News Home RSS Feed

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hot This Week: September 22

There are a ton of new discs on this week's music chart, with seven of the ten titles making their debuts, but it's almost as notable for what's not there, as the Frozen soundtrack fails to make the list for the first time in a very long time. The fiction list features new titles from J.D. Robb, Ian McEwan, Kim Harrison, and Philippa Gregory, and the non-fiction list sees five new titles as well.

DVD
  1. The Other Woman
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  3. Divergent
  4. Draft Day
  5. Transcendence
  6. Need for Speed
  7. Rio 2
  8. Heaven Is for Real
  9. Moms' Night Out
  10. Noah
CD
  1. Lecrae, Anomaly
  2. Maroon 5, V
  3. Jhene Aiko, Souled Out
  4. Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
  5. Lee Brice, I Don't Dance
  6. Jeezy, Seen It All
  7. Interpol, El Pintor
  8. Dustin Lynch, Where It's At
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1
  10. Robert Plant, Lullaby and...the Ceaseless Roar 
Fiction
  1. Personal, Lee Child
  2. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  3. Festive in Death, J.D. Robb
  4. The Children Act, Ian McEwen
  5. The Witch with No Name, Kim Harrison
  6. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
  7. The Secret Place, Tana French
  8. The King's Curse, Philippa Gregory
  9. The Eye of Heaven, Clive Cussler and Russell Blake
  10. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
Non-Fiction
  1. What If?, Randall Munroe
  2. 13 Hours, Mitchell Zuckoff
  3. Waking Up, Sam Harris
  4. World Order, Henry Kissinger
  5. Unphiltered, Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach
  6. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  7. Off the Sidelines, Kirsten Gillibrand
  8. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  9. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  10. I'll Drink to That, Betty Halbreich and Rebecca Paley

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meeting Murakami

Written by Jon Williams

For the past few weeks you’ve been seeing Haruki Murakami’s name at or near the top of the bestseller lists. His recent novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, released on August 12, went straight to the top of the New York Times list, where it remains in the top ten. It follows the main character as he attempts to get his life in order by reuniting and making amends with friends from his youth. Murakami’s own story, though, is just as interesting.

Born in Kyoto 1949, Murakami went on to study drama in college in Tokyo. Instead of pursuing that as a career, however, he and his wife opened a jazz club. According to Murakami himself, he didn’t write at all until he was 29 years old. Then, while attending a baseball game, he was struck with the notion that he could write a novel. He had to stop on his way home from the ballpark to buy a pen and paper, but he began work that very night on the manuscript that would become Hear the Wind Sing, his first novel. Although that book is not widely available in English, a new translation is in the works, scheduled for a 2015 release. It will be paired with a new translation of his second novel, Pinball, 1973, which is also rare in its current English version.

While Pinball, 1973 was his first novel translated into English, Murakami did not gain international acclaim until his third and fourth novels, A Wild Sheep Chase (written 1982, translated 1989; currently unavailable) and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (written 1985, translated 1991), which worked in elements of fantasy and magical realism. Then came Norwegian Wood (currently unavailable as an audiobook, although the movie adaptation is available), a realistic coming-of-age novel, and perhaps his most famous to date. That made its way to the U.S. in 2000. Since then he has published such novels as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and 1Q84 (his most recent work prior to Colorless Tsukuru), all of which came available to English readers in much shorter order than his previous works.

Murakami’s novels are his most popular works, but they are by no means his only literary occupation. He is a noted translator, adapting into Japanese so much of the American literature that has had such an influence on him, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Long Goodbye, and The Great Gatsby, among many others. In between novels he writes short stories, a form in which he claims to find more joy. You can find examples of his short fiction in the collection After the Quake, a collection dealing with the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. He also ventures into non-fiction with What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a memoir of his dedication to fitness. Like his writing life, Murakami came relatively late to running—beginning at age 33, he has run one marathon each year since, as well as one 110km ultra-marathon.

Needless to say, you haven’t heard the last of this driven literary dynamo. A new story, Strange Library, arrives in December. With the print version coming it at a scant 96 pages, its length is quite a contrast to most of his work. What comes after that is anyone’s guess. As Murakami prefers to challenge himself as he writes, it’s certain to be compelling.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hot This Week: September 15

This week's DVD list sees The Other Woman jump to the top while a trio of new titles make it for the first time, including - with the NFL back in action - Draft Day. Maroon 5 and Jeezy top the CD chart with their latest releases, but the most interesting item found there may be the best-of by Bob Marley, showing up thirty years after its original release. It was a big week for fiction, with the top half of the list comprising five new titles; the non-fiction list is topped by two new titles as well.

