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 Post subject: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:39 pm 
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My book discussion group is currently taking suggestions to vote on for next year's reading. Thanks to other Murakami fans here, I've gotten really into his books and want to suggest one. Which Murakami novel would be best for a book club, or the best intro to his writing?

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:10 pm 
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I have not read Norwegian Wood but have had friends recommend that to me as a good place to start.

I have only read one Murakami, which was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--for a book club. Very few of us had read ANY Murakami, but that was a good introduction to (what is apparently) his general weirdness, without being too weird.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:30 pm 
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It depends on whether your friends like fiction or nonfiction, short stories or a whole novel.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicles is genius, but it is long. I read it over a three day weekend and could not put it down. I love all his books really. Hard Boiled Wonderland is a short but wild read and wonderfully kooky Cyber punk, without a strong character to identify with, which can be hard for some readers who need a character to be the narrator. The Elephant Vanishes is an amazing collection of short stories and many of them are in the New Yorker archives (so easy to get and free).

If you want nonfiction then I loved his running book. I don't run but it isn't really just about running

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:59 pm 
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We read both fiction and non-fiction, but the preference tends toward fiction.
My first Murakami was Kafka on the Shore, which I adored, but it is long, and one of his weirdest, so maybe not the best way to introduce people to him.
I haven't read The Wind Up Bird Chronicles or Hard Boiled Wonderland yet, but they seem to be some of his most well known, so I was thinking of maybe going with one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:04 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:03 pm 
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I love Murakami but didn't really enjoy Norwegian Wood. Love everything else, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:25 pm 
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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is my fave but, like Tofulish said, it is long, so maybe not best for book club if it's a weekly thing and people don't want to commit too much time. Hardboiled Wonderland... would be my suggestion, I think. It was the first Murakami book I read and it got me hooked.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:26 pm 
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Sputnik Sweetheart, After The Quake and After Dark are my favourites. The Secret Library is wonderful too, more of a short story but the visual layout of the book is glorious.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:57 pm 
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I love Norwegian Wood but I think it'd be the least interesting one for book club. I'd go with wind-up bird Or hard boiled wonderland because both have a lot to talk about.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:30 pm 
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Disappearing Ink wrote:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is my fave


Same

Rhizopus Oligosporus wrote:
My first Murakami was Kafka on the Shore, which I adored, but it is long, and one of his weirdest, so maybe not the best way to introduce people to him.


Also same!

The first chapter or so of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a short story in the anthology The Elephant Vanishes, if you want to check that out before committing to the full book.

I also agree that Wind-Up is probably too long for a book club and for someone's first introduction to Murakami. I think a really good intro would be the novella After Dark. It's not too long, less than 200 pages if I recall correctly, and he uses a light touch with his trademark magical realism, but it's still unmistakably Murakami!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:36 am 
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The latest Murakami in the New Yorker was really good! http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/kino

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:14 am 
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I've read both Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles for book clubs. I liked the latter much more (even though it was longer), and keep meaning to read more of his books!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:33 am 
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I can only stand his short stories so I'd suggest that. But then again, the fact that his writing varies a bit makes it difficult to get an introduction because it kind of depends what you're introducing them to...

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:00 am 
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I should mention that I want something that will sound appealing to the group by it's description, so they will vote to read it. We make a list of everyone's suggestions, then vote on 12 books, one for each month of the year. The description of Hard Boiled Wonderland, as well of the title, seem intriguing, so I'm leaning towards that. But they do tend to like reading newer works, and this is one of his older books I believe. I'm also contemplating The Strange Library, because it's new, and this group of book lovers seems to get excited about books about books and libraries etc. I'm having such a hard time making up my mind!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:49 am 
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This probably doesn't really fit what you want, but I loved Underground. It is an account of the Tokyo sarin gas attacks, written as a series of personal accounts that he based on interviews. It's a very compelling, brilliant look at how one event is experienced by different people as well as how they all deal very differently with the aftermath in their lives.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:08 pm 
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Rhizopus Oligosporus wrote:
I should mention that I want something that will sound appealing to the group by it's description, so they will vote to read it. We make a list of everyone's suggestions, then vote on 12 books, one for each month of the year. The description of Hard Boiled Wonderland, as well of the title, seem intriguing, so I'm leaning towards that. But they do tend to like reading newer works, and this is one of his older books I believe. I'm also contemplating The Strange Library, because it's new, and this group of book lovers seems to get excited about books about books and libraries etc. I'm having such a hard time making up my mind!


His latest novel "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" was his most successful and most-loved in Japan to date.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Murakami for book club?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:51 pm 
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I did love Underground as well. I really found it fascinating to see the difference between the Japanese and US ways of handing emergencies.

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