“In The Miso Soup”

May 8th, 2013 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

“In The Miso Soup” by Ryu Murakami

This book was awesome!  It’s a gore-tastic tour of Tokyo’s underground sex realm.  If you like gore or writing that makes you say things out loud like “what the fuck?!” then this is a must-read.  Hahah.  I did not know this novel would be so intense until I started reading it, but all 216 pages kept me on my toes and helped produce some cray-cray dreams if I read it right before bed.  In short, it’s about a psychopathic serial-killer American tourist that hires a “tour-guide” for Tokyo’s dirty districts and ends up slaughtering many people in various elaborate stomach-churning ways.

“Welcome To The Monkey House”

January 13th, 2013 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

“Welcome To The Monkey House” by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut, the crazy man he is, wrote some pretty amazing short stories.  This book is a collection of 25 said stories; all very weird and very different from one another.  Some of my favorites:

“Who Am I This Time” – a couple fell in love through theater, acting together in a play, and lived their lives from that point on only by performing different skits with each other.  For example, one week they would be “Romeo and Juliet” and the next week another couple, then the next week another couple.  You get the picture.

“Welcome To The Monkey House” – far into the future, when the Earth is densely crowded with a population of 17 billion, there is a new required form of “birth control” … by making people numb from the waist down, sex is no longer something to crave, therefore ending reproduction.  Billy the Poet, man gone rogue, wants to show women what pleasure is all about, so he captures them, weens them off their drugs, and gives them what they deserve.

“Unready To Wear” – a battle between jealous humans and those who can separate soul from body, able to live through many different skins, indefinitely, leaving worry, fear, anger, etc, all behind in the sack of flesh and bones.

“A Trip To The Beach”

January 10th, 2013 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

“A Trip To The Beach” by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard

A sweet and light read telling the Blanchard’s transition from the country life in Vermont to the island life in Anguilla.  It was the perfect story to enjoy while vacationing in Anguilla, allowing plenty of day dreams to surface about what it would be like if I lived on the island.  The book is written from Melinda Blanchard’s perspective and I feel like I came to know her very well while she explained the trials and tribulations of setting up a very successful (and delicious) restaurant.  I not only recommend the read, but also a trip to Anguilla and the Blanchard’s place of business!

“Love In A Fallen City”

January 3rd, 2013 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

“Love In A Fallen City” by Eileen Chang

Meh, folks say not to judge a book by its cover, and I’d say that is a valid statement when taking this book into account.  The cover, as you can see above, is absolutely gorgeous.  The book, well, it’s dull.  It is composed of a few short stories, translated from Chinese to English, and I couldn’t really connect with any of them.  Maybe it’s because it reads similar to Jane Austen(?); over-dramatic and hopeless-romantic lives of depressing women who struggle with recognition in a man’s world… blah blah blah.  Unless you’re into that kind of thing, I wouldn’t recommend this read.

“Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates”

November 4th, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

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“Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates” by Tom Robbins

Oh Tom Robbins, how you boggle my mind with your never-ending vocabulary and creativity.  If you haven’t read anything by Tom Robbins, you are seriously missing out on some amazing fiction writing with relevant life lessons seamlessly hidden in wit.   The story line of this book is too good, too intricate, and too weird to summarize, so you will just have to read it.  But, I do have some quotes for you to skim over:

“‘It’s government service, Maestra.  Morality’s scarcely an issue.’”

“The pupils of his aforementioned fierce, hypnotic green eyes were so dilated they looked like the burners on a dollhouse stove.”

“[...] and so forcefully that his busy black mustache bucked and rolled as if it were a theme-park ride for thrill-seeking tamale crumbs [...]”

“The sun dropped into the horizon like a coin dropping into a slot.  The ocean bit it to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit.”

“‘All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.’”

“‘It’s hotter than the soles of Dante’s loafers out here.’  Immediately he regretted the remark, for he heard himself starting to sound like one of the the petty mopers who wasted untold priceless moments of their brief stay on this planet complaining about its weather.  Unless it was about to cause you bodily harm, rot your rhubarb on the stalk, or carry off your children, weather ought either to be celebrated or ignored, he felt, one or the other; although at times such as this, when it was steaming one’s brain like a Chinese dumpling, it failed to inspire much in the way of celebration [...]”

