How can it be Sunday again already? Here’s a shorter issue today, to reflect the shorter week.
This week’s wanderings: the Murakami universe, lockdown games, and three corgis.
🌌 The Murakami universe
I read a lot this week, and finished two books in only a few days. They were Murakami’s first two novels: Hear the Wind Sing (1979) and Pinball, 1973 (1980).
You’ve surely heard of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, but you might not have read any of his books.
This used to be my case until last year, when I randomly picked up a copy of Norwegian Wood. Fast-forward a year, and Murakami is one of my favorite fiction writers.
In his novels, he manages to build a literary universe, with recurring themes and characters. Each new book enriches the universe, and, in turn, the universe enriches the books. (I think this is also why people love Star Wars so much: the universe is greater than the sum of its films.)
One of these recurring themes is music.
Murakami novels always include music as a more or less important part of the story.
Beethoven’s Archduke Trio plays (almost) on repeat in Kafka on the Shore. Norwegian Wood was named after the Beatles’ song. The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul makes an appearance in Pinball, 1973.
I found the explanation for this when I read The Running Novelist, an article from 2008 where Murakami explains his debut as a novelist.
It’s simple: before becoming a writer at age 29, Murakami owned a jazz club in Tokyo. He still has about 10,000 vinyl records in his office, and always listens to music when he writes.
Just after I hit send on this newsletter, I’ll start my fifth Murakami novel, A Wild Sheep Chase.
🎲 Lockdown games
Among Us has 500 million monthly active users, making it the world’s most popular game in history. In other words, this is 1 in 15 people on Earth.
It is not the only online game that flourished over the past year. In fact, many were created just to meet the booming demand of people under lockdown.
Here are some of my favorites.
Disclaimer: in normal times, I’m not a big video games fan, but I like tabletop games. So the online games I enjoy the most are actually tabletop party games that were made into web apps.
- Codenames (play online, rules video). A language game, give single-word clues for your teammates to guess multiple words. I own the physical board game, but I’ve played it online more often lately.
- Wavelength (play online, rules video). A “social guessing” game, try to guess what your friends are thinking and see if you’re on the same wavelength.
- Cards Against Humanity (play online, rules video). Does CAH still need an introduction? The box reads “a party game for horrible people”.
- Gartic Phone (play online). An online variant of the telephone game with drawing and writing involved. I tried this one for the first time this week, and it’s amazing (thank you Flo for the idea!)
And for enough games to last years in lockdown (although I really hope this won’t be necessary), you can bookmark this games directory that someone made on Google Docs.
Which games do you love to play on online game nights? I’d love recommendations!
🐕 Three corgis
New year, new stroke of marketing genius by BVG:
1,5m Abstand = 3 Corgis