News for the ‘QUOTES’ Category

Sorry Please Thank you by Charles Yu

woohoo, good job, this is to commend that this is the first book that i’ve ever read in full while at work….
it is a set of short stories by a guy named Charles Yu, whom I had high hopes for but guess what he let me down, this guy let me DOWN…

I’ve read a lot of interviews and articles pertaining to him, and the fact that he’s a lawyer in his spare time, they like to talk about that. I’m not hating on any of that, I’m not even hating on the book but I don’t understand his point of view and his direction. It’s sort of science fiction-ish but it the entire effort felt like lazy science fiction. I didn’t feel for anybody, I didn’t want to know more, the short glimpses into these people’s lives are plenty enough and I had wished that some of them ended earlier.

Which brings me to my second point of …. this guy reads like Tao lin. His writing reads like Tao lin I mean. I hate Tao lin, but I don’t hate Charles Yu…. I want to not hate on authors so much because my narrow points of view are obviously hindering me into how asian-americans are getting published these days.

I have not much else to say other than that I’ll try to finish Office Girl soon because flavorwire recommended it and I don’t get why they would do that…

quotes that I pulled while reading

quotes that i like or at least find interesting

OPEN is my least favorite story so far, SO FAR – like dude, i just don’t get it.

Standard Loneliness Package

Today they have it switched to American television, and I am watching a commercial for our company’s services. It shows a rich executive-looking type sitting and rubbing his temples, making the universal television face for I Am an Executive in a Highly Stressful Situation. There are wavy lines on either side of his temples to indicate that the Executive is really stressed! Then he places a call to his broker and in the next scene, the Executive is lying on a beach, drinking golden beer from a bottle and looking at the bluest ocean I have ever seen.

I pass her in the hall again, and again she doesn’t look at me. No surprise there. Women never look at me. I am not handsome or tall. But I am nice. I think it is actually that which causes the not-looking at me. The niceness, I mean, not the lack of handsomeness or tallness. They can see the niceness and it is the kind of niceness that, in a man, you instinctively ignore. What is nice? What good is a nice man? No good to women. No good to other men.


This is what you have to ask yourself: Do you want to be good, or just seem good? Do you want to be good to yourself and others? Do you care about other people, always, sometimes, never? Or only when convenient? What kind of person do you want to be?


I get that a lot. People know me. I feel like I should know them. I feel guilty that I don’t. Like I should. I feel superficial. I feel like I am a fraud. How can I not know so many people who seem to know me? Is it possible to go through life this way? Apparently, it is. I don’t know myself, I don’t know my friends, I don’t know the people who populate my life. I can’t be the only one. That gives me some comfort. That’s what I tell myself. I’m a product of the world. A by-product. I didn’t ask for this. This thinning out of existence. This hollowing out. My interactions with people are the bare minimum. I don’t feel anything. Ever. Hardly ever. Once in a long while. And even then, it’s random.

Note To Self

Is that what writing is? A collaboration between selves across the multiverse? I’ve written stories that had to be wrung out, drop by drop, in the arid environment of the desert of your imagination.

You’ve written other stories that came in a rush, your forehead clammy, feverish, trying to just keep up with the words as they were pouring out—but from where? Nowhere you can go back to. Nowhere you understand. Do you think you know how writing works?

The book of Categories

it sucked, I didn’t even try to read it

Posted: September 5th, 2012
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The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

ah, another murakami? I don’t know why that’s all I’m reading these days. Well I’m also in the middle of Hemingway’s boat…a book about Hemingway and his boat, Pilar.

But to talk about the book at hand, The Elephant Vanishes is a collection of short stories, the very last story in the collection being the title of the book.

what can I say, it’s boring, this one. Sometimes you read Murakami and you’re like, oh okay, yeah it makes very little sense and has so little density set in reality but you get it, because it’s suppose to be one of those things that’s not supposed to make much sense but you’re supposed to feel attached to it.

This collection of stories were kind of boring, I just didn’t care about anybody. Also there is way too much repetition of character names and jobs in the stories. they all sort of work for some kind of appliance company, a guy in his late 20s or early 30s, and a few of whom are all named noboru watanabe. A name that is used in The Wind-up Bird chronicles (I think tha’ts the title, i am too lazy to look it up and my memory is not that of an elephant’s apparently).

There were a few interesting stories but i found myself skimming rather than reading…. I feel bad when I do that, and I don’t like the book if the book forces me to skim…..

anyways…. there are still a few memorable quotes, as noted below.

