January – Haruki Murakami
Book Club Selection (Meeting on February 7, 2024) – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994)
Books are available at the circulation desk. eBooks and audiobooks available on Libby!
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and then moved to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University. After college, Murakami opened a small jazz bar, which he and his wife ran for seven years.
His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. He followed this success with two sequels, Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, which all together form “The Trilogy of the Rat.”
Murakami is also the author of the novels Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; Norwegian Wood; Dance Dance Dance; South of the Border, West of the Sun; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Sputnik Sweetheart; Kafka on the Shore; After Dark; 1Q84; and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. He has written three short story collections: The Elephant Vanishes; After the Quake; and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; and an illustrated novella, The Strange Library.
Additionally, Murakami has written several works of nonfiction. After the Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, he interviewed surviving victims, as well as members of the religious cult responsible. From these interviews, he published two nonfiction books in Japan, which were selectively combined to form Underground. He also wrote a series of personal essays on running, entitled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
The most recent of his many international literary honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul. Murakami’s work has been translated into more than fifty languages.
Murakami on Film
Many of Murakami’s works have been made into films, many of which are available now, for FREE, on Hoopla and Kanopy using your library card.
- Norwegian Wood (Tran Anh Hung, 2010)
- Burning (Lee Chang-dong, 2018)
- Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
- Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Pierre Foldes, 2022)
– Each month we will feature a selection of that month’s authors favorite books, their major influences, the authors that they helped influence, and more!-
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“If I were forced to select only one [book that has meant the most to me], I would unhesitatingly choose Gatsby. Had it not been for Fitzgerald’s novel, I would not be writing the kind of literature I am today (indeed, it is possible that I would not be writing at all, although that is neither here or there).”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“Philip Marlow is Chandler’s fantasy, but he’s real to me.”
“I translate what I like to read. I have translated all the novels of Raymond Chandler. I like his style so much. I have read The Long Goodbye five or six times.”
Franz Kafka, The Castle
“I encountered Kafka’s work when I was 15 years old, the book was The Castle. It was a great big incredible book. It gave me a tremendous shock. The world Kafka described in that book was so real and so unreal at the same time that my heart and soul seemed torn into two pieces.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
“Most writers get weaker and weaker as they age. But Dostoevsky didn’t. He kept getting bigger and greater. He wrote The Brothers Karamazov in his late fifties. That’s a great novel.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“It’s a dark story, very disturbing. I enjoyed it when I was seventeen, so I decided to translate it. I remembered it as being funny, but it’s dark and strong. I must have been disturbed when I was young.”
Murakami’s work has influenced authors around the world and for generations. Below are just a few books that have Murakami’s influence all over them!
The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
An expansive, globe-trotting book that takes on themes of aging, youth, and death, and incorporates genres from absolute realism to heady fantasy.
Universal Harvester – John Darnielle
Working for a 1990s small-community video rental store under threat by a major chain competitor, Jeremy is reluctantly drawn into a mystery involving chilling footage of criminal activity that has been recorded onto the store’s VHS tapes.
The Memory Police – Yoko Ogawa
An Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance finds a young novelist hiding her editor from mysterious authorities who would erase all memories of people who once existed.
Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata
A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for 18 years, much to the disappointment of her family, finds friendship with an alienated, cynical and bitter young man who becomes her coworker.