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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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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-10 10:23
Courting Carrie in Wonderland
Courting Carrie in Wonderland - Carla Kelly

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


I bought Courting Carrie in Wonderland last year, not sure why I didn’t read it right away. Carla Kelly’s books are auto-buy for me, and when I saw the cover, I wanted to read this one. Yet somehow I never got around to. So to amend that, I picked it up last week without reading any reviews, as I do for many of Ms. Kelly’s books. Have to wonder again, why I didn’t read it last year cause the story was simply amazing, heart-touchingly so!

TBH, I had no idea what ‘Wonderland’ in Courting Carrie in Wonderland stood for. I thought it was one of those titles with a touch of fancy, maybe the H and h went somewhere they liked calling wonderland? Seems like I was almost correct in that regard. This book is set in the Yellowstone National Park, a place I’ve never heard of (I don’t live in the US), which was known to be the Wonderland. Even while reading I didn’t check out anything in google. I just read on, seemingly trying to figure out the place through our H and h, Ramsay and Carrie’s eyes and Ms. Kelly’s narratives. I’ll be honest that I struggled to picture the Park and it’s specific attractions that were mentioned as they’re known: such as the Old Faithful, the Chittenden Bridge (previously the Melan Arch Bridge), the viaduct that linked the edge of the mountains creating a perilous road and many other descriptions of the scenery, the flora and the fauna. Even then I could tell it was a marvelous place. After I finished I couldn’t wait to find out how those noted areas looked like, and was blown away by the beauty of the Park. I could imagine why Ramsay and Carrie (or anyone for that matter) would love the place and want to stay there. Like, I had this urge to visit Yellowstone ASAP, though that dream may never materialize for me. :(

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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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