Read this for my Composition II class this Spring Semester and I have to day that I feel as if I've definitely eGoing to give this the rating of 3.5.
Read this for my Composition II class this Spring Semester and I have to day that I feel as if I've definitely enjoyed the read. It wasn't super exciting, nor did it have a particularly strong plot. In fact, The Joy Luck club itself is mentioned only a handful of times. This novel is about several women and their relationships to themselves, their heritage, their mothers and their daughters; above all other things this a story about the connection between mother's and daughters.
We are introduced to four mothers who were born and raised in China. Do to different circumstances each of them have married and immigrated to America where they live in San Francisco. However, the lessons and experiences that they have endured throughout their own childhood has made them "distinctly Chinese", as they put it. They still practice and adhere to many cultural practices, as well as ways of thinking, that they have developed through childhood. This makes it a struggle for these mothers to properly connect and understand their daughters. Their daughters, who are physically all at least half-Chinese, have known nothing but America all their lives. So, while they make speak a few words of Manadrin, they are "inside" completely American. One mother goes so far as to say that her daughter could dress in completely Chinese clothes and walk down the streets of Shanghai, but the Chinese would still recognize her as an outsider.
It's this cultural gap that often causes the conflicts between these women and we are given glimpses into not only their adult lives, but their childhoods as well. There is no overwhelming tension or climax to this novel. It is just a series of interconnected stories, constantly linking the women to their culture and their parentage and their children.
I actually really enjoyed the read. I'm a big fan of Japanese and Chinese focused literature, but this is one of the most modern set one's I've read. Usually you catch me with something like The Shogun by James Clavell or The Secrets of Jin-Shei by Alma Alexander. However, Tan's story was very enjoyable and actually really relaxing. I definitely recommend it, but don't look for the "AH!" factor because you're going to find an "Awww..." factor instead. This is a book for the heart, not for excitement....more
Okay, I just finished this book exactly thirteen minutes ago so bear with me as my emotions and thoughts are extremely raw on the subject.
I picked upOkay, I just finished this book exactly thirteen minutes ago so bear with me as my emotions and thoughts are extremely raw on the subject.
I picked up this book January 13th at my campus bookstore. I was waiting in a 45 minute long line to purchase my text books for the Spring semester. Now, unfortunately, the store doesn’t always contain a decent amount of literature that’s not school based. However, as I was passing one of the many shelves, shuffling forward in my line like so many people before and after me, the spine of 1Q84 caught my eye. I had heard the name in passing once or twice before, but several months back Reddit had blown up on the subject. As someone who had not read the book I didn’t participate in the conversations. I’m also not one to avoid or seek out controversial books or subjects. The moment I picked that book up to read in line, though, I knew I was going to buy it. Because at just the right place, at just the right time, the book and I had found each other.
1Q84 switches most commonly between two main characters: Tengo and Aomame. Aomame is a fitness instructor who is especially considered at finding the vital points on a Human’s body. She uses this skill of hers to helps men who have commited violent crimes against women to… “move on to other worlds”; she is hired by a wealthy dowager to do this and her gay, highly skilled body guard, Tamaru. Trust me people: You do not want to fuck with this guy here. On a particular mission she finds herself somehow crossing from the Japan of 1984 to a world that is distinguished by the two moon’s hanging low in the sky. Aomame calls this world 1Q84. How she gets here, how she gets back, and how does she live her life in this strange new world are questions she must face. In the mean time, she does what she has always done: her job.
And then there is Tengo. A part-time math teacher at a cram school he aspires to be a novelist and is on friendly terms with a magazine publisher, named Komatsu, who is overly fond of making calls in the wee hours of the morning. Komatsu finds him a gig: illegally ghostwriting (or rather editing) a manuscript for a seventeen year old girl. Fukada Eriko, or better yet Fuka-Eri, is dslyexic and yet she has managed to poorly written story that will shake the very foundations of Tengo and Aomame’s reality. As Tengo edits, writes, and fleshes out the story she’s provided for him, he to realizes that things are not quite as they seem. He looks in the sky and he, too, sees the sister moons hanging in the sky. Tengo realizes, as Aomame did, that he has arrived in cat town.
How they got there, what this world means—Fuka-Eri and her novel, Air Chrysalis, stands at the center of this complicated tangled web of a world that Aomame and Tengo have been drawn into.
