who have parents and families, rather it is for a special group of kids who have been bred to perform a specific function for society. To tell you what that is would reveal the central premise of the book, and that would be a disservice to Ishiguro’s precise writing that never fails to get under your skin. Suffice to say this book is one that stays with you for a while, and the moral dilemmas that Ishiguro raises using the interpersonal relationships of the characters are ones that every person should consider.

That’s it for September Books, these two are a good pair to review together, so rather than go any further I will leave it at that.


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I’m baaack

Well, it’s been a while, but I’m back. September books will happen soon, before the end of September, and I apologize if any of my tiny readership missed August books, August was a busy month! I have finally moved into my apartment, and if it is possible to be in love with three rooms, I am. But mostly my work has kept me very busy and the rest of the time I have been either traveling to home or the island, and while it was wonderful, I’m taking September to recuperate!

Anyways, so this marks the beginning of my return to blogging, but I wouldn’t expect anything too different from before, the same old book recommendations, funny political stories and perhaps the occasionally ridiculous story about a celebrity. Okay, back to it!

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