Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

READ THE WORLD – Japan: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

The edition I listened to was translated by Phillip Gabriel.

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school, they were a solid group of people, three boys and two girls. By chance all their names, bar Tsukuru’s, contained a colour. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced they didn’t want to see or speak to him ever again – giving Tsukuru no explanation. For years Tsukuru floundered without the support of his friends, unable to make meaningful connections with anyone else. But then he meets Sara, who tells him its time for him to find out what happened sixteen years ago that made his friends shut him out.

This is a book that’s been sitting on my shelves for years but after borrowing the audiobook (narrated by Michael Fenton Stevens) from my library, I’ve finally read it – audiobooks are a gift and I didn’t figure that out till 2018.

I found there to be a distance between Tsukuru and myself as the reader, I couldn’t connect to him and I didn’t really like him much either, and there’s a few possible reasons for this. Firstly, I feel the narrator might have been a factor, I wasn’t too keen on how his narration was quite monotone, so I’d sometimes find myself not really listening to what he was saying. I think the way it’s written as well was very matter-of-fact and there’s little room for emotion. And thirdly, I think maybe you’re supposed to feel that way about Tsukuru. The major point of his story is that he can’t form intimate connections with people and maybe that extends to the reader as well.

I’ve never noticed this in any book previously, so that’s either because I don’t tend to read adult fiction written by a man, or I was just unaware until social media pointed it out, but the way women’s bodies are described is just eyeroll-inducing. The way a woman’s neck, breasts and legs were described was just over the top and almost creepy at times, which was probably another reason I couldn’t take to Tsukuru. He seemed very much like the typical “nice guy” that wasn’t so much a nice guy.

The mystery of why Tsukuru’s friends shut him out and never attempted to reach out to him over the years is a sad one, though while Tsukuru gets an answer, it’s not a fully satisfying one. it is interesting to revisit his old friends, seeing how they and he have changed over the years, and how some friendships can survive the test of time and conflicts while others cannot.

Tsukuru builds railway stations and enjoys learning everything about them. The scenes where he’s sat in a station, people watching, were very enjoyable as not only are you given the facts and figures of Japanese railway stations and the people who pass through them, it feels like a snapshot at every day life for the average Japanese commuter.

This was the first book by Haruki Murakami I’ve read, but if Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is an indication of Murakami’s writing style and the type of characters his stories are about, I doubt I will be reading any more of his work. 1/5.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. As the title suggests, this week is all about those books we bought and totally meant to read them and still haven’t. Oops!

In no particular order, here’s the ten books that have been sitting unread on my shelves for the longest.

The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker
Thanks to an Instagram pic of a bookhaul I can tell you when this book came in my possession – August 2015! And I still haven’t read it. it’s a non-fiction book and I’m not always in the mood for that so I think that’s one of the reasons I just haven’t got to it yet.

Truthwitch by Susan Denard
I got this in an Illumicrate box in early 2016 and I still haven’t read it. I did try it when I first got it, but I didn’t make it past the first 20 pages. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for it? I do want to give Truthwitch another go as I’ve heard nothing but great things about the series.

Uprooted by Naomi Novak
I’ve got Uprooted in the hardback, and I think I got it for either my birthday or Christmas so that means it came to me late 2015. I think this was another book I wanted because everyone was talking about it and then because of the hype I put off reading it.     (more…)

My #AroundTheWorldAThon TBR

Thanks to the Readathon News Twitter account (a great place to learn about different readathons happening each month) I heard about the Around The World-AThon readathon. The aim of this readathon is to read books that are either set in certain countries or the authors are from those countries and it’s the perfect thing to give me a push with my own Read the World Project.

The Around The World-AThon is hosted by Aprilius Maximus and Melbourne on my Mind and it runs from midnight wherever you are on Monday 15th May till 11:59pm on Sunday 21st May. There’s just two challenges for this readathon:
1. Read a book set within the set countries
2. Read a book by an author from an area within set countries

And the set Countries/Territories are: China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This is great for me as I haven’t read any books in these countries yet for the Read the World Project and while I don’t have a potential book for every country I’ve got a few to choose from.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami would fit for Japan, both as it’s set within the country and the author’s Japanese. I bought this book at least a year ago and I think I mainly picked it up because I liked the cover and the title was quite eye-catching.

The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung is a good book for China. I picked this up on the London Bookshop Crawl earlier this year and it sounds like it’s right up my street. It’s a kind of dystopian look at China with political commentary as well as humour.

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea by Bandi is a series of short stories about life in North Korea by a North Korean writer who smuggled the stories out of the country. I’ve heard amazing things about this book and while North Korea is often the butt of the West’s jokes, there’s still people living there in trouble.

Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward: My Life in the Gurkhas by Colour-Sergeant Kailash Limbu would work for Nepal. I’ve been interested in the Gurkha’s and their history with the British army for a while now so when I discovered this autobiography I knew I had to read it.

So those are my four possible reads for the readathon. As usual, as long as I read one of them during the week I’ll be happy. That being said, with one of the books being a short story collection I might manage to make it two books read this readathon.

Anyone else going to be joining in the Around The World-AThon?

Book Haul

I don’t think I’ve ever done a Book Haul post on here. That’s mainly because I don’t often buy books at all or I just get one or two during the month and it’s nothing special to write home about. Over the past month though I have accumulated a lot of books. So without further ado here’s what I’ve got.

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These books come from everywhere, Orbital Comics, my buddy Julie via the mini NinjaBookSwap, having poor impulse control in WHSmith’s and Waterstones and then having poor impulse control and taking advantage of the Booktubeathon discount at the Book Depository – go here for 100 books at a discount if you use the code BOOKTUBEATHON10 at the checkout – this offer ends soon.

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of the above and what do you recommend? I probably shouldn’t have acquired so many books recently but oh well – we all have these moments of weakness.

List of books:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Hounding of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker
#GirlBoss by Sophie Amoruso
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Secret Avengers Volume: 3 God Level by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh
Thor: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman
Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona