Back in March I wrote about re-reading the Terry Pratchett series, Truckers, Diggers, and Wings in the hopes of kickstarting a bit more reading than I had been doing. It was a plan that worked rather well, the silliness was just what I needed at the time, and they were just as good as I remembered them!
Since then, my reading dropped off a little, so I decided that Sandman and Fables anthologies were the perfect antidote. The highly visual media and that all you have to read is dialogue for the most part makes them less of a challenge when concentration is lacking. It only gets better when the kick-ass character in Fables is Snow White (with Bigby a close second).
After that, I decided it was time to bring out the big guns. Yup. A Murakami novel, the magical cure for all reading maladies. This time it was Norwegian Wood, his least surreal novel. I’m rather glad it’s not the novel I started with, though one could argue that Kafka on the Shore is hardly a normal story. However, whilst Kafka is unarguably more weird, Norwegian Wood is instead far more intense. It was a rather unusual reading experience in that watching the movie adaptation beforehand didn’t spoil the book, but rather enhanced it (though, of course your mileage may vary on that). In Norwegian Wood, Murakami tells the relatively straight forward story of a Japanese man in his 30’s recalling his life from late teens through to his mid twenties. It’s a fairly intense period for most people, one might feel, but for Watanabe it’s perhaps worse than most. Without wishing to reveal too much, the novel’s themes centre on love, mental illness, loss and the process of becoming an adult amidst all of this turmoil. For perhaps obvious, and some that are less so, reasons this story resonated with me to a great deal. Even if I never find time to revisit it, I can’t see the stories of Watanabe, Naoko, Midori, and Reikos’ leaving me anytime soon.
Currently though, I am once again re-reading. This time it’s Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I first read this aged 14, just after my room had had to be evacuated due to massive amounts of rain and a leak in our roof. This would, of course, have been around the time I first became ill. I really enjoyed this book the first time I read it, sat in a room that for once looked spacious (it’s very small, and contains around 200 books when not evacuated), and that’s since become quite a fond memory. I don’t suppose I am the only one who knows how nice enjoying something again after a while of not being able to is.
After I’ve finished this, I have a fair few books I ought (never a good word in this context), to read. The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath), On the Road, (Jack Kerouac), The Long Earth (Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter). I think I might remind myself to mix those up with some good old trusty re-reads. Sabriel has spent a long time now sat on my shelf.