When The Beatles made Rubber Soul, the band probably didn’t realize it would inspire some of the greatest contemporary fiction. First, Haruki Murakami named his novel Norwegian Wood. Now, “Drive My Car” inspired his new short story. Bungeishunju published the story today, but English readers are still waiting on the translation. Until then, we can always listen to the album. Pair with: Our essay on the soundtracks behind books.
"Why do we spend so much time with stories whose endings we already know?" Derek Thompson writes about nostalgia and culture for The Atlantic, and his piece pairs well with Katy Waldman's Slate essay about "thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to."
Where does the “panic attack when you think you’re not reading enough” fit in to all of this? Here are a few professional readers on how they keep from mixing business with pleasure. This essay on Lewis Lapham and reading just for pleasure might also tickle your fancy.
Wouldn't it be nice if your brain just went ahead and created that pesky simile for you? For individuals suffering with synesthesia (a neurological disorder in which one sense is "cross-wired" with another, such as seeing the color red or hearing a sour taste) the brain does just that. Here's a piece from Electric Literature that takes a look at synesthesia, substances, and seeing the world askew.
NY Press has a long look at the history of iconoclastic indie press Soft Skull, which recently shuttered its New York office, effectively ending the publisher's run as a standalone press and making it just an imprint of California-based parent (and, it should be noted, rescuer from financial straights) Counterpoint. Incidentally, I've had a front row seat for all this, as, for the book I'm co-editing, I was initially working with the good folks in New York and then everything was suddenly (and thankfully without a hitch) transferred to the folks in Berkeley. (Thanks, Craig)