Kafka on the Shore (海辺のカフカ) by Haruki Murakami



Hardcover, 436 pages

Published: January 26, 2005 by Knopf Publishing Group (1st published 2002)

Setting: Japan

Literary Awards: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (2006), Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Nominee for Longlist (2006), PEN Translation Prize (2006), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Nominee for Preis der Jugendjury (2005), Tähtifantasia Award (2010)


Three parallel stories run through the novel, and we don’t understand until later how they’re all intertwined. A precocious fifteen-year-old, who has renamed himself Kafka, runs away from home. He is fleeing a barren family life and a peculiar Oedipal prophecy. He takes up residence in a library, continuing his rich self-education.

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

plWritten and Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is a bookish, imaginative little girl trapped in a harsh world. She and her pregnant mother have come to live with her new stepfather, Captain Vidal (Sergi López), an officer in Franco’s army. The Spanish Civil War recently ended, and Franco’s fascist regime is battling tenacious groups of resistants taking refuge in the forest.

You might suspect that being one of Franco’s generals is a role that would require a special penchant for brutality. But Captain Vidal goes above and beyond the call of duty.

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Choke by Chuck Palahnuik



Paperback, 293 pages

Published: June 2002 by Anchor Books (1st published May 2001)


This is the first book I’ve read by Chuck Palahnuik, who is not only a critically acclaimed bestselling author but, according to my daughter, a bit of a cult phenomenon. Well. I am not puritanical; I enjoy a bit of steamy literary smut as much as the next person. But after finishing Choke, I felt like getting rid of the book then taking a scorching hot shower.

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