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.’”
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.