This project is so awesome, because it has me reading regularly again, but also incredibly frustrating because I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I’d like. Also: I am on my fifth and final renewal at the library for several books that I haven’t even started yet and the shame is so intense that I feel like it’s going to start manifesting as a big red letter on my clothes. One of the books I’ve been monopolizing is a tarot guide, and I’ve been journaling about cards as I learn them, which is a big reason why I’m taking so long but it’s still like … it has taken me half a semester to learn the meanings for 1/3 of the deck.There’s never enough time to spend on projects/independent learning after college zaps my brainpower!! [STUDIO AUDIENCE BOOS]
COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE – Haruki Murakami
I read Murakami’s 1Q84 the summer before my freshman year of college, which some of you may know as a year I spent a lot (a lot) of time alone. (If you’ve read 1Q84, you know it’s really fitting to read in a time of transition.) Murakami wormed a kind of a special lil place in my heart, not only because his books are surreal as hell but also because I read an interview of his once where he straight up owns the fact that he wrote one of his novels to appeal to a wider audience. Even though he’s wildly popular (both in Japan and in translation), the feel you get when reading his novels gives off more of a cult classic vibe.
I enjoyed this book a lot — it deals with friendship, rejection, solitude, dreams. Music and talent are big reoccurring ideas, especially relating to what makes people unique. The title refers to several characters that have colors as a part of their name, whereas the Tsukuru’s name’s meaning is about making. There’s this idea throughout that people have colors (along similar lines to auras) that are inherent and unique; a big part of the conflict lies in Tsukuru feeling that he has nothing special about him. I’ve known a lot of people who feel this way (and have felt like this myself, at times) so I think the whole “searching-for-your-self / finding yourself” message is an important one to explore.
Also, I know it’s not the point of the novel, but Tsukuru is a civil engineer specializing in railroad stations/rail transportation, so I felt a little tug to him because I’m studying civil engineering.
DAISY FAY AND THE MIRACLE MAN – Fannie Flagg
The story is written as the diary of Daisy Fay, a girl (and then teenager) living in Missisipi; it’s kind of a series of anecdotal misadventures — some of these misadventures were resolved with sitcom-esque hijinks, some by deus ex machina style financial windfalls, like winning money in bingo tournaments.
I’m kinda 50/50 on this one. On one hand, it had some genuinely funny moments, and I tend to really enjoy diary-formatted novels. (I still go back and re-read The Princess Diaries sometimes.) On the other, it was set with this background of casual, 1950’s racism and ableism that made me feel very grimy from reading it. It’s also very clearly a children’s novel, and while I think there are a lot of books written for children that are great for adults also, this one didn’t feel like it carried over that well.
GIRL, INTERRUPTED – Susanna Kaysen
This was a really interesting read; I thought Kaysen’s thoughts on reality, perception, and identity were well composed. Combine this with the kind of darkly comedic style of her anecdotes, and it totally controlled my attention. (I read it in two sittings, even though I typically have to push myself to find enough time to read a book in a week.) I recognize that a book like this can be potentially triggering, because it is a memoir about Kaysen’s time in a psychiatric hospital, but it’s one that I think is well worth a read.
HENRY VIII: WOLFMAN – A. E. Moorat
Basically this book is a supernatural parody of Henry the 8th’s life, which is pretty ridiculous to start with so you can just about guess how it went down after Henry the 8th got turned into a werewolf. There were a couple of spots where it strayed into fuckboy territory (in my opinion, a lot of times when a man writes a scene describing sex/women’s bodies it’s just like [dramatic gagging noise]) but it was a fun read overall; it’s funny and weird, with the humor definitely leaning towards the darker side. It also throws in little anachronistic easter eggs, and it kept my attention pretty well. I’d definitely recommend it if you liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.