Tag: Buddy

Haruki Murakami – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle | Review

Title: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 628

Rating: 4.5/5

I picked up this book as a buddy read with my friend Charlie, who’s also an excellent author in his own right. Buddy reads are almost always more fun than regular reads, but I think I would have still enjoyed this one regardless. That said, it did have at least one other impact because we read it three chapters a day instead of all in one go, and I think that helped me to take it a little more slowly and to savour it.

And there was plenty to savour here. Possibly one of my favourites was also the most brutal scene, in which someone got skinned alive with all the efficiency of someone peeling a peach. Murakami is a truly talented writer no matter what he’s writing about, which in this case meant that the whole scene was horrifically realistic, right down to the way that the man screamed.

I also like the sort of slight hallucinatory quality that the book has. It’s almost like a series of interrelated vignettes as opposed to a traditional novel, but it works really well and gives you something different as a reader that you might not have been expecting. I’ve read Murakami a bunch of times before of course, but he takes things in a slightly different direction here.

There’s almost something timeless about the storytelling here, and you have to give Murakami credit for that. Credit is also very much due to Jay Rubin too, who’s the translator here. I was stoked to see that when I picked it up because Rubin is my favourite Murakami translator. I was excited to see that right on the credits page, and the book just kept on getting better from there.

Another memorable series of scenes are those that took place at the bottom of wells. There was something deeply disturbing about those scenes, and you could really sense the claustrophobia. To be honest, it’s making me feel a little bit weird just thinking back to them.

What’s interesting about Murakami is that he has this knack of writing stories that are slow paced and meandering but which still definitely go somewhere. They’re the kind of books where it feels like anything can happen, and that’s what makes Murakami so readable. This here feels as though it might be his equivalent of The Stand, and there’s certain that kind of epic quality to it.

But perhaps it’s more like Cloud Atlas or something like that, because it all takes place in our own world and there are none of the supernatural hijinks that come along with Stephen King, who I guess is the closest I can think of to Murakami when it comes to making fictional characters seem realistic while writing about the darker sides of humanity.

To be honest, when I got started on this book, all I knew about it was that it was a Murakami novel and that Charlie wanted to read it. I think I had a slight subconscious knowledge of it being quite a popular one amongst Murakami fans, but that’s about it. I’m glad that the buddy read gave me the impetus to pick it up and to order a copy in rather than just waiting until I spotted it in a charity shop.

So would I recommend this one? Oh hell yeah, I was very impressed by it. It might be kind of long if you’re new to Murakami, and I think most people probably start out with Norwegian Wood, but I think this book is a cracker no matter who wrote it. The fact that it’s a translation just makes it cooler.

Learn more about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes | Review

Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Author: Ray Bradbury

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 278

Rating: 4/5



I picked this up as part of a buddy read with Graham Quigley on BookTube, but I’ve got to be honest, I pretty much whizzed through it in 24 hours or so. Graham said that there was something about the writing style that reminded him of Harper Lee, but it put me more in mind of The Night Circus if it had been written by Shirley Jackson.

What’s interesting here is that it was the writing itself that really stood out to me. It was beautifully done, and some of the sentences alone make it worth picking up. At the same time, though, the characters felt pretty fleshed out and the plot was fantastic, if a little weird and occasionally hard to follow.

I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this before I picked it up, partly because I’ve enjoyed Bradbury’s work in the past and partly because the front cover is blurbed by Stephen King. This is one of those novels that I think every serious writer should read, and horror writers in particular will find plenty here that gives them food for thought.

So all in all, this is one of those classics that lives up to its hype, and I can see why it would be especially formative for writers of genre fiction. I also think it has a kind of widespread appeal that not all classics have, so I’d recommend just picking it up whenever you get a chance. I promise you won’t regret it.



Click here to buy Something Wicked This Way Comes.