So the mother boarded a train to buy her husband his souvenir lederhosen. In her train compartment sat a middle-aged German couple, who compartment sat a middle-aged German couple, who conversed with her in halting English. “I go now to buy lederhosen for souvenir,” the mother said. “Vat shop you go to?” the couple asked. The mother named the name of the shop, and the middle-aged German couple chimed in together, “Zat is ze place, jah. it is ze best.” Hearing this, the mother felt very confident.

Memory is like fiction; or else it’s fiction that’s like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn’t even there anymore. You’re left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable. And then to put these things out as saleable items, you call them finished products – at times it’s downright embarrassing just to think of it. Honestly, it can make me blush. And if my face turns that shade, you can be sure everyone’s blushing.

What is there to do? I just go back to gathering kittens and piling them up again. Exhausted kittens, all limp and played out. But even if they woke to discover themselves stacked like kindling for a campfire, what would the kittens think? Well, it might scarcely raise a “Hey, what gives?” out of them. In which case – if there was nothing to particularly get upset about – it would make my work a little easier. that’s the way I see it.

Posted: May 15th, 2012
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Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami

On the beginning of my trip to nyc, i started reading the chronicles of narnia. For some reason, despite the fact that I am sort of an escapist, I really wasn’t a huge fantasy buff. Something about it unsettled me. I needed it to be fantasy but grounded in reality. Children’s fantasy wasn’t something that I always found myself obsessed with. Strange, perhaps I’ve always been a child that wanted to do realistic things but they were tainted with unrealistic expectations or what do you call it, optimism.

I decided to read Dance Dance Dance among the many other fine works of fiction in my kindle simply because I had saw a picture of my friend (on instagram no less) reading a murakami novel. And at that instant, tainted with sadness and strangeness, I felt like it was the perfect antidote to my endless lethargy.

The protagonist is a free-lance writer that often travels for his work. He churns out (in his opinion) meaningless articles for magazines everywhere, and possibly about everything. He works fast and is reliable but none of it seems to interest him. He calls what he does “shoveling snow”, even though it is necessary, it is uninteresting and yields no merit really. But it’s work that someone has to do.

The protagonist finds himself in Sapporo looking for the hotel that he had once inhabited with his lover Kiki, but Kiki disappeared and he thinks by going to this hotel there would be answers waiting for him. There, he meets a young and attractive receptionist and a young 13 year old girl that soon wedges herself into his life.

It gives the message that everything in our life is connected, and meeting each person is like pushing over the next domino in line that will eventually lead you to a great ending that is definitely supposed to mean something.

Murakami is anything if not reliable. When you read something by him, you can instantly pick up his style and mannerisms. The descriptions of the characters, the sometimes boring and predictable story line, and the way that everything is so goddamn neat really shines through everything that he writes. The themes of music and clothing always repeats itself throughout his prose. The only work that I felt was a bit messy were his earlier works that were never published outside of Japan. Pinball 1973 and Hear the Wind Sing.

I really liked this book despite all of those “flaws”. They can’t really be called flaws because a lot of the times, you read the same author again and again not because you expect a brand new way of writing and style but because you want something comfortable and easy. Reading isn’t a challenging activity, but it’s supposed to bring immense comfort that nothing else could. Murakami is quite comforting, sure, a lot of the times I don’t think he does anything brilliantly new or profound but the comfort is what we are seeking. Especially when I picked up this book.

I recommend it if you’re feeling blue and lost. Instead of feeling blue and lost about your own life, instead join this lost blue world.


Occasionally we’d hear the dull rattling of the elevator, but when it stopped the oppressive silence bore down once more. I picked this one for my own benefit, I just liked it

For three and a half years. I’d been making this kind of contribution to society. Shoveling snow. You know, cultural snow.

Though both of us knew there was no place this thing could go. Still, we quietly shared something approaching a pardon from life. I knew days of peace for the first time in ages.

I went into a small bar I remembered, and had a few drinks and a bite to eat. The place was dirty, noisy, cheap, and good. The kind of hole-in-the-wall I always look for when I have to eat out alone. Places like this put me at ease, never make me feel lonely. I can talk to myself and nobody listens or cares.

