Monday, 16 November 2009

Back in the big smoke - Books and Niigata (2)

The last post was getting too long so this is part two.

Niigata and books

A definite upside of Japan is the wider exposure to a variety of literature.  Here foreigners here swap books with much greater fervour than I've experienced anywhere else. Happily, Lily and I have compatible tastes in books.   I took some books up that I  was done with, and brought a swag back with me - reading books, reference books and studying books.  Recently I have read  a biography of  C.S. Lewis' wife Joy  (very factual), Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore (enthralling, very different),  the Manchurian Candidate (aggressive, confronting, disturbing),   Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, (a moving collection of short stories of relationships of mostly newly arrived subcontinental couples in the US), Tom Keneally's  The Tyrant's Novel, (interesting but depressing).  While up at Lily's she lent me  Yoko Ogawa's The housekeeper and the prefessor to readI really recommend it. It's a deceptively simple story about a woman that keeps house for a mathematics professor who, after a car accident, has a short term memory of 80 minutes.  Despite the fact that she has to re-introduce herself to him every morning, the housekeeper and her 10 year old son forge a deep bond with the professor through maths and baseball.  The book contains lots of mathematical curiousities; the professor was still found joy in doing and teaching complex maths.

Speaking of memory and books, sometimes I wonder why I read at all since it doesn't take me long to forget what I have read.....