People who have gotten drunk with me know I cannot carry a tune and that I screw up the lyrics of pretty much every song. There are lyrics I never get wrong, lyrics which resonate… More
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Status: Finished (April 6, 2017 to June 29, 2017)
I did not fall in love with Tsuki ga Kirei on first sight. There was something about character animation which made me cringe (I think it was the use of CGI, but am not sure). However, overcoming the initial cringiness was worth the while.
Tsuki ga Kirei is simple and cute with a surprising dose of realism thrown in. I have difficulty finding anything in it that defies the possibility of this story taking place in real life.
Of course, there’s your fireworks festival, sports, studying, school trip, rivalry, misunderstandings, and a lot of texting. The characters are not perfect – they actually act like real teenagers and there are no typical shoujo characters (sexy rival, villain, prince of the school, scatterbrain…). I think it is impossible not to fall in love with Tsuki Ga Kirei if you’re a fan of the holy trinity: shoujo, slice-of-life, school life.
I’ve always had immense respect for writers who were capable of putting themselves on paper. A bit of disdain (and jealousy) always went with that, because you cannot bare yourself without baring others. But then again, most writers have to be selfish, self-righteous pricks to a certain degree, don’t they?
I have read two such books recently, Crazy for Vincent by Herve Guibert and Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi. These books defy fiction and still you cannot read them as anything but. Pieces of people’s lives disguised as fiction strike me as something beyond fiction. How much of it is real? Is the fragmented, disconnected style a by-product of trying to hide as much as you reveal, or is it a conscious choice to enhance the realism of depicting human emotional life?
How much of it is a result of compulsion, and how much a choice of the author? Can we talk about plot, characterisation or structure? Can we rate a person’s life just because they decided to put it in a book?
250 Pages – a Million Questions
The two books total at a bit over 250 pages, yet they have left me with so many questions – about life and nature of literature, its purpose and function – both personal and civilizational. Is literature meant to entertain or educate? Even if an author decides on the purpose, is it even important – being so dependent on what the reader is bringing into the process?
Different or Not
Different yet eerily similar (and familiar!), both Crazy for Vincent and Intimacy show that most of us (if not all) are broken, in disrepair – searching for meaning, love or something like it.
The paper is not covered with ink it’s covered in scars – especially in Crazy for Vincent. Guibert is more self-aware. Unlike Kureishi, he is not self-aggrandizing (even when he’s trying to be contrite). Guibert does not try to justify himself or his story, while I felt Kureishi had the need to prove that he is a “good man” by the same bourgeoisie standards he’s failing/refusing to meet.
The fact that I could see a reflection of myself in these stories complicates things further. More questions arise, because they have managed to elevate a deeply personal experience to a more universal level (at least in my case). We’re talking about male authors. One of them is obsessed with his young gay lover (simplification!), the other is trying to rationalize his decision to leave his wife and two sons. Not very relatable in my case, yet the emotional level, the raw material is malleable.
Ethics of Fiction
I’ve read a review of Intimacy on Goodreads which made me pause and which is closely related to my intro. Does a writer have an obligation to protect those he includes (exploits) in the service of his writing? Should Kureishi have masked the autobiographical elements of Intimacy to protect his family and friends? All valid questions, but I consider them unimportant, because even if Kureishi “tweaked” his life in order to be nice (?), a book like this would have brought about the same questions as the “untweaked” version.
I believe that if you choose to be a (certain type of) writer and you actually succeed in becoming one, you have to be prepared to be judged and called “unethical” or “selfish and self-righteous “.
Leaving is a feeling that overwhelms me at times. It’s so abstract. I don’t want to leave anyone. There is no place I wish to leave behind in a cloud of dust. It’s just a word that pops up into my head and takes me over; a word I don’t know what to do with. The probability that what I want to leave is myself is what freaks me out the most. Because, that’s something I cannot leave.
I don’t dream about distant beaches or snowy hilltops of some non-European country. I just feel like leaving. Maybe it’s a phonological mistake. Maybe I feel like living. Whatever that might be.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun)
Sakura Chiyo (sort-of) confesses her love to Nozaki Umetaro, a guy who is pretty much clueless about everything except the manga he is writing (he’s a bit clueless about that, too). This ends up by Chiyo becoming his beta and getting entangled with the intricate process of writing manga. Soon enough, a bunch of colourful and interesting characters emerge as a part of said process, and the result is one of the funniest animes I have ever watched.
The romantic part is on the sidelines, worming its way into funny situations and misunderstandings. If you don’t mind laughing your ass off while enjoying a bit of romance, you’ll love Gekkan Shojo. I’d liken it to Ouran High School Host Club – if you liked that one, I’m pretty sure you’ll love Gekkan-shojo.
Featured image by 区宇(くう)＠原稿中 taken over from zerochan.net
Image 1 by 白夜ReKi taken over from zerochan.net.
Image 2 by 三本王wallace taken over from zerochan.net.
Image 3 by ☆★☆ taken over from zerochan.net.
I think genre is pure discrimination. Young Adult is the worst among them. Young people don’t want to read books for children (assuming they want to read at all). Old people cannot bother with a story about a teenager – they’ve got older fish to fry.
I think the same thing applies to genre and to people who don’t like to read. It doesn’t mean you don’t like it – it means you just haven’t found a book that suits you. I disliked fantasy until I’ve read Earthsea, and it’s not like you can say you love cyberpunk just because you liked Neuromancer.
We use labels to navigate through the labyrinth of life, but often these labels stop us from taking a turn which could bring us joy and maybe even discovery.
Goodreads: On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future.
- Bittersweet love triangle;
- Lovely story about regrets and how they influence of our lives;
- Cool characters whom you would not mind knowing in real life;
- The art is really cute and very consistent in quality.
Read Orange on mangareader for free.
- It’s not the usual, simple love story solely focused on the two protagonists getting together;
- Leaves you cheated for the “realtionship” part of the story;
- It is not really clear whether the manga is completed or not…and it feels like it could do with a few more chapters.
Miss Larkin’s writing is like a puppy’s first confrontation with a flight of stairs. It’s very awkward, but it’s so cute you have to smile and hope it will succeed. While the puppy eventually masters the stairs, Miss Larkin never fully masters writing. At least not in The Earl’s Dilemma.
She keeps stumbling over the same words – lack of synonyms in her vocabulary and the lack of thesaurus in her home library become apparent very soon. I could not resist so I counted, cruel courtesy of modern technology. Using the word throat 52 times and the word cheek 92 times would not be a big problem if both words were not used in relation the same character almost invariably. The same goes for frown (101 times).
As much as I tried to like Artemis for subjective reasons, I tried to dislike Earl’s Dilemma for objective reasons. It is badly written. Really. And I loved it. I enjoyed the simple love story, even though it was riddled with detailed descriptions of drapery, upholstery, linen and other types of cloth. I liked the characters, even though they were all frowns, eyebrows, throat and cheek.
I doubt I will ever read another book by Miss Larkin, but I’ll be forever thankful for putting a smile on my face when I desperately needed it.
Have you ever really liked a book that was poorly written? This actually happened to me once before, more than 10 year ago when I read Man on Fire.
The kind of book I’m looking for is the One that’ll cause an involuntary upward movement of the corners of my mouth. The One that will force me to hold back a full-blown grin – mid-conversation, during a meeting or on some form of public transport. This book freezes my face in a grimace that makes me look deeply unsatisfied, maybe even a little constipated.
When I grow old(er) I hope the deepest and most visible lines on my face will be the ones which have already broken the skin just above the corner of my mouth.