I read this message while sat in a freezing park on my lunch break, surrounded by crispy trees and wobbly ducks; I wanted to reply immediately but couldn’t until now, due to the collaborative restrictions of mobile internet and work. Anyway, in a happy turn of events I finally arrived home after a cold and drenching bike ride and am free to respond to your lovely words: Thank you very very much! You managed to warm up my cold lunch hour and I’m very glad you agree with my musings, doodles and snapshots. Thanks! :)
“1Q84” by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5/5
1Q84 is a novel in which Haruki Murakami guides the reader through a multitude of emotions ranging from the delicately subtle to the outright heartwrenching. In what feels like a more refined and concise style of storytelling than some of his slightly more sporadic style work, Murakami continues to develop some of his trademark thought provoking and surreal concepts while maintaining a steady hold on realism and narrative focus, giving the reader a deeply involved experience. 1Q84 in itself manages to form a complete world filled with a handful of intricately sculpted characters and settings; the novel remains startlingly vivid on reflection both in day to day life alongside the reading process and also long after the final page has ceased to shine upon the retinas. A completely mammoth book that nestles comfortably into nearly 1000 pages, upon completion I could barely grasp the notion that the story had ended; whilst a work of fiction it felt like a part of the world had been shelved. An atmosphere of melancholy drifts beautifully through the pages, morphing gradually within the novel’s three parts as certain chapters reach intense emotional crescendos and while the words always remain tinged with a heartwarming sense of hope. Like other works of fiction by Haruki Murakami the scenarios presented in 1Q84 seem vaguely familiar, a sensation of nostalgia is presented that has a way of appealing to each reader to make it seem like the ocean of words is just for them. Reading this enthralling book, I was filled with a sense of constant deja vu and nostalgia for feelings and occurrences that I’m not even sure whether I’ve encountered, that yet feel as though they are entirely mine. An incredibly wonderful and immersive novel which I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend you go and read right now. - Andrew Jolly
The thing about wearing reading glasses, is that when you inevitably decide to dive your face into the centre of your book and relish the aroma, they get in the way, and your frames bash into the pages.
Or maybe I’m the only one who’s noticed this.
“Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 4.5/5
Essentially a combination of two stories, the mistake could be made to read one and not the other. The first, “Franny” is quite an uncomfortable presentation of what is essentially a long argument, and can seem difficult to stomach, yet when it is accompanied by “Zooey”, the story becomes a brilliant work of art. The family dynamic is wonderfully set into perspective and an unbelievably touching situation is described with fantastic depth. Compared to J.D Salinger’s more famous work, this is less immediate and more mature in it’s complexities, and is a story on a much smaller scale, yet it is just as memorable and inspiring. - Andrew Jolly
220 pages into 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and it’s incredible. Reading this book, as with Murukami’s other works I’m filled with a sense of constant deja vu and nostalgia for feelings and occurrences that I’m not even sure whether I’ve encountered. Amazing.
“Flowers For Algernon” by Daniel Keyes
My rating: 5/5
“Flowers For Algernon” is a book with an alluringly simple idea that is executed fantastically; the concept being that a mentally retarded person undergoes surgery with the intention to increase his intellect. The presented format is that of a collection of journals written by Charlie (the patient and lead character) referred to as “Progress Reports”, which perfectly capture the mental and emotional development of the character. Naturally the format and premise of the novel combine to allow both a great depth to the character and an extensive progression that is breathtaking to read. The story essentially translates to an accelerated account of growing up, from overcoming the embarrassment of childhood, intellectually outstripping your childhood idols, the inwardness that comes with becoming an adult, and of course the emotional supernova which accompanies girls, relationships and love. An incredibly involving and moving read, which although targeted at a science fiction audience should be read by anyone with an interest in human relationships. - Andrew Jolly
…teased a tiny river of salt water out onto the shelf of my lower eyelids.
“Within The Minds Of All Things” by Andrew Jolly
Think about this place where you live,
It’s where billions of people exist,
What must it be like to see,
Within the minds of all things.
Viewing these worlds we’ve created,
Filled with beautiful and horrible dreams,
Visit each universe which exists,
An unlimited number to explore.
Not to mention things we write down,
Or capture through a lens,
We store worlds on tapes and hard drives,
And watch them again and again.
Piles of stacks of ideas swirling,
In chaos around the globe,
It blows my head open to think,
Of every thought humans have thought.
These times in which we live,
There is so much to swim in, things to see.
All the places to imagine,
Books to read and songs to sing.
“Fahrenheit 451” By Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4/5
An incredibly easy and enjoyable read, one which highlights some very relevant points on the state of literature, and how culture is influenced by the media and televised culture. The development of the main character, Guy Montag, is entirely predictable yet necessary and memorable, while his interaction with those around him is less obvious and more intruiging. In particular the effect that Guy’s neighbour Clarisse has on his psyche is fantastic, and though the actual dialogue between the two characters is extremely fun, the consequences of these conversations are at times melancholy yet wholy engaging. The short length of this book makes it easy to recommend; it is great entertainment, nothing to be daunted by although offering up some excellent (albeit quite sad) obervations on modern life.
“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac
My Rating: 4/5
The relentless prose that Kerouac employs can be both addictive and alienating - at times keeping the reader at arms length by rapidly moving the narrative along with brief recollections of events that could fill whole chapters. Yet, the massive array of characters and incredulous events that fit into the book open up a world that beneath the surface of thin and rushed descriptions is incredibly vast. The underlying suggestions that speed alongside the unflinching writing are, on reflection, superb. While parts of “On the Road” can seem to lack the ability to draw the reader in completely, and miss the potential of you really living and breathing the story, every aspect of the book certainly lingers on for weeks or even months after completion. The “alienation” that I mention turns out to be a beautiful thing, giving the novel a feeling that this isn’t the reader’s story, it is that of a friend who is telling you his crazy life tale - the insane highlights. - Andrew Jolly