I don't know about you, but I'm the type of person that always has more than one book going at a time. I like a little variety, depending on my mood: certain days, I wake up and I feel like escaping real life, so I'll grab a fictional story for the commute to work; other times, I want to read something that makes me feel productive, along the lines of "life advice/self-improvement-ish," that I can apply right away or at least file away in a mental folder for applying eventually.
Here's what I'm currently rotating through:
H is for Hawk
Fun fact: when I was about 9 years old, I read Frightful's Mountain, and since then my only true dream has been to live in solitude in the woods, preferably near some mountains, with falcons as my only companions. Fast-forward some years and I grabbed this memoir by Helen Macdonald off the shelf at McNally Jackson Books. Having landed on several "Best Books" lists in the past year, this book has been front and center at many of the book shops around town. It's about how the author copes with the death of her father through acquiring and training a full-grown goshawk. It's an introspective work, at times quiet and, in other times, tense with emotion. The writing reminds me a bit of Annie Dillard, another author known for her intricately detailed memoirs.
Sam the Cat
This is a bit different from the types of books I typically gravitate towards. This collection of short stories by Matthew Klam feature hilariously, tragically and realistically flawed male figures. I read through almost half the book the same day I picked it up from a shop in Park Slope. I'm still working through it, but what I find most attention grabbing about this work is how refreshingly frank it is about the modern male perspective. The main figure in each short story I've gone through is typically engaged in some dissatisfying heterosexual relationship, at once reaching to regain the love and adoration of his partner and objectifying the next hot thing that crosses his path. It's not romantic, but it's terribly real and hilariously sad.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Big Murakami fan here. I'm often intimidated by his bigger works because I'm a slow reader that loses interest quickly. This being the fourth or fifth Murakami book I've picked up, I can confidently say it won't be my last. This is the story of a man who goes off looking for his missing cat and finds a whole lot more than he bargained for. In the vein of Murakami stories, it's surreal—meaning it's weird, creepy and has a lot of strange sexual tones (and actual sex) running through it. I'm consistently awed by the intricate worlds that Murakami spins together and can get truly lost in them when reading his work. Although long, there are no dull moments. He's a master of stringing together sentences and passages that leave you constantly on the edge of your seat.