Make that Greek tragedies with a Nippon twist. And a geek comedy about physicists and their social skills. I have spent the past summer reading Haruki Murakami and watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
My sister introduced me to Murakami, one of the more popular and well-known Japanese contemporary authors, whose novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, drew praises from critics and regular readers alike. (I have yet to read the Chronicle though). The first Murakami I read is Norwegian Wood, which featured a man who reminisces the two loves he cultivated in his college years, both of which are strikingly different from each other. I would say that Murakami books, or those that I have read so far, have a Greek tragedy-esque mood to them. The Japanese era of the 60’s and 70’s, and some spanning through the 80’s, seem to be a common backdrop of his stories. He is very straightforward and nonchalant in his depictions of his characters and allows the dialogue between characters to paint their emotions and struggles, instead of the third person narrator doing this for them. Murakami is also very blunt with his descriptions of physical intimacies, which I think can be attributed to his being a Japanese. His style leaves you with weird and unconventional resolutions, which is not always typical of modern story-telling. Below are short descriptions to the books I have finished over the summer. (These are English translations of the original Japanese books).
Kafka on the Shore – Mind-blowing. Literally. I was left scratching my head for the most part of it. They say you have to re-read the book to fully understand what the two main characters were going through. I would classify the novel as being in the fringes of the supernatural, sci-fi and resolving family issues ala Oedipus rex.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – This is a collection of short stories Murakami published in different magazines or publications throughout his career. My favorite story is “Birthday Girl.” The device he used to build up the story was so powerful, I was sooo begging for a sequel to learn more about the girl and her birthday wish.
South of the Border, West of the Sun –A bittersweet story of love lost, found and resolved. It has a Norwegian Wood sentimentality and crisis, with the protagonist hoping to come to terms with a young love he pines and longs for the rest of his grown-up years. This is the most emotional and relatable novel of Murakami’s I have read. It left me numb and heartbroken, and again the resolution is not your typical love story ending.
And now, on to my other interest – TV series!
I have recently discovered Big Bang Theory, and boy, oh boy, I’m just loving this show. This sitcom has caught my attention several times, with their CBS ad showing the guys doing rocks, papers, scisssors and spock. However, Monday nights has been relegated to watching Heroes, House or 24, thus I have not seen the show on its regular time. Add to that the fact that CBS is really stingy in putting up their shows online. Good thing I have Netflix! I borrowed the Season 1 DVDs and devoured them with delight and peals of laughing-out-loud moments.
The show is just hilarious! It has a superb cast, who work their characters really well, and awesome storywriting. I love their dialogues! I don’t think I am uber-geek, but I can sympathize with the guys in their awkwardness and naivette – maybe because there are times that I am like them. The episodes revolve around the witty banter among the four geeky guys and their relationship with the pretty Cheesecake factory waitress who lives in Apt. 4B. I definitely recommend you watch an episode or two.