The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
The English translation of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's newest book (the title literally translates to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and the Year of His Pilgrimage) won't be out until 2014, Knopf Doubleday publicity director Paul Bogaards tells GalleyCat. The novel has inspired frenzied coverage in Japan, where it became the "fastest-selling book ever on Amazon Japan," according to The Daily Beast.
The poet Aaron Belz posted an ad on Craigslist: "Poet available to begin work immediately. Capable in rhyme and meter, fluent in traditional and contemporary forms. Quotidian observations available at standard rate of $15/hour; occasional verse at slightly higher rate of $17/hour. Incomprehensible garbage $25/hour. Angst extra." One man hired Belz to write a poem insulting him; another to write a poem about Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza. As The Atlantic notes, Belz apparently has done so well that he's upped his rates.
" 'These are the only pair of Nobel prize winner's boxers in town,' Johnnycakes Books owner Dan Dwyer said with a flourish, displaying the sensible-looking undershorts. They are a trim size 32, the initials 'E O'N' stitched on the waist-band." In a hard-hitting report for The New York Daily News, Margaret Eby discovers a pair of Eugene O'Neill's boxers for sale at a bookstore in Connecticut.
Teju Cole visits the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka at his home in Abeokuta, Nigeria: "The house was cool, shadowed, and quiet. It had none of the ostentation that one expects from a Nigerian 'big man' — no security fence or luxury cars or marble floors. Instead, there was indigo-dyed hand-woven aso-oke cloth on the windows, and there were phalanxes of African sculpture, both Yoruba and otherwise, standing in watchful groups around the living room. It was a reassuring place, a suitable lair for a man whose name, soyinka, literally means 'the daemons surround me.' I was reminded of another one of the epithets for him: 'child of the forest.'"
An inflammatory post by Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card went largely unnoticed when he posted it in May. But Slate's Dave Weigel recently picked up on it and, in what has become a familiar cycle, sparked a debate about what happens when talented authors hold troubling views. In a "thought experiment," Card predicts a future in which President Obama (whom he calls a "dictator") "will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against [his] enemies."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.