I recently finished David Mitchell's Number 9 Dream, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm a bit sad though because I have now finished reading all his novels and fear it may be a few years before his next book is published.
Here we have a book that blurs lines between dreams and reality nicely. A young man is on a quest -- wanting to know the identity of his father. Along the way he has some wild adventures, many involving the Yakuza.
I have a feeling this book was inspired a bit my Haruki Murakami -- it had a bit of the feel of his writing, and Mitchell refers to Murakami and his book The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle within the book.
I also read Paulo Coelho The Alchemist -- a quick little read that was enjoyable. I don't know that I'll rush out to buy any of his other books, apparently he has written many, but it was a nice break from some of the longer, heavier stuff I've been reading.
Basically it's a short fable, or fairy tale -- perhaps a take on a parable from the Bible. A boy is on a quest to find treasure and along the way he encounters different people who help and hinder him on his journey. Simple, straightforward, perhaps a little too focused on "God" but a thoughtful tale nonetheless.
Two very different quest novels.
Now I'm onto a guilty pleasure read -- Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.