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.
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
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 4th July 2017
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Horror, Gore, Peter Pan
“There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.”
I’m so glad that this book lived up to my high expectations for it, it was everything I wanted and expected it to be. A dark retelling of the story of Peter Pan, but from Captain Hook’s perspective back when he was Peter’s original Lost Boy. Peter is shown to be an extremely selfish attention seeker and thinks of the boys he takes from the real world as nothing more than amusing playthings to go along with his adventures and entertain him, if they no longer amuse him or become a nuisance he simply finds ways to get rid of them and replace them with more boys.
I felt truly sucked into this lost island and had a constant feeling of dread throughout reading, getting attached to characters and knowing more than likely at some point they will die. Plus the plains are filled with huge spider monsters called the Many-eyed which are just terrifying.
Peter’s idea of fun is ‘raiding’ the pirates which is effectively having children turn into vicious murderers or if they arn’t strong enough they will simply be killed themselves. Peter also likes the boys to partake in ‘Battles’ where they are pitted against each other to ‘practise fighting’ but ultimately some boys end up seriously hurt or he will even have them fight to the death while he watches.
I don’t want to go much more into the plot but this is a must read for any fans of dark retellings, it is gritty and gruesome and I loved it.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Disclaimer: I didn’t do my O.W.L.s but have decided to do the NEWTs magical readathon anyway cos why not? It is hosted by Book Roast and now that I’m a “Booktuber” and plan on filming casual reading vlogs anyway I thought that it would be fun to participate in a reathathon too.
I decided to choose the HERBOLOGIST career and here are the prompts I need to fulfill for that along with the books I chose:
A. Listen to an audiobook: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
E. A book between 350-390 pages: Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan
O. A book with a flower on the cover: The Key by Junichiro Tanizaki
A. Friend’s favourite book: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
E. Hogwarts house colour (green): Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Care of Magical Creatures:
A. A book starting with A: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
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.
Spare and Found Parts
by Sarah Maria Griffin
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 4th October 2016
Keywords: YA, Sci Fi, Prosthetics, Frankenstein, Dystopian, Steampunk
“Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.”
After reading Other Words for Smoke earlier this year and loving it I decided to read Sarah’s previous book! I obviously went into this with pretty high expectations and although I do personally prefer Smoke, this was a solid read and one I really enjoyed.
Sarah seems to have a knack for making her characters very relatable with the way she describes feelings and passions, I found myself relating to how Nell felt quite a lot and the other characters were very unique, each showing their personal strengths and faults.
It was fun and heart breaking slowly unraveling the worlds and Nell’s past, most of which I didn’t see coming. The character that comes into the story in the second half of the book I absolutely loved and seeing the unique relationship evolving with Nell, I was happy with how the story concluded.
A must read for fans of dystopia style settings and those interested in the evolution of technology, AI in particular, and the possible negative effects it can end up having on humanity.
My rating: 4/5 stars