Last Tuesday I caught the Sun fun bus to Farnborough town centre so I could grab a couple of new books from WH Smiths.
Normally I wouldn't shop for books at WHS, but there were extenuating circumstances: now that I spend so much time of the bus to/from work I'm reading a lot more.
I've enjoyed three Haruki Murakami books recently: Dance Dance Dance, which I bought quite a while ago, but didn't get around to reading; Norwegian Wood and South of the Border, West of the Sun, both of which were birthday presents from James and Kim.
Norwegian Wood is the book that shot Murakami to fame in Japan. He became an overnight celebrity but didn't fancy it... his response was to shut down his jazz bar in Tokyo, Peter Cat, and move away from Japan with his wife. It's a muddled story (as all of his books are) about... hmm, love, commitment and death.
I'd have to say that Murakami is my favourite author. I've read a lot of his books: the three I've just mentioned, as well as The Elephant Vanishes (a collection of short stories), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore. I like the way he describes scenes and events, turning common situations into extraordinary happenings.
But. I've read a lot of his books lately... I decided that instead of picking up another one, I'd try something else. I got a little carried away in WHS and in the end walked out with three new books: The Life of Pi, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and a complete collection of Franz Kafka's short stories.
I hardly know a thing about any of these books but because the selection at the small WHS was so poor (plenty of crappy trainjourney novels, Mills and Boon, and other assorted trash) I was sort of thrust into picking up something I might normally skip over. The Life of Pi was different from the rest, so I picked it up; Kafka's short stories were easy: Murakami has made reference to this author in his book Kafka on the Shore; and In Cold Blood... well, I've seen the film Capote and that is as good a reason to pick up a book as I need.
I'm on Pi now and so far it is interesting but nothing as extraordinary as Kafka on the Shore... yet.