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“Brutus” (featuring Haruki Murakami)

As Christmas is approaching (which has nothing to with Murakami…but anyway), I’m browsing through a magazine called “Brutus” (which is a popular magazine in Japan focusing on lifestyles) featuring Murakami: What he reads, what he listens to, what he watches, what he eats, what he drinks, and what he thinks.

This is a fascinating issue by which I can learn a lot about Murakami from different genres and facets. Among them, the most interesting section for me is where Murakami’s favorite 51 books are introduced, foreign and Japanese literature alike. Here, I would like to pick 3 books each.

  1. “Martin Eden” by Jack London This is an autobiographical novel. London’s works sometimes appear in Murakami’s stories. Personally, where he quoted “To Build a Fire” has still left a strong impression on me. Murakami introduces this book: “A cruelly powerful book. Powerful desperation. Forward-looking self-destruction.”

  2. “The Illiterate” by Agota Kristof This is an autobiographical memoir. It is said that Murakami was quite shocked when he encountered “The Notebook” by the same author before he made a debut. Although Kristof is originally from Hungary, she becomes a refugee and goes to Switzerland, where she begins to write in French. Murakami explains in the caption that although writing in a foreign language imposed shackles on her, it eventually added some special power to her writing.

  3. “Four Films of Woody Allen” by Woody Allen 4 scenarios of Woody Allen’s movies are in the book. Murakami explains that the charm of his movies cannot be captured fully by reading subtitles only. To understand various nuances precisely, reading the original scenarios is required. I’m also a fan of his movies, but I haven’t thought about this way to appreciate his works before! Now, already the word limit for this caption. I’ll introduce his favorite Japanese books in the next post! His recommendations are always superb and makes us want to get the books. So, what did I do? I bought a Christmas present for me: “Martin Eden”! Merry Christmas and happy readings everybody!

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