By Emma Williams
Truthfully, I used to think that wanting to know what books celebrities were reading was a strange trend; after all, celebrities are just normal people, aren’t they?
I did not understand that reading the same literature as the people who inspire them enables people to feel more connected to their idols, until one of my own, Harry Styles, began making recommendations. My enjoyment of Styles’ music stems from a relatability to the concepts he explores within his songs and, more specifically, the fascinating lyrics which he utilises – ‘crisp trepidation’, for example. Thus, I was highly intrigued to see what he had been reading to inspire and aid his writing, and believed that these books, like his music, may be relevant to my own life.
I was not disappointed. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami was a gripping novel, taking me a mere two days to read all three-hundred and eighty-six pages. Murakami presents a delicate balance between deep and light drama, which enabled me to immerse myself within the main protagonist’s physical and mental world. It followed a Japanese student, named Toru Watanabe, on his journey through the ‘swinging sixties’, delving into his experiences, interests, and relationships alongside him. As a twenty-year-old university student myself, I certainly found a connection with the situations of love, loss and desire that the nineteen-year-old youth faces as he continues to learn and mature. As a matter of fact, the writing gently urged me to reflect upon my own experiences and growth, as Murakami has woven the book with a simplistic approach towards life – a subtle, yet resounding, reflection of Japanese culture.
The literary voyage I encountered within the novel continues to penetrate my thoughts, serving to remind me to not take life too seriously; to live in the moment because we cannot change the past or predict the future; and to remain mindful that we can never truly know what is occurring in other’s lives. Consequently, I would highly recommend checking out Norwegian Wood, as well as Men Without Women (which I read afterwards because I just could not get enough of Haruki Murakami’s art).