Surrealism is alive and well

Strange Library by Haruki MurakamWhat’s it about?
The Strange Library, I think, pretty solidly qualifies as surreal. There’s a shepherd¬†who goes to the library, and he’s directed to the basement. He makes his book request to an elderly man in room 107, who brings him his books and then directs him to the reading room, through a maze and eventually to a jail cell. Once there, he’s told to memorize the books in 30 days or else. There’s a man who wears a sheep costume and a beautiful woman with no voice who bring him his meals. It’s odd.

Why should you read it?
If you’re getting shades of Kafka, I wouldn’t be surprised. Naked Lunch also popped into my head whilst reading it. There’s a hero, and he’s going on a quest, but he’s not really sure what’s going on and neither are you. Furthermore, there are some things said that make you question your narrator’s reliability. Could this all potentially be a dream? Yes. Could the hero be crazy? Abso-freaking-lutely. I wouldn’t call The Strange Library¬†entertaining, but it gave my brain a nice little workout.

 

It’s not about the running

What I Talk about When I Talk About Running

What’s it about?
Haruki Murakami is a novelist who also runs marathons. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running are his thoughts about amateur long-distance running as they relate to fitness, writing, and life. His prose is careful and elegant and is a delight to read.

Why should you read it?
You should read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running because of its elegance. I would be a runner if my left foot would just heal from plantar fasciitis already; his thoughts about getting older and continuing to run are inspiring. He writes a lot about focus and acceptance that you don’t have the energy that you used to – there’s a whole meditation about talent vs focus and concentration. It applies to more than just running. That said, I think you’ll like the book more if you’re also a runner. It’s definitely worth your time.