Today was Pi day and a snow day thanks to winter storm Stella. In between baking our Pi day dinner, a Pork, Sun Dried Tomato and Asparagus Pie from Luis Troyano’s cookbook, I read these two that I had checked out from the library.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is the book that propelled Haruki Murakami to superstardom as an author so having read other books of his I really wanted to read this one. It is basically a coming of age/first romance book with themes of suicide and mental illness intertwined and personally I don’t see it as his best work. The musical themes are strongly played with throughout, with Naoko and Reiko both being musicians, hence the title. Other than that the female characters are really just used to facilitate action for Toru Watanabe, who is immature and self absorbed throughout the story arc.
As in all Murakami’s books, the writing is beautiful. I just find the story here is less than I would typically expect. I am still glad that I read it simply because it is an important piece in his catalog of work.
Jane and Prudence is a book by Barbara Pym an author that I really enjoy and this book is no exception. Jane and Prudence are two friends who are rather unlike in many ways and yet are still good friends. Jane is a vicar’s wife, although not the completely competent “Excellent Women” type, she’s a little too scattered for that. She has too many opinions and is perhaps too open with them. She might not be as domestic as she should be nor as motherly, however she is trying hard and now settled in a new village she is trying to play matchmaker for Prudence. Prudence has never married and has had many romantic dalliances, including an unrequited crush on her employer.
Lots of gossip, slices of village and town life, unrequited love, festivals, and of course tea and cake to go around all served up in gently humourous detail. A charming read from an author that I feel is under appreciated.