Saturday, June 28, 2014

S is for ...

If you want to have fun, playing is inevitable :)
So here I am, playing together with Bellezza the game of "favorites". She gave me the letter "S" and I have to mention things I like starting with the given letter. Speaking/writing about what one likes should not be very difficult, so here it goes, without a deep, pensive mood about it... 

My favorite book ... definitely SPUTNIK SWEETHEART, probably my favorite Haruki Murakami one, which has still stayed with me three years after reading it.
My favorite author ... Salinger, no doubt about it. You never forget your first literary love :)
My favorite song ... this has to be a Madonna one and I'll choose "Sanctuary", from the album "Bedtime Stories", released in 1994. Although the song does not have an official video, this one is utterly beautiful. If you listen carefully, the first lines open with some poetry from Walt Whitman...
"Surely whoever speaks to me in the right voice
Him or her I shall follow
As the water follows the moon, silently
Madonna-Sanctuary from themertulus on Vimeo.
My favorite object ... Snow, for its purity and also because playing in the snow is fun :)
Last, but not least, my favorite movie ... I had to go over my imdb account to recap some of the ones I love, since my first three favorites do not start with the letter "S", but I found it: it is called "Somewhere in Palilula" and it is probably one of the best Romanian movies of the last decade, so intriguing, creative and amusing, yet nostalgic about the past... Worth seeing!
Now, who else wants to play?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Almost Transparent Blue

 I think it's decided that Ryu Murakami's style and stories are the types that shock you, or at least they do their best, but this short book seemed even more shocking than I had expected. If I had to summarize it in three words, those words would be: sex, drugs and violence, with a pinch of rock'n roll and poetry, no matter how cliched or unexpected that may be.

"I see Lily wading into the field, spreading her hands like fins, drenching her body. Raindrops are glinting fish scales." 

The story was written back in 1976, when Ryu was still in college, and it presents the monotonous lives of a few teenagers trapped in the vicious acts of violence, overdoses and orgies. The read is surely to make you feel visceral sickness, yet you will still want to finish it, and this is why Ryu is such a phenomenal writer, once it grips you, you cannot escape...the story of lost youth can be disgusting, but you don't want to end the journey because you are trapped among words that still captivate.

I’m on this ground, and on this same ground are trees and grass and ants carrying sand to their nests, little girls chasing rolling balls, and puppies running. This ground runs under countless houses and mountains and rivers and seas, under everywhere. And I’m on it. Don’t be scared, I’d told myself, the world is still under me.” 

I found the book extremely powerful and personal to the writer and it is the clear proof that beneath the filth, art can still be present.

Read for The Japanese Literature Challenge.

P.S. The writer signed the script for the movie with the same title in 1989... 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Japanese Literature Challenge - 2014

I have been looking forward to this challenge since February, when Tony's reading challenge "January in Japan" ended and it seems I can't stay away from Japanese literature for long, and why would I? It is so different from other types of literature, enchanting and introspective, hesitant and modest, yet strangely powerful.
I am sure I will be reading more than three books for this challenge, but for a start, I decided to spend my summer with the ones mentioned in the collage. I will be expecting Ryu Murakami's book "Almost Transparent Blue" to take me by surprise, just the way the others did; Endo's book "When I Whisle" is listed as his "most unusual" one so, that should be an interesting read and Kawabata' s "Beauty and Sadness" is considered a "beautiful drawing of love and revenge" by Time Magazine. I will definitely write down my thoughts on this one :)

Hello summer! Hello Japanese Literature! Thank you, Bellezza, for hosting this challenge!