Last week was a week of endings.
First, the program I was organizing in the KITP ended. However, it is not all over: I’m in the coda, writing the exit report. In my opinion the program was successful, we had a lot of interactions and very interesting talks. And we will see what happens with the seeds that were planted a year or two down the line.
Secondly, I also finally had time to finish two books that I was reading. Surprisingly, I finished them on the same day.
The books in question are “Matter” by Iain Banks and “The windup bird chronicle” by Haruki Murakami. Of course they are very different from each other. I was surprised that both end with a bang (of sorts), where something terrible is destroyed.
Both had good endings, but to be frank, even though I like the books by Banks a lot, this one ended up missing something. In the end I couldn’t understand the motivations for some of the characters to do what they do at the end.
On the other hand the book by Murakami was really exceptional. The book resonated with me strongly. It delves deeply into what it means to be alone and alienated from ones environment. Add to that a good mixture of stuff that happens in a reality that is not really real, that could be easily populated by ghosts and in some sense it is, and you really get a masterpiece of modern literature. I highly recommend it.
I’m also surprised at how different the two descriptions in Wikipedia are. For the book by Banks, there is a rather detailed description for the plot. For the book of Murakami only two cryptic lines. Maybe that is as should be.
While talking about books, a while back I also finished a book called “The city & the city“. It is also a great book with a great ending. The book itself reminded me of Berlin, but it also pertains to how a prosperous city can coexist with a city that is not doing well at all and the two halves willfully ignore each other. I won’t give away the plot, lest Breach gets me.
I’m now in the active phase of looking for something good to read. Any recommendations?
PS. Happy pi-day.