After Dark

I have found a new favorite author in Haruki Murakami. I stumbled upon him accidentally when the cover of his newest novel was showcased on a graphic design board I follow on Pinterest. The design was nice, but the title is what piqued my curiosity. I have yet to read the novel that first stirred my interest. I’m working up to that one by first reading some of his earlier works. I read a few recommendations around the Internet that I should start with Wild Sheep Chase, so that is where I started. I couldn’t put the book down and I have been greedily reading his books ever since. I do try to put some space in between them. I don’t want to overdose and ruin the effect he has.

Murakami’s writing style evokes such vivid imagery in my mind. I feel like I’ve been drawn into the story every time. He also tackles topics and questions that I ponder myself, but he approaches them in fresh way. The images and thoughts he creates in my mind stick with me long after I’ve finished reading the book. And some of the ideas he presents need time to ruminate – I don’t always know what to do with them at first. They swirl around in my head until they take root and finally connect with something. I like that in a book. I like books that make me think.

And he’s also a distance runner and triathlete. His book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, was a great reflection on running and training and life in general. It was written in such a conversational tone, I felt as if I was sitting down and conversing with him over coffee.

I just finished After Dark. Of course I loved it. It was short novel and a quick read, but it wasn’t lacking in depth and meaning. It also contained some memorable quotes, like this one:

In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.

And this one:

“You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ’em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction–they’re all just fuel.”

It’s hard to pick a favorite. I’ve liked them all so far. Every time I read one, I think it is my new favorite. And then I read another one, and it becomes my new favorite. Hopefully it will continue in this fashion for awhile at least.

****

I’m one book behind on my 2013 reading challenge. The book I’m reading right now, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, is a heavy tome. It’s interesting reading, but there is a lot to read.

So far the reading list goes:

  1. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel (Vintage International) by Haruki Muriakami
  2. Be Iron Fit, 2nd: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness by Don Fink
  3. Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line—and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
  4. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  5. Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory (P.S.) by Peter Hessler
  6. Chi Marathon: The Breakthrough Natural Running Program for a Pain-Free Half Marathon and Marathon by Danny Dreyer
  7. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  8. Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
    by Ken Jennings (Very disappointing book. I liked the idea, and as a fan of Jeopardy, I like the author, but the delivery on this book was off.)
  9. No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko (Recommended by my 12 year-old so I had to acquiesce. It actually wasn’t too bad. It had an interesting twist at the end. I picked up on some clues; therefore, I figured out the twist before it was revealed. My son didn’t figure it out, probably because he has no experience in the matter to draw from. He was surprised by the end. I thought it was still a good read.)
  10. The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear by Seth Mnookin (Highly recommend this book. It details the history of vaccines and their opposition. It also definitely puts to rest the vaccine-autism “connection” – at least in my mind.)
  11. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
  12. After Dark (Vintage International) by Haruki Muriakami
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