Murakami does a picture book! And it's just as head scratchingly weird as you'd expect. After the somewhat disappointing 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru TaMurakami does a picture book! And it's just as head scratchingly weird as you'd expect. After the somewhat disappointing 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki (disappointing by Murakami standards, at least), it was nice to read this short, engrossing, and altogether bizarre tale. This is a great one to read in one sitting, getting lost in the art and design as much as the story itself. Just don't get lost in the library......more
The series really starts to take off here, and only gets better. Ogami's character (and badassery) really get fleshed out here, and many of the storieThe series really starts to take off here, and only gets better. Ogami's character (and badassery) really get fleshed out here, and many of the stories focus more on the point of view of those who encounter him, rather than Ogami himself, and the reader sees just how his legend is spreading, and just how fearful many are of him. We also see Daigoro, the true heart of the entire series, grow and become a more rounded character as well. ...more
This is one of my all-time favorites, and I'm excited to read it again after almost ten years. The only reason for four stars instead of five here isThis is one of my all-time favorites, and I'm excited to read it again after almost ten years. The only reason for four stars instead of five here is that I know it gets so much better. This first volume has a few minor missteps before the series really gets going full-strength, but they're very minor - mainly the authors hadn't quite decided on what type of person they wanted Ogami Itto to be (he's cocky and brash in one story, then stoic and silent the next) - they settle quickly on the stoic, murderous, silent badass pretty quickly though. Recommended for any fans of action, samurai films, westerns, etc. This series was hugely influential in the 70's for both comics and films (if you've seen Shogun Assassin, you've seen this story), and once you start reading it's easy to see why....more
Fascinating and informative, and more than a little terrifying. My only complaint was that it went on a bit long - although the subject matter could dFascinating and informative, and more than a little terrifying. My only complaint was that it went on a bit long - although the subject matter could demand more than nearly 600 pages, it felt like Quammen went off on a few slightly unnecessary tangents. But he's a gifted storyteller who took what could have been a dry presentation of theory and turned it into a detective story of sorts. What is The Next Big One and where will it come from? It's not a question of if, but when, and the where is almost certainly from another animal of some sort....more
Is it possible for a book to be so boring and mundane, that it actually comes out the other side into a triumphant literary feat? Truthfully, I don'tIs it possible for a book to be so boring and mundane, that it actually comes out the other side into a triumphant literary feat? Truthfully, I don't quite know yet, because this is only the first book of six. But after 400 of 2600 pages, I'm thinking the answer is yes. Because as mundane and boring as this book was, for the most part I could hardly put it down.
In case you've missed the literary buzz surrounding this mammoth undertaking of Proustian proportions, 'My Struggle' is Knausgaard's six-volume epic literary biography. Is his life so interesting to warrant six volumes? Not really. But basically, it's that long because he wrote everything down. Like, everything. This book is so densely packed with minute details that it can be a bit offputting at first. (Really, you just spent 10 pages describing you and your brother cleaning a kitchen?) But once you settle into the rhythm, the brilliance emerges.
For me, the mundane details and sheer raw, naked emotion that Knausgaard presents everyday life with is just so familiar that it's nearly impossible not to relate to his struggles, as they were. He doesn't always come across as particularly likeable, but that's yet another testament to what he's doing here. There is no linear presentation of a life, just sporadic bits and pieces that I assume will be filled in later, there is absolutely zero whitewashing of himself or his family (which has caused quite a few problems from what I understand), and there is no destiny he points to, or grandiose thesis or really any sort of agenda, except to present his life & thoughts.
If this sounds like someone with too much time on his hands just published his journal, I can understand the impulse to think that, and it could very easily have come across as such, but fortunately what really makes this experiment work is that Knausgaard is a fantastic writer, and his detailed descriptions and tangents work because of it. He has a knack for making the mundane interesting, somehow.
I would highly recommend this first volume for anyone who's eager to find out what the fuss is all about. I'll likely read volume 2, but as to whether I'll finish this monstrous tome in its entirety, I have no idea. It's not exactly the happiest read, and the meditations on death, family, relationships, etc nestled in between the narrative are not exactly cheerful, but it is absolutely readable. So while it wasn't always fun, Knausgaard has managed to break nearly every rule of memoir writing and literature and, in my opinion, somehow come out the other side triumphant, so it's impressive and worth your time for that if nothing else....more