Wednesday 20 August 2014

Bout of Books 11: Wednesday and Thursday

Bout of Books

Today is my first day off work for Bout of Books and it's so nice to have more than half of my working week behind me this early on in the week! I slept in late, although not as late as I'd have liked because the workmen had chosen today to resurface our road. One of our great landmarks is gone! Farewell to the Great Crater of -- Road! I won't miss being splashed by passing cars on rainy days, and the road is shiny and new, quite a notable occasion for an Isle of Wight road, especially a little side road.

I read two Murakami short stories before even getting out of bed: one bizarre and somewhat creeptacular love letter to a stranger, and the other the account of a woman who suddenly stopped being able to sleep and lived a whole other life when the world had gone to sleep. (She mostly filled her hours with reading books and getting drawn into the fictional worlds, so this was a very appropriate story to be reading for Bout of Books.

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning, as a tidy room makes a readathon so much more pleasant, and then settled down with The Miniaturist. It's an atmospheric novel, set in 17th century Amsterdam, about Nella, a young bride who moves to live with her husband and his sister, to find an unfriendly reception. The sister-in-law seems determined to dislike Nella, and while her husband seems a good companion when he notices her, but he rejects her advances and seems barely to notice her. But he gave Nella a wedding gift: a lavish doll's house in a cabinet, made up to resemble their own home. Nella orders a few items to furnish the house from a local miniaturist, but is unprepared for the extra items which indicate too much knowledge on the miniaturist's behalf of Nella's life, home and marriage.

At about 3PM yesterday's migraine put in another appearance, so I put down the book and walked into town to get some fresh air and Ibuprofen. Along the way I picked up two comic books from the library - a Deadpool and a Hawkeye - and a cinnamon bun. My headache's more or less died down for now, and I intend to spend the rest of the day in The Miniaturist, although I could dip into one of the comics as well.

Wednesday's Stats:

Books read today: The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton
The Elephant Vanishes - Haruki Murakami: "On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April Morning", "Sleep", "The fall of the Roman Empire, The 1881 Indian uprising, Hitler's invasion of Poland, and the realm of raging winds." 
Pages read today: 483
Books finished (total): 2
Quote of the day: "Growing older, Nella realises, does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt."


Another day off, and again I started the day reading a couple of short stories from The Elephant Vanishes. Although I enjoy Murakami's writing, I'm finding that reading a lot of short stories all at once, I notice recurring patterns and quirks which start to feel just a little bit repetitive. I guess that's the same with many authors, though: they have their own particular style. 

Spent the morning reading the Hawkeye comic I got out of the library, and discovered that in fact there seem to be two Hawkeyes - Clint Barton, who even the comic book novices like myself know from the Avengers movie (although not well as he spent most of the film under mind control) and his apprentice Kate Bishop. Hawkeye (Barton) seems to spend most of his time getting beaten up - perhaps attributable to the self-loathing that his girlfriend accuses him of, so he goes looking for trouble. It was a fun comic to read, and a character I've enjoyed spending time with, "the normal guy" of the Avengers without any superpowers. The final issue of the volume was told from his dog's point of view - very little text and many simple diagrams, an interesting and unusual viewpoint.

Thursday's Stats:

Books read today: Hawkeye: Little Hits - Matt Fraction and David Aja
The Elephant Vanishes - Haruki Murakami: "Lederhosen", "Barn Burning" and "The Little Green Monster."
Terra -  Mitch Benn
Pages read today: 311
Books finished (total): 3
Quote of the day: "There's no point knowing something if you don't even know WHY you know it."


  1. I'm really interested in The Miniaturist but I read a page of it in Waterstones and it upset me so I put it back down. Something along the lines of her turning up at the front door with a birdcage or a dog or something and the woman who answered the door being all anti-pet?

    I might have completely misremembered that but it put me off anyway! I do like the idea of the sleep-related Murakami story though.

  2. I am hoping to dig into The Miniaturist next week. I was going to put it in my pile for the read a thon but I think this is one of those books you really need to take your time to read. I hope you enjoy it


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