At Lit Hub, David Karashima asked five Japanese writers, including Yoko Ogawa and Masatsugu Ono, to discuss their favorite short stories by Haruki Murakami. Mieko Kawakami, author of Breasts and Eggs, praises the story on loneliness and lost, “Tony Takitani.” “I think of Murakami as an athlete,” she says. “Just as a sprinter does everything he can to cut a tenth of a second off his time, Murakami has always assessed his abilities, set new goals for his next work, refined his skills, and pushed the outer limits of his fictional universe.”
Two weeks ago, Tod Goldberg came out with a new novel, Gangsterland, that centers on a hit man in the Chicago Mafia. At The Nervous Breakdown, you can read an excerpt of the novel, as well as one of their trademark self-interviews, in which Goldberg explains that for the past three years, he’s been “writing and writing and writing. But sometimes, that just means I’m not writing at all.” You could also read the author’s dispatch from AWP.
“Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and white privilege. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
Following up her post about Judy Blume’s Forever, our own Lydia Kiesling writes about Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita for PEN American Center’s ongoing series for Banned Books Month. It’s a book, Kiesling writes, which serves as an “exhibition of a uniquely talented person at the zenith of his powers.” (This isn’t the first time she’s discussed the book, by the way.)