Under Pressure

Pressure
Pressing down on me
Pressing down on you

Wherever you have the opportunity to quote something by the immortal David Bowie, do. Freddie Mercury? Ditto.
The reason I’ve started this post with song lyrics (accompanying a tune which is now stuck in your head, most probably), is that I’m feeling – you guessed it – under pressure. Through no one’s fault but my own. And a particular book’s.

My first introduction to Haruki Murakami happened in high school. A friend recommended me Sputnik Sweetheart to read, saying I would love it – I don’t think I was wise enough to truly appreciate the talent that went hand-in-hand with the weirdness of Murukami’s magic realism bent. It was nothing less than a test of our friendship. A friendship which would surely crumble if I did nothing less than love every inch of the Sputnik Sweetheart‘s strange skin. Although I now count magic realism as my favourite literary style to soak in, all I can remember about that first taste of Murakami is the awkwardness of expectation. Expectation not only from my friend, but an expectation from myself that if he liked the book, then I should, no, I must love the book just as much. The characters of Sputnik Sweetheart to my current mind are hazy at best, the storyline non-existent. I’m sure that somewhere in the universe is my parallel self, enjoying the language and the atmosphere of Sputnik Sweetheart without any of the agonies of expectation I have in this world – but unfortunately it’s this world my current self lives in – I had to tell my friend that I didn’t think the book was anything special. Not in those words, of course. I must have sugarcoated it to save feelings. But friends know when you’re not telling the full truth, anyhow.

Since then, I’ve managed to avoid another Murakami book for close to ten years. Up until a few weeks ago, that is.

Murakami must have it in for me.

A friend has chosen Norwegian Wood as his pick for book club. Thus far, each book choice has been unread by the party who chose it. But Norwegian Wood is one of his favourite.books.ever. I respect the guy – and think we’re similar in tastes. Let’s face it, I admire him. His type of intelligence has a certain air of sophistication that I struggle to emulate. And so I’m afraid to read Norwegian Wood, lest I’m found to be a fraud – someone unable to appreciate the beauty of real literature.

The weight of the world is on my shoulders, my friends. I really hope I like this book!

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Do you ever feel under pressure to like a book?

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Aimee Burton

Aimee Burton is a lawyer-in-training who still dreams of befriending unicorns. This blog will be her escape from reality, and hopefully it'll inspire her to finish writing that fantasy trilogy she's always promising her friends is "almost halfway" done.