There in the dim light, staring at the shadow on the ball, I poured out the story of my life. It had been so long, but slowly, like melting ice, I released each circumstance. How I managed to support myself. Yet never managed to go anywhere. Never went anywhere, but aged all the same. How nothing touched me. And I touched nothing. How I’d lost track of what mattered. How I worked like a fool for things that didn’t. How it didn’t make a difference either way. How I was losing form. The tissues hardening, stiffening from within. Terrifying me. How I barely made the connection to this place. This place I didn’t know but had this feeling that I was part of … This place that maybe I knew instinctively I belonged to …

“Everybody has to grow up.”
“You’re right there. I used to think the years would go by in order, that you get older one year at a time,” said Gotanda, peering into my face. “But it’s not like that. It happens over night.”

and this is what I mean by SO NEAT
I took shirts to the cleaners and picked some up. I stopped by the bank, got some cash from the ATM, paid my phone and gas bills, paid my rent. I had new heels put on my shoes. I bought batteries for the alarm clock. I returned home and straightened up the place while listening to fen. I scrubbed the bathtub. I cleaned the refrigerator, the stove, the fan, the floors, the windows. I bagged the garbage. I changed the sheets. I ran the vacuum cleaner. I was wiping the blinds, singing along to Styx’s “Mister Roboto,” when the phone rang at two.

Posted: May 11th, 2012
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The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

I read this book entirely on the new york subways.

there’s always that moment of realization that you don’t know what the hell you are doing. Traveling alone is both good and bad because you can easily do things in your own pace but at the same time it’s not that easy. Because it’s easy to get lonely and this loneliness really gets at you, especially at night, when you do want to go out but don’t know what to do and don’t know who you’ll meet on your way there.

For me, I read this book quickly and eagerly simply because I wanted something to settle my heart. I saw a lot of people walking around alone with guide books. They probably are going through the things in the guide books one by one. I found that it was the case a lot, and I didn’t bring a guide book so I am trusting my shitty instinct instead.

I think I found a lot of solace in this book. I don’t choose to travel alone but alas I have no friends so I end up being this way. Well, that’s not fair to say that I have no friends, but I have no close friends to travel with. Or rather I think no one is close enough with me to travel with….


on to quotes!

This quote is from des Esseintes, but de botton quotes him in this book:

‘What was the good moving when a person could travel so wonderfully sitting in a chair? Wasn’t he already in London, whose smells, weather, citizens, food and even cutlery were all about him? What could he expect to find over there except fresh disappointments?’

The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.

If we are surprised by the power of one sulk to destroy the beneficial effects of an entire hotel, it is because we misunderstand what holds up our moods. We are sad at home and blame the weather and the ugliness of the buildings, but on the tropical island we learn (after an argument in a raffia bungalow under an azure sky) that the state of the skies and the appearance of our dwellings can never on their own either underwrite our joy or condemn us to misery

Des Esseintes concluded, in Huysman’s words, that ‘the imagination could provide a more-than-adequate substitute for the vulgar reality of actual experience’. Actual experience where what we have come to see is always diluted in what we could see anywhere, where we are drawn away from the present by an anxious future and where our appreciation of aesthetic elements lies at the mercy of perplexing physical and psychological demands

It is perhaps sad books that best console us when we are sad and to lonely service stations that we should drive when there is no one for us to hold or love.

It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, who may not be who we essentially are.

I’m obsessed with inventing stories for people I come across. An overwhelming curiosity makes me ask myself what their lives might be like. I want to know what they do, where they’re from, their names, what they’re thinking about at that moment, what they regret, what they hope for, whom they’ve loved, what they dream of … and if they happen to be women (especially youngish ones), then the urge becomes intense. How quickly you would want to see that one naked, admit it, and naked through to her heart.

If the world seems unfair or beyond our understanding, sublime places suggest that it is not surprising that things should be thus. We are the playthings of the forces that laid out the oceans and chiseled the mountains. Sublime places gently move us to acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events.

There is also a large portion describing why people take photos, and our desires to posses things. I don’t know, nowadays it’s so that we could post it on facebook right? Well for me, I take photos to put them on my main blog, facebook is secondary for me and I mostly don’t even use it. Now that I think about it, it has no point, because it sits in my hard drive without much meaning. But I guess the point is that I was there and here is proof that I was there.

Traveling makes me anxious and happy but at the same time very much unresolved. I don’t even know if that makes sense. But if you’re planning to go somewhere and it’s making you uneasy, read this book!

Posted: May 8th, 2012
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The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

I was watching 500 Days of Summer (again) and I suddenly saw that the book that Tom gives to Summer is this one: The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. I have only read one of his books before and it gave me a sort of surreal feeling. Simply because the way he writes about these kind of, mundane events and things, it’s as if he’s looking down at them from a larger vantage point. I don’t know if that makes sense or not…

This book mostly deals with architecture, literally architecture, and how it can shape and affect our lives without our realization of it. What a home represents, and the architecture of a home. It also talks a lot about gothic and classical styles and how trends are formed and then are broken.

