At The New York Times, author Yoko Ogawa reflects on the literature published following the atomic bombings in Japan during World War II, including Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain, Kenzaburo Oe’s Hiroshima Notes, and Tamiki Hara’s Summer Flowers. “We appeal to the power of literature, a refuge we turn to when forced to confront contradictions that lie beyond reason or theory,” she writes. “Through the language of literature, we can finally come to empathize with the suffering of nameless and unknown others. Or, at very least, we can force ourselves to stare without flinching at the stupidity of those who have committed unforgivable errors and ask ourselves whether the shadow of this same folly lurks within us as well.”
Some of Jeff Tweedy‘s favorite writers: “I like Henry Miller a lot. I like William H. Gass a lot. Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Kurt Vonnegut. . . . I used to walk into bookstores when I was a kid and get the stuff that looked the craziest and the most free.” (In a Rolling Stone interview, unavailable online.)
Out this week: City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg (whom we interviewed yesterday); Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel; The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts; Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam; And West is West by Ron Childress; and Eyes by William H. Gass. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.