“‘Then what the? … You were bouncing around like a poot in a microwave.’”

“‘You could fit all my virtues in Minnie Mouse’s belly button and still have room from Mickey’s tongue and their prenuptial agreement.’”

“One moment he craved to give her a bath in his semen, to rub it, warm and pearly, into her navel, her lips, the nipples that in his mind evoked the candy-coated lug nuts on Cupid’s pink Corvette.”

“[...] but the sound stuck in his throat like a fake Santa in a crooked chimney.”

“[...] there was a sense that in the space behind his eyes a porcupine and a lobster were fighting to the death in front of a strobe light.”

“‘Merry Christmas, Swit.  Here’s wishing you a sleighload of eggnogged virgins in mistletoe underwear.’”

“[...] the last time he’d had his fill of the bubbly, he’d gazed into Anna’s face and told her that her eyes were like a morning mist on the fur of a squirrel.  Or something like that.”

“The sun was low but the air was still balmy, and the sea was the shade of blue that black could have been it if hadn’t stepped over the line.”

“[...] the world was as empty and dry as a mummy’s condom.”

“‘If the world gets any smaller, I’ll end up living next door to myself.’”

“Looking at it from another angle, their kiss was like a paper airplane landing on the moon.”

“He flashed her a grin that could housebreak a walrus.”

“‘I mean, it’s hardly headline news that the corporate state and its media are using the latest gadget-com and gimmick-tech to dumb us down as steadily as if they were standing on a stool and pounding our brains with a frozen ham.’”

“A Million Little Pieces”

September 5th, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

 

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“A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey

Yes, this is that book, the false-truth-Oprah-got-pissed-scandal book.  Well, I  thought it was a great read, whether the author was partially lying or not.  It was simply written, but with much intensity & transparency of internal conflict, which I think is interesting to see happen.  The book is mostly the thought process James Frey went through during his six weeks at rehab & how he chooses to overcome his urges to do drugs, drink alcohol, & commit suicide w/ out using the AA 12 steps.

Quotes:

 

“It is a deep smile, not the type of momentary happiness, but the rare kind that comes when something inside without words is woken from slumber and brought forth to live.”

 

“‘You scared?’

‘I was earlier, but I’m not now.’

Joanne speaks.

‘What were you scared of?’

‘Everything.’

‘And what happened?’

‘I decided not to be.’

‘Simple as that?’

‘Simple as that.’”

 

<3

“American Desert”

August 16th, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

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“American Desert” by Percival Everett

This book is the perfect travel book.  It reads easy and is a lightly twisted comedy.  The book starts with the main character driving to the ocean to commit suicide, but on the way he is hit by another vehicle and his head is sliced clean from his body.  However, at his funeral 3 days later, he sits up in is casket alive and talking.  He becomes a marvel and a hero of the world, attracting much media attention and embarrassment/stress for his family.  They have to deal with him being kidnapped by different religious cults and government scientists who want to exorcise and dissect him.  I wont say more except that along with the weird plot, there is much satire and wit to fill this short 300-ish page book.

Here are a few lines that I liked:

“The next morning, sitting at the table in the kitchen, at the breakfast table so-called, as they never sat with any custom or routine, they shared bagels and silence.”

“The hallway was like a throat and Ted had never felt more swallowed.”

(:

“The Unbearable Lightness Of Being”

June 16th, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | 2 Comments »

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“The Unbearable Lightness Of Being” by Milan Kundera

This novel is a short and fun read with sexual & imaginative story lines, intriguing & eccentric characters, and is seasoned with thought-provoking ideas on life.  The timing of reading this book was perfect.  Quite a few of my favorite quotes mirrored the moment in which I was reading them; t’was beautiful.  Here are tons of great quotes for you:

“Looking out over the courtyard at the dirty walls, he realized he had no idea whether it was hysteria or love.”

“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.  [...]  There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no bases for comparison.  We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold.”

“Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous.  Metaphors are not to be trifled with.  A single metaphor can give birth to love.”

