Happy Birthday, Haruki
Today is the birthday of one of our great living writers (our = humanity's), Haruki Murakami. He was born in Kyoto and grew up in Kobe, Japan, and has taught at Princeton and Tufts in the US, where he now lives. In 2006 he won the Kafka Award. His writing is humorous, nostalgic, magical, and often fierce, dealing with loss and the question of who we are, and it is sprinkled with sharp social observations. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore, his best novels, and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a collection of shorter fiction, are available in English (many others are, too, including Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, a brilliant novel so confusing I'm still not entirely certain what happened). He's one of my favorite authors.