Top 10 Quotes From Dance Dance Dance by Murakami.

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Dance Dance Dance is a haunting tale of the protagonist in finding his former lover who has cried out to him in his dream. Following the dream, he was later drawn into a surreal world full of bizarre characters and strange events. I find this book is a bit different as there were elements of mysticism, capitalism & politics which I have (yet) to find in his other books. These elements gratify the story & it added up the satisfaction even though the reading experience was a bit tedious and draggy, particularly in the earlier chapters.

I rated this book 4.5 out of 5 stars because personally Dance Dance Dance has awakened something in me as a reader – it was a charming and a teeny bit philosophical read with quotes of timeless wisdom, and also quite witty. Here are my ten favourite quotes from this book which I choose on an instinctive level because they are simply powerful and entertaining.

1.   The protagonist wondering what it feels like to belong.

“Gazing at the rain, I consider what it means to belong, to become part of something. To have someone cry for me. From someplace distant, so very distant. From, ultimately, a dream. No matter how far I reach out, no matter how fast I run, I’ll never make it.”

2.  The protagonist’ concern about capitalism.

“We live in an advanced capitalist society, after all. Waste is the name of the game, its greatest virtue. Politicians call it ‘refinements in domestic consumption.’ I call it meaningless waste.”

3.  Again, criticism on capitalism.

“Advanced capitalism has transcended itself. Not to overstate things, financial dealings have practically becoming a religious activity. The new mysticism. People worship capital, adore its aura, genuflect before Porsches and Tokyo land values. Worshipping everything their shiny Porsches symbolize.”

4.  The difference between machines and human being.

“With machines, the feeling is, well, more finite. It doesn’t go any further. With human, it’s different. The feeling is always changing. Like if you love somebody, the love is always shifting or wavering. It’s always questioning or inflating or disappearing or denying or hurting. And the thing is, you can’t do anything about it, you can’t control it. “

5.  Gotanda describing Kiki.

“The girl had – maybe not talent exactly – she had the makings of…presence. She had something. she wasn’t really beautiful. She wasn’t a born actress. But you got the feeling that if she ever got on film, she could pull the whole frame into focus. And that’s talent, you know.”

6. The protagonist on the science of human peak.

“Humans achieve their peak in different ways. But whoever you are, once you’re over the summit, it’s downhill all the way. Nothing anyone can do about it. And the worst of it is, you never know where that peak is. You think you’re still going strong, when suddenly you’ve crossed the great divide. No one can tell. Some people peak at twelve, then lead rather uneventful lives from then on. Some carry on until they die; some die at their peak. Poets and composers have lived like furies, pushing themselves to such a pitch they’re gone by thirty. Then there are those like Picasso, who kept breaking ground until well past eighty.”

7. On love.   

“People fall in love without reason, without even wanting to. You can’t predict it. That’s love.”

8. Easy regrets are useless.   

“What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”

“Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regret. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.”

10.  Things are never simple.

“People have their own reason for dying. It might look simple, but it never is. It’s just like a root. What’s above ground is only a small part of it. But if you start pulling, it keeps coming and coming. The human mind dwells deep in darkness. Only the person himself knows the real reason, and maybe not even then.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Pages: 550 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.35
Rating: 

Alright, I think everyone knows what The Book Thief is all about. It is a story of Liesel Meminger, an orphan, who was being taken to live with a pair of foster parent in Molching during the Nazi regime. She unofficially became a book thief when she first stole a book at her brother’s burial rite.

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The greatest thing I love about this book is the brilliant and absorbing narrative. Book Thief is narrated by a first person narrator who was known as Death who narrates in a weary and sometimes, humorous tone. Death is by far the most remarkable and important narrator I have ever encountered – This could have simply been another story about the Holocaust, but instead, Zusak nailed the story by using Death as the narrator. Brilliant. Some may find the narration device weird, but I liked it. It is alternately emotional, serious and almost saccharine.

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As for the language, well, it is beautifully haunted, poetic and powerful. The writing style is so vivid and descriptive, it just swallowed me in. Some people may not like it because of its slow development but it was perfect for me. The odd pairing of words sequence, the detailed sensory experiences, and the way situations explained left me speechless, that is how powerful the book is. To steal words from the book itself, the story is “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time.

I embraced each of the characters and I know they will cling to my heart for years to come. The curious and strong-willed Liesel, the kind-hearted Hubermanns, the crazy Rudy Steiner, Max Vanderburg and even the supporting characters. They will certainly live in my heart.

I cried so many times. It was the unaware, silent tears streaming down my face for several pages sort of cry and I, literally spent the last 50 pages weeping. My poor little heart is broken. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, an evocative and bittersweet piece of literature. Highly recommended.

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

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Pages: 354 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Sufism, Religion
Goodreads Rating: 4.16

My Rating: 5 

Okay, where do I start with a book like this? I’m scared my review wont do the book justice, because this book is a beauty, devastatingly beautiful.

The Forty Rules of Love consists of two parallel narratives. The first narrative is about Ella, who works for a literary agency and she was given a book entitled Sweet Blasphemy and yep, the Sweet Blasphemy is the second narrative of this novel. It’s a story of the great mystic Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi with his soul instructor, disciple, companion and a soulmate, Shams of Tabriz in their quest for eternal love of God. The crust of the story is about yes, the old and frequently written theme – love – but not the typical cheesy and mushy stuffs of love, it is something different, a widened concept of love.

The first narrative of Ella was somehow odd and empty, I didn’t find it exciting as the second one. Shafak really nailed in narrating the second narrative, the Sweet Blasphemy. The way it was shown from many perspectives, from Shams perspective, the beggar, Sulaiman the Drunk, Desert Rose the Harlot, and Rumi;s family was really captivating. I loved everything about this book and most of it is because of Shams of Tabriz, from his exquisite rules of love, to his bold personality, to his love and belief in God, EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND MESMERIZING. This is the first time that I have so much respect for a book character. Nak fangirling pun macam serba salah sebab hormat, kah kah kah.

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This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. The narratives, the characters, the plot twists, the 40 rules themselves, are a marvelous piece of wisdom and inspiration. A must read for everyone. A book that goes beyond all faiths, beliefs, thoughts and current societal conditions. Highly recommended!