My library hosts the “Blind Date with a Book” each February in honor of Valentine’s Day. Does your library do this?
Last year I let Christopher pick a book for me, and I ended up getting The Goodbye Quilt, which I really enjoyed. It’s the story of a mother coping with her daughter leaving for college. It’s not something I would have picked out for myself at this stage in my life, but it was a good, quick read.
I wasn’t sure I was going to do the blind date this year since I already had so many books planned for February, but when I saw the display at the library last week, I couldn’t resist. I selected a short fiction book.
Turns out, I’d already read A Thousand Acres in high school, and I absolutely hated it. I have HATED many books in my life, but this was one of the first. I appealed to my Instagram followers about whether I should give it another chance or try again. They told me unanimously that I should pick another book. I was so glad!
This time I went for a book described as “Full of Intrigue.” I assumed that would mean a mystery book, and since I don’t read many mysteries, I figured there was a good chance I wouldn’t have already read this book. Thankfully I hadn’t.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Two stories, “Kitchen” and “Moonlight Shadow,” told through the eyes of a pair of contemporary young Japanese women, deal with the themes of mothers, love, transsexuality, kitchens, and tragedy.
In general, I think something was lost in the translation. There were a lot of awkward phrases. Since there were 2 stories in this book, I’ll discuss the separately.
This story was a little strange. I couldn’t tell if it was even a love story. Mikage’s grandmother dies, leaving her all alone as her parents and grandfather had already died. She’s college age. A young man, who knew her grandmother from the flower shop where he works, invites Mikage to come and live with him and his mother. She accepts and for a time she lives with Yuichi and his transgender mother. Mikage has an obsession with kitchens, and she teaches herself to cook. When she gets a job as an assistant to a cooking instructor, she moves out. When Yuichi’s mother dies, the two come together again.
This story was very slow and rambling. I wasn’t sure what the plot was supposed to be. The tone was rather depressing and very existential. It felt like when I was reading Slaughterhouse-Five. I kept pressing on even though I wasn’t completely following. It had a rather sweet ending, but I can’t say I really enjoyed the story.
I liked this story a little more, although it was also quite depressing. Satsuki’s boyfriend dies in a car accident along with his little brother’s girfriend. Satsuki is in college I think, and Hiiragi is in high school. Both are devastated by their losses. They’re very lost. And they do not lean on each other at all until later in the story.
Satsuki meets a woman on a bridge one night, and she sort of magically gets in touch with her again a few days later. She tells Satsuki of a phenomenon that is going to occur on the bridge in a few days. Something that only happens every 100 years. Satsuki goes to the bridge, and she is able to see her boyfriend and say goodbye.
This story was much shorter, so it moved along a little better. It was still a little strange, but I kind of liked the magical element.
This book is something I never would have picked out for myself, so it was enjoyable to read even though I didn’t love the stories.
Have you ever had a blind date with a book? How did it work out?