Friday, Kafka and Murakami

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowIt's Friday the 13th, which I hope means nothing bad for the first game for the Dutch team in the World Cup this evening! Warning, I might be tweeting a lot about it. Anyways, it's time for some memes. Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This week's question is:

Armchair Travel! Tell us about your favourite book in a setting you'd like to visit (a real place for this question).
Hhmm, I'm actually not quite sure. It used to be Barcelona because of Zafon's books (The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game etc.) but then I did go there two years ago and of course it wasn't the way it came across in the books. Much more touristy beach city rather than Gothic medieval town. Although I loved Barcelona, it wasn't what I was hoping for but I'm planning on going back and exploring a bit more one day, so I might change my mind.

I actually don't know where I'd want to go. I would love to go to Scotland and travel around for a bit in the hope to pick up some Harry Potter vibes. I'm currently reading The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee which has really made me want to visit India. The culture is so interesting, the architecture beautiful and the history fascinating.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Elizabeth over at Silver's Reviews keeps churning out great questions and this week's is:

Book Blogger HopDo you think your blog reflects your personality? Does it show organisation, a care-free style, or some other trait?
I do think my personality is reflected in this blog because although I do blog by schedule, many of my posts come about because I suddenly decide to write about something that bothers or interests me. I'm not very organised but I actually think my blog is one of the most organised things in my life. 

Of course it reflects my taste in books, which, I think, is a massive part of anyone's personality. My love for classics probably shows my interest in history and culture, whereas my passion for fantasy can be led back to me loving to travel to unknown countries and escaping ordinary days. 

Book Beginnings is hosted over at Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice. This week I'm using Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Phillip Gabriel. I only read two Kafka novels and haven't read any Murakami ones yet. I might not get to this one for a while, but it will definitely be read over the summer.

Kafka on the ShoreKafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle - yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.


'"So you're all set for money, then?" the boy named Crow asks in his typical sluggish voice. The kind of voice like when you've just woken up and your mouth still feels heavy and dull. But he's just pretending. He's totally awake. As always.' p.1
 I have a friend who constantly seems to be in a state of sleep, but I'm always surprised by how much he actually picks up while I talk to him. I wonder why this one is names Crow.

'I'm sorry, I didn't plan to write such a long letter, but there is one more thing I have to mention. To tell the truth, when my husband died in the Philippines just before the end of the war, it wasn't that much of a shock. I didn't feel any despair or anger--just a deep sense of helplessness. I didn't cry at all.' p.56
This is part of a letter. I wonder who is being addressed, but the description of the writer's feelings is really what gets me. The helplessness in the face of death is really sobering.


  1. I've read Kafka on the Shore a couple times (it's a book that warrants re-reading). I'm still not sure if I understand it entirely, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  2. Love to explore the Harry Potter world myself as well! I'd settled for the theme park in Orlando! Some day I will definitely go there!

    Here's my Follow Friday

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  3. Kafka on the Shore sounds like a thought provoking read. I love the character description in the beginning. It is very mysterious. I will have to check this one out. Thanks for visiting me @ The Key to the Gate. Have a great weekend!
    Happy Reading,

  4. I've always wanted to read Kafka on the Shore . . .

    My Friday post:

  5. Those excerpts are very intriguing...they make me want to know more about the characters and the story. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  6. I considered using India for my location as well, since I recently read a book set there. It is SO different than what I'm used to here in the States!

    You can find my FF HERE.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  7. From the synopsis it sounds like this book has a wild and wonderful cast of characters! The book's beginning makes me curious about Crow (why is he named that?) Sounds like an unusual book.
    After reading Under the Tuscan Sun many years ago, I've had a big desire to go there. I'd also like to visit New Zealand, where the Harry Potter movies were filmed.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: STELLA IN STILETTOS.

  8. Barcelona sounds like an interesting place to visit
    By the way, I'm a new follower
    Christine @ Bibliophilic Madness

  9. Interesting choice! I am not at all familiar with this book. I hope you are enjoying it. Happy reading!

  10. What a beginning and wonderful 56!

    Here is my Book Beginning post!!


    Here is my Friday 56 post!!

  11. Hi Juli,

    Wow! you have certainly packed a lot into your post today and I don't know where to start first.

    Scotland is a beautiful country and if you are looking for gothic / medieval, then there are plenty of areas which fit the bill nicely. In actual fact, we can lay claim to some of the Harry Potter filming, way down here, in the South of England and only a few miles from where I live, in one of the most popular tourist villages in the area, Laycock.

    Helplessness in the face of death, is indeed a sobering thought, although I have always been taught that as the person left behind, you aren't crying for the person who has died, but for yourself, as the survivor who must rebuild your life!

    My blog certainly does reflect not only my reading habits and tastes, but also has strong hints of my inherent personality. I am quite an organised, meticulous person, who needs to plan things right down to the last detail and doesn't like a change to any agenda once it is set. I am a bit like that with my blog, becoming unduly stressed if I don't post often enough and then worrying that the post I have published isn't good enough for anyone to read ..... I get stressed when I have a load of comments to reply to and sites to visit, but upset and worried if I don't get any comments!!! .... I think the generic word for this condition is probably 'paranoid' LOL!

    A really interesting set of thoughts today, thanks for sharing and I hope that you enjoy your weekend.


  12. I just love the world. I wish I can visit every single place in it. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Enjoy your weekend! :)

  13. Barcelona actually sounds like an interesting place to visit! Thanks for stopping by, I'm following you via bloglovin

    Whitney@Shooting Stars Reviews

  14. Barcelona does sound pretty cool. So does India! I'd love to visit England. :) I'm a bloglovin follower.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  15. Great beginning and 56. Thanks for sharing.

  16. The Dutch kicked butt too!!! WOOHOO!

    Happy weekend!

  17. You have a great blog and a great personality, and I think your design and your blog reflects it.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

  18. I think Barcelona would be a beautiful place to visit. I'm a new follower, have a great weekend! My FF

  19. 2 fabulous books, great selection. Enjoy the weekend

  20. Scotland's on my bucket list as well. Mainly due to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I loved England when I visited in 1999. I would love to go back!

    Thanks for stopping by Second Run Reviews earlier.

    Terri M.
    Second Run Reviews

  21. Scotland and India are both on my to-visit list as well! New follower on Bloglovin' and Twitter!

  22. When someone dies, I think you can feel a deep sense of helplessness.

  23. BBH: Great answer. Made me think about what my taste in books says about my personality. Didn't make that connection straight away.

    BB/56: I like both of your selections. I love it when descriptions can provide you with an exact visual in your mind instead of just a vague understanding. Both selections made me wonder what was going on in the world around the still image in my mind. Definitely intrigued.

  24. Great meme post! I haven't participated in Follow Friday or the Book Beginnings memes yet, but I hope to soon. I love getting to read the start of a book and then the 56, too.

    I like your answer for the Book Bloggers Hop. Very reflective.

    I'd love for you to visit my Friday Memes post here. :)

  25. I really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore, it was one of my first Murakamis! You response to Book Bloggers Hop is interesting -- of course we reveal a whole lot about ourselves in our book tastes -- you have awesome taste btw. ;)

  26. Great answer! My blog is probably a little more organized than I actually am as well because I can micro-manage it a little better than real life! Kafka on the Shore is one those books that I've seen but have yet to pick up. Love the excerpts. It will definitely push me to pick it up a little sooner!


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