75 in 2015: September, Part II

HardBoiledHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (1985)

Yes, continuing my love affair with Murakami. There is so much I shouldn’t like about his work; this one has a fantasy world, alternating narrators, an ending full of questions – all things I usually avoid. Something about his writing though leaves me engrossed from beginning to end. Needless to say, I buy-in to Murakami’s world building 100%. Like I said about Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, this book is somehow both hyper-realistic and ethereal at the same time. I listened to this one and the narrators were excellent.

From Amazon.com: “In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.”

Rebel YellRebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne (2014)

I became a little bit fascinated by Stonewall Jackson after his brief appearance in Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. I knew next to nothing about the man – little more than he was a Civil War general with a reputation of being unmovable – but suddenly found myself wanting to learn more about this odd person. Rebel Yell was a hefty read; its 688 pages felt twice that much to me. I’ll blame this on the blow-by-blow detail of the battles and military movements. Yes, I expected that in a biography of Stonewall Jackson. I just wanted a little . . . less. If you are a biography-lover like me, I’d think twice before digging in unless you also have an interest in military history or the Civil War. That being said, a great read overall.

From Amazon.com:Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.”

2015 total books: 63
2015 total pages read: 12,724
2015 total pages listened to: 6,865


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