Friday, July 16, 2010

Introducing: Summer of the Re-Read

Now that I'm back in the States again, I have a lot of free time until school starts back up. A LOT of free time. And besides the time I've wasted since discovering my family started using Netflix (instant streaming...fuck and yes), I've started really reading again.

This summer I have a massive reading list I want to but ultimately will fail miserably at completing, which can be divided up into three sections: (1) new, unread books, (2) unread "classics", and (3) stuff I want to read again.

The thing is, I don't often re-read books, besides Murakami (surprise, surprise). Some fun facts: Sputnik Sweetheart is probably the most read at 3, possibly 4 times, and Hardboiled Wonderland... is the one that I've started and put down the most times, though I have finished it once and thoroughly enjoyed it; for some reason, it's just the unluckiest book in that I just start it at bad times or get distracted by something newer and shinier. I have a pretty good memory, so I more or less remember what happened and how I particularly felt about any particular book, and there's just so much out there to read I usually give preference to something unknown (except in the cases where I find myself in an irrepressible Murakami mood). Contrast this to my TV habits, in which my favorite shows are constantly being cycled through and re-marathoned, though this is usually done in conjunction with something else, since I don't have to be focusing on it 100% to enjoy it. In fact, the only book in semi-recent memory that I recall re-reading is Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. (Oops, wait, that's a lie; the last Harry Potter was also re-read, though only just a month or two after I had initially read it in the first place.) And books have to be particularly crappy for me to give up on them before the end (i.e. Higashino Keigo's "Naoko". For such a fucked up concept, boooooooooring.)

But this summer, I really want to re-read a bunch of books. Maybe it was because I was in Japan and didn't have access to my collection, or maybe because I didn't have easy access to English-language books. Not really sure. And since I like doing book reviews on this blog anyway, I thought I'd chronicle my exploits.

Here's the list so far:

1) Genichiro Takahashi - Sayonara, Gangsters
2) J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
3) F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
4) (tentative) Ryu Murakami - Coin Locker Babies
5) (tentative) George Orwell - 1984
6) (tentative) Haruki Murakami - South of the Border, West of the Sun
7) (tentative) Albert Camus - The Fall

I guess in general, I want to see if each of these books still "hold up" since the last time I read them, though the reasons for why I want to see depend on each book. For example, South of the Border, West of the Sun was by far and away my absolute least favorite Murakami book when I read it, but paradoxically, it also has one of my favorite quotes by any author ever. So on and so forth.

I'll talk about all this stuff more specifically for each book when I get to it. Anyway, that's something that you can look forward to (I originally wrote "one more thing" you can look forward to, but I haven't written anything in months, so you haven't been looking forward to anything for a while) very soon, since I've already finished reading Sayonara, Gangsters and am halfway through The Catcher in the Rye.

(P.S. New books will be reviewed either separately or, more likely, in a "Recently Read Round-up" column.)

(P.P.S. That translation I'm working on that's non-Murakami? Totally starting to work on that again. I spent most of my time in Japan just trying to read as much Japanese as possible, and practicing the art of getting as much out of a text as I can without checking the dictionary every 10 5 seconds, which was actually really awesome. Newest record: 40 consecutive pages that I can  thoroughly summarize to you, that I did with little dictionary-consultation. Very proud of this.)

(P.P.S. I'm now on The Twitter. There should now be a doohicky on the side of this here thing-ama-blog.)

No comments:

Post a Comment