First off, Happy World Book Day! Well it was on the 1st of March but I just found out about it so yeah happy world book day.
So far this year I have started reading six books- I have finished four, still reading one and have given up on another. Let’s go through them briefly shall we?
Murder on the Orient Express-Agatha Christie: I only heard about the book when the movie came out. The film posters looked interesting enough to make me want to see the film. Due to work and life I did not have time to go to the cinema so when I went to the supermarket and saw the book on sale I bought it. I then began an internal dilemma about film and books: Is it better to see the movie before reading the book or read the book before watching the film? I knew if I watched the film first then the suspense would be gone thereby ruining the experience of reading the book. On the other hand reading the book first could build up expectations that the film may not live up to. In the end the decision was made for me when a friend asked me to go watch the film in the theatre. I’m not sure what it was exactly-perhaps the acting or the plot- but I did not enjoy the film and by the time the suspense was resolved I was too tired to care. After seeing the film and not caring for it, I knew it would be a battle to read the book and it was. Eventually I said to myself “no more” and I put down the book.
Born a Crime-Trevor Noah: I bought this book last year when I saw a tweet professing that the book was amazing and made them love Trevor Noah. I must say the book met every expectation I had and then some. It was very easy and pleasant to read; the stories were interesting and recounted in a funny manner. The book also gives an insight into South African culture, particularly during apartheid. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Catcher in the Rye-JD Salinger: I bought this book because it is a classic and as with all classics I wanted to see what the hullabaloo was all about. Just before I started reading it a friend mentioned that there was a link between the book and serial killers. A perfunctory search revealed that the man who murdered John Lennon and the man who attempted to assassinate Ronald Regan both read the book which gave rise to the theory. The book is written from the point of view of its protagonist Holden Caulfield. Even as I read and enjoyed it I knew that a lot of people would hate it and deride its status as a classic. I get it, the book has no purpose; it just follows the ramblings of this teenage boy who thinks everything and everyone is “phony.” I am not too big on books that do not have a clear plot and resolution ( as we’ll see soon) but I really did enjoy reading this book and I especially appreciated the character. I guess what I like about the book was the book is the protagonist and his ramblings. We get into his psyche and are taken on this ride through his teenage angst, his likes, dislikes (there are a lot!), failings, and his own phoniness. This is one of the few times that I actually missed the character when I was done with the book. The way the book is written also adds to its charm. The book kills me, it just does.
Kafka on the shore-Haruki Murakami: Boy o boy where do I start? I first came across the author on goodreads. His name sounded so interesting I had to read something from him. Of course I could not decide which one of his books to get so I saved them all to my amazon wishlist. A few weeks back I saw a comment saying Kafka on the shore is one of the best books they have read so I decided that was a good place to start. I must say I enjoyed reading the book- I was in awe of the writing and the authors imagination. Sometimes I read a book and think “oh I could write a book too“; other times I read a book and think “I will never be able to write anything this good, my imagination does not have the range she could never“. Kafka on the shore was the latter. The book follows two people; a young boy who runs away from home and renames himself Kafka, and an elderly man Nakata who lost his mental acuity in a mysterious childhood incident.
Halfway through the book I realised we were entering Helen Oyeyemi territory of METAFICTION. Whilst I appreciated the writing, I cannot say that I am a fan of books in this genre. Not only is there no clear plot and eventual resolution, the supernatural is casually interspersed with reality and no one bats an eye. In Harry Potter, there is a lot of supernatural things but this is expected and acknowledged. In Kafka on the shore there is a lot that is not explained, so much that I needed to be resolved. The book is not as confusing as Ms. Oyeyemi’s books but I resent the fact that so many strings are left loose. I really am accustomed to traditional story structures where there is a climax and a resolution-I need my closure dammit! I wouldn’t mind so much if it was a regular book like Catcher in the Rye but when you add other-wordly stuff then I require an explanation thank you. Now that I have read Kafka on the Shore I am not too eager to read other books by Murakami but I still have one of his books to read so I’ll have to power through and hope for the best. Kafka on the Shore was a good book and though I did not get the closure I was looking for the stories in the book were beautiful to read.
Another book that I have started (last year) and probably will never finish is Among the Lemon Trees by Nadia Marks. I just cannot get into it. I am currently reading The Millstone by Margaret Drabble and so far it is alright but it falls into the “I can definitely write a book” category,
That’s it for now. Here’s to many more wonderful books!