I liked this book quite a bit, as it has just about everything I look for in a novel - memorable characters, an original and imaginative premise, viviI liked this book quite a bit, as it has just about everything I look for in a novel - memorable characters, an original and imaginative premise, vivid imagery, and overall gutsy storytelling. I thought the pace was appropriate, given the epic scope of the story, but without feeling overly long. It may seem odd for an Englishman to chronicle American beliefs (and lack thereof), but as an immigrant in a land of immigrants, that turns out to be fairly apropos to the story. Reading this book also ended up being quite intellectually stimulating - I ended up reading quite a few Wikipedia pages in order to keep on top of the dizzying array of theological entities who played a part in this story. I would, of course, recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good epic....more
Tucker Max is deplorable. And hilarious. This is required reading for all college-age young women to show that there are a lot of men out there who arTucker Max is deplorable. And hilarious. This is required reading for all college-age young women to show that there are a lot of men out there who are just horny assholes....more
I forgot to review the 4-Hour Body, which is unfortunate because I liked it quite a bit more than the 4-Hour Work Week, which I didn't find very practI forgot to review the 4-Hour Body, which is unfortunate because I liked it quite a bit more than the 4-Hour Work Week, which I didn't find very practical. To me, the difference is that success in 4HWW seems to depend a lot on luck and financial situation (I have a family and a mortgage, so many of his suggestions are not for me). But everyone has a body, and probably something they don't like about it.
The primary theme here is experimentation, and it's worth reading the sections that interest you, usually with a grain of salt, and doing some further research (or, depending on if it's potentially harmful, just trying stuff) to fine-tune his advice to suit you. While I'm still wary of his methods in general (not everyone has the self-control or awareness to experiment with exercise or diet without hurting themselves), I generally found the advice in the book to be mostly useful....more
My first foray into the fiction of Haruki Murakami is his immense 900+-page magnum opus, 1Q84. I've been anticipating reading it since I saw it featurMy first foray into the fiction of Haruki Murakami is his immense 900+-page magnum opus, 1Q84. I've been anticipating reading it since I saw it featured prominently on every bookstore I visited in Japan in 2009. It's a difficult book to review, because describing much of anything would reveal spoilers, and because of the cultural differences between Japan and the West.
At the end of the day, 1Q84 is a love story between two disconnected, lonely Tokyoites: Aomame, a gym instructor who has a special talent, and Tengo, a middling cram school instructor with aspirations of being a novelist. Their stories are told in two alternating, sometimes non-sequential narratives. There is a memorable supporting cast of characters, murder, conspiracy, a creepy cult that evokes Aum Shinrikyo, and increasing evidence that our protagonists have stumbled into a realm where things are not as they seem at face value, and logic and reason have no weight.
The reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are fairly divisive - there are those who found it brilliant and an evolutionary leap, and those who detested it and felt cheated. I have to say I find myself sort of in both worlds (if you know what I mean). In many ways, the reaction to 1Q84 reminds me much of fan reaction to later seasons of the TV show "LOST", particularly the finale. There is strong character development, overwhelming forces in play that seem determined to divide our couple, metaphysical and supernatural events that casually seep into what, on the surface, is "reality." Unfortunately, there are also repetitive sequences and many more questions than answers. Ultimately, though, this is the story of its protagonists, Tengo and Aomame. They were inserted into a narrative, their story arc does have a definitive ending, it's not just THE tidy ending Western audiences have come to expect. Lastly, some story elements are so, well, Japanese, I feel like some readers will find it difficult to relate to.
It's a bit ironic that a this book contains a plotline about a literary editor, since 1Q84 probably could've used more judicious editing. It's overly long, as mentioned repetitive at times, and it's biggest flaw is that it's main antagonists, the mysterious Little People, are never clearly fleshed out. It was very challenging to stay with the book, since it takes a couple hundred(!) pages to reach a full throttle. However, I found it rewarding to stick with the novel, particularly the third book, which creates tension by breaking the established narrative pattern, and nearly every chapter ends on a cliffhanger.
It's hard for me not to recommend 1Q84 - it's audacious, challenging and ambitious fiction. But it's not perfect, and it's clearly not for everybody. In my opinion, my patience was rewarded. Also, I wholeheartedly recommend reading this on the Kindle, lest a 900-page hardcover fall on your face while you try to read it in bed....more