Can’t wait for Haruki Murakami’s new novel? You’re in luck: Slate just published an exclusive excerpt from the book. Sample quote: “No matter how quiet and conformist a person’s life seems, there’s always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives.” (You could also read Ben Dooley’s review of 1Q84.)
“Our children, at least in this country, with no tales of war to tell; only music and clothes. Infuriating and a blessing for our parents, who had experienced the abyss staring back at them. I suppose their memories must have hung around their necks like stinking albatrosses, only for their children to turn out themselves to be an abyss gazing back at the next generation. Is it catching? Whose 1950s was I living?” This installment of Jenny Diski’s memoir from the London Review of Books is not to be missed.
"One of the things I like about my job is that it draws on the entire person: not just your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and usage and foreign languages and literature but also your experience of travel, gardening, shipping, singing, plumbing, Catholicism, Midwesternism, mozzarella, the A train, New Jersey. And in turn it feeds you more experience. The popular image of the copy editor is of someone who favors rigid consistency. I don’t usually think of myself that way. But, when pressed, I do find I have strong views about commas." Mary Norris's "Confessions of a Comma Queen," from the New Yorker.
"Dear Marlon, I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it….You play Dean and I’ll play Sal... I'll show you how Dean acts in real life, you couldnt possibly imagine it without seeing a good imitation..." From a letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando. (via The Rumpus)
Peter Mendelsund writes for the Paris Review about how we see, or think we see, fictional characters. "Characters are ciphers. ... We are ever reviewing and reconsidering our mental portraits of characters in novels: amending them, backtracking to check on them, updating them when new information arises."
Mr. Sarvas aka TEV takes another turn in the limelight, this time in the Jewish Journal.Of course this story comes from a local TV news site: Pornographic comic books sold on Wal-Mart, Target web sites. Film at 11!Five things about children's book awards from a Michigan point of view."Digital textbooks can save college students hundreds of dollars every semester, but the market is off to an unimpressive start."A charming remembrance of Ryszard Kapuscinski by writer Andrew Nagorski.