New Shopaholic Book Cover Revealed

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Chick lit author Sophie Kinsella revealed the UK cover for her upcoming novel, Shopaholic to the Stars on Facebook yesterday.

Here’s what the author posted:

EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL: I’m thrilled to share with you the gorgeous UK cover for Shopaholic to the Stars – you saw it here first! This edition will also be available in many other countries around the world… Hollywood, here she comes! xox

Are you excited yet to read the book? Because I am and I can’t wait to read more of Becky’s adventures, what more in Hollywood! I wonder if there will be any guest star appearances? That would be thrilling! :)

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we are to compile a list of books that we have read till finish despite the occasional tendency to put it down and to stop reading it. But yay to finished books! :)

I’m glad I never got around to putting the following five books down!

Top Ten Tuesday

1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I remembered that the last quarter of the book was the best! Melina Marchetta is definitely one of my favourite authors because I love her other book too – Looking for Alibrandi.

2. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

This book is just chock-full of wisdom. It’s a rather thin book and the lack of storyline made for a dull read. But treat it almost like a nonfiction book.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I had a hard time reading this but I’m glad I did. I guess I would have appreciated it more if I were actually reading it during my teenage years.

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This book had been complicated from the beginning but I read this when I was new to the science fiction genre. I have the film version of this book and I’m looking forward to watching it.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

Another initially complicated book but I read it because I was curious about the storyline and also about the infamous Big Brother term.

Here are five books that I didn’t put down and didn’t like:

Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

1. The Awakening and The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries) by L.J. Smith

I didn’t like the characters especially Elena who is so mean and on the other hand, Stefan is so dull. I preferred the TV series a bit more.

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

This book just wasn’t for me.

3. Wake by Lisa McMann

This was a let-down. The book started out great but the undercover cops part was absurd.

4. Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

I’m sorry to say that I found this book draggy. I wanted to love the book but just couldn’t.

5. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Too many unfamiliar scientific words in it.

How about you? Any books you liked and felt glad you didn’t abandon it halfway? Or any books that you wished you had stopped reading after page 50?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #11

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by Book Journey

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

I’m still reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami but am now in the beginning of Book 2 on Chapter 6. I reviewed Book 1 a few days ago.

Truly, 1Q84 is like no other kind of book but it’s my first Murakami novel, so that’s not saying much. I think the reason why the book is so darn thick, at more than 1,300 pages, is because he has painstakingly or very patiently spent a lot of time to give as many details as possible to the entire story, whether it’s the characters, what they are doing, wearing, eating, cooking, etc. When you read this book, you will feel as if you are there with the characters.

The conversations, especially, are a joy to read. I always look forward to reading conversations between Tengo and Fuka-Eri. Though Tengo is not really a humorous kind of person (he’s more of the lonely and cautious type), his inner thoughts about Fuka-Eri’s lack of conversation skills are laugh-out-loud moments.

In Aomame’s chapters, however, there is nary a reason to laugh. You will kind of feel sympathy for her, given her family history, upbringing and her overall character. She’s even been described as fragile and emotionally damaged.

From reading this article on The Guardian, I learn that it took three years for Murakami to write 1Q84.

Here’s an interesting quote from the said article, which is The Guardian writer Emma Brockes’ interview with Murakami:

He writes intuitively, without a plan. His latest novel (1Q84) came to him while sitting in traffic in Tokyo. What if he got out on the gridlocked freeway and went down the emergency exit; would the course of his life change? “That is the starting point. I have a kind of premonition it’s going to be a big book. It’s going to be very ambitious. That’s what I knew.

I’m glad to have found this article. It’s nice to get to know more about an author and what inspired him to write certain novels.

Have you read 1Q84 before? Did you like it? If you haven’t read it yet, would you want to pick it up as your next read?

