Today in books and literature: Jeffrey Eugenides had a terrific book party, Haruki Murakami doesn't like books about the future, and Stephanie Madoff Mack's memoir arrives in stores.
- Haruki Murakami's latest novel 1Q84 is set in alternate reality version of the year 1984, not the not-so-distant future. It's an important distinction, since according to Murakami, most books set in the near future are "boring." He explains:
“It’s always dark and always raining, and people are so unhappy. I like what Cormac McCarthy wrote, The Road — it’s very well written. . . . But still it’s boring. It’s dark, and the people are eating people. . . . George Orwell’s 1984 is near-future fiction, but [1Q84] this is near-past fiction."
There's a chance he didn't mean boring in a bad way. In the same interview, Murakami says he likes baseball "[b]ecause it's boring." [The New York Times Magazine]
- Farrar, Straus, & Giroux's lavish promotional campaign for Jeffrey Eugenides's novel The Marriage Plot included a book party at the fancy Top of the Standard Wednesday that was like something out of another age. "That was what book parties used to be like in the ’90s," a guest told the New York Post. "It [was] the most glamorous literary party of the year," another said to Business Week. The bar was reportedly well-stocked -- always a plus -- and Jonathan Franzen, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith and Mary Karr contributed the literary starpower. Even Franzen was caught up in the heady fizz. "I am seldom stirred anymore by the sight of the Manhattan skyline," he told Business Week's Amanda Gordon while staring out a window. Tonight I was spontaneously stirred. It’s a beautiful city." [Businessweek and the New York Post]
- Vanity Fair has posted three excerpts from Stephanie Madoff Mack's memoir The End of Normal, which goes on sale today. The sections aren't long, but offer insight into her relationship with mother-in-law Ruth Madoff. "When I look back now," she writes, "I can see how Ruth’s constant little digs and comments used to feed my animosity toward [husband Mark Madoff's] ex-wife, Susan, as much as anything."For example, Ruth once called to ask her advice on what to give as Hannukah gifts. "Before I could make any useful suggestions," she writes, "Ruth fired her sharpest arrow straight into my Achilles’ heel. 'Oh, you know what? Forget it, I’ll just call Susan!'" [Vanity Fair]
- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will read the final chapter on the audio edition of Gabby, the upcoming memoir she co-wrote with husband Mark Kirk, who will read the rest of the audiobook. It will come out November 15. [The Arizona Republic]
- Dina Lohan is in the process of shopping a tell-all memoir about daughter Lindsay Lohan's struggles with drugs and alcohol. Lohan and her rep reportedly began circulating a draft of the prologue to publishers two weeks ago. Lindsay Lohan was taken into police custody yesterday after a judge ruled she was in violation of her parole. As for her mother's book proposal, TMZ hears "so far, no takers." [TMZ]