Progress in 2012

Just an update on my ‘Books to Read in 2012’ project. 

I have crossed off The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez, as you may have surmised from my review of it.

However, taking the term ‘one step forward, two steps back’ quite literally, I’ve added another two books in its place on my list.

  • IQ84 – by Haruki Murakami
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin – by Lionel Shriver

I first stumbled across the former while wiling away my free time in a Dymocks book store. It was in the New Release section and caught my attention immediately with its cryptic title. And then I read its blurb and was instantly hooked and thereby compelled to add it to my list of must-reads:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 – “Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s – 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

The second book, We Need to Talk About Kevin, I added to my list after reading a review of the film and watching a short interview with the main actress, Eva Khatchadourian. Its dark themes, too often shunned by society, were described fascinatingly by both the New York Times journalist and Eva, captivating my interest in psychology, humanity and the very real potential for the mind’s dark side to dominate.