I enjoyed it but I am not really specialized in any knowledge of architecture at all so I would say that it probably would’ve been more interesting to someone how actually knew about all those landmarks.

Although I would have to disagree with what he wrote about Japanese architecture and the lack-of-style of it. Or rather, it’s been mostly westernized. I think Japanese suburbia is distinctively Japanese. When you drive on a highway in Japan and look down at the houses, I would never mistaken it for any other part of Asia. But if you were in Hong Kong and you saw a skyscraper, it could be very Singaporean or Malaysian. So it would be hard to say I think. The environment of the buildings and houses create a distinctively local flavor.


Architecture may well possess moral messages; it simply as no power to enforce them. It offers suggestions instead of making laws. It invites, rather than orders, us to emulate its spirit and cannot prevent its own abuse.

The only problem with unrestricted choice, however, is that it tends not to lie so far from outright chaos.

Governed by an ethos conceived by engineers, Modernism claimed to have supplied a definitive answer to the question of beauty in architecture: the point of a house was not to be beautiful but to function well.

The notion of buildings that speak helps us to place at the very centre of our architectural conundrums the question of the values we want to live by – rather than merely of how we want things to look.

why are we so vulnerable, so inconveniently vulnerable, to what the spaces we inhabit are saying?

our love of home is in turn an acknowledgement of the degree to which our identity is not self-determined. We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is opposed to our allegiances. We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us.

Posted: April 19th, 2012
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On the Road by Jack Kerouac

ah woe is me.
i haven’t been reading anything lately and i’ve picked up and put down a lot of books.
i wasn’t able to finish Hemingway’s The Old Man And the sea! Even though it was rather thin and the font was big…
i suppose that i am not in much of a reading mood.

Weird, so unproductive lately. I know that counting the number of books that i’ve read isn’t much of … in terms of doing actual work but it’s a lot more than what i normally do, which is nothing.

i must say that i’m quite depressed because of it.
anyways, it’ll get better…

so what did i think?
i read the introduction of the On The Road a long time ago (on the Penguin Classics edition with the intro by Ann Charters). And the introduction was fascinating, especially the part about that he wrote the novel in 3 weeks on an continuous scroll.

I guess these days you really don’t have to think about things like, oh crap, do i have enough paper for my kickass novel? Because the word document can never end….

I think I could have enjoyed the book a lot more if I weren’t in this directionless phase myself. It really takes the punch out of the book because I am constantly thinking too, okay, when are they going to settle down? Simply because I want to settle down so much (not that I’m traveling at all, but that I want to find a normal job and just stop living the life that I have right now). Dean Moriarty (teehee, Moriarty) ‘s character didn’t fascinate me as much as it apparently fascinated people when the book was published. For one thing, he just seemed like someone that couldn’t make up his mind about anything, and he took to traveling like an addict takes to a zip lock bag of cocaine. This is just my take on it, but traveling represents freedom, because on the road means being in limbo. You have no responsibilities while on the road other than to get to the destination. And hence he’s constantly moving in between New York and San Francisco (or as they call it, Frisco), and dragging our narrator, Sal with him.

I’m envying a lot of people’s lives right now, fictional or non-fictional. But I am not envying the life on the road, somehow it didn’t appeal to me at all, even though I sometimes enjoy spur of the moment adventures… (though less and less as I get older).

And as usual, a few quotes~~

page 70:

Remi was just like a little boy. Somewhere in his past, in his lonely schooldays in France, they’d taken everything from him; his stepparents just stuck him in schools and left him there; he was browbeaten and thrown out of one school after another; he walked the French roads at night devising curses out of his innocent stock of words. He was out to get back everything he’d lost; there was no end to his loss; this thing would drag on forever.

wow look at that use of semi-colons!

page 82:

I was so lonely, so sad, so tired, so quivering, so broken, so beat, that I got up my courage, the courage necessary to approach a strange girl, and acted. Even though I spent five minutes beating my thighs in the dark as the bus rolled down the road.