This was my first Murakami book and after doing some research apparently it is strongly recommended that you not start with 1Q84. I can see why, but at the same time I’m glad I did. This novel was not light reading, every word felt like it had weight and significance. Murakami’s style is definitely something that I had to adjust to myself. I’m not sure if it was the translation of it that carried that distinct tone or otherwise, but it was not quite like anything else. I quickly slipped into it. There were two things that I noticed though. The first being that Murakami likes to have his characters repeat themselves.
Example: “It’s just no longer relevant,” Komatsu said. “It’s just longer relevant,” Tengo repeated back to him.
There were a couple times where that really stuck out like a sore thumb, but otherwise it just starts to blend in with the text. So, while it was noticeable and fairly common, it wasn’t really irritating to me. The second thing was the sex. Oh man, there was a lot of sex and just sometimes references to boobs, balls, scrotums, and pubic hair in general. The book wasn’t a porno, but it took the nature of Human sexuality and, perhaps even a spiritual aspect of it, to a raw level for the reader. I was really surprised at the amount, maybe because of how easily the author used it in comparison with many western writers. Once again, though, this wasn’t irritating, just astonishing and curious.
Overall, I would say the book was great. I strongly recommend it, but it does seem like one of those books that just has to come to you at the right times. The writing style was enjoyable, but it felt like a dense read. I enjoyed myself, but it also felt like it was really stimulating my thinking process. There were so many plotlines and so many interconnections that I began to notice as the book went on. A tiny, miniscule detail that may had been mention two hundred pages back suddenly slips into the text, making itself known, and giving you a feeling of déjà vu. You can never be sure what exactly some of these details and plotlines truly mean, but I strongly believe that Murakami left it in the hands of the reader to decide what was what.
I think these quotes best sums up my feelings on this:
“It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.”
“If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation.”
The only real complaint I have is that I was not a big fan of Ushikawa’s chapters in Book 3. I read them, and understand what they were meant for, but I just wasn’t fond of the man. Not that many people are. It was a solid book that was more about the journey than the ending. I had many questions left over, but they didn’t bug me. The book left me with a distinct feeling that I was given a glimpse into another world that was continuing far long after “the end”.
I am definitely going to be reading more by Murakami in the future. ...more
Wow, what a book! I'll give the usual heads up before you go on reading, there will be spoilers but I will make sure to mark and hide them all as I doWow, what a book! I'll give the usual heads up before you go on reading, there will be spoilers but I will make sure to mark and hide them all as I do this review so you can enjoy the review without ruining the book! Let me say that the anticipation for this book, for me, was big but not huge. I first came across the Percy Jackson books when I was in my first year of college and all of the books were already out. I devoured them in days and fell in love. They're not challenging reads, you won't stretch your mind here, but they're fun and lighthearted. If books were food I'd compare the Riordan books to chicken noodle soup, mac n cheese, or another comfort food--good for the soul. That being said I did learn a bit about some more obscure Greek mythology, which is really fun considering I know quite a bit about it. So, how did the final book in the series compare? Pretty well!
The last two books in the series I've felt kind of iffy about. They did not seem quite as energetic as I'd have liked, but in hindsight I probably should have appreciated them more and do plan to read the series again as one complete whole. In The Blood of Olympus, Riordan does as he does best. He places are characters in impossible situations and gives them opportunities to sink or swim. Riordan also did a very good job at focusing on characters that could have been assumed as secondary, while still keeping plenty of action towards the main group. I absolutely loved the attention paid to Nico and Reyna, who are now two of my favorite characters.
(view spoiler)[Nico's ability to shadow travel? Bad ass. In fact, everything about Nico suddenly developed into bad-assery. I also liked the relationship that he developed with Reyna. It gave him the opportunity to have a big sister again, and gave Reyna the opportunity to be a big sister, which I think she greatly enjoyed. For a brief moment I thought that maybe Riordan was going to pair them up romantically, making Nico bisexual, but the more I read about the two of them the more it clearly developed into a familial bond. I also felt relieved that this, and his relationship with Hazel, seemed to help him accept the death of Bianca more. I half expected her ghost to show up at some point, to either help him gain closure or hinder it, but meh! Everything worked out as it should. I also thought his revealing his secret to Percy and Annabeth at the end was fairly funny. Oh! Did anyone else think that he and Will Solace might develop a thing for each other? Just food for thought..
