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
The first book I chose for my Japanese Book Club was Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto which I had previously read last year and loved. I figured it would be a good book for people who maybe havn’t read any Japanese authors before (cos they can get a lil crazy), so here is my spoiler review and for anyone who has read the book too, please leave comments for us to discuss!
Continue reading “Goodbye Tsugumi”
As a lover of Japanese authors and Japanese fiction this is something I’ve wanted to start for a while, so here we are.
The basic idea is I post on my blog a book by a Japanese author along with the dates within to read it, giving enough time for you to obtain a copy of the book if it’s something you’d like to join. After the readalong date I will post a spoiler review blog post where we can discuss the book in the comments!
Continue reading “Readalong #1: Announcement”
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
GOODREADS – AMAZON
My Rating: 4/5 stars
‘In a crumbling, seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet, seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother fusses over the off-season customers. When, one night, they are forced to eject a prostitute and a middle-aged man from his room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man’s voice, in what will become the first gesture of a long seduction.
Mari begins to visit the mysterious man at his island home, and he initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure. As Mari’s mother and the police begin to close in on the illicit affair, events move to a dramatic climax.’
Continue reading “Book Review: Recent Reads #4”