I loved this book more than I have loved a book in a long time. There are so many things to discuss about this book that I choose it for my first BookI loved this book more than I have loved a book in a long time. There are so many things to discuss about this book that I choose it for my first Book Review at the Paris Public Library on October 4, 2012 at 6:30. This is a short book, so I invite you to read this and come.
I thought I was going to get a "vet returns home" book. I did get that, but so much more. Having grown up on a farm, and in small town, and in the south, this book evoked a lot of memories for me, except through the unique experience, voice and eyes of black men and women. This book reminds me in small ways of Huck Finn, The Color Purple, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It reminds me of stories I have heard right here in Paris, Texas. But most of all, it evokes the full-circle feeling of HOME....more
This book is a symbol of one one of the things I love about book club. I would never have heard about it without it. And although I usually want to reThis book is a symbol of one one of the things I love about book club. I would never have heard about it without it. And although I usually want to read for escape, getting enough real life in my job and my husband's job, I was compelled to read this book and learn more, to put a face on an illegal immigrant and his plight. If you have any feeling on the matter, if you live in this country that is struggling with how to deal wiith this issue, read this book. Yes, all voters and politicians, including the President, should read this book. It won't give you answers, but it will make you better informed about the situation.
The premise is that Enrique is a young boy who longs for his mother. Enrique lives practically alone in the Honduras; his mother illegally migrated to the U.S. in order to help pay for her children's lives in the Honduras. Enrique is desperate to go to his mother but has no money to make the journey, so like thousands of others he rides trains from his country to ours. Pulitzer prize winner, Sonia Nazario, writes about his journey, along with the facts surrounding it. She even rode the trains in the same manner as the illegal migrants, so that she would be able to truthfully write about the experience.
The entire book is compelling, but one of my favorite stories is of Padre Leo in Nuevo Laredo, who is both hated and adored for his charity work with migrants. He says: "Jesus wasn't killed for doing miracles. It was because he defended the poor and opposed the rulers and the injustice committed by the powerful."
Very interesting book, which addressed concerns I have had about wading in the shallows (the net and it's small bits). But somehow this book is reassuVery interesting book, which addressed concerns I have had about wading in the shallows (the net and it's small bits). But somehow this book is reassuring to me. Even if you notice that you are addicted to the shallows, it doesn't have to define you or encompass you. Force down time, read a book, get outside, (and I add, listen to music), and your deep thinking will hum with pleasure.
According to Carr and the research he cites, deep thinking makes us smarter, better at what we are doing, and more empathetic. That is not to say that we can't thoroughly enjoy ourselves in the shallows! We must just watch that it doesn't overtake our lives, and our brain. ...more
Unlike 1984, which is a bad good book, this book is a good bad book. Also unlike 1984, it is a fantasy that is brain candy without much point. There iUnlike 1984, which is a bad good book, this book is a good bad book. Also unlike 1984, it is a fantasy that is brain candy without much point. There is no question that Murakami is an artist (unlike Orwell, who was so passionate about an idea that his terminology survives despite his lack of style). For example, take this description of the heroine's frown:
"Whenever something caused her to frown or grimace, however, her features underwent dramatic changes. The muscles of her face tightened, pulling in several directions at once and emphasizing the lack of symmetry in the overall structure. Deep wrinkles formed in her skin, her eyes suddenly drew inward, her nose and mouth became violently distorted, her jaw twisted to the side, and her lips curled back, exposing Aomame's large white teeth. Instantly, she became a wholly different person, as if a cord had broken, dropping the mask that normally covered her face. The shocking transformation terrified anyone who saw it, so she was careful never to frown in the presence of a stranger. She would contort her face only when she was alone or when she was threatening a man who displeased her."
Now, that is a frown that tells you loads about the heroine, who means business, even though her name means green bean. And while some people have no patience for that kind of description, the rest of us love it, which is why Murakami is a best selling author in Japan.
What fascinates me with this book is the constant Western references -- typical Asian books do not have this, so it is interesting that a Japanese author who was so heavily influenced by the West is such a big seller in Japan. I even think the ending draws largely from a famous children's book. Throughout the book I kept wondering how much of the Western feel was from the translation, verses from the author, so I loved that the audio version includes translator interviews.
And while I am talking about the audio, I must say that the narrators were wonderful.
Frankly, I liked the book. But the US publisher made two HUGE mistakes. First, I hated the graphic love scenes. Was it because I was listening to the book that it felt like erotica? If I had been reading, I would have just thumbed through to get back to the story, except that it eventually became a part of the story. That aspect almost ruined the book for me -- I almost quit reading -- so I warn you not to read the book if graphic sex scenes bother you in the least. The US publishers should have diluted this, or at least warned us about it. I say this with assurance that I am usually not the least frumpy about this sort of thing and have never complained about it in a book review before.
The second mistake was that this book should have been published in series, instead of all together, just like it was in Japan. Americans have too much else to do to read such a thick book, and are more used to the series publishing now anyway. The thickness of the book turns off even the most ardent reader and makes it hard to digest the story.
So, that leaves the "Little People" verses "Big Brother" . Murakami really could have done something with that brilliant idea. What an imagination to come up with something that truly does contrast so well with the Big Brother idea. Of course, I think current days have more to do with Little People than the true year 1984 did -- with the internet I believe we are in a "Little People" age. But even in 1984 there were little people cults that were controlling, so it still could have worked. But he doesn't really develop the idea, so don't expect it, even though the book occasionally evokes 1984, making you expect some kind of dystopian diatribe. In the end, it's just a big little fantasy that has an enticing heroine and hero, who have a problem that needs solving, in a world of two moons that the little people control....more
Fascinating, but (sigh) so far its all about men. Did you know that men and women will read books about men, but most men won't read books about womenFascinating, but (sigh) so far its all about men. Did you know that men and women will read books about men, but most men won't read books about women? Maybe he could write about the psychology of that next time - only then it would not be published. (Sorry, I digress).
It's fascinating, Watson! For example, I now know why I am not a hockey player (this is a real relief, I had been stressing over that one)! And, I feel better about how bossy I am -- I mean, I don't think we'd crash if I were your co-pilot and the pilot needed to be told that he was about to kill us.
And, I feel so much better about the fact that Americans don't excel in Math compared to Asians. I mean, I just thought we were all a little spoiled and lazy, but NOT SO!! Good pick!...more
I didn't want to put this book down last night. The Notebook was such a wonderful book about this from the loved one's perspective; this book is fromI didn't want to put this book down last night. The Notebook was such a wonderful book about this from the loved one's perspective; this book is from Alice's perspective. Very moving. ...more
A book that has been around this long deserves some attention. This book, which explores the theme of life without literature and the education it proA book that has been around this long deserves some attention. This book, which explores the theme of life without literature and the education it provides, concludes that life and relationships are nothing without the ability to get below the surface. The book has lasting power because of that theme. When is too much TV too much? (The same can be said for everything). But it was just weird to read about wall TVs, ear phones, and people getting so involved in a show that they don't care about anything else. Here is one of the quotes that stuck with me: "Nobody listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they are yelling at me. I can't talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it will make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read." I do agree with Bradbury that TV is mindless entertainment that feels real because it is so immediate - it feels like "truth" because it is in control. But reading allows you to experience more and make up your own mind. What do you think? See what he means?