I’ve written before about Haruki Murakami‘s advice column, but at that point it was still a work-in-progress with few details or samples available. A month later, the submission period for questions is over and Murakami’s responses are being published. The Washington Post calls the column “surrealist and sweet,” and NPR has reported on the ongoing Mr.Murakami’s Place project as well, with an emphasis on semi-magical stories involving cats.
Flavorwire has compiled a list of the best literary criticism of the year, ranging from Rebecca Solnit on Lolita to Elena Ferrante on literary publicity. Also check out this year’s most notable Millions pieces, from our star-studded Year in Reading to a literary reader for Lent.
The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas made headlines when it acquired the David Foster Wallace archives. Now it's added another high profile author to its collection: J. M. Coetzee.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
Fresh on the heels of his gargantuan New York Times Magazine profile, as well as the announcement that he's led Jon Huntsman Jr. in the South Carolina polls, political prankster Stephen Colbert has decided to run for "president of the United States of South Carolina." This, of course, is not the first time he's pulled this stunt, but it is the first time he's done it with this much funding. All of this raises the question of whether this is political satire or "School House Rock on Steroids." But don't get too excited. Apparently folks from the Palmetto State will not actually be able to vote for him.
Looking for a way to spice up your short story? Add a ghost. "This is going to sound strange, but what your story really needs is a ghost," Lorrie Moore said in an interview with The New York Times. She discussed her new professorship at Vanderbilt and her new short story collection, Bark, which, yes, does contain a ghost story.