“He would tell his mistresses: the only relationship that can make both partners happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither partner makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other.”

“But as he ran through the previous few hours in his mind, he began to sense an aura of hitherto unknown happiness emanating from them.”

“Tomas came to this conclusion:  Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite.  Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).”

“On Saturday and Sunday, he felt the sweet lightness of being rise up to him out of the depths of the future.”

“But when we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it.”

“This is why she insisted her daughter remain with her in the world of immodesty, where youth and beauty mean nothing, where the world is nothing but a vast concentration camp of bodies, one like the next, with souls invisible.”

“Chance and chance alone has a message for us.  Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute.  Only chance can speak to us.  We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee ground at the bottom of a cup.”

“(The crew of her soul rushed up to the deck of her body.)”

“Her life was split.  Both day and night were competing for her.”

“While people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in the opening bars, they can go about writing it together and exchange motifs [...], but if they meet when they are older, like Franz and Sabina, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them.”

“He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends.”

“[...], when music was like a rose blooming on a boundless snow-covered plain of silence.”

“That darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us.  (Yes, if you’re looking for infinity, just close your eyes!)”

“Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness.  What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being.”

“But what a monstrous soul it would have to be if it reflected that body, that rack of four pouches.”

“([...]  Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate.  Only the most naive of questions are the truly serious.  They are the questions with no answers.  A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached.  In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.)”

“What is flirtation?  One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.”

“Nothing could be more miserable than her naked body perched on the enlarged end of a sewer pipe.”

“She longed to see it again and again in that implausibly proximity to an alien penis.”

“People usually escape from their troubles into the future; they draw an imaginary line across the path of time, a line beyond which their current troubles will cease to exist.”

“But isn’t it true that an author can write only about himself.”

“Holding his hand, she would forget the chasm (the chasm of daylight) that divided them.”

“He suddenly recalled the famous myth from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another.  Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”

“[...] claiming that Jesus ‘ate and drank, but did not defecate.’”

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.”

“And therein lies the whole of man’s plight.  Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line.  That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.”

“There was a pale moon in the sky, a forgotten lamp in the room of the dead.”

“The light of horror thus lost its harshness, and the world was bathed in a gentle, bluish light that actually beautified it.”

“So it was gratitude that decided the issue, most likely.  Human decisions are terribly simple.”

“Kafka On The Shore”

March 30th, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | 2 Comments »

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“Kafka On The Shore” by Haruki Murakami

Oh yes, Murakami.  A genius writer and one of my all-time favorites.  This novel was an adventure of awesome.  There are two stories happening that are intertwined with each other and they are told through alternating chapters.  All 430 pages were read in under 3 days.  I just couldn’t put it down.  I am absolutely in love with the way Murakami writes, his style is so poetic, full of beautiful imagery and easily visioned scenes, yet his plots are insane and twisted into dark realms of a conceivable fictional reality.  I highly recommend this book to anyone, in fact, I would recommend any of Murakami’s books to anyone.

I chose to read this book for my awesome book club!  I am so grateful to be in a book club.  <3  We meet once a month, switching who hosts the gathering (the host picks the book), and we eat and drink pot-luck style.  The month of March was at my apartment, so I picked this book and made sweet potato fries and kale chips.  The food was delicious, but the book was better.  (:  I can’t wait till next month!

Now, some quotes to entice you:

“Sometimes the wall I’ve erected around me comes crumbling down.  It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes, before I even realize what’s going on, there I am – naked and defenseless and totally confused.  At times like that I always feel an omen calling out to me, like a dark, omnipresent pool of water.”

“As she breathes, the rounded peaks move up and down like the swell of waves, somehow reminding me of rain falling softly on a broad stretch of sea.  I’m the lonely voyager standing on deck, and she’s the sea.  The sky is a blanket of gray, merging with the gray sea of on the horizon.  It’s hard to tell the difference between sea and sky.  Between voyager and sea.  Between reality and the workings of the heart.”

“When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages – a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers.”

“In ancient times people weren’t just male or female, but one of three types: male/male, male/female, or female/female.  In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people.  Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much thought.  But then God took a knife and cut everybody in half, right down the middle.  So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing other half.”

