Staff Reviews

Murakami’s Men Without Women Showcases Unique Talent in Seven Short Tales

Haruki Murakami is known for many things in the fiction world, but his brevity isn’t necessarily one of them. The Japanese writer—who achieved great success with massive tomes like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and IQ84—has gained a dedicated fanbase through his funny, moving, and completely unique characters who ultimately navigate dreamlike realities.

Though Murakami hasn’t published a novel since 2014, new and old fans will be delighted to know that a set of short stories is on the way to JDL. Titled Men Without Women, the seven-story collection explores characters who have found themselves alone in the world. With the collection quickly gathering critical acclaim, there’s no better time to check out Murakami’s unmistakable fiction, especially in such a manageable size.

Men Without Women
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
IQ84
Kafka on the Shore

Timothy Zahn Reintroduces a Beloved Star Wars Villain with Thrawn

The announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy was bittersweet for many readers. Of course, it was great news for obvious reasons: over the next decade, we’ll see plenty of new Star Wars films. But new storylines also meant that beloved books from the Star Wars’ extended universe were excluded from Disney’s new, proper canon. One of those storylines was Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, a series of novels that took place following Return of the Jedi. The three books—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command—were published to great acclaim between 1994 and 1999.

Dazzling fans with his terrifying intellect, the titular Imperial Admiral Thrawn became a fast favorite for Star Wars readers. With Disney’s official canon in place, Thrawn had been excluded from that story until this week, when Zahn course-corrected Thrawn’s place in Star Wars history with this new book. According to fans of the series, Thrawn paints an accurate portrait of the Imperial Admiral while integrating him into the new canon. With May 4 (as in, May the Fourth be with you) acting as the obvious date to celebrate all things Star Wars, there’s no better time to dive into Zahn’s new book.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Adam Alter’s ‘Irresistible’ Illuminates the Science Behind Tech Addiction

There is a surprising fact that opens Adam Alter’s newest book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked: the late Steve Jobs, Apple computers’ co-founder, wouldn’t allow his children to handle an iPad. Nearly a decade after the product’s release, it is easy to understand Jobs’ rationale: Americans are interacting with small, glowing screens more than ever—and many researchers now agree that these devices might also cause behavioral addictions.

Alter’s book isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, as there are many books that discuss technology’s negative impact on humans. But Alter encourages readers to co-exist with—not quit—devices by understanding the behaviors associated with tech addiction. This is a must-read for anyone curious about managing their own tech habits, or understanding how it might impact young children and adolescents.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

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