Tuesday 3 January 2012

Norwegian Wood Readalong - Intro Post

During the month of January, Reading Rambo is hosting a readalong of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. It's been on all of my lists for everything for ages, so I thought I'd join in..

I must admit to being more of a Haruki Murakami fan in theory than actually in practice. I have very grand intentions regarding his work, but so far all I've managed to get through is Kafka on the Shore, which I loved, but which was weeeeird... From talking to people I know that weird is probably what I should be expecting going into Norwegian Wood (which I have had on my shelf for well over a year now), and I have no problem with that. Weird is good. Weird is challenging. Weird is, generally, awesome. Also, I love the whole white and black theme of his covers - so basic, so distinctive. They are the kind of books I want to collect primarily because they would look awesome. Yes, I know that's shallow, but sometimes I do like to judge books by their covers..

Because I like to know a bit about the author I am reading, I did some 'research' (and by research I mean I googled him...). Here is what I found out: (from www.murakami.ch):

  • Haruki Murakami was born in 1949 in Kyoto, Japan
  • In 1974 he opened the Jazz Bar in Tokyo
  • In 1979 his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing was published
  • In 1981 he started to write for a living
  • In 1991 he became an Associate Researcher at Princeton University
  • According to Wikipedia, which seems to be weirdly more accurate on this than his own website, he has published twelve novels, plus short stories and essays. 1Q84 is also on my January reading list. I feel I may be overwhelming myself, but ah well. 
So that's basically it. A lot of people were talking about the film of Norwegian Wood last year. Apparently it is brilliant, and I think that I will have to attempt to see it this month as part of the readalong greatness. Here is a synopsis of the book from Goodreads:

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love .
I'm excited about the book! Hopefully I will finish my current read, Yossarian Slept Here by Erica Heller today and be able to start...


  1. I recommended NORWEGIAN WOOD to many bloggers in 2011 and it made me a popular guy :) Don't go into it thinking it's gonna be like KAFKA. It's a lot more straightforward and (I thought) a lot more visceral.

    Rambo had a great idea, but I think the readalong will not go very well because people won't be able to read only a few chapters a week. It's that good.

  2. Thanks, Ben, for your optimism.

    HURRAY! Another person who did research! That is excellent. As to the possibly-read-it-all-in-a-short-amount-of-time concern, we're gonna check in next week and if everyone's like "LET'S FINISH THIS FOR NEXT TIME," then totes.

    Ah, readalongs. So exciting.

  3. Yeah I was kind of worried about being able to read it slow enough, but I figured I could always read it straight through and then go back and read the chapters again in detail as I do have a tendency to slightly skim read sometimes...