Book Review – Anathem by Neal Stephenson

It’s very rare for me to like a science fiction book. 

It is a very long book. It took me two weeks of 2-hour reading sessions every other day. 

The book starts in a world where intellectual people are “collected” to live in monastic communities. The story evolves around a young fraa named Erasmas. Throughout the book, there’s a good amount of discussion on quantum mechanic theories, and philosophical debates.

If you like to exercise your brain cells, this book will make sure you get a good amount of it just by trying to keep up with the events.

I like the book with the physics, the adventure, the mix of appreciation for traditions and creation of new technology. There was a tad bit of confusion when I came across words like ‘saunt’, ‘voco’, and ‘extramuros’. The glossary at the back of the book does come in handy. 

My next book will be Neal Stephenson’s breakthrough – Snow Crash.  

The Things about Murakami, Part III

I finished 1Q84 two weeks ago. I wanted to write something about the book, but holiday season was around the corner, so I took some time off, not wanting to think about books. Boy, it’s hard. Instead of writing what I think about 1Q84, I dove right into “Kafka on the Shore”. I’m nearing the end of this book at the moment.

1Q84’s ending was kind of unexpected of Murakami. Like I said, Murakami writes the book in the view of two different people (or sometimes world), and it will all come together somehow. Unlike his other books that leave you hanging with an uncertain ending, 1Q84 has a happy ending that makes you feel really relieved, but at the same time, it reminded me of many other novels that I’ve read. You know it’s the ending, and you’re happy with it, but then you cannot help but wonder what’s next. It almost makes it kind of normal, not his usual style.

I’ve come to see some similarities in his style of writing with Russian writers. Of course, everyone knows that Murakami is greatly influenced by Russian literature and classical music. But I’ve never been able to finish any classic Russian literature, I always get stuck. They tend to go into minute details and pages long. Murakami does the same thing, even though it’s detailed, but it’s short at the same time. He’s a master of bringing you in and knowing where to stop so it doesn’t drag on.

I’ve read 1Q84 during different times of the day. Sometimes at night, I turn off the light in my room, and pull out my Kindle light. I start reading, and not too long after, I have to turn back on the lights in my room. I feel the chill, the darkness, the emptiness in his books. He brings out the fear in me with this words. Truly brilliant.

Like every other Murakami’s books, I’ll be rereading 1Q84 sometime in the near future, I’m sure.

Let’s talk about “Kafka on the Shore”, shall we?

I’ve read this book five years ago, when I didn’t fully understand the meaning of life. Not that I do now, but I feel like I can relate to this book better now.

There are certain things that make me feel almost ‘normal’ when I read his book. Normal, not in the sense of being like everyone else, but in the sense of realizing someone is feeling the same feelings that I do or did.

Love is one of the subjects touched, I do not think that it’s the main themes of the book. Like in reality, it’s a part of life, and shows how much Kafka grows and ponders the questions that I did for months.

Crow exists in me as well, though I wouldn’t call my subconscious Crow. But everyone has that rational voice, sometimes it can be depressing, sometimes it can be optimistic, and sometimes it just likes to contradict with you. I envy Kafka. Crow seems to be a guidance. If only my subconscious knows what to do with my life.

And like 1Q84, I had to turn my lights on to read this book. The darkness in the forests scare me. I hear sounds too, but Murakami’s words bring them to life in my crazy mind.

The Things about Haruki Murakami, Part II

Yes, I have a thing for Haruki Murakami. His books are my paradise when I don’t have a beach next to my house and Long Islands to sip on.

I finished reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World two weeks ago. I bought 1Q84 the moment I woke up on Tuesday, the day it was released. Sad to say, Work, this terrible flu, and babysitting has kept me occupied. And not being able to stay up later than 10p.m. is kind of a bummer.

Two worlds, that ultimately come together in the end, has been kind of the theme that I see in Murakami’s books. Sometimes, it’s less obvious, like in Kafka on the Shore. There’s the world of the crow, and the ‘real’ world.

When I read his books, there are things that I can relate too. The incoherent mental voices and my life. I feel like I have two worlds – a world that I want to be in, and the world that I’m in. And then I hope the endings are like his books, where both of them merge into one, or are actually one.

And now, to continue working on a Sunday night. Monday Blues is already on me. I need some chocolate, cheesecake and hummus to cure it.

The thing about Haruki Murakami

The thing about Haruki Murakami, you can’t stop living in his words.

Words and worlds are two different entities. You live in a world, but you don’t live in a world of words. You enjoy the words, you feel them, you can almost touch them, but you can’t. Because it’s words, not a world of words. It is intangible.

I spent the last couple of months drifting back and forth among various writers like Murakami, Faulkner, Sartre, Wilde, and Tolstoy. To be frank, I find Murakami to be the most enjoyable.

His choice of words, his first-person point of view, his rants that brings in you, as a reader into the book, and asking questions as if expecting you to answer it, never cease to amaze me. What brings me deep into his books is his way of changing the subject abruptly. The way how only the last two paragraphs relates to the title of the story. Everything else is his rant. And only the last two paragraphs brings you what is going on in the ‘real’ world.

There’s never a straight answer in his books. It always starts of with a mysterious, almost super natural event or person. But the origins of that super natural event or person is rarely explained. It kept me wondering, it kept me reading.

There are so many minute details of the main characters in his books, but their backgrounds or histories are almost never mentioned.

It’s like how relationships start. You jump right in into a person’s life suddenly, never got to know the exact details of his background or history. And you keep wanting to know more, you keep on going, you keep on turning the pages.