I just finished Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I’ve read three of his books (or five, depending on how you count), and my favorite was the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, followed by Kafka, followed by 1Q84. I saw a lot of similar themes in Kafka and 1Q84, and it’s pretty clean advice to read Kafka before 1Q84, if you read 1Q84 at all.
I connected to a passage in the end of Kafka: “I don’t feel right unless I’ve got the sea and the mountains nearby. People are mostly a prouct of where they were born and raised. How you think and feel’s always linked to the lay of the land, the temperature.”
Living in Chicago for ten years, I found I really missed the forest I knew as a child. There’s something really calming about being among trees, and there are studies into how time spent in the woods improves one’s well being. When you live in the forest, you don’t have to go far to get that benefit. Chicago is a city of concrete and industry, and the trees were pushed from its limits. That’s one of the reasons my wife and I left.