DVD
  1. The Other Woman
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  3. Divergent
  4. Draft Day
  5. Transcendence
  6. Need for Speed
  7. Rio 2
  8. Heaven Is for Real
  9. Moms' Night Out
  10. Noah
CD
  1. Maroon 5, V
  2. Jeezy, Seen It All
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1
  4. Ariana Grande, My Everything
  5. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend: The Best Of...
  6. Counting Crows, Somewhere Under Wonderland
  7. Frozen Soundtrack
  8. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  9. NOW That's What I Call Music 51
  10. Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood
Fiction
  1. Personal, Lee Child
  2. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  3. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
  4. The Secret Place, Tana French
  5. The Eye of Heaven, Clive Cussler and Russell Blake
  6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
  7. The Long Way Home, Louise Penny
  8. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  9. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  10. Mean Streak, Sandra Brown
Non-Fiction
  1. What If?, Randall Munroe
  2. Unphiltered, Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach
  3. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  4. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  5. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  6. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  7. Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  8. The Way Forward, Paul Ryan
  9. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell 
  10. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hot This Week: September 8

The Cameron Diaz/Leslie Mann/Kate Upton comedy The Other Woman is the only new entry on this week's DVD listing, coming in at #3. Four new discs land on the music chart, including a completely new top three. Louise Penny bumps Colorless Tsukuru to #2 on the fiction list after two weeks at the top, while three favorites return to the non-fiction list after some time away.

DVD
  1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  2. Divergent
  3. The Other Woman
  4. Transcendence
  5. Noah
  6. Sabotage
  7. Heaven Is for Real
  8. Rio 2
  9. God's Not Dead
  10. Rage
CD
  1. Ariana Grande, My Everything
  2. Brad Paisley, Moonshine in the Trunk
  3. KEM, Promise to Love
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1
  5. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  6. Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood
  7. Frozen Soundtrack
  8. NOW That's What I Call Music 51
  9. 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer
  10. Avenged Sevenfold, Waking the Fallen
Fiction
  1. The Long Way Home, Louise Penny
  2. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  4. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  5. The Broken Eye (Part 1 | Part 2), Brent Weeks
  6. Adultery, Paulo Coelho
  7. Mean Streak, Sandra Brown
  8. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  9. We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas
  10. The 6th Extinction, James Rollins
Non-Fiction
  1. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  2. The Way Forward, Paul Ryan
  3. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  4. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  5. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  6. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
  7. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty
  8. Hard Choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton
  9. Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewicz
  10. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hot This Week: September 2

Welcome back from a refreshing long weekend! The just-released Spidey sequel took this week's top DVD honors. Wiz Khalifa's new disc takes over the music chart, with a nice mix of newcomers showing up throughout the list. Haruki Murakami holds onto the top fiction spot, edging out the new title from Paulo Coelho. The top of the non-fiction heap shuffles, with new titles from Rep. Paul Ryan and William Deresiewicz debuting in the middle.

DVD
  1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  2. Divergent
  3. Transcendence
  4. Noah
  5. Heaven Is for Real
  6. Rio 2
  7. God's Not Dead
  8. Rage
  9. Need for Speed
  10. Sabotage
CD
  1. Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1
  3. Chase Rice, Ignite the Night
  4. NOW That's What I Call Music 51
  5. Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue
  6. Frozen Soundtrack
  7. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  8. 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer
  9. Ace Frehley, Space Invader
  10. Ed Sheeran, X
Fiction
  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
  2. Adultery, Paulo Coelho
  3. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  4. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  5. Mean Streak, Sandra Brown
  6. We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas
  7. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  8. The Heist, Daniel Silva
  9. The 6th Extinction, James Rollins
  10. Love Letters, Debbie Macomber
Non-Fiction
  1. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  2. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  3. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  4. The Way Forward, Paul Ryan
  5. Hard Choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton
  6. Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewicz
  7. The First Family Detail, Ronald Kessler
  8. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  9. A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre
  10. Flash Boys, Michael Lewis