Being in the middle of a good novel is not unlike being in love. Since I started with IQ84, it has been my date to every occasion. It is there in the morning and it is there at night. The companionship feels so natural, like an extension of myself, that it is easy to forget how rare that feeling is. And while a good short story can fill my heart, it won’t hold my hand for a whole plane ride. At 925 pages, I feel like I could travel the world with 1Q84. I’m about halfway through, and I’ve already ordered a Chekov book that has a cameo in 1Q84 as a sort of literary rebound. To Murakami’s credit, the writing is much lighter than the book, and carting around this 4-pound tome has none of the burden a long-term relationship or War and Peace.