Friday, May 29, 2015

Strange

When I was a kid, I always saw to it that the books I borrowed from our school library have illustrations. I found it easier to be a part of the story if the books have visuals. Of course, it changes as I grew older.

  strange


Solitary 

The cold breeze starts to bite
the candle in front of me,
its flame whispers
 omens and premonitions.

I stare at the moon
but it was not looking at me.

The jagged mirrors hide 
 my reflection, 
while my shadow 
doubts my owns existence. 

I lock myself up
inside of a book,
drown in letters and numbers.

I am alone 
in a labyrinth 
of fantasies 
and nightmares. 

 /totomai

And when I heard that the latest book of Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library, has illustrations, I got excited and it brought back some memories of me as a kid. I am aware about his works and I am expecting that this book will be more of a fantasy. Never expected it to be a dark one though despite of an obvious title. This is the fourth Murakami book that I have read but the first one that I ever reviewed. 

The book is pretty straightforward. I can say that this is the most accessible book I’ve read from Murakami so far. The elements of fantasy, as you would expect from a Murakami work, are there but it’s never complicated here. It is about a boy trapped in a strange library. He needs to get out of the library in order to save his brains from being devoured by the librarian. Of course, along the way, odd creatures will help the protagonist escape. Sounds like a children’s book right? Could be, if you can handle its darkness

I like how the innocence of the main character kept the story realistic. How he worries about his mother, his new shoes that he left at the basement, how he admired the beautiful voiceless girl. How concerned he was to the sheep man. 

To enjoy the book, read it as it is. Read it as if you are a kid once again. There may be some hidden meanings and undertones or some characters appeared in other Murakami books, there’s no need to over-analyze everything. Each page is a treat especially with the supporting illustrations. There are times I spent more than a minute or two examining the drawings, like what I usually did when I was young. 

How I wish this book will be made into a movie or a TV series. I am also hoping that some novels by Murakami will be accompanied with illustrations. It was really a good read. 

It may be real. It may be a fantasy. But at some point in our lives, we let our imagination run wild and in one way or another, created our own strange library. 

I'll end this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book, 
 "If you don’t hurry, you’ll be lost for eternity".
/totomai
2015/05/29 

62 comments:

  1. Illustrations are my thing, I find them intriguing. Thanks for the review, I'll definitely pick up that book sometime!

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    1. It's really a good book, good in its weirdness :-)

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  2. Totomai, thanks for the introduction to Murakami. It does sound like one to be read and savored as if one was a child. I really have never been one for reading much fantasy now that I am an adult though..ha, my grandson is, but he is still a 'child.' I think the idea of this book would interest him. I will keep it in mind. I can empathize with the idea of locking myself up inside of a book though. I love it when I find a book that makes me want to do that. I just finished the book "The Girl on a Train" which made me want to do just that. I was alone in its labyrinths when I was reading! Smiles.

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    1. Hi Mary, Murakami books are dark and full of symbolism so this one was such an easy read for me. I haven't been reading much but I finished two books this month, YAY!

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  3. I love the idea of creating our own library (I love all of this post)..i guess with our own library of images and words we can tell our own story..hmm...sounds good...although getting lost in that world could be a danger...there are some real things we need

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    1. But what is real or not is difficult to define, especially if we have our own world. I hope I can read more haha. Thanks Jae

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  4. sometimes a lonely time is all we want and cherish

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    1. And try to create a world that we only knew..

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  5. Ah.. I have read quite a few Murakami and have enjoyed him a lot. Especially Windup-bird chronicles that I have actually re-read. The theme of being lost inside a library is exciting and scare.. but I have never met a librarian to be scared of. We can indeed drown in the books.. and it might be good or it might be bad.

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    1. Librarians are scary actually haha. Or its their aura. I enjoy his books too Bjorn. But some of them are too thick and it's scaring me a bit

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  6. there is true distinction between getting lost by choice, being alone and being lonely

    getting lost in one's imaginings can be comforting

    gracias

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    1. Correct Marco. That's actually an uplifting situation.

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  7. i felt the same way as a child, i would go for the illustrated one

    have a nice Sunday

    much love...

