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review 2018-06-15 15:54
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World / Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.

 

I’m not sure what to say about this book, beside the fact that it is not really my cuppa tea. Not that I disliked it, I often found it amusing and I easily read to the end, no arm twisting necessary. But it certainly wouldn’t encourage me to pick up more of this author’s works.

It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of things, the chapters alternating between two narrators. Both story lines felt a bit odd to me, despite my love of fantasy fiction. But it was interesting in its nonconformity to traditional fantasy plots. Neither narrator is really very heroic, none of the women are portrayed as serious love interests, the reasons for the adventures are largely undefined, plus there is very little wrap-up at book’s end.

Interestingly, none the characters have names—they are referred to by title (the old man, the chubby girl, the librarian, etc.). Which I guess makes sense, as I assume that they are all parts of the same brain! At least it seemed to me that the point of the book was to explore the idea of the unconscious and how it interacts with the conscious mind.

Pluses? Unicorns! Even if they were kind of sad and decrepit unicorns, they were still unicorns. And who doesn’t love enemies like the INKlings who worship a large fish with violent tendencies? Also, the narrator’s fondness for the librarian. Good taste that.

Book number 287 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2018-06-08 17:42
Reading progress update: I've read 186 out of 400 pages.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

 

Very unconventional and amusing. Not sure how I feel about his female characters, however.

 

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text 2018-06-07 20:10
TBR Thursday
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
The Constant Gardener - John le Carré
Red Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
Dora Doralina - Rachel de Queiroz

I am soooo close to finishing Macbeth by Jo Nesbo!!  This evening I will conquer it, I swear!

 

It's due at the library first.  Then, I'll be working on the books above--I've put them in the order that they are due.  I'll be glad to be caught up and be able to read according to whim, rather than being date-driven.

 

Have a great weekend!

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text 2018-05-17 18:44
TBR Thursday
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
Turn Coat - Jim Butcher
A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge

Wow, how is it Thursday again already?  I've actually felt like doing some houseworky type things this week and haven't read as much as usual.

 

So I'm circling back to read some library books that I've had out for a while:  Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Lion in the Valley, and A Curious Beginning.

 

Then, I plan to have some fun with Turn Coat.  Two more books for my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading List--Beggars in Spain and A Fire Upon the Deep.  Plus one of this year's reading challenge books, Bog Child, which is a posthumously published work.

 

On Sunday, my friend & I are going to see Much Ado About Nothing, presented by the Shakespeare Company here in Calgary.  It will be my 18th Shakespearean play.

 

We've got a long weekend coming up, with Monday being Victoria Day and finally it looks like we'll have nice weather all weekend!  A trip to the garden centre for some plants to put in my balcony pots will also be in order.

 

Happy reading, friends!

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text 2018-04-12 19:19
TBR Thursday
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters
Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Høeg,Tiina Nunnally
Tithe - Holly Black
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran

My TBR pile has got a bit out of control!!

 

First ones due at the library are Heir to the Empire, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Unbuttoned.  There are also holds on Smilla's Sense of Snow and Tithe, but those dates are further away.  Plus The Good Women of China is an interlibrary loan, so I will have to pay attention to it.

 

Heir to the Empire, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Magic's Price are all part of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project, which I am enjoying getting back into.

 

My guilty pleasures are Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peacock, I want to see what you're doing in Egypt this time) and Tithe (Holly Black's world of the Fae is calling to me).  But neither of them will count towards any of my reading challenges for 2018.

 

My other task for this weekend is to take a load of books to the used book store to trade and to sort out books to donate to the Calgary Reads Book Sale which will happen in May.  I've got to find some boxes that I can part with to pack, too.  (And then in May I'll attend the book sale and undo some of the good that I have done for my bookshelves).

 

I've also got to bake something to go to brunch on Sunday--I'll probably either make a tried-and-true Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (http://www.lazyglutenfree.com/2013/06/gluten-free-cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread.html) or I'll try an experimental Pumpkin Pie Crumble (https://www.calgarycoop.com/cooking/pumpkin-pie-crumble). 

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

 

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