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
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
"Lifestyles Of The Poor & Fame-Adjacent" would be an excellent alternate title for this memoir. That, or "Name-Dropper" perhaps. Marc Spitz is not"Lifestyles Of The Poor & Fame-Adjacent" would be an excellent alternate title for this memoir. That, or "Name-Dropper" perhaps. Marc Spitz is not a likeable person, but fortunately he's as aware of that as anyone, although not necessarily while certain events are transpiring. I mostly enjoyed this memoir, although it went on a tad too long, and there's plenty of "and then I met this famous person and this famous person" parts that could have been trimmed, but for the most part it's not as unbearable as it could have been. Some of his famous friends that I was more aware of were interesting to hear about, like Josh Charles, Peter Dinklage, and others. And I'll never look at Julie Bowen the same way again, that's for sure.
Ultimately what keeps this memoir interesting is less about what Spitz is up to than how he's seeing himself. He begins a self-inflicted journey to the edge of oblivion mostly because that's what rock stars do, in his mind. He buys the clothes to try and make the man, and although he never becomes a rock star, he does hang out with a lot of them, and even though he's very much the Poseur of the title, he likely comes across as a little more real than other rock journalists.
I read this based on a great interview of the author by Marc Maron, which I would recommend. I would recommend this mostly if you're familiar with him, or very interested in his intentional and self-conscious downward spiral into as much sex, drugs and rock and roll as he can find. Don't let the subtitle fool you - while most of this memoir takes place in New York, there's less about the town and its transition from seedy punk rock haven to gentrified rich hipster paradise than I would have liked....more
The first four stories in this collection, all involving the titual 'Yellow King' in some way or another, are phenomenal, and serve as a great exampleThe first four stories in this collection, all involving the titual 'Yellow King' in some way or another, are phenomenal, and serve as a great example of early twentieth century horror. Chambers influence on the likes of masters such as H. P. Lovecraft are present here. I would highly recommend these first four stories to any fan of horror or so-called 'weird fiction'. These get an easy four stars.
Unfortunately, the remaining stories only served (at least for me) as a demonstration on why Chambers remains a relatively obscure and unknown author. (At least until True Detective came along earlier this year.) These stories are frankly pretty boring, and while a few have a touch of supernatural, some of them are just mediocre short stories.
So, if you're going for this collection, I'd stick to the first four. If you're interested in this collection because of The Yellow King references from True Detective (like I was), then those are the only ones you'll want to check out, anyway....more