Friday, January 20, 2006


Promised Book Reviews

"Haruki Murakami" by Jay Rubin

This isn't a biography but a book about Murakami's writing. It has some biographical details but they are all related to his books. It goes through just about all of the books that have been translated and published here. Describing possible influences and his ideas. It also explained why he describes a lot of Western culture in his books and how he was criticized for this by many Japanese authors and Japanese literary experts.

I saw a review for this book on Amazon. It wasn't great as the person who did the review was expecting a proper biography. From this I knew not to expect personal details of Murakami's life and so I wasn't disappointed. Far from it, I was fascinated! Every new chapter I wanted to read the book that was being described. Or if I had read that particular book I saw things that I didn't see when I initially read it. He mentions a lot of other authors which is lethal for anyone who loves books. My book list has now become considerably longer. Not only do I have a list of books by other Japanese authors I want to try. But I now have a list of American authors that I would like to try. I definitely recommend this to any Murakami fan. Even if you are like me and have only read a few of his books.

"Hercule Poirot's Christmas" by Agatha Christie

Poirot is staying with a friend for Christmas when a murder takes place in a large family house nearby. He agrees to help out but only as a help to the police, he doesn't want to offend them by taking over. At the family's urging though he finds himself staying at the large house and investigating the murder. The murder victim is the head of the family loved by only one son. An adventurous man in youth who is disappointed that none of his children have his zest for life. Everyone has a reason to kill him and time it seems but only one could have done it.

Yes, I finally got round to reading one! When I first picked up this book I was very disappointed by the way it was written. It seemed so simple and I couldn't see myself finishing it. That feeling didn't last long though and I was soon hooked trying to work out who the murderer could be. Of course I was completely wrong and didn't see it until Poirot himself explained it all. I can see why people get a kick out of these "Who did it" books. I have one more to read which turns out is short stories. I'm not sure if I would go out of my way to read more. Unless I want something really light. I might eventually try the Miss Marple stories though. Definitely for a crime fan who wants to read something a bit light.

I also read a book by Ryu Murakami, "Coin Locker Babies". I won't review it because I am not entirely sure what to thing of it. I did enjoy it but I think I would have difficulty explaining it.

I agree with you on Agatha Christie's style: it is very simple, when the plots definitely aren't. I haven't read many of these because the characters' psychology wasn't enough developed, so I couldn't feel anything for anyone, and I need it to love a book...
Thanks for your mail and kind words (I appreciate very much), Karen, I'll answer soon.
Have a nice WE!
You probably already know, but if you want a whodunnit with greater psychological depth than Agatha Christie then you might enjoy Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford novels ("An Unkindness of Ravens" is my favourite) or P. D. James's Adam Dalgleish novels ("A Taste for Death" and "Devices and Desires" are especially good).
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