Saturday, 25 August 2012

Currently Reading and Recently Read: Walden, 1Q84, Pursuit of Italy


Life in southern England is always changing at present. Earlier in the week I was reading on the garden bench with frequent suncream applications, but in the last fifteen hours it hasn't stopped raining. My family had a barbecue planned for today, but I'm not sure how certain that is of happening. I feel quite sorry for my Dad: he's been trying all week to make the garden grass perfect for kids to play football on. Everything he organises guarantees rain it seems, and he feels that everything is against him currently. Perhaps I need to lend him Aurelius's Meditations.

My reading has also been a bit choppy recently: I've been reading too many books at once, and none that particularly draw me in. However, I began Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 yesterday, and it's made reading relaxing again. Not a great amount has happened in it yet, but I'm already gripped; as happens so often with Murakami novels. I'm not quite convinced why most his female protagonists wear mini-skirts, but I won't question it too much - he's a great writer. Strong females and weaker males seem common in his writing, even if female strength is often defined by sexuality.

I started Walden by Henry David Thoreau last week and finished it yesterday. I liked the beginning of this book, but after a while I found it slightly dull. I'm sure many will disagree. The concepts behind Walden really appealed to me - living simply alongside nature, enjoying solitude, and having time to think. These are all ideas that I'd like to follow more myself. However, it's written so precisely - whilst I like knowing what books he read, knowing how much he earned by growing beans, and the details of their growing conditions, didn't interest me much. I admit that after reading to page 100, I did skim-read and skip sections until the end. Despite this, I'll definitely return to some of the opening passages.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
I've also been reading The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour, a non-fiction title. I began reading the book chronologically, but I found it a bit too in-depth. Perhaps I'm just not in the mood for heavier reading currently. Instead, I gained a lot by skipping between parts and using the index to find sections that would interest me. That worked much better. I learned a lot of interest through reading this, and it's nice preparation for my upcoming visit to Italy.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely photo! You have me interested in 1Q84. I read one book by this author -- Kafka on the Shore -- and found it fascinating, though I had mixed feelings about the novel.

Lucy said...

Thanks for the comment! I wasn't sure about 1Q84 for ages because of it's length, but I'm glad that I've started it. I know that Murakami is a very acquired author and isn't for everyone. I generally tell people to start with one of his shorter novels to see what you think of his writing, such as Sputnik Sweetheart, but you have read Kafka on the Shore before. Happy reading!

Mabel said...

You picked out my favorite passage from this book, which is a favorite of mine. :)

Lucy said...

It's a fantastic quote; I'm tempted to put a copy on the noticeboard above my desk for full enjoyment purposes!