You gotta, you gotta or you’ll die! Damn fool, talk to her! What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you tired enough of yourself by now? And before I knew what I was doing I leaned across the aisle to her (she was trying to sleep on the seat) and said, “Miss, would you like to use my raincoat for a pillow?”

page 86:

I never felt sadder in my life. LA is the loneliest and most brutal of american cities; New York gets god-awful cold in the winter but there’s a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle.

page 106

Isn’t it true that you start your life a sweet child believing in everything under your father’s roof? then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with the visage of a gruesome grieving ghost you go shuddering through nightmare life.

page 156: What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

page 213: And suddenly Dean’s eyes grew tearful and he got up and left his food steaming there and walked out of the restaurant. I wondered if he was just wandering off forever. I didn’t care, I was so mad – had flipped momentarily and turned it down on Dean. But the sight of his uneaten food made me sadder than anything in years. I shouldn’t have said that … he likes to eat so much … He’s never left his food like this … What the hell. That’s showing him, anyway.

Posted: April 9th, 2012
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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I had wanted to become more serious and write more serious reviews about the books that I read but when I get to this page I find that I have not that much to say, or at times, I do have a lot to say. I am trying to decide which is the case for this book.

First, a clear synopsis. The Paris Wife is about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson and their life in Paris. From woody allen’s Midnight in Paris I can’t help but read everything that Hemingway has written and everything about Hemingway (including the style of this novel) in the actor’s voice. A slow, droned voice that elongates sentences and stretches images to far away places.

I didn’t really know how to put a finger on this novel because it was written in the point of view of Hadley from the moment that they had met to the moment that they had divorced and Hemingway has gone on to his second wife, Pauline something.

And throughout his life time, he will have a total of four wives and numerous affairs before killing himself with a revolver the way that his father did, and the way that Hadley’s father did.

It is not a completely historically accurate novel but there are a lot of very good and witty conversation that made me think that it was spoken at that time. I especially loved Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald as I always had. I find that couple much more fascinating than Hemingway and his relationship with women, no matter how secretive they may or may not be.

I felt annoyed by Hadley for most of the book but immediately felt sorry for her when Hemingway started cheating on her with Pauline. this was simply because their arrangements was too strange. He could either abandon one for the other but hoping to live with them both and their son is just too wrong.

Oh yes, now I want to know what I wanted to say.
it reads like chick-lit.

That means it’s fun enough to be read quickly and at times you will definitely feel annoyed with the female narrator. as i have felt, with all chick lit.

but after finishing this book, i just have to say that i don’t like hemingway very much…
his writing style never appealed to me as much as fitzgerald’s or say the french writer, camus’. i guess i just didn’t really get it…

and now on to quotes:

Not everyone believed in marriage then. To marry was to say you believed in the future and in the past, too—that history and tradition and hope could stay knit together to hold you up.

Another kind of girl might have suspected Kate of jealousy, but I was very simple and trusting, then. More than this, I was inexperienced. At twenty-eight I’d had a handful of beaux, but had only been in love once, and that had been awful enough to make me doubt men and myself for a good long while.

know we meant to be gone a year,” Ernest said to Gertrude on our first visit to their flat after we returned, “but four months is a year in Canada.”

Posted: March 12th, 2012
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Hear the Wind sing

by Haruki Murakami

This is another one of the novels that he wrote that was never allowed for publication outside of Japan. I enjoyed this one a lot more than Pinball 1973. And I actually thought it was really good over all.

the story is about this guy, the protagonist, his name unknown, and basically the summer he spent in his hometown after coming home from college in Tokyo. The protagonist is 21 years old and he frequents a bar called J’s, which was also encountered in Pinball 1973. There, he is friends with someone named Rat, who is also a recurring character.

The protagonist recalls about his life, the girls he had slept with, and his encounter with a girl that was once a twin and only had 4 fingers. There is some conversation, nothing too life changing though.

It was a very pleasant and very short read. Not exactly recommended or not recommended. It’s so short that it probably won’t hurt.


After washing down my last mouthful of horse mackerel with beer and cleaning my plate, I grabbed the copy of L’Education sentimentale I’d been reading and started flipping through the pages.


“Because Flaubert’s already dead.”

“You don’t read books by living people?”

“Living authors don’t have any merit.”

“Why’s that?” “Dead authors, as a rule, seem more trusting than live ones.” I said this as I was watching the rebroadcast of Route 66 on the portable television in the middle of the counter.

The Rat thought about my answer for a minute. “Hey, how about living authors? Aren’t they usually trusting?”

“How should I put this…I haven’t really thought about it like that. When they’re chased into a corner, they might become that way. Probably less trusting.” J came over and set two cold beers in front of us.

