“Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, 2006)

Blind Willow Sleeping Woman

There are essentially three types of Haruki Murakami fans: those who enjoy his novels, those who enjoy his short stories, and those who enjoy both.  I enjoy both, perhaps his novels a little more.  For those looking to see what this great author has to offer with his talent, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman provides twenty-four examples of this, each story feeling special and unique.

In the first story, of the same name as the collection,  a half-deaf character experiences this strange world through his own filtered way, as the blind willow trees provide pollen that fly and burrow inside a woman’s ear; the story is poetic and moving.  In “The Mirror,” a man looks into a mirror to find someone else standing there, someone he doesn’t completely recognize, only to later discover there never was a mirror.  “The Shinagawa Monkey” tells the unusual story of a woman who has lost her name and the steps she takes to find it again and why she ultimately lost it.

Readers will be whisked away and become lost in these many enchanting tales of the unusual and in some instances, bizarre, but they will see the truly great talent of Haruki Murakami, and discover why so many people the world over have become timeless fans of his works.

Originally written on May 18, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Book News: Book Report for Week of June 25 on Forces of Geek

Past Our Bedtime for Rock Bottom Remainders
On June 22 and 23 this past week in LA, the unusual band made up of bestselling authors like Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Dave Barry, known as the Rock Bottom Remainders played their last two shows.

West Coast Destinations for Book Lovers
Taking a trip to the West Coast and wondering which bookstores are worth visiting?

Dimple Records Opening New Bookstore
The small chain, Dimple Records, which specializes in new and used CDs, DVDs, vinyl and video games will be branching out into books later this summer when it opens it first new and used bookstore in Sacramento, CA. Shelf Awareness has a short piece on this, as well as a full article from the Sacramento Bee. And I’m one of the guys working there!

Ebook Lending with Penguin
The publishing giant Penguin Putnam has entered into an agreement with New York City libraries and 3M to make ebooks available for lending.

BookBanter Column: “The Long Read” on Forces of Geek

The Long Read

Books come in all shapes and sizes and most importantly, in various lengths. A variety of authors write and publish a variety books with a variety of page numbers. Some are small and seemingly pathetic 200-page novellas, some are your average 300-400 page-turners, and then there are those special authors that like to write those 800-1000 page behemoths. Now, mind you, books will vary in length depending on genre: children’s books will usually be within that 200-page mark, young adult pushes it to 300 (unless you’re Harry Potter!), mysteries tend to be in the 300-400 page range, and a number of fantasy authors like to write those really long ones.

This column is about those special heavy tomes.

In the last couple of years there have been a number of these long books published by a variety of authors in various genres, and I’ve read a fair number of them and they’ve all been pretty good.

So if you’re looking for that long 800-1000 pager to get sucked into, check out the titles below.


Dimple Records to Open Bookstore

After interviewing with the Sacramento Bee newspaper last week, it was great to see the first big article on the new bookstore for Dimple Records:

Dimple Records to Open First Stand-Alone Bookstore on Arden Way

Thousands gathered in New York last week for the annual BookExpo, the largest publishing industry event of the year. As independent booksellers congratulated themselves on the surprisingly rosy outlook for their market niche, Dimple Records staff in Sacramento sorted inventory and moved racks into an Arden Way storefront that will house the first stand-alone bookstore in the local chain’s 38-year history.

The store will open this summer across the parking lot from Dimple’s music, DVD and gaming center – one of seven in the Sacramento region owned and operated by the Radakovitz family. Like the other Dimple sites, the bookstore will contain a mix of new and used merchandise, with a heavy emphasis on customer trade-ins for cash or in-store credit.

Book News: Book Report for the Week of June 18 on Forces of Geek

The Best Paces for Bookstore Browsing
From Peter Greenberg comes a fascinating list of the best bookstores around the world for book browsing. While it may involve some serious travel, some of these bookstores will become your home away from home.

Pynchon Goes Digital
The renowned author Thomas Pynchon is one of the last authors to refuse to have his books, such as Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon, has finally made an agreement with Penguin Putnam to release his books in ebook format.

Terry Goodkind is Self-Publishing
Bestselling author Terry Goodkind, renowned for his Sword of Truth epic fantasy series, will be self-publishing his next novel, The First Confessor.

