• November 7, 2013

    The relationship between Japan and South Korea has been fraught for years due to a history of territorial disputes. Over the past two decades, however, the soaring popularity of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami in South Korea has helped mend relations between the countries. Murakami earned an unprecedented $1.4 million advance in South Korea for his forthcoming novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, and according to an essay in the Asahi Shimbum, is single-handedly “responsible for triggering and fueling the Japanese literature boom in South Korea.”

     BuzzFeed has hired former McSweeney’s publicity director to head its new books section. Fitzgerald has yet to start the job, but he’s already getting a taste of what it might be like: On Wednesday, he was mocked by Gawker and the Atlantic for announcing that his section will not publish negative reviews. “He will follow what he calls the ‘Bambi Rule’… ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.’”

    Isaac Fitzgerald

    Isaac Fitzgerald

    William T. Vollmann tells Newsweek that should he ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature, it would “be fun to give some [of the money] to prostitutes.”

    Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch tops the list of Amazon editors’ top books of 2013.

    One of the best things we’ve read this week is New York Magazine book critic Kathryn Schulz’s essay on how she came to love (and loathe) Twitter. After months of not really using the site, Schulz became addicted in 2010, after she started tweeting for fun, rather than to promote her book. The rest is history: “One evening in December, on the train home from a literary event, I tweeted a handful of imaginary book-band mash-ups: Pale Arcade Fire. Rabbit, Run DMC. When Bad Things Happen to Good Village People. A stranger tweeted back at me: Jane Eyre Supply. Ha! I thought. This is fun.”

    The Observer sends an immersive journalist to see what life is like for NYU students who live inside the university’s Bobst library.

  • “Lacks discipline,” “the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school,” and “not a good novelist” are just a few of the barbs Norman Mailer directed at his contemporaries.

    Graphic novel imprint Fantagraphics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000 by Dec. 5 or face the possibility of having to roll back its 2014 publishing lineup. The company’s finances were put in jeopardy last summer, following the death of publisher Kim Thompson. Thirteen books planned for the spring and summer of this year did not come out as a result, and the publisher is now struggling to recoup losses.

    Unless a buyer emerges before November 25, literary start-up Small Demons will be forced to close, sources tell the Los Angeles Times. Launched about three years ago, the site “catalogs the places, music, food and drink, people, books, artworks, and other objects that appear in a single book—then links them to the other books in which they appear.” The idea was that these products would then be hooked into e-commerce marketplaces, so readers would easily be able to buy, say, a novel or film or a song mentioned in a particular book, such as David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest or Patty Smith’s Just Kids.

    Julian Peters's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

    Julian Peters’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

    On Monday, Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitted to having smoked crack, and in the process brought some additional publicity to Robyn Doolittle’s forthcoming book about Ford, Crazy Town. The book is now scheduled to be released in February—a month ahead of schedule.

    We’re not sure why any indie bookstore would ever take Amazon up on this offer, but under a new initiative, shops that carry Kindles will get 10 percent of revenue off e-book purchases for two years after a customer buys a Kindle in their store. Business Insider’s Jay Yarow remarks, “We suppose 10 percent of revenue is better than nothing, but this seems like a suicide mission for any bookstore that signs up.”

    Here are the first nine pages of illustrator Julian Peters’s graphic rendition of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

     

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