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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Murakami Bedside (and Bathroom) Companion

I'll start with a side story on the title: I thought "bathroom" would be a more realistic word, here. I mean, we don't say "loo" or "water closet" or even "toilet" we say "bathroom" even though, as my Tita Menchu so astutely pointed out, we don't take baths in the Philippines just showers (a real bath, she says, involves a bath tub).

A staple in my bathroom is a book that amuses me while I'm on the throne. Pardon the image. The piece of literature that I'm referring to could be as embarassing as a Judith McNaught paperback or, as the title of my post suggests, a gem like "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki Murakami. The length of the stories are just perfect for the bathroom or for before falling asleep. They're intriguing enough at the beginning, punchy enough to keep you going and short enough for a thought provoking moment before developing a leg cramp or yawning. Murakami's stories are refreshing, contemporary and quite jarring, actually. One particular story that I find very interesting is "Lederhosen." It's about how a woman suddenly left her husband without a word of warning because of a pair of "lederhosen" (suspenders from Germany). It's told from her daughter's perspective, so the absurdity of the situation is emphasized further. Of course, I won't spoil it for you by giving away the story.... but that's the gist of it. Imagine why a woman would up and leave her husband over a pair of suspenders. Wouldn't that be enough to keep you riveted for at least five minutes?

Well, the whole point of this passage is: I'm just someone who can't do without a book. If the book is good, then better. I panic if I have nothing to read and I'm stuck in a place where I have no choice but to wait. That's probably why I always have a journal with me (at home, at the office, in my bag, on the net...). If I can't read anything that someone else has written I review a passage from one of my old journals (and I have tons of them). I'd like to believe my being an incorrigible reader/ writer is a good thing, both for myself and for other people.

So, there. I recommend a good book by your side. New doors will open for you, I promise.

1 comment:

ViVAgLAm! said...

I so agree. While we have such different reading lists (book diet?), I think I couldn't leave the house or go anywhere without bringing a book (or at least a magazine). The thought of getting stuck somewhere with a lot of free time but without a good book is indeed horrible.

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