Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Coffee, a Masterpiece, and Murakami...

I recently read these two books and I simply can't stop thinking about them.


Patti Smith's writing has bewitched me and now I want to read more of her work.  I just bought a copy of Woolgathering and I can't wait to dive into it.  I love the cover:


I'm not even sure why I love the cover so much. Maybe its because I know that beneath it I will be in for quite a treat with Smith's writing. I am obsessed with her writing. It is simply the best.  The way it lulls you in and mesmerizes with stories about first love, finding your self, coffee, and Murakami.  It transfixes.  I know that when I was reading her books I didn't want to do anything else, but read her words.  I wanted to climb into her books and get lost in her stories. They captivated my attention, but they also inspired me.

Just Kids was beautiful.  Its rawness was perfect.  The way she captured love, friendship, relationships, NYC, art, music, life - oh my! I was enthralled.  I didn't want the stories to end. I fell in deep with Patti and her courage to be so open and honest.  She says that Robert asked her to tell their story and this book is it.  I absolutely LOVED it to bits! I can't wait to read it again and again.

M Train is chock full of essays that depict Smith's memories of the life she's lived.  Its her version of looking back and it is fantastic.  Following her husband's unexpected death, she moves back to NYC.  We learn about her life, marriage, and friendships through trips and experiences she shares with us.  Its utterly fascinating.  I couldn't help but devour her essays all at once -  I just wanted be lost in her words/worlds.

I love that she loves coffee and visits the same cafe every day and sits at the same table.  The normalcy of her routine is endearing.  The fact that she waits out anyone sitting at her table cracks me up, because I totally get that.  The first year I lived in England, my best friend and I went to the same cafe all the time, it was like our second home.  I understand needing/wanting that familiarity.  Of course, for Smith its not just about the place, its also about the coffee.  Her love of coffee is undisputed - she seems to drink nothing else.  I couldn't help but crave a cup of Nescafe as I read her stories.

Smith writes about books, which I loved. I jotted down some of the titles - how could I not?  She writes about the idea of masterpieces.  What makes a masterpiece?  She writes that there are two kinds: the classics (Moby-Dick) and the books that devastate (The Master and Margarita).  But then she has a dream and learns that there is a third kind.  So, she begins writing a list of her favorite books under the third kind of masterpiece.  She keeps adding to the list.  And then it dawns on her that there is only one kind of masterpiece - a masterpiece.  She is so right.  There are books that are good, ho-hum, and not good.  Then there are books that simply blow your mind with how brilliant they are - those are the masterpieces.  And those types of books are rare.

One of the authors that she mentions is one of my absolute favorites: Haruki Murakami.  Yep, she discovers his writing one day when she's at the bookstore and looking in the "M" section for a detective story.  Instead she picks up A Wild Sheep Chase and she's off on a Murakami binge.  Reading one book after the other, she falls in deep with Murakami's "interdimensional world".  It is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle that cements her love of Murakami - how could it not, right?  When she goes to Japan, she even ponders meeting Murakami and asking about the Miyawaki place that the narrator of the story winds up at.  She is obsessed and I love it.  I have to admit to being a bit jealous reading about her discovery of Murakami's books, because that feeling is beyond amazing - you know the one, where you fall in love with an author's books for the first time and want to read nothing but their books.  Oh, I love that feeling.  And I love Murakami.  So, now I want to read and re-read all of his books ASAP.

Of course, before I get to Murakami, I'm going to settle down with Smith's book, Woolgathering.  Its a small book, which means that I will be taking my time with it.  I won't gobble it up all at once.  Instead I'll read one essay a day - I want to savor this one.

And now I'm off to get me a cuppa.  Happy reading!!


Bettina said...

I've been reading "M Train" on and off for three months now, and the reason it's taking so long is that I never want it to end. It's so beautiful. I zipped through "Just Kids" when I read it and now I really want to savour "M Train". I hope you enjoy "Woolgathering" just as much and write about it here!

Lark said...

I love that idea of a masterpiece being a book that blows your mind...I wish there were more books like that in my life. Lately I seem to be reading a lot of books that are good, and sadly, a lot that are ho-hum. But I keep hoping for mind-blowing! :D

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Bettina, I totally get it. If I had know how much I would love Smith's writing I would have taken my time with all of her books instead of gobbling them up so quickly. Now I have to re-read them all :) I hated when the books ended and kept hoping that I would turn the last page to find more words printed. Thanks so much and I'll let you know what I think of Woolgathering. Enjoy M Train!! Let me know what you think :)

Lark, I know, right? Me, too! Those types of books are so rare that when you happen upon them you can't let go. I hope you read a masterpiece soon :)

bermudaonion said...

Well, now I want to read something by Patti Smith.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Kathy, you need to. You will love her writing - its wonderful :)

Ti said...

I have gotten a lot of people to read Murakami and although some of them don't love him as you and I do, for some reason they can't put him down and keep reading his work. He's like a fungus. Grows on you. Horrible analogy but I am at a loss for words at the moment.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Ti, first off, how could they not love him? Say what!?! Second, they must secretly love him if they can't put him down and keep reading his work :) I love that - he's like fungus. LOL! But I know what you mean. There is just something about his writing that haunts you and won't leave you alone and it makes you want to read him. I loved when she wrote about his books and how she wanted to ask him about the location from the book - how amazing would that be? She became obsessed with wondering where that place was and wanted to visit it. She wrote that Wind-Up was a masterpiece and I totally agree. She appreciates his writing like we do :)