This past week, I wrote an article for The News-Letter about Haruki Murakami’s book Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I wrote the article intending it as a simple “Lit Bit” book review with a simple opening and closing introducing it as a book I chose to read over the summer that opened my thoughts.
After I finished my hurried writing, however, my mind was stuck on the idea of what summer reading was supposed to be. In my article, I had taken for granted the idea that beach reading should be “light.” It shouldn’t be difficult, and we should be able to finish it quickly. But why should more challenging reading not be enjoyable? I was reminded of John Green saying that he didn’t understand why we were willing to spend endless hours trying to complete a single level of Angry Birds but refused to voluntarily pick up a long book. He makes a good point.
And then, of course, my mind, in its endless love for allusions, flashed to Hermione crashing an enormous tome down on a library table in front of the boys, saying, “I checked this out weeks ago for a bit of light reading…”
I find myself agreeing with her death glare. Why should something easy and less interesting or applicable to my life be better? If I am happily simmering on the sand on the breaks between wonderfully exhausting myself in the ocean, why wouldn’t I also want the same for my mind? I started to wonder if it wasn’t better to exercise my mind with something rewarding and delighting, something like Murakami.
I’ve attached the article both as a recommendation to read Murakami and as a demonstration of the point of embarkment of this new train of thought. What do you read during the summer?
Over the summer I do a lot of reading. I’m not bogged down with readings for class, and becoming absorbed in a novel on the beach gives me a sense of satisfaction and calm that I rarely get during the semester. This past summer I read one of Haruki Murakami’s books, having heard his name quite often but not knowing anything about him. I’ll spare you the hyperbole, but I was shocked.
Murakami is a Japanese writer who began publishing in 1979 and still publishes works today. His books have become bestsellers and award-winners in more countries than just his own. While his novels are originally written in Japanese, they resonate with a broader audience since Murakami was raised with a lot of Western influences on his life, especially in terms of the literature he read.
Murakami’s books have been classified as surrealist, science fiction, magical realism and more. This genre confusion certainly applies to Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which I read. The book is actually so confusing and crazy that giving a summary seems impossible, but I will try to sketch the basic ideas. Read More