I don’t recommend reading Murakami books in a row. I went from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2014) to Norwegian Wood (2000). These works are the opposite of uplifting and motivational. They delve into the darkest corners of mental illness and isolation. While they can be pretty sad they are well written works that take you on a journey of discovery and coming of age. Other reviewers hate Murakami, calling him a one trick pony and detesting his use of sexual description and scenes. It’s a work of fiction and he is creating a world that behaves like ours (usually). I would not stoop to call any of it unnecessary or distasteful– because it isn’t real. These are concepts in which he engages us and drives us to think and consider. Plus they make up a small percentage of the actual story. Perhaps people like having their mind in the gutters continually, so to speak. At any rate, I’m re-reading Cannery Row as a jump start into something completely different and less depressing.