“I stare at this ceaseless, rushing crowd and imagine a time a hundred years from now.  In a hundred years everybody here – me included – will have disappeared from the face of the earth and turned into ashes or dust.  A weird thought, but everything in front of me starts to seem unreal, like a gust of wind could blow it all away.”

“In the afternoon dark clouds suddenly color the sky a mysterious shade and it starts raining hard, pounding the roof and windows of the cabin.  I strip naked and run outside, washing my face with soap and scrubbing myself all over.  It feels wonderful.  In my joy I shut my eyes and shout out meaningless words as the large raindrops strike me on the cheeks, the eyelids, chest, side, penis, legs, and butt – the stinging pain like a religious initiation or something.  Along with the pain there’s a feeling of closeness, like for once in my life the world’s treating me fairly.  I feel elated, as if all of a sudden I’ve been set free.  I face the sky hands held wide apart, open my mouth wide, and gulp down the falling rain.”

“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”

“The library is quiet enough most of the time, but on a day like this when it’s closed it’s like land that time forgot.  Or more like a place that’s holding its breath, hoping time won’t stumble upon it.”

“Things change every day, Mr. Nakata.  With each new dawn it’s not the same world as the day before.  And you’re not the same person you were, either.”

“Symbolism and meaning are two separate things.  I think she found the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic.  She captured words in a dream, like delicately catching hold of a butterfly’s wings as it flutters around.  Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”

The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future.  In truth, all sensation is already memory.”

“Reality and dreams are all mixed up, like seawater and river water flowing together.”

“‘Originally I don’t have a name or shape.’

‘So you’re kind of like a fart.’”

“We sit there looking at the scenery.  The clouds shift and the moonlight dapples the sea.  Wind blows through the pine forest, sounding like a crowd of people sweeping the ground at the same time.  I scoop some sand and let it slowly spill out between m fingers.  It falls to the beach and, like lost time, becomes part of what’s already there.  I do this over and over.”

“The clouds floating above the building were like hard clumps of dirt from a vacuum cleaner no one ever cleaned.  Or maybe more like all the contradictions of the Third Industrial Revolution condensed and set afloat in the sky.”

“But the fear I felt clings to me like a clump of unmelted snow in the corner of a garden.”

“When I drink some water my cock automatically absorbs it.  I can hear the faint sound of it soaking up the water.”

“Some men talk with stones, and some sleep with other men.  Go figure.”

“‘Can nothingness increase?’”

“A faint breeze is cutting though the woods, making the leaves of the trees around me tremble.  That anonymous rustling forms ripples on the fold of my mind.  I rest a hand against a tree trunk and close my eyes.  Those ripples seem to be a sign, a signal of some sort, but it’s like a foreign language I can’t decipher.  I give up, open my eyes, and gaze out again at this brand-new world before me.  Standing there halfway down the slope, staring down at this place with two soldiers, I feel those ripples shifting inside me.  These signs reconfigure themselves, the metaphors transform, and I’m drifting away, away from myself.  I’m a butterfly, flitting along the edges of creation.  Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap.  Where past and future from a continuous, endless loop.  And hovering about there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”

“The pillow smells like sunlight, a precious smell.”

“‘What does it feel like?  To be yourself and pat of me at the same time?’

She looks straight at me and touches her hairpin. ‘It’s very natural.  Once you’re used to it, it’s quite simple.  Like flying.’”

<3

“The Night Circus”

February 21st, 2012 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

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“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern

This book was read for my book club this last month!  I am so grateful to be in a book club!  Anyway, this book was amazing.  I haven’t read fiction like this in a while.  It was so captivating!  The chapters alternate in years and the story is so intriguing that you rush through one chapter just to get to the next, but while doing so, you get hooked to whatever is happening in the chapter you’re reading.. I read the whole thing in less than three days.  (:  The plot of the story is that there are two magicians, trained from a young age, and grow up to “battle” each other with The Night Circus as their battleground for imagination.  As fate has it, they fall madly in love as the story unfolds into an intricate and beautifully magical twisted fairy tale.  I may not have any favorite quotes to share for this book, but I would recommend it to anyone.  <3