2015 Half-Year Report

Oops, I didn’t forget this blog again!

I’m not going to make excuses to why I wasn’t able to blog in the past month, though, because really, it’s just going to be the same. I think we’ve (or at least, I) have come to accept that this will be updated when I feel like it, or when there’s a blog tour and all that jazz. Which seems to be a trend nowadays, so let’s sort of not dwell on that anymore.

So instead of dwelling, let me do a little update on what the first half of 2015 has been in terms of books. :)

Screencapped from my 2015 shelf on Goodreads :D

Screencapped from my 2015 shelf on Goodreads :D

I read 24 books in the first half of 2015, and that’s a little bit halfway through the 52-book goal for the year, not counting a couple that I reread that I didn’t add here. Most of these were 4-star reads, which has sort of become my default rating for books for some reason. Haha. I even managed to finish one dare book, so yay.

Best book from this half-year list? It’s a tie between Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. They’re very different, but also they somehow evoked the same feel for me as I read them.

It’s been going slow ever since July started, though (but it’s really just what, 7 days in, so what do I know). I have been picking books from my shelf every now and then but for some reason they’re not capturing me. I feel like maybe I should be reading this because my book club is reading it, or I should be reading that because it’s supposed to be next. But sometimes you just have to follow your gut, and just read what you want for the time being.

Especially when work is being kind of stressful and you don’t want to think and you just want to settle into a good book and just read.

Oh, and another new reading thing I’m doing: I’m reading manga. Never thought I’d say that, because I’m not a manga person, but I just finished watching Attack on Titan/Shingeki No Kyojin and I need to know what happens next. So my good friend gave me the links and I binged on them last weekend. 20 chapters to go! (And my heart is not so ready yet.)

So, there. I do think I’ll reach my 52-book goal. But I’m probably going to follow my gut for most of the time and reach for the one that it wants to read. I have a feeling it’ll be time to read another David Mitchell after I finish this St. John Paul II memoir. That sounds about right.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

colorlessColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Knopf
Number of pages: 386
My copy: hardbound, borrowed from Ranee

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the long-awaited new novel– a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan–from the award-winning, internationally best-selling author Haruki Murakami.

Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

I’ve been wanting to read a Haruki Murakami novel for the longest time, but I can never choose which book to read. Everyone I ask seemed to have too many different recommendations, and some of them even hesitate because they know that there were some things in Murakami’s books that aren’t really my cup of tea. Then someone recommended Murakami’s latest book (at least, at that time) then, because I liked collecting train maps. But of course I didn’t get a copy, until I borrowed a copy from a friend.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (which I will call Colorless Tsukuru from here on out) is about Tsukuru Tazaki and his four friends – or at least, the story of their friendship, and how they just stopped wanting to be his friend. His friends’ abandonment hurt him deeply, and he carried this all the way into his adult life. Then he meets and dates Sarah, who forces him to confront his past for his own peace of mind.

Colorless Tsukuru is a surprisingly easy read. The prose was fluid, and it had some sort of dreamlike quality to it. There was a time when I stopped reading for a long time, but it wasn’t because I found it boring – it was just plain busy-ness. But when I picked it up again, I read through it so quickly and found myself so invested in Tsukuru Tazaki that I rooted for him.

There’s a lot about Colorless Tsukuru that resonated with me, and made me feel strangely sentimental. It’s not just his fascination with trains that got me — I like train maps and riding trains, but not necessarily how trains work — but more of Tsukuru’s friendships and how he lost them. I think that was what saddened me the most, how there were some things that you just couldn’t bring back, and the hard choices that people make for the sake of friendship. There’s a lot of sadness and regret here, and when the reason why all that happened was finally revealed, I was even more saddened to realize that it was an even harder situation. As expected, closure isn’t really as clean as we all wished it would be.

There’s something about being young and having friends and witnessing the changes that happen to all the people in the group that makes one a little nostalgic, yeah? But if anything, it made me think of my own friendships, and I can’t help but utter a little prayer that what happened to Tsukuru and his friends won’t happen to my own friendships.

I really enjoyed my first Murakami, and I’m glad that this was the first one. The book lingered with me even after I read it, and sometimes I still sigh a little when I think of Tsukuru Tazaki. I’m still undecided if  I will start working on reading Murakami’s other books – maybe I will, someday. But now, let me just savor the feeling and the memories of this book.

We truly believed in something back then, and we were the kind of people capable of believing something – with all our hearts. And that kind of hope will never simply vanish.

Rating: 

Number of (imaginary) dog-eared pages: 17

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

Still, he had a constant nagging fear that someday he would fall away from this intimate community, or be forced out and left on his own. Anxiety raised its head, like a jagged, ominous rock exposed by the receding tide, the fear that he would be separated from the group and end up entirely alone.

You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them. If nothing else, you need to remember that. You can’t erase history, or change it. It would be like destroying yourself.

Unless you take the leap, you can’t prove it. And once you actually make the leap, there’s no need to prove it anymore. There’s no middle ground. You either take the leap, or you don’t. One or the other.

If something is important enough, a little mistake isn’t going to ruin it all, or make it vanish. It might not be perfect, but the first step is actually building the station. Right? Otherwise trains won’t stop there. And you can’t meet the person who means so much to you. If you find some defect, you can adjust later, as needed. First things first. Build the station. A special station just for her. The kind of station where trains want to stop, even if they have no reason to do so. Imagine that kind of station, and give it actual color and shape. Write your name on the foundation with a nail, and breathe life into it. I know you have the power to do that. Don’t forget – you’re the one who swam across the freezing sea at night.

You don’t lack anything. Be confident and be bold. That’s all you need. Never let fear or stupid pride make you lose someone who’s precious to you.

In My Mailbox (14): Mother’s Day and a Long Hiatus

Before anything else!

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there! :)

Especially to mine:

<3Thank you for getting me all those books when I was a kid even if you’re not too fond of reading, and I know sometimes you think I read too much. :D  Thank you for reading all the things I wrote despite that fact. :) I love you!

* * *

It’s been a long time since I last did an In My Mailbox post. Other than laziness and trying to resist buying books, I went on a book-buying fast during the Lenten season. I could not buy books for myself, but I can buy them as gifts, or receive them as gifts since my birthday falls within Lent. It’s all good, and I ended up using the usual book money for other equally important things, like clothes.

But as soon as Easter morning came, I went to Book Depository and ordered books. :) It felt nice, to celebrate victory in that way. The books aren’t here yet, though, so that will be for another posts.

The books I bought in recent bookstore trips are a different matter. And so after a long hiatus, here’s my 14th In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

In My Mailbox (14)

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