South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami: There’s a definite trend of similarity which runs through Murakami’s work. The awkward young man, who loves a messed-up, pseudo-ethereal woman and his struggles to find himself will be familiar to anyone who has read at least one of his books. Despite that I keep finding myself engrossed in his books with their sad, mysterious and weird characters who live in a very real world that is sometimes interrupted by moments of surreal existentialism. They are wonderful reads, this one included, and I like to think of them as a series rather than standalone books, and that works just great for me.
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: As the title says, this is a collection of every short story Hemingway ever published. There’s not much I can say about them, other than that they are good and this is a good book to carry around with you for when you need a little inspiration for your own writing. They’re also good stories for bedtime reading, since they are short and won’t keep you up all night, like the next book in this post will.
Under the Dome by Stephen King: This book’s a monster at over a thousand pages, but I’m guessing you’ll get through it pretty quickly. It’s hard to put down. There’s a ton of characters and thick plot that moves along very quickly. In Big Jim Rennie, this book has a character that much like Cersei Lannister in the Song of Ice and Fire series, is so hateable that you will read on just in the hopes of seeing him get his comeuppance. Overall a very entertaining read. On a side note, this is being turned into a mini-series on CBS to be aired this summer. I can’t see how a tv version, especially on CBS can depict some of the savagery that adds to the menacing feeling of the book, but who knows, it could be good.
Mad Toy by Roberto Arlt: Translated meticulously by Michele Aynesworth, this is the story of a young man, a teenager actually, who struggles with his place in society and the expectations of his family. He wants to be a great man, but finds himself trapped in the lower class of early 20th century Argentina. Arlt drops a lot of slang and cultural references from that time period into his book and Aynesworth provides footnotes for all of them, making the book somewhat of a history lesson as well. This is a really interesting and thought provoking little book.