Reading thread

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by rjbman, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    I don't really have a strong opinion on Birnbaum vs. Rubin, and any issue with the Kodansha translations are really about the 'feel' of the books (academic format, lots of notes etc.) and the (not yet quite there) quality of Murakami's original writing rather than the translation per se. My wife, who is Japanese, hasn't read the two early books either even though she's read most of the rest. She finds the adulation of Murakami (with whom she shares a family name) in the west with a somewhat amused eye, as he still isn't really seen as a great author here and the association with his teenage / college-student readership that was generated by Norwegian Wood (and which he really encourage with Sputnik Sweetheart, despite what he says about not enjoying it very much) hasn't really gone away, athough the Japanese media is quite happy to promote him as a Nobel favourite just about every year. There are many Japanese authors who are not translated who she rates as far more interesting.

    One who is translated, who has already gone through the build-them-up-then-knock-them-down cycle of hype and damnation in both Japan and the west, is Yoshimoto Banana. I actually rate her quite highly as a writer, now the dust has settled...
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013


  2. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    I've only read "Kitchen" by Yoshimoto Banana and I did enjoy it. I should look for more of her works.

    One author whom my (Japanese) wife loves is Miyabe Miyuki, who is little known in the West. I think that only one of her works, "Kasha", has been translated into English (coincidentally, by Alfred Birnbaum). I've read a few of her shorter books in Japanese and enjoyed them very much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013


  3. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Unfortunately my japanese is only good enough to read things very slowly with a dictionary... I'll ask my wife what she thinks about Miyabe!
     


  4. Lionheart Biker

    Lionheart Biker Senior member

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    I´ve read Rubin´s translation of "The wind up bird chronicle" and thought it was marvelous, overall.

    I have, maybe, a few minor gripes with some choices, like he made certain parts seem a bit "too" embelished. But since I can´t read the original in Japanese, I can´t really say if it´s his translation or how it actually was intended by Murakami.

    I´ll browse amazon/ebay to see if I can find copies of those so I can have my summer read ready.
     


  5. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    My Japanese has seriously degraded over the past decade as I don't use it much, so I'm not really capable of reading much in Japanese without serious reference to a kanji dictionary anymore, either.

    It is something that I do regret a bit, but I haven't used Japanese at work for over a decade now and having young children means that I don't have the time nor the energy to practice Japanese when I'm at home!
     


  6. magicalporks

    magicalporks Senior member

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    Haven't actually gotten around to reading that one, but I've read a handful of his short stories in both English and Japanese. As far as I can tell, the translations are typically very close to the original text. Murakami tends to use some colorful metaphors when he writes, and I think they don't always translate smoothly to English.

    As for Banana Yoshimoto, I really enjoyed Kitchen/Moonlight Shadow but I didn't really get into Asleep or Hardboiled and Hard Luck. I don't think they were bad, but I don't really have much of a desire to read more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013


  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Here are some thoughts on Kafka on the Shore (copy/pasted from the 50 book thread):

    Kafka is a 5 year old who runs away from his father, who has put a curse on Kafka. He eventually ends up befriending a librarian and settling down briefly working at a library. While this is happening, Nakata (an old, mentally disabled man) is manipulated into murdering "Johnny Walker" (who later turns out to be Kafka's father) and then moves south (mirroring Kafka's move). With the police mobilised looking for Kafka (due to his father's death) he lies low, eventually falling in love with a much older librarian. Some incredibly fantastical elements of this story complicate the plot somewhat, but defy my skills of summary.

    I'm honestly not quite sure what to make of this book. I very much enjoyed a great deal of it - esepcially the earlier parts and, as always, Murakami's characterisation is fantastic. However, the more surreal/fantastical elements didn't click for me, and there was a great deal that seemed unnecessary or incongrous. Perhaps after thinking through the novel again I'll come to some conclusions about why certain parts were included, but in the mean time I'm a little puzzled.

    I know there are quite a few people that really enjoyed the book (I did too), were you equally puzzled by things like the boy named crow, KFC guy, Johnnie Walker, etc?
     


  8. Portland Dry Goods

    Portland Dry Goods Affiliate Vendor

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    For what it's worth, Bleeding Edge was incredible. definitely worth a read. First 300 pages is classic Pynchonian slapstick etc., after that you get some serious insight on the human condition RE: the internet.

    Just picked this up and worked my way few a through interviews. good stuff. Now onto the fifth dark tower book
     


  9. Nikos

    Nikos Senior member

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  10. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    Recently read this....pretty good:

    [​IMG]

    Also have read all of the Stephen Clarke "Merde" books. Very good read(s)!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014


  11. Lionheart Biker

    Lionheart Biker Senior member

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    I´m currently reading "Sostiene Pereira" by Antonio Tabbucchi. I watched the film back in film school so I was excited to get the book as a present for christmas.
    Also I started "Kafka on the shore". I wish the translator was the same as the one that did "the wind up bird..". Took a while to read it and I had gotten used to his style.
     


  12. GraphicNovelty

    GraphicNovelty Senior member

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    finished gravity's rainbow. what a mindfuck (an enjoyable mindfuck but a mindfuck nonetheless).

    Reading born to run to cleanse the pallette a bit.
     


  13. Nikos

    Nikos Senior member

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    Also currently reading this:

    [​IMG]
     


  14. artishard116

    artishard116 Senior member

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  15. fireflygrave

    fireflygrave Senior member

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    Currently reading this, which I picked up based on a vague recommendation and the fact that it was $2.00 at the used bookstore

    [​IMG]

    It's pretty good. It has a similar sort of matter-of-fact way of telling the story to some Murakami, only it's purely realistic (so far, but I don't anticipate a shift) and more concerned with the clashing of '60s-'80s Chinese communist policies and traditional Confucian values. The only thing I find jarring is the fact that the story takes place over 20 years, and the author makes rather large leaps through the years by basically saying, "nothing much happened for 6 years." Not sure why this bothered me, perhaps I'm reading too fast, but I often got a bit lost as to how much time had passed between events.

    Got these for Christmas, I'll have to cram them into my reading list somehow! Although given my weakness for Murakami they'll probably just end up being next :embar:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     


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