Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: First in 1987
Keywords: Adult, Suicide, Grief, Loss, Japan, Depression, Sex, Romance
“When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.”
This was my 4th Murakami book that I read and I went in with lower expectations as I knew it was just contemporary with no magical elements, I generally find contemporary’s boring but as this is Murakami and this is probably his most well-known book I wanted to read it. It has gone in as my 2nd favourite book by him after Kafka on the Shore which was very unexpected! It’s a fairly depressing book with a major focus on mental health, suicide and depression so at time’s not very fun to read but I couldn’t put it down. It left a very haunting mark on me and I can see it being one of Murakami’s that I read again in the future.
There is also a considerable amount of sex talk and sexual scenes but within this very depressing context, I really enjoyed all of the female character’s and how different they were and how the main character was attracted to them in different ways.
If you’re a fan of Japanese lit in general and for whatever reason havn’t read this one yet, definitely give it a try, it might be a good start for people new to reading Japanese lit too.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Books I Read and Finished in
August + September
Favourite K-Pop Releases in
August + September
I had somewhat of a reading slump after trying to get through Empire of Storms, (Throne of Glass should have ended after Queen of Shadows and that’s the tea). So I decided to check out some graphic novels and manga that I’d been meaning to get to, just so that I was still reading something. Then I moved onto reading some Japanese fiction which is my default go-to that I generally know I will enjoy and it worked! So I finally feel like I’m back into my regular reading habits again. At the end of September I’m currently reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and an eARC of Girls of Storm and Shadow.
So, a little thing known as Classic World of Warcraft came out at the end of August and it has taken up a considerable amount of my time. I was an original Vanilla WoW player back in the day and have been really enjoying revisiting the old world after steadily losing interest in the game after each new expansion pack. another little thing called the Switch Lite came out on September 20th and I picked myself up the lovely turquoise one (yes I do already have a regular Switch), so me and my hubs have finally been able to play Dragon Quest Builders 2 together! (a game review will be up on the blog sometime this month).
I’ve decided to do Blogtober this month so I will be posting everyday in October! I’ll also be delving more into my personal life in posts and now that the kids are finally settling down in school I feel much more relaxed and have some more free time starting this month. I’m going to try and post more on my Bookstagram this month but probably not every day.
Let’s get onto K-pop shall we, October is set to be a busy month for some of my favs with Ateez releasing their first full album on the 8th (how do these guys find time to make music seriously). My favs Nu’est are also releasing a new album on the 21st, don’t know a lot of details about that as yet. TXT should finally be having their first comeback this month after putting it off since August due to illnesses, with BTS rumored to announce their next comeback sometime this month and probably release an album in November.
Lately I’ve been a lot better about buying books and instead reading something that I already have on my TBR shelves. I thought I would give a quick overview of what I have right now and if you spot anything here you have read and recommend let me know!
Books I want to get to soon:
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire – The Wayward Children series is one of my favs and I can’t believe I havn’t read the 4th book yet with the 5th coming out early next year.
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab – I really liked City of Ghosts last year and this sequel has just come out.
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling – This is apparently similar to Wilder Girls with creepy body horror but I have to be in the right mood for it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – A book beloved by many and with her new book coming out soon I wanted to give this a shot.
Haruki Murakami and Yukio Mishima – Slowly making my way through both of their works (that have been translated).
Books I’m not sure about:
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
The Fever King by Victoria Lee
Viper by Bex Hogan
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Are there any books on my TBR shelves that you would highly recommend?
Or likewise not recommend? Let me know! 🙂
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 19th September 2019
Keywords: Adult, Time travel, Grief, Loss, Alzheimer’s
“In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?”
I ordered this book on a whim after seeing it pop up on Amazon and I’m glad that I did! Originally written as a play, this novelisation is charming and precious and hit me right in the feels many times.
This short novel is split up into 4 parts or chapters, each focusing on a different character traveling through time but all of them interconnect, it did take me a while to get all of the characters down as you get introduced to a lot at once.
When you travel back (or forward) you can not change the present so some deem the ability to be pointless, but as we see from this story, it is far from pointless and can still change lives.
I really really enjoyed this and would recommend if you’re looking for a short novel that’s heartfelt with great characters and humour and also tackles some serious subjects.
(Spoiler: there is infact no cat, but there is a ghost woman)
My rating: 5/5 stars
Books I Read and Finished in July
– S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
– The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
– Wilder Girls by Rory Power
– Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
– Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
– Booktube Newbie Tag
– K-pop Tag
– Gut Me
Favourite K-Pop Releases in July
My reading during July plodded along nicely and as expected, I finished reading 4 novels and am currently reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.
I’ve started playing and streaming Minecraft again and I forgot how much fun I have with it, especially now that they have added loads of new stuff.
This month I made more of an effort towards my physical health and lost about 5lbs, not much but it’s a step in the right direction and I’m learning what works best for me.
I also took the scary step of making Booktube videos, I’m already really excited to post more and hope I am able to stick with it.
Here are some of my must-read-as-soon-as-it-comes-out new releases for the rest of this year! Are any of these on your to-read list?
Wilder Girls by Rory Power – July 12th
“It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.“
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – August 15th
“Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed.
When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn’t forget, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?
The Memory Police is a beautiful, haunting and provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss from one of Japan’s greatest writers. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451and Nineteen Eighty-Four.“
Girls of Storm and Shadow – November 5th
This is the second book in a series so I won’t post the synopsis here, you can click the link to Goodreads if you want to read it.
Books I Read and Finished in June
– July TBR
– Mid Year Book Freakout Tag
– Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
– Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto (spoilers)
– ONEUS: Raise Us Album Review
– Me vs. My Friends ft. Lena (BTS Edition)
– Animal Crossing: New Horizons #1
– Hyped YA books I have read
– Books of 2019 So Far
– Aches and Pains
– Alive or Dead
Favourite K-Pop Releases in June
My reading really wasn’t that great in June, I just wasn’t feeling it, and Wind-Up Bird took me so long to finish (not that I didn’t enjoy it, it was just very long and heavy). I’m back in more of a reading mood for July and am excited for my TBR so we will see if this month will be better.
I feel like my blogging kind of fell off towards the end of the month, like my reading, even though it has been the best month so far for view/visits. I’m going to try and post more in July for sure.
My friend Lena picked up a 2DS so we could play Animal Crossing: New Leaf and it’s been really fun playing it again while I wait for the Switch game to come out. I’ve also been constantly playing BTS World since it was launched last week O-O
I’ve decided to casually learn a second language using DuoLingo (I bet you can’t guess which language haha), this is the first time trying to learn a language and actually wanting to do it, rather than being forced to learn German in school which I literally only remember a few words of now. So far so good and it’s actually pretty fun!
I’ve also (very recently) taken trying to lose weight seriously, I really hope i stick to it cos damn I feel like a whale. Will update on progress in next months wrap up and possibly do some posts on it if it goes well.
Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch update:
Looks amazing but got pushed back to March 2020