Remember that time Haruki Murakami decided to write an advice column and answered over 3,000 letters from fans? Well, now a selection of those letters and his wisdom-filled responses are being collected and published as book in eight volumes. Though there are no current plans to translate the work into English, we hope that changes soon – after all, what could be more charming than Murakami’s advice about cats?
Are you a guy with good taste in frames and fiction? Then come to the next I Like Your Glasses: Literary Speed Dating. CoverSpy and Housing Works Bookstore Cafe will be hosting the event on February 12 at the store. Tickets are $15 (including a free drink), but gents can get their tickets for $12 if they use the promotional code “QUEEQUEG.” To see what you’re in for, read our essay on attending the first I Like Your Glasses.
Francis Spufford’s fictionalized book Red Plenty looks to the 1950s-1960s “cybernetics” initiative to answer one of the main questions about the USSR: “Could the Soviet project to build communism have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure from the start?” In his review for The Hoover Institution, Marshall Poe contends the latter.
Ursula K. Le Guin has died at the age of 88, according to the New York Times and Le Guin’s family. The prolific science fiction and fantasy writer — best known for her Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness — explored themes like politics, gender, religion, and environmentalism. However, Le Guin wrote across genre and published over 20 novels, 100 short stories, 7 essay collections, 13 children’s books, 5 volumes of translation, and a writer’s guide. No stranger to awards, Le Guin most recently won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Related Work for Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016. From our archives: The Millions interview with Le Guin from 2013.
“Everyone says Anna Karenina is about individual desire going against society, but I actually think the opposite is stronger: the way societal forces limit the expression of the individual.” Here is Mary Gaitskill on Anna Karenina for The Atlantic’s By Heart series, in which writers reflect on some of their favorite passages in all of literature. We’ve brought you a bit on By Heart here, here, and here.
The Facebook IPO was this week’s biggest story. The social media giant, which boasts 800 million members, is seeking a $75-$100 billion market valuation. But hold your horses, investors. A lot of that optimism could be empty hype. After all, look at the site’s requested valuation as a percentage of its 2011 revenue, and compare it to other tech giants like Google and Microsoft. Also, contrary to Mark Zuckerberg’s claim, most of the world does not, in fact, “have access to the internet or mobile phones.”
“The peace may be holding, but the process is faltering,” writes Colum McCann, forty years after the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, in his evaluation of Ireland’s present relationship with the “Troubles.” “It is, of course, naïve to expect total reconciliation,” he continues. “Some grievances are so deep that the people who suffered them will never be satisfied. But the point is not satisfaction — the point is that the present is superior to the past, and it has to be cultivated as such.”