Hard-Boiled Wrap Up

via theguardian.com
via theguardian.com

More Murakami please! For the first time in genre X history we returned to an author and most everyone in attendance agreed that Murakami was a worthy choice for this distinction. Way back in 2008 genre X discussed The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but for this month’s selection we discussed Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World.

There’s so much to discuss with Murakami, and in particular this book – shadows, the INKlings, unicorn skulls that glow, sound-removal technology. We jumped right in to gather everyone’s thoughts on if or how the Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World were connected, re-describing the processes of shuffling and losing your mind to unicorns, and if anyone understood the diagrams of consciousness.

A number of people at the discussion were huge Murakami fans and were vocal in their admiration for the imaginative author. While not everyone was at a Murakami super-fan level, almost everyone agreed that they enjoyed the trippy journey Murakami took us on, unicorn skulls, paperclips, and all.

Trying to define a Murakami book seemed to be the most difficult task; not quite science fiction, not quite cyberpunk, but not a straight thriller or simple novel either. It was pointed out that most characters seemed two-dimensional, and it could not be characterized as character driven, but did not seem quite plot driven either. One member remarked that it was “concept driven”. However you define it, everyone agreed that it is a highly discussible book, and that Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World was more enjoyable as a read because we knew there would be a discussion at the end.

We will be looking forward to our next discussion too, of Zone One by Colson Whitehead at 8pm at Molly Malone’s on Tuesday, October 22.




A little light reading

Considering the Chicagoland area is chalk full of commuters, we find that library patrons are often looking for good “commuter reads”, i.e. books that will fit easily into a purse or briefcase. One small Chicago press has found the perfect answer to this request : free, miniature books that you can print out and take with you. Featherproof books offers a number of short stories/novellas in PDF format that come with directions for how to print them out, fold and staple them to make your very own, portable piece of commuter literature. I chose Eight Permutations on the Binoculars of Power by Jonathan Messinger (who also happens to be the Editor-in-chief at Featherproof) and Donovan’s Closet by Elizabeth Crane, a Chicago author whom I have read and enjoyed in the past, and I thoroughly enjoyed both selections. So much so, in fact, that I am tempted to greedily print out all of the titles. Fortunately to absolve people like me of guilt over doing this, Featherproof also provides you with a way to make a small donation towards their generous gift of great stories.