Posted by: incywincy | August 3, 2007

Reflections on Reading and Haruki Murakami

Been reading the book Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author. Well, the one I’m reading is a translated version of his novel, by Philip Gabriel.

I’ve been taking my time reading this book (I also took a long time with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) because this book is quite difficult to read. There are 2 main characters in the book, a runaway boy called Kafka Tamura, and an old man, who talks to cats, called Nakata.

Each chapter in the book switches between 3 main scenes/themes: Kafka’s adventures after he leaves his home, Nakata’s search for a cat which involves a lot of dialogues with cats (I know this sounds weird), and interviews/investigations regarding the incident in Nakata’s childhood which led to him being the way he is now.

With the end of each chapter, I, the reader, have to consciously switch my mind back and forth between the various subplots, making it a tiring read. In addition, Haruki Murakami’s style is none too easy on the mind – there are many philosophies of line intricately woven into the storyline, making readers stop often while ploughing through the sentences and paragraphs, to think about our own related experiences, or any other thoughts that might have been triggered off by his writing, whether relevant or not. Although his sentences are simple, and the vocabulary used none too fancy, reading his works definitely take a longer time than other books that I’ve read.

While this is one of the reasons why I enjoy his works, I have to admit that I probably will not be able to read book after book by him, without any ‘break’ in the form of other types of books, unlike when I read other types of books. Murakami is, to me, an author who makes my mind exhausted, yet refreshed, through the strange yet logical philosophies he presents in his writings.

I’m hardly a quarter of my way through this book, but I already have many thoughts on it, or which have been sparked off by it. And that is the way I like books to be – thought-provoking. Not to say that I do not read books which subsist mainly on its plot – I do, and I enjoy them too – but I derive most pleasure from philosophically elevated reads, books with an underlying general theme into which I can probe further and learn more from extended reading of other sources of information, and also books that deal mainly with the deeper psychological aspects of a human being.

Reading is not just a way to improve your language, but also a training of your mind.

Do you know that the more you learn, the greater the number of synaptic interactions and modifications, which causes your brain to increase its capacity for learning? In other words, the more you learn, the better you will be able to learn. So scoot off now, and go read Wikipedia.

P/S: Coincidentally, that is one of my favourite sources of reading material, and it was reported in the Straits Times today, that Wikipedia averages only about 4 errors per article; an admirable feat, considering Britannica averages 3 errors per article and is compiled presumably by academics and scholars, while Wikipedia is written and can be modified by just about anyone who has access to an internet connection.


  1. ello babe!

  2. hey! i haven’t read any of murakami haruki’s books before.. but yes, i have to admit i’ve read some books that leave my brain completely drained in the end. life is an endless journey of learning. if we stop thinking, that’s when we stop living.

  3. Comments are closed for your latest entry. I hope you are fine… Cheer Up.

  4. Hey, I read this book last year or year before.
    Guess how I read it? I read every other chapter!

    You should know why. haha…
    Then going back to read the other alternate chapters I missed.

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