I was a little disappointed with Orion. I kind of hoped for something a little more dramatic, maybe more towards the end, but ultimately he served his purpose which was to give us an inside look at the praetor. You also get a better look at the ghosts that are, quite literally, haunting Reyna and how she's developed into who she is. A very sad, but necessary story. Without it I would have hardly took much thought about Reyna's involvement. At least not in depth. I liked her connection with Lord Pegasus, too, and the other Pegasi. I thought it was great how they respected her for having to put down her beloved horse because of his sickness and injuries. My heart went out to her as someone who's had to recently put down my beloved cat and best friend for being sick. My only question was... Whatever happened to Black Jack? You read that he's surviving with Reyna's help during the battle but, unless I accidentally scanned over a sentence, you don't hear about him afterward. (hide spoiler)]
Meantime, the main group is of course getting plenty of action. Percy, Jason, Piper, Annabeth, Hazel, Frank and Leo are still trying to prevent the Earth Mother waking, weaving their way through the ancient lands to Athens.
(view spoiler)[And what a great job they didn't do, haha. There adventures on the way to Athens were fairly amusing; I especially loved the chapter with Percy's godly sister Kym. I was extremely amused by Jason's promises of honor and, especially, fear. He did an excellent job haggling and I was left grinning at the end of the chapter. Very cool goddess, I especially like her. I also thought it was amusing how Zeus seemed completely thrown off when Jason later mentioned her. Zeus: "Kym--what?" Poseidon: "Er... She's one of mine."
Riordan did a good job at showing Percy's and Annabeth's PTSD regarding their time in Tartarus which was just what I was wanting. I would have been miffed if they had come through all that and been all bright and chipper constantly as if none of that had happened. Hazel seemed to take a back seat for most of it, being involved but not getting a great amount of attention. I wish she would have had more time at the center stage. Frank's grown into a badass legionnaire and Piper's done an excellent job at breaking away from the typical Aphrodite mold. I especially like how Riordan remembered the little story about Piper being named as such because her grandfather thought she'd be able to mesmerize even snakes. Awesome, really awesome!
And they arrive in Athens. What do they do? They wake up the Earth Mother. BECAUSE OF YOUR NOSEBLEED PERCY! Shame, shame. Granted I do agree that there were other things to worry about, but still tsk. While Reyna and Nico are uniting the camps, Percy's group are now battling giants. With who? Gods! Lots and lots of them! It was a pretty bad ass scene and had me laughing in multiple spots. I especially loved Aphrodite's moral support during the fight: "Yes, very good! You're doing beautifully, dear!" Ultimately, Gaia woke up as we knew she would and it came down to the final battle. Zeus smacked them all, literally, back to camp and the fight was on!
Though the final battle was awesome in itself, I did feel as if it were a little anticlimatic. Since the beginning of the series we're always faced with the terrifying prospect that once Gaia wakes, shit is really going to go down. And while some of it does, in actuality the battle only lasted a handful of chapters. It was intense, but short lived. I especially liked watching the Romans getting into battle position and meticulously slaughtering their enemies; felt like I was reading a portion of 300. Well, Gaia is destroyed thanks to Jason and Leo, who had been taking a sneaky back seat to most things during the story. Gaia is defeated, the Romans and Greeks are united--"VICTORY TO THE GODS!" as Nike would scream--and only one death: Leo's.
Granted he died in a very heroic way, and it served it's purpose. He was revived with the physician's cure and when he woke again, he was united with Calypso. A beautiful, happy ending. (hide spoiler)]
I would have liked an Epilogue chapter of sorts, talking more about their adult lives later down the road, but the small glimpse we had was good too!
And the best part? Riordan's coming out with a new series! Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Sword of Summer Hell to the yah? Any relation to Annabeth? Can't wait to find out!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Read this while doing research on Hokusai and his "36 Views of Mount Fuji". While it has some good information and people pieces of art work, I wish tRead this while doing research on Hokusai and his "36 Views of Mount Fuji". While it has some good information and people pieces of art work, I wish there had been analysis and criticism of the art, so I could better understand the style of this great artist. Very interesting to read none the less....more
A beautiful book for cat lovers and philosophers alike. The artwork is absolutely beautiful and the proverbs that come along with it are excellent. ThA beautiful book for cat lovers and philosophers alike. The artwork is absolutely beautiful and the proverbs that come along with it are excellent. There's real depth here and much to leave you thinking on despite it coming in such a small, cute book. I'll be going back to this book many times if only to remember that sometimes it's best to think like Philosopher Cat. ...more