Reading Woes


Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author, writes odd books that pull me in. His writing style and concepts are hard to describe. He looks at the current world and gives it an odd twist, leaving it almost the way it was, but not quite. Then he add a fantastical element that sounds plausible as if we could see it out of the corner of our eye.

His latest book, 1Q84, is in keeping with his other work that I’ve read. This book is over 900 pages. Murakami’s work is not quick reading, although it’s not difficult, either. Since it just came out a few months ago, the demand for it from the library is high.

I put myself on the list knowing I would have a wait. My turn came up when I was reading a promised advance copy novel (So Damn Lucky) and had to start my February book club novel (The Shipping News). I was allowed to have it three weeks before it was due.

I was able to start it a couple days later. Like I mentioned, it’s not a quick read. When I had less than a week left, I still had over a third of the book to read.

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair last week waiting for the cement to harden on my crown. I picked up the book and started reading. It had just gotten to a critical explanation that is a focal point of the book. I read the beginning of the explanation on the left page, then moved my eyes to the top of the right page. Suddenly I was in the middle of a conversation. What? I was confused.

I looked at the bottom of the left page. The last sentence hadn’t finished yet. But the top of the right didn’t follow. I noticed the speaker hadn’t been in the scene I had been reading on the left page. Then I noticed the page numbers. Thirty pages (15 pieces of paper) were missing. It looks like they weren’t bound in the book. I flipped around hoping that two sections were mixed up. No, I couldn’t find the missing pages. I closed 1Q84 in frustration. The library waiting list is still long.

Yesterday I returned the book in person (rather than the normal book drop) and pointed out the problem. The librarian was apologetic (it wasn’t his fault). Then he pulled up the hold list for the book. Over 100 people are waiting for it. He added me back on the list, then moved my name to the top because I had already had the book and had waited my turn.

It now is a win for me. I am able to read The Shipping News before Tuesday night, and will have another three weeks to finish 1Q84. I was afraid I’d have to return it unfinished and wait six months to get it again. Now I have time to keep up, then get it back and finish it without having to keep it longer and pay a fine.

It’s an odd story. I really want to see where Murakami is going with it.

One Comment

  1. Comment by Karmonghia:

    I see this title come up often on Best of lists, but I have to admit the 900 pages are off-putting. I don’t think I have that kind of attention span. I’m looking forward to your final review!