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Today in books: how critical darling The Art of Fielding grew up, another excerpt of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, and the best Cormac McCarthy parody you'll read all day.

  • Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding has received some of the year's strongest reviews since being published earlier this week. It's also the subject of a 17,000-word article by Keith Gessen in the new issue of Vanity Fair charting every stage of the book's development, from Harbach's initial creative spark to the complex, market-tested theories that go into choosing a cover design. (Apparently buyers don't like books with baseballs on the cover, which is a problem for a novel where a baseball drives the plot.) It shows how the fiction sausage gets made, yes, but it didn't spoil our appetite for reading the book. If you want to read the piece without perfume ads, it's also available for download on Kindle and Nook. [Vanity Fair and Publishers Weekly
  • Speaking of covers, when will they start looking better on your e-book reader? On our Kindle at least, the majority still look like blurrier, less legible versions of the hard copy jackets. As it turns out, the problem is less a question of the Kindle's graphics capability and more about publishers just not knowing the right aspect ratio. [Teleread]
  • Subscribers to The Wall Street Journal can read a PDF of the first chapter of the upcoming English translation of Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84. For non-subscribers, The Journal's Japan Real Time blog offers a fascinating history of the race to translate the sprawling three-volume work, which is coming out in English almost three years after being published in Japan. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Only the dourest of Cormac McCarthy fans could fail to enjoy the work of Yelp user "Cormac M.", whose reviews of Bay Area eateries are either a pitch-perfect tribute or devastating parodies of McCarthy's signature, comma-eschewing minimalism. (Example: "Something as yet unheralded has died when a quesadilla comes on a spinach tortilla.") It's the kind specific of brilliance that can only be appreciated via Tumblr. [yelpingwithcormac via The Book Bench  via The Rumpus]

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