Friday, November 4, 2011

A post-1Q84 reading season

Apologies for the delay in posting--much of my motivation in October was consumed by Murakami's new book 1Q84. I'm fascinated watching the reviews trickle in; this is certainly a book that will have fans divided. Most reviews, mine included, have been tepid at best. You can read my thoughts here:

Jeff Alford on Haruki Murakami's 1Q84

Admittedly, finishing 1Q84 and the above review feels like I've hung up a big albatross of contemporary literature. This weekend's NYT Book Review puts it very well, though--despite 1Q84's many shortcomings, much of it will linger with its readers.

One thing I'd like to point out is a link one reader left in the comments section of an old Murakami-related blog post. Jonas from Germany (thanks so much!) pointed me towards the special edition of 1Q84 that I wrote about a while back. Here's an image, and additional details on the whole set can be seen at the embedded link:

It's a stunning piece, and completely sold out. Perhaps still not quite worth the price, but the designers did an exceptional job.

So, what's next? I'll feature soon a great new architecture book by Rem Koolhaas and the new unbound book from Visual Editions. Below is a sneak peek of my books-to-read stack, which will be reviewed at in the next month or so. Stay tuned!

Currently reading:
The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo

Currently listening to:
Irma Thomas, "Breakaway"


  1. I'm looking forward to your reading of Parallel Stories! After 1Q84, I'm not quite yet ready to tackle another "big" book. My thoughts on The Angel Esmeralda are in a blog post here, if you're interested.

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading Murakami again. I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and loved it. For some reason 1Q84 was hard to find in my town. One bookseller had it on their list but the associate could not find it in the store... So the search for Murakami was almost a Murakami story. Hah.

    The limited edition looks glorious. Where was it available?

  3. Hi Jed and Vincente--

    Forgive the late replies! Jed, I found The Angel Esmeralda to be pretty powerful, but the intensity kind of drained as the collection crept towards DeLillo's recent stories. It's always good to find a differing opinion that's well-voice... too often I run into quick dismissals of contemporary fiction. I very much enjoyed reading your review.

    Parallel Stories is like nothing else I've ever read. Don't let the blurbs fool you into thinking this is Hungary's War and Peace... this is a deeply private, wickedly carnal book. We're talking 90-page sex scenes. I'm about 450 pages in (taking my time) and it's as hugely captivating as it is unsettling. Recommended for fans of Vollmann, Henry Miller, and the filthier sides of high literature.

    And Vincente: that Murakami limited edition was available directly from the publisher--they had a waiting list going for about a year that I was on. Glorious, sure, but the thing was over $1000! There are sellers who snagged them as investments and think they can list the thing for close to 5k now. We'll see how long they're sitting on their copies...