I was reading my first Haruki Murakami novel recently – the events which led up to me purchasing the book were completely psycho-economic, but I’m gonna blog about that nevertheless.
Dan Brown’s latest Langdon caper, ‘The Lost Symbol’ was released last month, a substantial gap of about 6 years after ‘The Da Vinci Code’. I am more or less a compulsive buyer of books – even if I feel a book is gonna be crap, I might buy it if its a high-profile release or if the author has written a good one previously – in this case, Angels and Demons.
Thus, I set out to buy the ‘Symbol’, but there is something quite unsettling about purchasing a Rs.600 book when you know its bound to be shite. And thats how I turned to Psycho-Economics, a non-existent branch of pseudo-science which deals with the intriguing study of how I justify wrong decisions.
As per Psycho-Economics 101, if I’m gonna buy a bad book for Rs.600, I can nullify the effect by buying 3 guaranteed good ones for a further Rs.600. So for Rs.1200, I’m getting 4 books out of which 3 are good – and psychologically I’m prepared to pay Rs.1200 for 3 good books. So, as per our unique branch of pseudo-science, I’m getting the bad book for free.
And thus, I chose a thin little copy of Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, a paperback copy of the oft-recommended ‘Tipping Point’ and Haruki Murakami’s ‘Norwegian Wood’.
I loved Wood. It was the closest I had come to realizing all my pre-purchase expectations from a particular book, in recent days. Since ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr.Norrell’ to be exact. Toru Watanabe’s tale of his student life in Japan, his first love Naoko and the vivacious Midori strikes all the right chords.
You love a book for several reasons. Generally, I suppose a story has to appeal to a particular emotion or maybe even to a whole gamut of them – a Wodehouse novel has me in splits while an Agatha Christie whodunit is pleasing to the little grey cells. I loved Norwegian Wood for the atmosphere it created so effortlessly – a mixture of longing, angst and youthful promise.
Halfway through the book, I turned to the ever-reliable youtube for the Beatles’ track after which Murakami named his book – Naoko’s favourite song in the story.
And thus I read Murakami, heard John Lennon and thought of life. Bliss.