Anthology

July 18th 2018

Today I finished reading Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women. I was so close to the end, and I wanted to push through and get the last story finished tonight. See, it’s an anthology novel. Or: a collection of seven short stories. Each story in the book shares a common theme, but there’s not one overarching narrative from page one to page 227.

That ‘book made up of multiple different stories’ structural concept is just about the only way I can finish reading a book now. I keep starting to read feature-length novels, but somehow never end up finishing them. My attention span for reading is not what it used to be. I used to start and finish a 200 page book in a single sitting. Now it takes me about a month, and that’s if I even finish it.

And so, anthologies. Shorter stories. Stories that I can really dive into and immerse myself within — for an hour or so.

Men Without Women (and Murakami, more generally) is great for that. Each of the seven stories is wonderfully unique, whilst still being about basically the same thing. And it’s masterful. and beautiful, and divine. Plus, I’m really into the idea of travelling to Japan on holiday at the moment, so I’m enjoying reading more about the culture.

Murakami has a habit of writing shorter stories, and I think adult-me is thankful for that — the young version of me as a reader thought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix could’ve used an extra few hundred pages.

Until tomorrow, keep it short and it’ll keep my interest.

Jacn

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