Book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
Author: Haruki Murakami
Murakami is perhaps the biggest name in Japanese literature, with books like Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and 1Q84 selling millions of copies worldwide, all the while amassing an almost cult-like following. In 2007, he published his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
While it is broadcasted as a memoir, it is worth noting that it is more so a compilation of him going on about running, a well-loved hobby of his that he is consistently kept up for several decades, and his experience as a marathon runner, peppered with insightful ramblings on life here and there, rather than a personal history.
That being said, this novel isn’t only about running. He also talks about his early life, setting up a jazz bar in Japan, publishing his first few novels and his work ethic as an author. A little offbeat from his usual writings, there’s no guarantee that fans who know him from his contemporary fiction novels will take to this the same way as they do his other books, but it being not more than just 100 pages or so, one can try it out. His books, in general, are very accessible and his writing style palatable and straightforward, both attractive qualities for a lot of audiences which definitely contribute to the popularity of his work.
Book: It End With Us 2
Author: Colleen Hoover
My primary reaction to reading this was indifference. Unlike the spate of countless people bawling their eyes out on TikTok, gushing and advertising this book as a one-way ticket to heartbreak, it didn’t incite a whole lot of emotion in me, other than let’s see ... regret?
If you’re a beginner in the reading world, there’s a possibility you might like this book. It has some of the standard qualities that someone just starting out would want to look for. The writing is plain and straightforward. There are a lot of common, easily digestible tropes. Corny dialogue to swoon over. If one looks at it that way, they can somewhat begin to understand the incessant hype around it. All of that being cleared out of the way, on the off-chance that your tastes palette happens to be more refined, know what kind of ride you are in for. With its Wattpad-esque, uncreative and predictable writing, walking clichés of characters and severe lack of development in the relationships we get to see, call me a harsh critic, but it’s a flat-out horrible book. It’s bad even by Wattpad standards, and that’s really saying something.
The characters are super flat and one-dimensional. The dialogue is trite and banal, unbearably so. The author is incapable of writing scenes that flow naturally and don’t feel scripted. Among all the relationships that we get to see, not even one feels genuine. They’re all forced, contrived for the sake of the story. Like the ‘supposedly-quirky but actually hundred percent generic with no personality’ best friend of the MC. She sees a sign and drops in, hoping for a job, because she’s so bored of being rich all the time. Aw. Gets hired on the spot, no background asked, no serial killer check, no nothing. They instantly become best friends. She’s utterly invested in making the flower shop business thrive and working overtime despite being someone filthy rich who I assume has never had to work a day in their life. She also just conveniently happens to be the sister of our main male lead. The basis for our main relationship is physical attraction and nothing else. If you take a minute to think about it, you’ll wonder why they even like each other. They spend no time bonding. I don’t know what emotional connection we’re supposed to pretend there is.
All in all, this book is bland and poorly written.
Reviewed by Sarah Ghani