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Blog Vault: 4/09

Book Club as Metaphor — Guest Post from Jeff Kamin’s Books & Bars

Books & Bars’ 60th meeting was a rousing success with the right crowd, comments, weather, new sound system and more. But the star was the perfect book choice, Kafka on the Shoreby Haruki Murakami. Easily my favorite since I’ve been blogging about needing a better book and one of my top ten of our 60 picks.

Kafka on the Shore was like one long, strange, beautifully haunting dream. Readers had lots of questions. No one really had concrete answers, but we all seemed to enjoy the trip. The story deals with a retelling of the Oedipus myth, music, talking cats, living ghosts, Colonel Sanders, dangers of living in the past, and trying to live in the present. Imagine Holden Caulfield as Oedipus’ son in modern day Japan directed by David Lynch. Everything is a metaphor.

Whew, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Murakami has said it “contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write.”

I’ll read it again when I have a chance. I love how a book changes with what you bring to it. Where you are in life at the time of reading affects it and how none of us ever reads the same book as our neighbor. We all imagine different things.

Over 100 gathered to dissect and praise it. We had people sneaking in over fire code, shhh…Usually when we all love it, it makes for a less interesting conversation, but not with the riddler, Murakami at the helm.

Next month we cover the “IT LIT” sensation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesby Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. It’s sold out everywhere. Our sponsor store, Magers & Quinn, sold 100 copies already. Grahame-Smith will be joining Books & Bars via Skypefor a discussion of his mash-up on May 12th. Should be brain-eating fun.

Jeff Kamin
Follow me on Twitter: @jefe23

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