Category: reading

More Murakami

I just wrapped up “South of the Border, West of the Sun” by Haruki Murakami.  As it has been with all the previous novels, I loved it.  This novel is perhaps the most linear of the novels I’ve read so far.  An interesting tid-bit about this novel:  Murakami wrote this book while he lived in America for a few years during the 90s.

When I read, I normally have my moleskine somewhere nearby, and I often write down passages that move me while I read.  Here are a few from this novel that moved me:

She gazed at me steadily as I talked.  Something about her expression pulled people in.  It was as if–this is something I thought of only later, of course–she were gently peeling back one layer after another that covered a person’s heart, a very sensual feeling.  Her lips changed ever so slightly with each change in her expression, and I could catch a glimpse deep within her eyes of a faint light, like a tiny candly flickering in the dark, narrow room.

*****

I stood there a long time, gazing at the rainswept streets.  Once again I was a twelve-year-old boy staring for hours at the rain.  Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality.  Rain has the power to hypnotize.

*****

Her eyes were like a deep spring in the shade of cliffs, which no breeze could ever reach.  Nothing moved there, everything was still.  Look closely, and you could just begin to make out the scene reflected in the water’s surface.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/more-murakami/

Murakami Madness

As of late, I have been obsessed with the novels of Haruki Murakami.  So far I’ve read five of his novels, plus a collection of short stories.  The latest was Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.  As with every one of his novels so far, I wasn’t disappointed at all.  This one has a bit of a sci-fi bent to it, however I wouldn’t classify this as a sci-fi novel.  I hesitate to go to much into the details of the book, as I think its best to discover Murakami on one’s own.  One of the things that amazes me about Murakami’s work, is that each novel is wonderful and amazing in its own special way.  While there are definately themes that are constant throughout, they at least feel like they are being used in a different way.

A few of the things I like about Murakami are: music plays a big part in the lives of his characters.  his novels are full of love, spirituality and encourages us to seek out the connections with others.  There is room for the reader inside his stories.  It is both simple and complex at the same time.  Often it feels like a dream, that you could just get lost in for all eternity.  And sometimes, you do.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/murakami-madness/

Love and Sin

“In a sense, this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it.  We will to seperate ourselves from that love.  We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved.  Perhaps the inner motive is that the fact of being loved disinterestly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our own lives.  And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation.”

–Thomas Merton “The Seven Story Mountain

It is an interesting idea that sin is really just a rejection of love.  To be honest, I had to go to the dictionary to make sense of the term “disinterested love.”  My first thought when reading this paragraph was “how can you love something disinterestly?”  What the dictionary reminded me was disinterest is not the lack of interest, but the lack of self-interest.

I think that this is one of the most powerful aspects of the character of Jesus.  His complete disinterested love for the whole world.  It is an ideal that is simply amazing in scope.  Just a fraction of this type of love would make such a difference in this world.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/love-and-sin/

Practicing Resurrection

So one of the suggestions of my discernment committee was to read the book Practicing Resurrection by Nora Gallagher. I finished the book this morning and there were three passages I bookmarked for further contemplation.

On discernment:

I had thought at the beginning that it would be a matter of looking for signs or listening for voices, not too many steps away from divining tea leaves. But it had become a different matter. It had been as if I were invited into a slow stripping away to expose what lay underneath. Some aspect of myself or a part of the past would rise up, something left unattended and unresolved, to which I’d grown so accustomed I did not see it, like the low-lying tree branch in the backyard I instinctively duck. Often a person would bump into this long-held secret I kept from myself, sometimes by accident or as if by accident, and insist that I take a look.

On monks:

I think they are men who do not expect their faith to end their own suffering.

On exile:

It is typical of exile that it changes you, and when you return, you don’t fit in the way you did before.

As I prepare for the Prov 8 Higher Ed & Young Adult Gathering this weekend, I have really been listening to the silence. I haven’t heard much…but I haven’t been as afraid of the silence either. As I “turn off the noise” this weekend…I will be keeping these three quotes in my head.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/practicing-resurrection/