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    1. Thanks Gillena - I think because we are too lazy to imagine before :-)

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  8. If I was going to be lost a library would be the place to be. I lost myself in plenty of books in my day. It can definitely become a form if escape. I am not familiar with the author, will look them up.

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    1. Yes X, please have a look at his works and be enthralled to his world

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  9. i so relate with your closing verse

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  10. Ah.. the enchanting web of a good book luring its reader into its fold :D

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    1. And we are that submissive to the enchantment. Thanks Sanaa

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  11. Sounds like my kind of book. I still get fantasy books for children out of the library :)
    an pictures....

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    1. You should read it then, Moonie :-)

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  12. I would love to lock myself inside a book too...love the excitement all through that reaches its height in the last stanza...

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    1. Reading books can be a good way of escaping from the chaos of the present world. Thanks Sumana

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  13. I love the shadow doubting its own existence! I love locking myself up inside a book too, so this poem resonates.

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    1. I hope there's a book that we can see all of ourselves locked at the same time. That would be fun, right Sherry?

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  14. I have not heard of this book " The Strange Library" , but it does sound interesting as libraries are filled with adventure and a great place to get lost.

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    1. It was originally written in Japanese and was translated recently.

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  15. I like the personification of the cool breeze...biting the candle. Brilliant imagery.

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  16. I love being lost in a fantasy as if a child again letting my imagination run wild....

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    1. We are still young Donna. So we are free to get lost in fantasy

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  17. I loved this piece and I love the idea of the book here--I do love the darkness!

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    1. Hi Audrey. I think we need a little darkness at times

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  18. How tempting your review is. Now the task is to see if it can located in this far country!

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    1. I think Murakami is quite popular there Robin.

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  19. Ah, Totomai, I always so get energized by your posts, you're so prolific and enthusiastic, and you - the last person someone can call 'slow'....love your quote, I need to post it on my wall...lol ~ about poem: wow! I love this different feelings and thoughts I got!

    'my shadow
    doubts my owns existence.' ~ how spooky it is! what can happens in the darkness with moon 'not looking at me'
    Thank you for review! Me too, I like visual in the books, even when no illustrations there....I will check the book you mention here....
    ~ Lovely informative post, food to feelings and thoughts!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Humbird. I am actually catching up, blame it to my day job haha. Yes, please I know you will enjoy the book

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  20. Your poem seems to mimic his style I like it! You write a good book review. I've become more interested in illustrations since I'm learning how to draw. This has given me an appreciation for the pictures in books.

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    1. That's good to hear Myrna - perhaps you can make a blog post about your drawings soon :)

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  21. I also would love to be in a room of books.

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    1. Yay! We can all travel with books and through the books

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  22. Totomai, you've hauntingly described what it feels like to be a loner. Your outlook was interesting to read. thanks for the enlightenment.

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    1. Alone but never lonely I guess James :)

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  23. A breeze that bites, a mirror that hides... you give us lots of mixed meanings and offer opportunity to wonder and rethink.

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    1. But it will be blast once you discover these things :-)

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  24. A wild journey. I'm glad for the candle that cuts both cold and shadows. Ans if its whisers get too scarey, I too would lock myself in a book.

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    1. Absolutely Susan - a book is a perfect hiding place

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  25. I like the fantasy elements in your poem.

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  26. Those last lines are powerful... and intriguing. The idea of being swallow by a place full of things we love... Yep, terrifying. I like it.

    *off to add Haruki Murakami to my reading list!*

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    1. I guess you will like his works, Magaly

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  27. totomai,

    I love books and canot ever get bored being surrounded by them in my home. Always an opportunity to read...You review of the book, The Strange Library, reminds me of myself in childhood days in Belfast. I could never get home fast enough to read my three borrowed books; then right back to find three new ones, sometimes on the same day!! Thank you for sharing this adventure..Solitary moments are valuable.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that memory Eileen. I borrow books to read it to my younger brother before haha

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  28. I love the feeling of getting lost in a book. Sometimes I like to read the book all over again right after I've finished reading it because I miss the story and characters.

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    1. A second read is sometimes necessary, Torie :)

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  29. what a great write! i actually feel like i can relate to it...the moon shining bright outside my square of window as i lose myself into the magical world inside a book! love this!!

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    1. Thanks Stacy. We all create our own world while reading books

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any thoughts to distill?

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