AFTER THE QUAKE
Go to the bookstore. Open this slender collection of stories (all six were inspired by an earthquake that rocked Japan in 1995). If you have not yet been turned on to Murakami’s charms — his blissful way of spinning fragments of pop and bits of mystery into fables of desire — read the first story, ”UFO in Kushiro,” about a disappearing woman and her disoriented husband; if you like it, go buy one of Murakami’s thematically identical novels: Norwegian Wood, say, or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. If you are already a Murakami fan, turn to page 141, gobble up the gorgeous ”Honey Pie” — a playful piece about a love triangle — and cross your fingers that the author’s singular style won’t harden into a mannerism.