An incredible confluence of quantum physics, Zen Buddhism, beauty, tragedy, love, and hope. This is one of those books that came to me at exactly the...moreAn incredible confluence of quantum physics, Zen Buddhism, beauty, tragedy, love, and hope. This is one of those books that came to me at exactly the right time -- without knowing the subject, I picked this book, a book on zen philosophy, and a book on the relationship between quantum physics and meditation. The coincidence in my own life echoed the coincidences in the book and left me with a powerful feeling of resonance with the text. This book has definitely inspired me to read more other work, as well as several of the texts included in the bibliography. This is one that I feel will stay with me long after I finished it.(less)
This book is incredible. I know that it's a classic of modern literature, considered one of the greatest modern novels, and was made into an Acad...moreWow.
This book is incredible. I know that it's a classic of modern literature, considered one of the greatest modern novels, and was made into an Academy Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson, but honestly, I didn't know much about it until I read it. Now, I'm not sure why I waited so long. It's a poignant and heart-wrenching look at mental health institutions that asks fundamental questions about the nature of perception, psychology, and the human condition.
Kesey's hero, McMurphy, is a swaggering, self-actualized gambler with the most symbolic pair of boxer shorts I've ever encountered in literary studies. The view of his character as seen through the eyes of the Chief as he relearns to inhabit his own form is an incredible ride. I really enjoyed the lyrical nature of the text, which was well-developed to walk the line between sense and insanity. It's questionable whether or not some of the patients are truly mentally ill — especially the Chief, who reveals through the story that he has a greater grasp of the situation than anyone around him.
It's disturbing, it's tragic, it's terrifying, but it gives you hope for the future. It was hard to put this one down, and I missed out on a lot of lunchtime chat with my coworkers in favour of laying out in the sun with Kesey's text. This is an incredible, sensitive piece of literature and it deserves all of the accolades it is given. I highly recommend investing the time in this one if, like me, you've somehow avoided it this long. Hell, if you've read it before, I recommend giving it another go — it's really that good. I was really glad to find out that the movie is on Netflix, because if the movie is half as good as the book, it's going to be a sight to see.(less)
I'm not going to lie. I cried like a baby while reading this book, and even when I wasn't bawling, my eyes misted over several times. The story that Sara Gruen weaves here is very good, but the strongest emotional connection I had with this book came with the intermediary chapters where Jacob Janowski is struggling with his day-to-day life as a ninety-or-ninety-three-year-old man in an 'assisted living' home. I came to dread and relish each one of these short, connective chapters as the book progressed, because they hit very close to home. It has been over a year and a half since my grandfather passed away in the same type of facility, but Gruen's portrayal of the human condition as we age was so sensitive and honest that it consistently broke my heart in the most beautiful way.
The circus story was almost as satisfying, and I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of historical accuracy the story gave. I've been interested in circuses and sideshows in a glancing way for years, and everything about this story rang true.
Once I picked the book up, I found I didn't want to put it down. I stayed up long into the night, and burned through it in two days. This book is highly recommended to fans of historical fiction, romance, or just anyone who is interested in the human condition as we age; really, that should be everyone! I can't believe I didn't read this book before now.
Now, the question is could I ever stand to watch the movie? Sight unseen, I can't fathom the casting choices. I think the Jacob and Marlena in my mind are better left unsullied by R. Pattz and Reese Witherspoon...
I really like the concept behind this book; it's the way that it carries off its point that I'm not sure of. Human cloning and organ harvesting is a r...moreI really like the concept behind this book; it's the way that it carries off its point that I'm not sure of. Human cloning and organ harvesting is a rich issue to draw from, and it marries nicely with the British-boarding-school genre of literature. I'm just not sure that the novel every truly finds its footing; it probes the lives and feelings of a triangle of friends, but the attempts often seem feeble, rather than delicate. The triangle never feels quite passionate enough, and the climactic reveal is so clearly seen coming that it was hard to even feel the disappointment of the characters. Overall, I'm not sorry that I read the book -- however, it really only succeeded in making me long for more literature that examines the concept of human cloning, but with more success.(less)
I'm officially in love with Haruki Murakami. I'll admit that his subject matter makes me just a tad uncomfortable at times (sexual relationships betwe...moreI'm officially in love with Haruki Murakami. I'll admit that his subject matter makes me just a tad uncomfortable at times (sexual relationships between teenagers and adults seem to pop up in every novel of his that I've read so far), but the way that he handles taboo subjects strike me as part of his charm. Murakami writes with a beautiful understanding of the human condition -- whether he takes a voice that is male, female, young, old, or anywhere in between, I find that I empathise with these characters, because they are so fully realised.
Kafka on the Shore is a nuanced and layered novel, which delicately winds its way around the relationships between its varied characters. It follows two major characters: Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old runaway, and Nakata, an elderly man with unusual abilities. In traditional Murakami style, their parallel paths overlap in details, without requiring the narrators to interact directly. The structure and language of the novel consistently demonstrates that Murakami has absolute control over his story, and he is keenly aware of the implications of his style. One of the aspects that I most enjoyed was his use of second person narrative at key points in the story -- it was very striking to suddenly read the text as if I were the character.
Murakami is a true modern master of storytelling, and I can see myself reading this particular novel again and again in the future. I think he may be quickly rising in the ranks of my favourite authors; I can't wait to read more of his work!(less)
Absolutely incredible. Butler is direct and uncomplicated in her voice, but her narrative is so richly layered that you can become lost in the implica...moreAbsolutely incredible. Butler is direct and uncomplicated in her voice, but her narrative is so richly layered that you can become lost in the implications of her work; I mean that in a good way. She tackles race relations, gender issues, politics, legal systems and economic relationships -- pretty much everything under the sun -- in a seamless and entertaining way. I can't wait to read the rest of her work.(less)