New Sanderson Book
Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson has signed a publishing deal with Gollancz books in partnership with Delacorte Press in the US to release his first young adult book in a new series. The first book will be called Steelheart, with a planned release date of August 2013.


Faces of Publishing: An Interview with Brady McReynolds, publicist for Ace/Roc

Just finished updating the BookBanter site, where you can find a brand new Faces of Publishing interview with one entertaining and funny Brady McReynolds, a publicist for Penguin Putnam’s imprint’s Ace/Roc, a sample of which you can find below.  You’ll also find the latest BookBanter column on Ray Bradbury Remembered, as well as the latest book news from Forces of Geek.  I’ve also made it easier for you to download copies of my free ebooks: In that Quiet Earth and Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers, simply click on the covers and download the ebook in the format of your choosing.  There’s also a guest post from TW Brown on the Zombie Summer Blog Tour.  Finally, I’ve included links to the various BookBanter columns that I’ve published on the sidebar of the site.  Enjoy!

Brady McReynolds

Brady McReynolds grew up near Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC, and he is the son of two high school teachers. Brady grew up reading and before long enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010, he joined Penguin’s Ace/Roc publicity department and has been working there ever since!

Michael Homler

Alex C. Telander: How did you first get started in publishing?

Brady McReynolds: Well my first gig in publishing was as an intern at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill, NC. During my junior year at the University of North Carolina I knew that I should start looking for opportunities outside of academics and a friend who knew of my love of books recommended I start there. It was only a couple of hours a week (and consisted mostly of filing and mailing) but I thought it was fascinating to be a part of the book creation process.

Alex: Did you always want to work in publicity?

Brady: Well since I started working in publishing all I’ve ever known is the publicity side of things. It wasn’t until I landed my current job with Penguin that I began to see the other types of work (editing, marketing, agent-ing [?]) that people do. However, now that I am doing publicity there isn’t any other job I’d want to do. I really enjoy working with authors to promote their books once the editorial and promotion processes are finished.

Alex: Who are some of your favorite authors you’ve gotten meet and/or work with?

Brady: Well my auto-generated reply as a publicist is to say that “all my authors are my favorites!” but I feel like it wouldn’t make for interesting or enlightening reading. As someone who grew up reading science-fiction and fantasy, I’ve now had the privilege of working with a lot of the genre’s great contemporary authors. Charles Stross, Harry Turtledove, and Jim Butcher immediately come to mind. I also had a blast at last year’s New York Comic-Con working side by side with Taylor Anderson, Jack Campbell, and Myke Cole (all great guys) whose books I can’t recommend often enough.


“Ray Bradbury Remembered” Book Banter Column on Forces of Geek

Ray Bradbury Remembered

On June 5th, 2012, we lost one of the greatest writers of our time: Ray Bradbury.  He lived to the impressive age of 91, and continued to write and do signings and readings well into his eighties.  He is perhaps best known for some of the most important science fiction novels of the twentieth century, such as The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, which continue to be read not just by fans, but by high school students across the country.  One of the early pioneers of science fiction, up there with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, his short stories are unique and unforgettable.  The short story was Bradbury’s true forte, with his incredible ability to encapsulate so much within a limited number of pages.  His lyrical prose, compelling characters, and moving plots made him a writer not just to be categorized in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, but to be enjoyed by mainstream readers across the globe.

I got to meet Ray Bradbury at a signing and reading in the fall of 1999.  It was at California State University Long Beach, where I was currently working through the second semester of my Bachelor’s.  Coincidentally, it was also the first date with this new girl I’d met recently; that girl has been with me ever since, and this year we celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary.  The reading took place in the university theater and my wife had been asked to control the spotlight, which was a great bit of hands on experience for her lighting class.  As we sat there in the booth, watching and listening to the great Ray Bradbury talk, I can remember being torn between showing my interest in this new girl in my life, but also wanting to listen to this incredible writer talk.  It was an intimate moment in every sense of the work.  At the end of the reading, my wife got her book signed, as well as one for her dad, who had introduced this great author to her at a young age.  It was a very special event I shall never forget.