South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

If you’ve never read any Haruki Murakami, it’s tricky to describe his style. And at the risk of causing the book-blogging corner of the interwebs to implode, his style is not really my cup of tea.

South of the Border, West of the Sun tells of Hajime, a middle-aged man reflecting on his youth and in particular, his relationship with Shimamoto, a fellow only-child and his only true friend. Continue reading

Marie Kondo and her Blasphemies about Books


So I caved to public pressure and was prepared to hold a cheese grater and ask myself, sincerely, if it sparked joy. I willingly piled all of my crap onto my bed and then audibly thanked cardigans and asymmetrical hemlines for their service, as I stuffed them into bin bags. I even went so far as to tell people that Marie Kondo was right about the fact that ‘storage is a booby trap’.

But about a third of the way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo went off the rails. Really, seriously bloody berserk. And my willingness to play along ground to a halt. Why? Because of her abominable attitude toward books*. And I quote: Continue reading

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Do you have your dream kitchen? Surprisingly, my un-renovated seventies kitchen is perfect in every way – tonnes of cupboard space with clever recessed shelves, strategically placed lighting so that you’re never chopping in shadow and the most fabulous original orangey-red tiles. I wouldn’t change a thing (even though my mum says the tiles give her a headache).  When it comes to domestic fantasies, mine are actually about laundries – don’t get me started, the plans are grand. And if you have a ‘European laundry’ (i.e. a washer in a cupboard), I weep for you*.


Kitchens. It brings me to Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. First published in Japan in 1988, Kitchen won a handful of prizes and quickly became a best-seller in Japan. Which is why it might seem somewhat sacrilegious to Yoshimoto fans when I say I just didn’t get it. Continue reading