Not everyone is a fan of Haruki Murakami's latest short story, "Drive My Car." Residents of Nakatonbetsu, Japan claim Murakami sullied its reputation when he suggested that residents throw cigarettes from car windows. The offending passage reads: "Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does," a character thinks when he tosses his lit cigarette out. Hopefully, the smoke clears soon.
“They found, unsurprisingly, that blocked writers were unhappy. Symptoms of depression and anxiety, including increased self-criticism and reduced excitement and pride at work, were elevated in the blocked group; symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, such as repetition, self-doubt, procrastination, and perfectionism, also appeared, as did feelings of helplessness and 'aversion to solitude'—a major problem, since writing usually requires time alone.” On the causes of writer’s block.
Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel winner Günter Grass completed his last manuscript, Vonne Endlichkait, “a literary experiment” that combines prose, poetry, and illustration. The book has just been published in German and will be available in English next year.
“There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask ‘why am I alone’ and ‘why do fat girls have high standards’. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say ‘I love you’. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask ‘am I better off dead?’”
Matt Seidel has a helpful guide for book clubs across the country: How To Tell If Someone In Your Book Club Is a Homicidal Maniac. One possible clue? He contributes to the Water for Elephants discussion by “telling anecdotes about torturing animals as a child.”
A few days ago, our own Edan Lepucki talked shop with Millions contributor Ramona Ausubel, whose new collection, A Guide to Being Born, came out last month. Now, at Full-Stop, Emily Oppenheimer reviews the book, which she says refuses to “make use of the obvious perspective.”