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Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Time to Read - a Time to Write






January has passed by in a heat haze of demand and grind, so much so that I’ve barely had any time to write either fiction or reviews. If time were a book the January chapter would have to be speed read because reality is just so demanding. As Damon Albarn once noted - modern life is rubbish.

Luckily enough moments to read still present themselves on the train and at work-time lunch. Recently I’ve read No Certainty Attached - a fine Steve Kilbey biography; Shirley Hazzard’s highly literate The Transit of Venus and I’m one hundred pages from finishing Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, which is like being caught in a medieval mudslide. My thoughts about these books will emerge eventually.

Meanwhile I’m having nearly a week off work to go south of Perth to rest and relax by the beach. I’m taking with me Haruki Murakami’s last book - 1Q84. I’m finally in the mood to read his book after having bought the hardback edition over a year ago. It’s going to be great to reconnect with Murakami. About five years ago I had become quite jaded with the books I was reading. Fortunately I stumbled across his novel Dance Dance Dance at my library and it totally reinvigorated my reading experience.

So Murakami, I’ll be immersed in your weird world again and at night I’ll dream of being trapped in a library labyrinth whilst library patrons pursue me asking unanswerable reference questions, their mouths leaking words that pool on the floor until I’m swimming in them. Well, hopefully I will not have that dream again; instead I’d like to dream about books and wine… 

8 comments:

  1. I'm yet to read IQ84. I went on a massive Murakami jag a few years ago but then became disenchanted after Kafka on the Shore. So i'll be interested to hear what you think of this one. I might be persuaded to return to Murakami...

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    1. Hi Annabel - I noticed that you really enjoyed the writers festival. I've read the first two books of 1Q84 and have enjoyed it so far - it's typical Murakami. I'll write about it when finished. I stopped at the third book so I could start a book club book - Crossing to Safety - totally different!

      Kafka on the Shore was a bit by numbers...

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    2. I'm also reading Crossing to Safety for my book club at the moment. Good to hear your comments on IQ though.

      I felt like Kafka on the Shore was almost written by a different person. Then I saw it had a different translator to all the others I had read and I think that made all the difference. It drove me crazy how it kept talking about 'taking a dump' - what a flaw to introduce such a blatant Americanism into a translation from Japanese - it shows a lack of respect for the process, I think. Or an ignorance of the fact that 'American' is not English.

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    3. PS And yes, I had a wonderful time at the Writer's festival. Did you see many things?

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    4. We've often talked about translations in our book club - it can make all the difference.

      No I didn't get to anything at the writers festival - a combination of laziness and business.

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  2. I'm having the same "modern life" issues this year. Bah.

    It's really odd - I saw someone on my train the other day reading Dance Dance Dance - and now you've mentioned it too, it's got me wondering. I haven't read any Murakami at all and I've been wondering where to start. Any thoughts?

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    1. Well Dance Dance Dance is a great place to start - it's an earlier book of his and it's so refreshing. Don't start with 1Q84 - you need to warm up first. The Wind up Bird Chronicle is amazing - but pretty intense, it might scare you off! It's amazing though. Norwegian Wood is beautiful - totally his style but unlike his other books in subject matter - it's pretty straight. Hope that helps.

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