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July 22, 2015

Grown-up reads


After bingeing on several YA series over April and May, I decided I should try to get back to a more intellectual line of reading. Hence the title.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. A re-read, I talked about here last year. I'd been wishing that I could un-read it so I could read it for the first time again, but a second read after a few months is just as good. You kind of know how the story's going to tie up its threads, so you pay more attention to the finer details of the plot and the clues earlier on. Definitely recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind a long slog through a fat book.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I can't really give away the main spoiler/twist for the book, but it's about a girl who'd spent her childhood as part of a psychological experiment and the long-term effect that's had on herself and her family. I just couldn't get behind the main character - she was a first-person narrator, but she didn't seem to have a personality at all and the other characters seemed one-dimensional too. Very lukewarm about this book.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Set during WW2 and following the story of a girl, who's blind and relocates from Paris to Saint-Malo with her father because of the war, and a German orphan who finds his way out of the orphanage by joining Hitler Youth. I'm not usually one for stories set during the modern wars, but this one's beautiful and a heart breaker. I've seen it compared to The Book Thief due to the context and the magical feeling to the story, but the main difference is that I hated The Book Thief (the most ridiculous metaphors I've ever read in any book). But yes, this one I enjoyed, despite the frustrating almost-but-not-completely happy ending.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Ah. So many Murakami fans out there, so many times I've said I'd read something by him! I picked this one because it's the highest rated of his works on Goodreads, and my friend had bought a copy and I was reminded of it. It's pretty much about a man and the weird stuff that begins happening to him - it weaves in and out of reality and dreams and is generally surreal. I was quite enjoying this at about halfway, even though I didn't understand what was going on. My interest was sustained for another quarter of the book, which is when I usually expect the tying up of loose threads to start to happen and which was apparently not going to happen. I don't mind some unexplained, fantastical plot points (like in The Luminaries), but I didn't get the closure I wanted. I guess I just have certain expectations of what I'm getting when I read a story.

25 comments:

  1. I haven't read anything by Murakami before and I feel like I should, but none of his work particularly jumps out at me right now. Maybe one day! x

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  2. woah, you're really a good reader. I once open a page from Murakami's 1980 or IQ I forgot. And found a grown up scene there, and I think I'm not ready yet to read any of Murakami's books :') well, that's why you titled this post 'Grown Up Reads' :D

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  3. I just found your blog today from Jennie @ Sailboat! I was scrolling through your blog and saw a past post in which you photographed your copy of The Luminaries. I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but it caught my eye, so I searched it up on Goodreads and added it to my TBR. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and All the Light We Cannot See are already on my TBR list as well! I finally finished a book that I'd been reading for awhile, so I decided to give myself a break by reading some YA novels. After finishing four of them last week, I think I'm ready to pick up "grown-up reads" again ^-^ This post is perfect timing! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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  4. I really want to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, a shame you weren't a fan!

    Rachel | www.currentlyrachel.com

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  5. I went through a phase of reading a load of Murakami - but then got bored and had to put it down... I should try again, though, I've heard good things about IQ84.

    Uncia and Tigris

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  6. love this post :)

    http://itsmetijana.blogspot.com/

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  7. Loved the Luminaries, so good! I started We are completely beside ourselves but haven't finished it as I couldnt really get into it either! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

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  8. Thank you so much for the book recommendations. I definitely need to find a few new reads to add to my kindle. A friend of mine has the Luminaries and said it was really strange and not really her cup of tea, but I am still really interested in giving it a go. Will have to check out the other books on this list as well!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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  9. The Luminaries sounds like a very interesting read. I should make more time for reading.

    LUXESSED

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  10. Murakami is wonderful! I haven't read The Windup Bird Chronicle yet, but I highly recommend Sputnik Sweetheart, or A Wild Sheep Chase for something quite surreal

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  11. The Luminaries and All the Light We Cannot See are both on my to-read list. For Murakami novels, I highly recommend both Sputnik Sweetheart and his most recent novel, Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage. I think that both of those might be quicker reads than the Windup Bird Chronicle.

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  12. I'm actually glad to hear you didn't rate We Are All... as a great book as I've been umming and ahhhing over reading it for months.

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  13. I've only read a few of Murakami's stories, but he definitely does have a tendency to leave major things unexplained. I guess that's what makes them interesting, though! I keep hearing about The Luminaries, that one's definitely going on my reading list :)

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  14. Ooh, I have needed some book recommendations,
    so this post is perfect for me.
    Thank you ;)

    la-ailurophile.blogspot.de

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  15. I love Murakami. and I do have We are all Completely Beside Ourselves on my kindle. maybe I get to is this summer...

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  16. I've had All the Light We Cannot See on my radar for a while now. I really must get around to it! x

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  17. Everytime I see a reading list, I realize how badly I need to restock on books. It never fails. I'm especially interested in adding some Murakami to my collection. Thanks for inspiring me to go to the bookstore this summer ;)

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  18. I totally, totally get what you say about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. My sentiments exactly! It is actually my least favourite Murakami so far. "It's pretty much about a man and the weird stuff that begins happening to him - it weaves in and out of reality and dreams and is generally surreal" also pretty much sums up all Murakami's books. But I just really like them. Especially the short stories... if you're feeling daring again to try Murakami I recommend something like "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" (really short stories) or 'After Dark' (somewhat a novella). Lots of loose ends in those too, but in a very pleasant way I think.

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    1. Also, I actually got the Luminaries now, so I all I have to do is start... oops.

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  19. I just joined this cute bookclub that my friend set up on facebook, and I'm so keen to start reading! These books sound great.
    Tegan xx - Permanent Procrastination
    Btw check out my sweet Lightbox Giveaway if you haven’t already!

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  20. Thanks for these! Desperately looking for new books to read. I am reading All the Light We Cannot See right now. Oh no, so don't want to get to the ending now. It is a really amazing book so far!

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  21. Omg yasssss. Ever since I finished university, I've found more time to read at leisure but I'm realising most of the stuff I read is 'insignificant in the literary world/trash' so on my last library trip, I picked up a JM Coetzee novel and I STILL HAVEN'T TOUCHED IT (this was weeks ago). Speaking of Murakami, I've always imagined him as an old Japanese man, so I was pretty surprised when I finally saw a photo of him.

    Anyways, will be checking out The Luminaries!

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  22. Great reads Jane! I am intrigued by the first one - also in need of a big fat book soon-ish :) currently reading Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase and i'm loving it!

    x Sharon

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  23. They sound like such good reads Will check them out, thanks for sharing!

    lifeisashoe

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  24. that's a shame you didn't love that murakami book! i've got that one, the elephant vanishes and kafka on the shore, but the wind-up bird chronicle is the one i haven't read. he's not my fave writer of all time but i did enjoy reading them so if you decide to give him another show i'd say give kafka on the shore a go. it's hard when writers try to write something that's more abstract because it's not always easy to follow but i find the more i get used to their writing style and the more of them i read the more i love them and tend to "get it". i'm not really there with murakami though but sometimes when so many people love a writer it can be worth the perseverance. :)

    jessica - littlehenrylee.com.

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