Thursday, 9 May 2013

Reading IQ84 and The Host

Some of you may remember that I've posted a few reviews on books before. It's partly because I love talking about books that I've read but I realise that nobody else wants to hear my opinion on them. So naturally I write blog posts instead. If you don't want to read this, that's okay! It's also because I have this secret desire to turn back time to when I was in school and book reviews were actual homework?! If anyone who's in secondary school reads this - you are so lucky. Book reviews are the best.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

I only just finished the third book last week even though I started the first book about 18 months ago. Snail-warning. The main reason is because I'm annoying like that - I'll pick up a book, read half of it and then forget about it for six months. It's also because reading Haruki Murakami's books is a work-out. Maybe I'm a bit slow, but I feel mentally exhausted by it. It's still a worthwhile book to read, maybe even more so because it's a bit challenging. 1Q84 follows Tengo, a ghostwriter and a math teacher, and Aomame, a gym instructor, two lonely individuals who suddenly realise that they are no longer living in the same world as before. I welcome having a strong female character because Murakami has an annoying habit of writing books entirely from a male's point of view (with lots of crazy and unexplainable behaviour from women around them - with 'hey, they're women' type of explanations). Murakami still wrote the novel in his typical style where very little happens and you're mainly following these people's thoughts which may or may not be relevant to the story. It's still a pleasure to read and in particular because the story surrounds a fictional piece of work that Tengo was a ghostwriter for, called Air Chrysalis, which is so different from anything else that I've heard of. There is little more to say about the story without spoiling anything but I do recommend this novel if you feel like reading something slow-paced but beautiful.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I found this novel in my bookshelf and started reading it the day after I finished 1Q84. I finished the book within two days. Maybe it's because this book is the absolute opposite of anything that Murakami would write (and I really needed a break from feeling pretentious), but I enjoyed it. It's obviously not a literary masterpiece and unfortunately it suffers from Twilight-esque predictability regarding both characters and plots but let's be open-minded here. In The Host, Earth has been taken over by aliens (Souls) who use human bodies as hosts since humans are just primitive animals who kill each other and the environment anyway. Makes sense. The story follows Wanderer, an experienced Soul who has just been put into the body of a girl named Melanie. Rather than being surpressed like all other humans when they're taken over, Melanie stays conscious  and shares her memories of loved ones with Wanderer, leading to the Soul getting a strange urge to seek these humans out that she now loves too. I am such a sucker for sci-fi. Melanie also has a little brother and maybe I'm just a little over-emotional and sensitive with two younger brothers of my own (who are in their late teens, but whatever, they might as well be babies to me) but I cried floods of tears as soon as there was any sort of emotional sibling-related drama. Anyway, I found this story more interesting than Twilight and if you're not entirely opposed to aliens but do like a (slightly) soppy romantic story once in a while I'd recommend this.

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