January 12, 2008

Life's little mysteries and synchronicities

I have read only one Haruki Murakami's novel - Sputnik Sweetheart - and none of his other famous ones (1, 2, 3). However, recently I quite enjoyed his short stories in After the quake, although I read only about half the stories before I had to return the book to the library. I knew he had another collection of short stories in the 1990s -The Elephant Vanishes - but did not know till this evening* that a third collection of stories was translated to English and published late last year - Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a collection of 24 short stories that per this reviewer at amazon.com are...
.... "quintessentially Murakami: understated tales of love, longing, and loss from the slightly eccentric to the downright surreal--and yet so surreal as to ring true, convincingly grasping life's little mysteries and synchronicities in a deadpan, matter-of-fact manner. Genres blend and identities blur, reality and illusion overlap and interplay, all amidst the familiar psychological furniture of our contemporary consumerist planet with its internationally hodgepodge culture. The occasional dash of postmodern irony only accentuates these unsettling explorations of the human condition, and yet for all that each tale is enjoyable and highly entertaining to read. Almost deceptively so."
Sounds deliciously appealing. Will have to check it out! (In fact, he also has another novel in 2007 - After Dark. Hmm...prolific AND good. An not-so-common occurrence.)

* I spent about an hour and a half in a book-store today and was overwhelmed by how many good books - new and old - there are to read. There were hundreds of authors and books but four authors whose work I have enjoyed in the past spring to mind. Perusing through the books, I realized that Coetzee has a new book (Dairy of a bad year), Gordimer has a new collection of short stories (Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black: And Other Stories), Phillip Roth has another book (Exit Ghost), and McEwan had a new one last year which is on my to-read list (On Chesil Beach), not to mention older books by all four authors that I still have to read.

Phew...so much to read, so little time. And considering there is so much to read of what other people do, when will *I* do something?
Phew...so much to read, so little time. And considering there is so much to read of what other people do, when will *I* do something? Should I even try to write something...there are thousands and thousands of books published already --- so much time and effort probably went into it.... what good will it do if somehow I even write something worthy of being published! Not that I even know if I can write! Have written nothing - not even a nice review, let alone a short story or an article, to date!

Phew...enough with this blogging and surfing, advise some... but if only I had the discipline! My average for the month was typically 25-35 posts in 2007, until I hit a record high of 73 in December. January is following the same trend!
42 posts in 12 days of January, 10 just today! What a waste of my time though, especially since hardly anyone even reads my blog! What am I writing this for? For posterity? What will I think about all this time 10 years from now? Wasted time? Invested time?

Actually, last night I read an interesting post by the Great Bong (he won
the Best Indian Blog award in 2006; following Amit Varma's win of the inaugural award in 2005), where he has an interesting conversation (imagined of course) on his 30th birthday with his 20-year old self. So, what would a 45 year old me think of the time spent online blogging and surfing through the 30s? What does this 30-something me think of all the time spent/invested in various activities in my 20s? Did something concrete come out of it all? Is there any kind of lasting legacy? Does it matter? Especially, if I enjoyed it at the time... despite a nagging feeling that I was not doing all that I could be doing and becoming all that I could be.

And what is it I want to be anyways? And what good are all these questions, if I have no answers and even if I have answers, I do not act on them? And where do these questions come from? Is mid-30s the time for an existential mid-life crisis?

Ok.. enough rambling. It is almost 9pm this Saturday evening and I am going to go read one of the many books I have checked out from the library. Stop blogging for now! At least for tonight before I succumb to temptation again tomorrow morning! (Hope its not again later tonight!) Who was that guy who said: Internet, thy name is temptation! ;)

P.S. Haah! An idea just struck me. Maybe 350-400 years from today, they'll glorify my ruminations and collection as a treasure-trove of information! Just like Pepys. :)

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