“And if they can’t trust?” “They fall asleep clutching their pillows.” The Rat shook his head, looking upset. “It’s strange, I’ll give you that. Me, I have no idea.”


I’ll tell you about the third girl I slept with. It’s really difficult to talk about dead people, but it’s even harder to talk about dead young women. It’s because from the time they die, they’ll be young forever. On the other hand, for us, the survivors, every year, every month, every day, we get older. Sometimes, I feel like I can feel myself aging from one hour to the next. It’s a terrible thing, but that’s reality.

Posted: March 6th, 2012
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The Outsider by albert camus

A very short novel about a man’s indifference towards his mother’s death. His indifference was used as a reason to behead him after he kills a man (accidentally, out of self-defense)

It is a very short novel that reads so clearly that it really shows the work of a true master.

In a book set with a first-person narrator, we are often met with descriptors of feelings because often there is nothing else to go on. but even with a character that’s mostly indifferent to the things and people around him (Camus explains that he’d rather not lie, that he’s not indifferent), his feelings at the moment were fully conveyed, and his indifference was astute.

the scene that I thought was most obvious in pointing out what i wrote above is the scene right before his death. the character is in his cell, waiting for his beheading, a chaplain came to talk to him about God. Because he doesn’t believe in God, he found the chaplain’s visit unnecessary and even more so annoyed with him.

In a situation like that, perhaps the more appropriate reaction is to want to find god as to find peace within self of having to deal with capital punishment. Even if you don’t believe in god, at that time, i can’t imagine that there is anything else to do. But instead, the character not only stayed with his disbelief of God and even found the chaplain to be annoying because he said he didn’t want to waste any more time talking about God.

interesting to say the least i guess.

so, what we feel, is it honestly what we feel? or is it a over-ride function of what we are supposed to feel to fit into society’s norm?


page 44: He intended to set up an office in Paris to handle that side of the business on the spot by dealing directly with the big companies and he wanted to know if I was prepared to go over there. I’d be able to live in Paris and travel around for part of the year as well. “You’re a young man, and I imagine that sort of life must appeal to you.” I said yes but really I didn’t mind. He then asked me if I wasn’t interested in changing my life. I replied that you could never change your life, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t at all dissatisfied with mine here. He looked upset and told me that I always evaded the question and that I had no ambition, to which was disastrous in the business world. So I went back to work. I’d rather not have upset him, but I couldn’t see any reason for changing my life. come to think of it, I wasn’t unhappy. When I was a student, I had plenty of that sort of ambition. but when I had to give up my studies, I very soon realized that none of it really mattered.

page 66: We both sat back in our chairs. the examination began. He told me first of all that people described me as being taciturn and withdrawn and he wanted to know what I thought of that. I answered, “it’s just that I never have much to say, So I keep quiet.”

page 78

I hadn’t understood how days could be so long and short at the same time. Long to live through I suppose, but so distended that they ended up flowing into one another. they lost their names. The words yesterday and tomorrow were the only ones that still meant something to me.

Posted: February 29th, 2012
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Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami

One of the two short novels that were never published outside of Japan in English.
But of course I can find everything on the internet.

It is one of his earlier works and perhaps because I know this, it feels less complete.

We have the usual sort of Murakami-dipped style of writing, the characters, the details, the bartender, the girls, the obsession, the mention of music and even the shift in time-line , character-line but it overall felt less complete. I didn’t read it very carefully, so perhaps this is why, but the story line jumped too much and I felt nothing during, or after I finished reading.

I don’t really know what else to say about it, the follow three short quotes caught my eye though.

stray observations, none of murakami’s characters ever have a trouble finding a job, or starting a company, everyone is successful in the most obvious definition of the word. I find that strange, but perhaps, because of their easy success with things, they find ways to torture themselves with situations that are out of this world.

“Even if, say, someone dies, we don’t feel sad,” said the guy from Venus, an ultra-quiet type. “We’d rather just show that much more love while the person’s alive. That way, there’s no regret afterward.”

While you’re playing yourself out in lonesome dissipation in front of a pinball machine, someone else might be reading through Proust. Still another might be engaged in heavy petting with a girlfriend at a drive-in theater showing of Paths of Courage. The one could well become a writer, witness to the age; the others, a happily married couple.

Dreamily she closed her eyes and pressed against the Rat. From his shoulder on down, the Rat felt the supple weight of her body. An odd sensation, that weight. This being that could love a man, bear children, grow old, and die; to think one whole existence was in this weight.

Posted: February 27th, 2012
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