If you've read Murakami before, you know what you're getting into with these stories. Many of the same motifs - dark bars, bizarre childhoods, nostalgia, swimming, jazz, noir, femme fatale, mysterious appearances/disappearances, ears, pasta. Many of the themes are consistent as well - loneliness, absence, disconnect, multiple realities, deceptive memory. These range in weirdness from day-to-day strangeness to is-this-a-psychological-break events. I find that the way I respond to Murakami depends largely on the mood I'm in when I read it. If you're not feeling it, set it down, come back to it when you're feeling a little more willing to let Haruki take the wheel.