First, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This was a really cool book and I’m told it’s an excellent introduction to the work of Murakami, who gets a little more complex and strange with his later books like 1Q84 (which I hope to read soon). Norwegian Wood is a love story, although not a simple one. It’s about a college-aged guy in Japan who falls deeply in love with the girlfriend of his best friend, who committed suicide while they were in high school. Toru and Naoko build a friendship based on their mourning of Kizuki. It becomes much more; but can a relationship that originates in trauma succeed? Haruki explores so many important themes in this book: love, dependency, guilt, mental illness, and ultimately, what it means to find the right person in life. If you’re one of the many people who are wondering “who is Murakami and why is everyone reading him?” this is a good place to start. I can provide this one in paperback or electronic copy.
Second, Pump Six and Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi. Bacigalupi is better known for his novel The Windup Girl and his young adult novel Ship Breakers. This is an early collection of short stories set in a near future dystopian world. His stories are dark, disturbing, and compelling. This book reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s science fiction, or maybe even Ray Bradbury. Paperback copy only.
I’m also giving away an electronic copy of The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White. This is a story about a young married couple who move to a very small Midwestern town to clean and pack up the house of the husband’s deceased grandmother. While they’re adjusting to living in this very small town, a young woman is found dead in the woods behind their house. This is a thoughtful first novel that is less a mystery than an exploration of family and marital relationships. I’m excited to be posting an interview with this author next week.
You can enter to win one of these three books by telling me in a comment which one you’d like, or I can put you in the lottery for all three. To enter you ALSO have to tell me the best book you’ve read lately and why. Last year we got tons of great book recommendations! The Giveaway will be open through Tuesday, February 21 and I’ll pick a winner for each book at random. You don’t need to have a blog or to be a follower of my blog (but please consider signing up!). International applicants are welcome — last year I sent one book to India and another to Canada, which was pretty cool.
These other blogs are also participating, so I hope you’ll take the time to visit and enter as many as you can: