Books for Breakfast #55

Book Reviews

This time I read:
Signora Da Vinci by Robin Maxwell
&
In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami 
I got this book from my mom, she had read it for one of her book clubs and after finishing it, brought it down and told me that I’d like it. I must admit that I do love it! The story is all about Leonardo da Vinci’s mother and her trials and tribulations through her life. Honestly, that’s what I really loved about this book. I feel like normally when you read books about someone famous, you read about their life, but this is all from the perspective of the mother! What her life was like before she had him, and what her life was like after him. I don’t really read many historical novels, but this one really gripped me and refused to let go! 
This woman had a hard life and she did some amazing things just to be close to her only son. It also showed how stark the difference was between women and men at that time. You were almost lower than dirt as a woman, you weren’t allowed to do anything and you weren’t given any respect at all. Yet, in different religions, women were hailed as goddesses. Somehow though, the catholic church back then regarded women as not worthy of anything. It’s weird how that happened, when back in the time of the greeks and the Egyptians, had powerful goddesses like Isis. (who is actually mentioned a lot in this book) The themes of religion, gender, and philosophy are rather prevalent in this book. It doesn’t just feel like it’s the story about a famous artist, although, it was really awesome to read about him and what he did that made a mark on history. 
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book! Since I don’t normally read historical fiction, I guess that I don’t really have much to compare it too, but I enjoyed the entire story. Cato is an amazing character!
So, here is the embarrassing thing about this book. I pulled it off the shelf only looking at the side, which says Murakami. I thought this was a different Murakami, but I was wrong….very wrong. This Murakami writes INTENSE psychological thrillers! I’m now very glad that I made this complete accident at Half Priced Books! I loved reading this book! I read it all in one day for Pete’s Sake! I mean, granted, it is just under 200 pages in length. But the story is SO gripping! It only has three chapters, which I found confusing, it’s more like it’s separating into parts and doesn’t actually have chapters. Now, this book is translated from Japanese to English, just so you know. I actually found a typo in it and I love finding typos in books. 
The story follows, and is told from, the point of view of a man in his 20s, who hasn’t gone to college and is instead offering (technically illegal, because he doesn’t have a license) tours through the pleasure districts in Japan to foreigners. He is giving a tour to a man named Frank and he starts to realize that there is something really weird/wrong/creepy about this particular tourist. Our lead guy, Kenji, can feel that something is wrong, like his instincts tell him that this guy is dangerous. I love the descriptive writing, since you can almost picture the face of this guy. An unassuming man who blends into crowds and whose face you wouldn’t really be able to bring back into focus if you were recalling it, but if you happen to be looking at him at the wrong moment, it can make you feel fear. 
The murder scenes are a bit brutal, if you don’t like reading gory things, but the dialogue is mind blowing. Hearing a sociopath explain himself, or try to explain himself, is so intriguing. I also liked the ending. It’s so vague. Murakami criticizes his own culture in this book, and how different the Japanese culture is from other cultures. It’s an interesting book! I love thrillers like this, they really make it hard to put the book down! You know? 
Next on my list is: Ant Farm & Breakfast of Champions

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By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • Ooh, (accidental) murder mysteries!

  • Kay

    Annnd, adding both to my list! I really like thrillers, especially when they involve serial killers, though I do have to be in the right mindset to read them or they freak me the heck out. 😀

  • I love thrillers as well! I'm always in the thriller/murder mystery mood!!

  • I just finished Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and it suddenly sparked an interested of historical importance in me. Though I would usually skip the history , in every possible way. I bet this book about Da Vinci's mother is interesting.

  • I normally skip history as well, but I found this book really interesting! The Da Vinci Code was a really interesting book too!

  • These books sounds good! Signora da Vinci sounds fascinating and has a beautiful cover! I'm usually not into historical fiction either, but I'll be checking this out!
    ~Sara

  • It's certainly not my genre of choice, but if someone recommends something to me, I'll try to read it! haha!