In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing. Equal parts travelogue, training log, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and settings ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, this is a must-read for fans of this masterful yet private writer as well as for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running. Available from Amazon.
Horace Rumpole is not overfond of the rituals of Christmas: turkey, tinsel and the like. But happily the festive season is not one respected by the criminal fraternity; meaning that celebrations in the Rumpole household are frequently disturbed in most-welcome ways. There's the suspicious Father Christmas at Equity's Court's festive party. The actor who goes missing from the panto on the night of a major crime. As well as the body cluttering up the health farm (where the great barrister is gloomily restricted to a diet of yak's milk and steamed spinach to please She Who Must Be Obeyed). Available from Amazon.
4 May 1970. A week earlier President Nixon has ordered American ground forces into Cambodia to pursue the Vietcong. By the end of the day four students will be lying in the grounds of Kent State University, shot dead by the National Guard. On the other side of the Atlantic, it's a brilliant sunny morning after an April of heavy rain, and at the Concept House therapeutic community he has set up in the London suburb of Willesden, maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner has been tricked into joining a decidedly ill-advised LSD trip with several of its disturbed residents. Five years later, sitting in a nearby cinema watching Steven Spielberg's Jaws with his young son, Busner realizes the true nature of the events that transpired on that dread-soaked day, when a survivor of the worst disaster in the US Navy's history - the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the shark-infested south Pacific - came face-to-face with the British Royal Air Force observer on the Enola Gay's mission to Hiroshima. Set a year before the action of his Booker-shortlisted Umbrella, Will Self's new novel continues its exploration of the complex relationship between human psychopathology and human technological progress; and like Umbrella, weaves together multiple narratives across several decades of the twentieth century to produce a fiendish tapestry depicting the state we're enmeshed in. Available from Amazon.