I get some images and I connect one piece to another. That’s the story line. Then I explain the story line to the reader. You should be very kind when you explain something. If you think, It’s okay; I know that, it’s a very arrogant thing. Easy words and good metaphors; good allegory. So that’s what I do. I explain very carefully and clearly.
—  Haruki Murakami
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MURAKAMI POSTER COMPETITION

To celebrate the arrival of Haruki Murakami for Saturday’s London signing at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, we’re giving away ten beautiful posters for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

To be in with a chance just Reblog this post and we’ll pick 10 lucky winners out of the hat.

The competition closes on Monday 1st September.

But when I look back at myself at age twenty what I remember most is being alone and lonely. I had no girlfriend to warm my body or my soul, no friends I could open up to. No clue what I should do every day, no vision for the future. For the most part, I remained hidden away, deep within myself. Sometimes I’d go a week without talking to anybody. That kind of life continued for a year. A long, long year. Whether this period was a cold winter that left valuable growth rings inside me, I can’t really say.
—  Haruki Murakami - Yesterday
Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations.
—  Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
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THE STRANGE LIBRARY - Haruki Murakami

‘All I did was go to the library
to borrow some books’
 
The Strange Library is a unique and sinister tale of a boy who goes to a library to borrow a book and then a surreal nightmare ensues. I wanted to evoke a distorted nostalgia for the library, its corridors and its dusty shelves.
 
During my design process I became inspired by the visual ephemera of libraries, such as date stamps and issue cards. I have used an actual library pocket on the outside of the first edition – fans who queued overnight at Haruki Murakami’s public signing at Waterstones Piccadilly and were given a unique teaser library card will be able to insert this into the pocket.  I designed the cover with a disturbing colour combination to reflect the pervading tone of malice within the novel: a violent magenta background, the fading office blue of the library pocket and the acid yellow label.
 
The text of The Strange Library is fully illustrated throughout, with a variety of drawings, images, illustrations, and photographs; and they are taken from a wealth of printed sources; from a 1950s cookery book to Birds of the British Islands, 1907, a book on popular astronomy from 1894 to a Victorian book on Locks and keys.  The majority of the illustrations were sourced from old books I found in the London Library. Founded in the 1840’s, the library is a labyrinth crammed to the ceiling with treasures on seemingly every subject. The metal stacks date from 1890s and are a marvel of architecture, steel grille floors allowing you to see to other floors above and below. Here are housed the books in Science and Miscellaneous, our favourite sections for the sort of research we did.
 
My picture researcher and I became literally lost in its corridors! There was a great sense of achievement when we pulled out a hidden gem that matched a particular line or part of Murakami’s text. I was interested in how the style of illustration plates and printing techniques evoked a certain period. My favourite was the almost fluorescent colours found in the plate section of a 1950’s German cookery book. For some pages like that of the caterpillars, I had to carefully amalgamate images from different sources. Only two illustrations had to be commissioned for the book as we just couldn’t find images for doughnuts or a ball and chain.
 
We enjoyed the feel of the books, the delicate tissue held between plates sections, richly elaborate marbled endpapers, the binding of the books and the yellowed sticky that held odd pages together. Faded, folded, mottled and creased even the ‘blank’ pages were of aesthetic interest.
 
The Strange Library will be published in hardback with specially designed text and illustrations throughout on 2 December 2014, £12.99, translated into English from the Japanese by Ted Goossen.  An ebook edition will also be available.

BOOK OF THE DAY:

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami 

Toru Watanabe arrives in Hamburg, Germany. Now, 37 years-old, he is struck by nostalgia and melancholy when he hears an orchestral cover of The Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood. His memory returns to the late 1960s, a defining moment in his young adult life. 

At nineteen, Toru is a serious college student devoted to a beautiful young woman, named Naoko. Toru’s and Naoko’s passion has been mutually defined by the tragic suicide of their best friend, Kizuki, from high school years ago.

Both plagued by loss and depression, they set out to attend college in Tokyo. Toru spends all his Sundays with Naoko, who used to be Kizuki’s girlfriend. Kizuki’s death weighs heavier on Naoko; she has trouble expressing herself and is uncommunicative. Eventually Toru falls for her. 

The day after Toru and Naoko have sex, she disappears. After writing to her, Toru learns Naoko has been admitted into a sanatorium. While waiting for her exit, he divulges himself into school and falls in love with another girl, Madori. She is fierce, independent and sexually liberated. Also marked by the death of both her parents, Madori asks Toru to take care of her, as she is exhausted of being everybody’s caretaker. 

Stuck in a love triangle, where death forms its basis, Toru is left with a burden of despair and guilt. He has promised Naoko to live with her, but is in love with Madori. He wonders Japan aimlessly until he discovers who is the most important person to him. The war between intimacy and in dependancy fiercely reign in Norwegian Wood, which makes it seamless to empathize and feel for Toru. 

Haruki Murakami’s enchantment comes in the form of presentation. Presentation in Murakami’s world is his sharpest weapon, of course with the help of Jay Rubin, the novel’s official translator. Murakami holds a superbly, uncanny talent to actualize emotions and expose humanity for its true vulnerability in its most important aspects: friendship, love and death. Murakami electrifies every cell of your brain. It is easy to invest in his characters and stories. 

You feel as sad and as a helpless as Toru. Norwegian Wood is marked by strange sex patterns and frequent suicides, which bring forth with full force the nature of authentic Japanese culture. Murakami never fails to involve the Eastern world with the Western, i.e., the title of the book.

There is a constant battle between growth and regression, which tugs at the soul of the reader. Every death in Norwegian Wood behaves as a catalyst for growth in its characters. Isolation, retreat, change, and growth are the most captivating themes in any Murakami novel. It is hard to leave a Murakami novel without feeling as if you had suffered a loss as well. 

Read excerpts from the novel here! Get the book here!

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Made in Heights - Murakami

Made In Heights are two dreamy people making even dreamier jams, reminiscent of Lorde and Cashmere Cat, but with some Yeezus-level drops for good measure. While “Murakami” was technically released last year, it’s getting our love now as we zip into hoodies and sink into fall with the same  determination as the song’s steady beat. 

Synth-driven with whispery, alluring vocals, “Murakami” combines elements of all sorts of recent musical trends, but in the end all are condensed into a magical lush sound that’s still fresh. Lending even more impending fall spookiness are the lyrics: “I’m losing touch with the physical/I’m showing up in the future like I’ve been here before” and “don’t know if this is real or a dream/imagination playing tricks on me.” A playful nod to noted fantasy author Haruki Murakami, the potential namesake for the song, or hipster nonsense? Personally, we don’t care as long as they keep singles like this coming.

(Made in Heights is also on tour—make sure to report back to us if you see them live!)

This post was written by the talented katieyoungxo! Go follow her on twitter.

You’re afraid of imagination and even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the responsibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep and dreams are a part of sleep. When you’re awake you can suppress imagination but you can’t suppress dreams.
—  Haruki Murakami
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