The reclusive Haruki Murakami

New Yorkers! Join Bookforum editor Albert Mobilio and authors Jean-Euphèle Milcé, Ursula Krechel, and Mikhail Shishkin at the Public Theater at 6:30 tonight for a discussion of international crictism. The panel will discuss how the "style, attitude, and role of book criticism differs from country to country, and "how reviewers and book reviews shape-shift across borders, even as each country’s literary culture forms its own responses to political, technological, and aesthetic changes."

After offending much of Chicago with a recent roundup of Chicago-based books in the New York Times (the review concluded, “Chicago is not Detroit, not yet. But the city is trapped by its location, its past, and . . . its limitations, given the circumstances) Rachel Shteir takes to the Observer to defend herself against her critics.

Claire Messud responds to the question of whether she would “want to be friends” with the protagonist of her latest novel: “For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.” For more on The Woman Upstairs, read Daphne Merkin’s review of the book in our April/May issue.

As the hunger strike continues at Guantanamo, Slate excerpts the 466-page declassified memoir of Gitmo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has spent the last twelve years in US government custody.

In advance of the upcoming film What Maisie Knew, the Times considers why film adaptations of the master’s novels so rarely succeed: “Everything that counts is under the surface, in the tortured, painfully refined minds of his characters, and [Henry] James wasn’t, for all his gifts, very good at inventing situations that could show an audience, rather than tell it, what lay beneath his people’s apparently banal words and gestures. He was a notoriously unsuccessful playwright.”

Haruki Murakami is planning his first public appearance in Japan since 1995.

James Franco’s literary films: the seemingly ubiquitous actor has starred in, directed, or optioned no less than sixteen films based on books.

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