Monday 2 May 2016

Things I Read In April

Aprillllll. You were weird and excellent at times, but also really rubbish at others. I got to see some of my favourite people and go to the Kent coast and get unspeakably drunk, but I also celebrated my first birthday with no grandparents and got rejected from a job I kinda wanted and had some emotional messiness going on. I'd love to blame the fact that I didn't read very much on any or all of these things, but whilst being emotional and seeing lovely people does indeed take up some time, I definitely had more time to read than the amount of books I finished suggests.

To be completely fair to me, I am in the middle of approximately 400 books (actual number... about 5 or 6?) so if I had been focused on less things at once I could probably have sneaked another couple in there, but as it is, I just read a modest three books this month, mostly on the train to and from Kent. The books!

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Murakami! One has to treat oneself in one's birthday month, I feel, and what better way to do that than a Murakami? I read this in a couple of days, so obviously I liked it that much, but I also have some qualms. Not qualms, exactly, but little niggles that made it not-quite-perfect for me. So essentially the story follows Tsukuru as he goes back through his past in order to figure out why his friends all stopped talking to him one summer during university, so that he can move on with his life and kind of be a proper person, in the way he hasn't since this happened. It's all good stuff, but the thing is... It wasn't that weird? And I don't mean that as a compliment since we're talking about Murakami. There are elements of oddness and unease as in all his books, but they are also all explained away as dreams or kind of visions or whatever, which made everything less weird than usual. The ending is INFURIATING (but in the way it's supposed to be, which almost makes it better except aghhhh no) and overall I just came away feeling like 'yeah, I liked you... But not as much as lots of other Murakamis'.

But still, it's Murakami so it's better than like 95% of other books.

In The Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
I HAVE REVIEWED THIS ALREADY! See? It's right here. In case you can't be bothered to read it though, essentially it's a very human dystopian tale, it's short enough that you don't mind carrying it on a train, and it's Auster so it's always pretty great. BOOM read it.

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
I bought this book for the title. It's such a good title. I started to read it almost as soon as I got it, but gave up really quickly because I was very tired and it was very very poetical prose. The blurb tells me that Elizabeth Smart had 4 children with a man who was another woman's husband, and By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is essentially based on her experience with that, and I'm glad the blurb told me that because I'm not sure I would have grasped it from the book. What I'm saying is this: This book was beautiful to read, and the sentences are wonderful, but I'm not sure I really grasped the story at any point (sort of like The Great Gatsby, only worse. Or more poetic. Or something). Even now I'm not even sure if I can tell you that I conclusively liked it, and I had the hardest time deciding whether to keep it or not (as part of my strict anti-sentimentality of books policy, I have to decide with every book I read if I'm going to read it again or not, and if not it has to go).

I've kept it because it's beautiful and because I really want to understand what I read. And because dammit, just look at the damn title, I can't even.

So yeah, books! I read 'em. Go me! What did you read in April?


  1. I really liked Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, even though there wasn't any of the usual weirdness. I read it in one train journey up to York last year, I think. This month I finished The Stand, and read Breakfast at Tiffany's and Brokeback Mountain (both, I think, Laura recommendations - I know you bought me the latter) and got 6 books out of the library when I went in for one. I've got a couple of bookshop trips on the mainland planned for my week off this month too. I really need to get on top of my TBR!

  2. I'm in the middle of a bunch of books as well, and I'm kind of dragging on all of them even though they're really good and then I got sick and couldn't read for a bit and NOW it's got me in that really slumpy "Meh, I'll just watch another episode of INSERT PROGRAMME TITLE HERE on Netflix/YouTube/iPlayer/4oD/WatchSeries [delete as appropriate] instead" kind of mood. I started Harry Potter again to try to kickstart myself but I only read one chapter yesterday. Ugh. :(

  3. I appear to be following the other Ellie round blogs today! Anyway, I didn't really get on with Auster when I tried him was the trilogy one that's not a trilogy. I just don't think I understood it properly. I need to up my Murakami reading, I am hopelessly behind (but I think most of his books are now in boxes, waaah).

    I hope May is a better month for you.