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JED: I picked up my first Murakami—the short story On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl—in The Elephant Vanishes as a required reading in our English 10 class in UP Diliman back in 2003.
ERA: Norwegian Wood was the first Murakami book I've read. Some bookworm friends said I should have started with Kafka On The Shore but many have attested to the latter's complexity.
JILLANIE: Norwegian Wood. I've been seeing good stuff about it way back college days but strangely whenever I visit bookstores nearby, stocks are all out.
EMIL: My first Murakami book was 1Q84.
ERA: I discovered Murakami in college. He was mentioned in one of my English minor subjects (World Literature) by a classmate and out of curiosity, I asked her about him and his books. She said that If you're into chance encounters with magical realist undertones, check out Haruki Murakami.
ANGELA: It began when I entered a dusty yet magical bookstore in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kafka on the Shore. Black pocketbook with red insignia on the cover. It was a love affair which started at first sight; I didn’t leave the bookstore alone.It began when I entered a dusty yet magical bookstore in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kafka on the Shore. Black pocketbook with red insignia on the cover. It was a love affair which started at first sight; I didn’t leave the bookstore alone.
Before my flight back to Manila, I had a car accident in the said foreign country. And my tail bone detached from the rest of my spinal chord. Cringe worthy. I know. I resigned from my job to focus on my physical and mental recovery. Frequent hospital appointments and long queues, Kafka Tamura joined me in my path to recovery. His words resonated my pain, anguish, terrors, and existential ennui. When I flipped pages after pages, I was no longer in line, waiting for my turn to see the doctors or therapists—I was in a library with Kafka, unfolding mystery after another. I was talking to cats! Fish was raining down from sky; good thing I brought my umbrella.
When I closed the book upon finishing, I felt the heartache of goodbye. And I know I would not stop with Kafka Tamura. I wanted more.
JILLANIE: I read more book reviews and plots and understood why he became one of the well-received Japanese authors. I also admired how he imposed discipline on himself for writing. I only read about it online a long time ago before I had a copy of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
EMIL: I've been hearing about Murakami for a long time now, and since Japanese culture is something of interest to me and being the bookworm that I am, I decided to finally get myself a copy of one of his books. The rest as they say is history.
JED: My favorite Murakami is a coin toss between Norwegian Wood and South of the Border, West of the Sun. His themes—jazz, wells, whisky, infidelity, loneliness, isolation, and coming to terms with the past and lately, ageing, are timeless issues of the existence and coping in a distinctly Japanese setting in the modern world, resonate with people who are confounded with these very same issues (in one bizarre form or another) throughout our lives.
Murakami’s genius lies in his ability to blend the mundane with the surreal using accessible writing and heartfelt reflections on the human condition.
ERA: I like Murakami's imaginative yet conversational style of writing. He makes use of simple words but the way he constructs these adds depth in his themes which revolves around people struggling with their loneliness and longing.
ANGELA: Haruki Murakami used simple words (devoid of pretentious jargons) to talk about the profound and complex human identity. Articulate as I strive to be, he was able to put into words almost all the things I can only feel.
JILLANIE: Murakami simply detaches his reader from the real world and augments him to another world, where anything is possible.
EMIL: Murakami's style is difficult for me to define, his blend of romance with fantasy and adventure is spectacular. His imagination is limitless and mind boggling.
Some photos from our bookworm friends:
You can find more bookworm encounters at Bookworm Corner at Fully Booked Online. Stay tuned for more coming soon on the blog.
The epic new novel from the internationally acclaimed and best-selling author of 1Q84
In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances.
Get Killing Commendatore (Hardcover) by Haruki Murakami and other contemporary fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the peak of his powers.
Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, acclaimed author Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.
Get Kafka on the Shore, Export Edition (Mass Market) by Haruki Murakami and other contemporary fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event.
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.
Get Norwegian Wood, Export Edition (Mass Market) by Haruki Murakami and other contemporary fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.
Get 1Q84 (Paperback) by Haruki Murakami and other contemporary fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
The twenty-four stories that make up Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman generously express the incomparable Haruki Murakami’s mastery of the form.
Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an ice man, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit Murakami’s ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and entertaining.
Get Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Paperback) by Haruki Murakami, and other fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
Hajime has arrived at middle age with a loving family and an enviable career, yet he feels incomplete. When a childhood friend, now a beautiful woman, shows up with a secret from which she is unable to escape, the fault lines of doubt in Hajime’s quotidian existence begin to give way. Rich, mysterious, and quietly dazzling, in South of the Border, West of the Sun the simple arc of one man’s life becomes the exquisite literary terrain of Murakami’s remarkable genius.
Get South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel (Paperback) by Haruki Murakami and other fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More
Includes the story "Barn Burning" which is now the basis for the major motion picture Burning
In these stories, a man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald’s in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard. By turns haunting and hilarious, in The Elephant Vanishes Murakami crosses the border between separate realities—and comes back bearing remarkable treasures.
Get The Elephant Vanishes (Paperback) by Haruki Murakami and other contemporary fiction books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.Learn More