Recommended Reading: “Yesterday,” Haruki Murakami’s new piece in The New Yorker. (I’ll give you one guess to name the band it’s about.) And speaking of Murakami, his latest novel has an official book trailer now.
In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”
Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China’s “ultra-unreal” reality: “If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word ‘chaohuan’ (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word ‘mohuan’ (magic), as in ‘mohuan xianshizhuyi’ (magic realism)— ‘mohuan’ is ‘magical unreal,’ and ‘chaohuan’ is ‘surpassing the unreal.’”
With a huge winter storm bearing down on the East Coast, the Hopkinton library in Massachusetts did the only sensible thing: they erected a sign extolling the virtues of curling up with a book. What makes theirs unique is that, unlike many of their peers, they found a way to avoid the “warm yourself up” cliché. (Previously spotted on Reddit: “What are some good books to read [in jail?]”)
Cole Stryker‘s Epic Win for Anonymous hasn’t garnered him a lot of positive feedback from members of the infamous image board 4chan. It did, however, result in lots of pizzas being delivered to Housing Works’ Bookstore on the night of its launch party. The author later did an “Ask Me Anything” session with Reddit and explained the pizza delivery among other things. What do you think will happen now that two authors have announced a forthcoming book on Anonymous itself?
A few weeks back, Indiana Review editor Joe Hiland shared his list of stories he most often rejects. Now, Michael Mlekoday, the publication’s poetry editor, does likewise with his list of “Five Marks of Oft-Rejected Poems.” Meanwhile, Missouri Review editor Michael Nye has some qualms about this type of post.