Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Recently I've been reading a lot of books that I think I should read but don't actually want to. Important, difficult books. Reading The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett becomes an act of will. Sammy B (as he was never called by anyone in his entire life) was tearing things to pieces. The book is a long monologue by someone who isn't sure he exists. Interesting philosophy? Yes. Entertaining book? No. Then there's The Castle by Franz Kafka. There's definitely a story here - a man is trying to get a job from the mysterious authorities in the Castle, but he's not even allowed to talk to them. In Kafka's case, because of the sheer genius of the man, he got away with dieing before he even finished his books. Which means that no-one had the heart to edit them and take out all the irrelevant bits. It's powerful, but a big investment for something that doesn't even end.

And now, after some time away I realise that it's better to read the books that just tell a good story. Something absorbing that you physically don't want to put down. Where you aren't glancing at the page numbers every five minutes. Thankfully, Murakami can supply this. Kafka on the Shore is a story with characters and everything else you'd expect. No intellectual exercise, no struggle, just a story. And in his own charmingly surreal way. So I'll be reading more of this and less of that. If anyone has any suggestions for some good wordy pages, let me know. I'll need some more to read.


  1. Peter Mayle is one of my favorite easy reads. His plots flow so swiftly and elegantly I can't tear myself away once I start. The characters are all so likable too, it's easy to develop attachments.
    Some of my favorites have been: Hotel Pastis, Anything Considered and Chasing Cezzane.
    Hope this helps!

  2. I read a short story from Hemingway the other day and all I could think was “what an ass!” Maybe I would be smarter if I read Dante’s Inferno and Candide, but reading isn’t like eating your vegetables. You have to be interested in order to take anything away from the experience.

  3. Finished lolita two weeks ago. Incredible use of the englsh language if you want somethat that is pure literature. I thoroughly enjoyed it as there are so many levels to what Nabokov does thoughout. It isn't just about a dirty old man who likes little girls.

  4. I bought a copy of Dante's Inferno the other day, simply because it was on sale at Borders (who were getting rid of all their stock). I also bought a copy of Walter Scotts poetical works...I fully intend to attempt both, buuuttt....not particularly motivated to do soo....

  5. Hahahaha Mobydick!! I honestly couldn't read it, got half way and gave up.

  6. Sydneylk - Like with so many things, I haven't heard of him. I'll have a look.

    Drake - Yeah, I've never been too interested in the 'classics'. I'd even go as far to say I've never really enjoyed Shakespeare. Not really. I think I can get away with saying that.

    Brent - From a time when books could be controversial.

    Titus - Really? A university tutor dismissed it as being 'too long' for us to read. Although, he did mean... in a week.

    Ruth - That's what I mean about the books that become work. Even before you've started them. They might be good though.

  7. Another murakami book i cant recommend enough is The wind up bird chronicle, its also charming, surreal and mysterious.

  8. I didn't care much form Murakami's novels, but I loved his book about writing (and running): "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running."

    For fun reading, recently I've been liking Cory Doctorow, especially his short fiction.

  9. I also read Lolita about 2 weeks ago. Incredible book, if you make it through the first chapters.
    I think I read to many books I "should" read. Many of them are crap. And I'll never understand why you have to read crappy, boring WW2-literature in school all the time.

  10. Kafka on the Shore by Murakami is great, I love how dream-like and open-ended the story is.

    Recommendations, hmm, Catcher in the Rye ? Not that long, one of the more accessible classics. Became an instant favourite for me, didn't matter I was in my late 20s when I found it.

    For entertainment, The Shadow of the Wind is a page-turner, which I try and get everyone interested in ( :