South of the Border, West of the Sun

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

Just a couple of weeks into the new year, and I have finished reading my first book! South of the Border, West of the Sun
by Haruki Murakami has been sitting on my shelf for a long time now (the receipt I found in the book showed that I bought it at Borders 14 years ago!). Actually I sort of forgot about it, but when I started reading it I couldn’t put it down! That happens often when I read a book by Murakami.

I won’t go into the plot of the story, but the one thing that I kept thinking as I was reading it is that I really miss Japan. This is normal a normal reaction with all his books. But I always can picture the scenes, especially the ones in the city and I can remember when I stood in the same locations as his characters. At least the same neighborhoods.

Like most of Murakami’s works, there are many details that get left unsaid and unexplained. It’s fascinating to read about everyone’s theories about these loose ends. There’s a nice thread on Reddit if you’d like to read them.

I enjoyed South of the Border, West of the Sun quite a bit. I’m now ready to move on to his latest work, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel which I found at my local library’s digital catalog.

Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart
Sputnik Sweetheart Paperback

I finished a book! I feel like I am on a roll! Haruki Murakami has been one of my favorite authors for a long time; I think I started reading his books in 1994, starting with Dance Dance Dance and Wild Sheep Chase. My latest Murakami read is Sputnik Sweetheart, which is typical Murakami (a good thing!). It’s got a flawed but likable main character, a mysterious friend, elusive romance, and a little mysticism thrown in. I don’t have too much to say about the actual details, but I will say that I loved the ending!

*SPOILER ALERT*

I thought for sure that Sumire would be lost forever and K would kind of just go on with his life, so when Sumire called K at the end of the story, I was really happy! How unexpected!

I also enjoyed the setting of Greece. I recently finished Murakami’s “What I Talk About when I Talk About Running” and in it he talks about running the original marathon route in Greece. I am guessing his time there is connected to writing of Sputnik Sweetheart. The hot, dry climate and intense sun painted an amazing picture that gave Sputnik Sweetheart a truly immersive experience. I loved it!

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō (ヨコハマ買い出し紀行)

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Yesterday I started reading Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō on my tablet (via Manga Bird). So far it’s one of my favorite manga. Granted I have not ready hardly any manga, but this one is keeping my attention the most, which is strange because not a whole lot happens in it! But I love the simple style and the short vignettes have a certain charm to them. The manga started in 1994, and ended in 2006, which is interesting because the fashion that the characters wear is very 90’s. I am wondering if the belt-line on their pants will get lower as the manga progresses in years! One thing I really like about this one is that the main character rides a scooter. I guess that is why I liked Kino’s Journey (キノの旅) as well.