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Book Challenge Update: 3 Down, 21 to Go

To see my Book Challenge list for 2010, “24 in 20-10,” click here. You can read all of my Book Challenge Update posts here.

I finished Kafka on the Shore last night, and I have repeat what I said last time about Haruki Murakami being an artist with words. He polishes his craft in this book. The main characters–Kafka, Nakata, Oshima, Hoshino, and even Mimi the Siamese cat–are so well designed, without feeling forced, that I really believed they are real people living in this world. After reading two of Murakami’s books, Kafka on the Shore and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, he has made it to my list of favorite authors.

Kafka on the Shore is at once a familial/romantic love story; a Bildungsroman (or coming-of-age tale); and a complex, metaphysical drama. When I finished it, I thought to myself, “Self, you will have to read that again to understand it fully,” and indeed, Murakami agrees. He said of the book that “understanding the novel lies in reading it multiple times.” I will definitely re-read it.

One note about Kafka on the Shore: it does contain some explicit sex scenes, but I have to say, Murakami writes them tastefully. They are very well done, and I don’t think mature readers should avoid the book because of them.

Next I begin a book recommended by Rob and Murakami, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. As is tradition, I started it last night after finishing Kafka on the Shore. I am already not enjoying the writing style, but I’ll read it all. I’ve heard it has a great story.

I’m also going to start reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett for a Barnes & Noble Ladies’ Book Club. I’m going to try to read two books at one time because I have The Great Gatsby on audiobook and The Help in hardback. I’ve tried to read two paper books before and it doesn’t work so well, but I think the fact that I’m consuming the books in two different mediums should make it possible. I’ve done that before.

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