Here’s a good article on reading Haruki Murakami from the Book Oblivion bog, written by Jessica Manuel.
Murakami is one of the most popular and respected contemporary authors. Reading him is an art and this is the best reading order for his mind-bending works.
I always try to incorporate one of his novels or short stories into my syllabus when teaching. One taste and my students are hooked. After that first exposure, they almost always ask what to read next. And even though you can’t really go wrong, I will suggest what I think would work best for most readers. Each of his novels stand alone, but some work together quite well. Those groups of novels I have listed are what I like to see read in the same general time frame.
These five are my favorite works of Haruki Murakami because of the way they deal with the unconscious. In each work, the lives of the characters are completely altered because of dreams, memories, nostalgia, or other manifestations of the unconscious. It reminds the reader how powerful the mind is, and I’ve remained convinced of this since my first reading of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
An article I wrote for Literary Kicks a few years ago:
It’s common among “Beat Generation” aficionados to scorn the popular media version of the Beats, especially the term “beatnik”, and the stereotypical goatee-sporting hipster. But to a youngster growing up in a small town, like me, sensing there was more out there than what they taught in middle school, even the cliche hints of downtown jazz and nightlife and hip lingo were welcome. I could tell right away that Rod Serling was cool, from the subdued bongo drums in the opening theme to his sly, out-of-this-world countenance. He almost seemed to wink knowingly when he shared his imagination and vision with me, the viewer.
I remember the episode about the trumpet player, down on his luck and questioning his very reason for living. In a kind of jazz version of It’s A Wonderful Life, the musician is hit by a car, killed, then finds himself hanging out with another, older, trumpet player whose chiseled features, goatee, and night club suit are a sharp contrast to the pudgy angel Clarence in the Frank Capra classic, though he is an angel, nonetheless. After giving the young musician a new lease on life, we learn the angel’s name as he makes his exit.
“I didn’t catch your name!”
“Just call me Gabe,” says the goateed veteran horn-blower. “Short for Gabriel.” He holds up his trumpet to illustrate his point. Gabriel is the trumpet blowing angel in the Bible. But this wasn’t my parents’ church, it was the concrete-neon jungle where the hipsters dwell and Doctor Sax blows jazz in a smoky bar room.
Serling created the Twilight Zone in 1959. He often battled with censors and sponsors to present themes and issues which he felt were important but which the sponsors feared were too controversial. He became known as “Television’s Angry Young Man.”
Another fun website that reviews and analyzes genre films is Braineater, created and maintained by Will Laughlin. In this installment he reviews the French film La Chambre ardente (1962), “a movie that sits somewhere between an art film and a Gothic thriller,” directed by Julien Duvivier, based on a classic novel by the American author John Dickson Carr.
Here’s an excerpt from Laughlin’s review:
Carr, after a slow start in the late 1920’s, came into his own in the early 1930’s. He was soon recognized as one of the finest mystery writers of the so-called Golden Age. In 1937, he published what many consider his greatest novel, The Burning Court. However, his work — while always professional — was sometimes uneven; and after the Second World War, his career began to falter. A new generation had come to maturity, and they considered Carr and the writers of the Golden Age too old fashioned, too academic… a remnant of the old order that had been destroyed by the war. Nevertheless, Carr continued to write Golden Age-style detective stories well into the late 60’s and early 70’s. Though there have been periodic revivals of his work, and though he has always had supporters in fellow writers like Kingsley Amis and Anthony Boucher, Carr has never recaptured the recognition his admirers consider he deserves. If you think about it, there’s an obvious reason Duvivier chose to turn The Burning Court into La Chambre ardente…
Here’s another great article about Walter and Dorothy Whetstone, written by my friend Tim Gilmore on 11/18/2016:
Walter Whetstone doesn’t remember me. He’s had two strokes since our last substantial conversation. I first wrote about Walter and his masterpiece of Outsider Art called …