1Q84: Book 1 by Haruki Murakami

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
1Q84: Book 1 by Haruki Murakami1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Series: 1Q84 #1
Published by Vintage on Aug 2, 2012 (first published 2009)
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 1,328
Format: Paperback
AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
five-stars
A mesmerising, epic, utterly involving masterpiece from Haruki Murakami.

The year is 1Q84. This is the real world, there is no doubt about that.

But in this world, there are two moons in the sky.

In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both.

Something extraordinary is starting.

My review:

Reading 1Q84: Book 1 was an experience like no other. My copy of the novel has 1,318 pages of the story and it initially looked quite intimidating to me. The thickness really scared me at first and that was why I decided to make it my second read of the year. Tackle the thick books first, I thought.

The novel was originally written in Japanese. Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel translated the text into English. Despite it being a weighty tome, it would not be surprising if you find yourself breezing through the book, thanks to the simple, easy-reading but beautiful language used throughout. Some might find it boring but I liked how the author was attentive to every little detail of the scene and the movement of the characters.

Speaking of characters, I must say that they are the driving force of the novel. The main characters are Aomame and Tengo. They are prominently featured in alternating chapters, that is the first chapter would be about Aomame, the next about Tengo, then the third chapter about Aomame, fourth Tengo and so on. Book 1 of the trilogy takes place between April and June in the year 1984 and there are 24 chapters. Twelve chapters each for both characters.

As obvious as it sounds, the title is like a major reference to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Sure there are instances in 1Q84 where Orwell’s 1984 is discussed and in a way, there are also some similarities between both novels. Here are a couple of examples:

1984 – Lovebirds Winston and Julia | 1Q84 – Aomame and Tengo
1984 – Big Brother | 1Q84 – Leader

I shall now write a bit about the main characters in 1Q84.

Aomame

Aomame, 30, is described as being tall, lean and muscular and she sounds like someone who rarely smiles. Her name also means ‘green peas’. By Chapter 3, I was blown away reading the scene of her murdering a man using only a needle, leaving absolutely no trace of the act. She works as a gym trainer but also a hired assassin. Scary, right, or is it thrilling?

As someone who constantly keeps up to date with the news, Aomame is puzzled when she could not recall certain changes or important events, like how the policemen’s uniforms had changed or about a violent shootout between the police and a group of radicals. Most importantly, she is most shocked to see two moons in the sky, instead of the normally one moon. It is the year 1984 and since she feels like she is in a totally different world, she decides to name the year 1Q84. Q is for ‘question mark’. Incidentally, ‘kyu’ is 9 in Japanese, and ‘kyu’ sounds like the letter ‘Q’!

Tengo Kawana

Tengo, 29, is an aspiring fiction writer but teaches Mathematics three times a week at the cram school. A lonely character, Tengo seems to only interact mostly with his editor, Komatsu, and his married girlfriend whom he meets once a week for a rendezvous.

At Komatsu’s request, Tengo unwillingly participates in literary fraud by rewriting a short story originally by 17-year-old Fuka-Eri who seemingly submitted her work for a writing contest. Komatsu wholly believed that the original storyline combined with Tengo’s marvellous writing would have the potential of snapping up the new writers’ prize. As interesting as it is, Tengo could not help feeling apprehensive about the contents of Fuka-Eri’s story that is about the Little People who come out of a dead goat’s body. Reading about the Little People gives me the chills!

Despite hints scattered throughout the chapters that Tengo and Aomame may have shared a special moment 20 years ago in school, both of them do not meet as adults in Book 1. Not yet. I will find out when I read Books 2 and 3 next.

This is my first Murakami novel. I read an article online that his novels mostly revolve around the themes of loneliness, otherworldliness and sex, and 1Q84 does not disappoint in those aspects. I am so glad to have found a book that I enjoy reading despite the strangeness of it all. In fact, the peculiarity of the book makes it all the more intriguing.

I shall now continue reading Book 2 of 1Q84.

About Haruki Murakami

harukim

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. He is the author of many novels as well as short stories and nonfiction. His works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages, and the most recent of his many international honours is the Jerusalem Prize.