Books to Talk About

The book review section of the Sunday New York Times has a full page ad that caught my eye – from the publishers at Knopf Doublday – 9 books to read and discuss.  I’ve read and reviewed five of them, dismissed one, and waiting for the other three to make it to my library system.

Have you read any?

Waiting to Read:


The release date for the English version of Haruki Murakami’s much anticipated new book – 1Q84 – is today. When I searched my local library for his writing, I found 122 citations – most not written in English. And 1Q84 was there – in Japanese and Chinese; the book is a bestseller in Asia and a possible Nobel Prize in literature nominee.

In his interview of Murakami for the New York Times Sunday magazine, Sam Anderson adds to the drama and the mystique of The Underground Man – with a view of  “The Fierce Imagination” of the author.

Murakami’s books offer mystery and magic, sometimes with help from the supernatural.

“…the signature pleasure of a Murakami plot is watching a very ordinary situation (riding an elevator, boiling spaghetti, ironing a shirt) turn suddenly extraordinary (a mysterious phone call, a trip down a magical well, a conversation with a Sheep man)…

The title 1Q84 is a nod to Orwell’s 1984; the number nine in pronounced like a “Q” in Japanese.

The plot, according to Anderson:

“…a young woman named Aomame (it means green peas”) is stuck in a taxi, in a traffic jam, on one of the elevated highways that circle the outskirts of Tokyo. A song comes over the taxi’s radio: a classical piece…the taxi driver finally suggests…an unusual escape route…secret stairways to the street that most people aren’t aware of {but}…’things are not what they seem.’ if she goes down, he warns, her world might suddenly change forever. She does, and it does…”

Sounds like fun to read. I’m reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to warm up to this author while I’m waiting for the book.

Have you read any books by Murakami?