It's old news to say that Takashi Murakami is big in Japan. As he continues a long, lucrative run as the global artworld's Big Bad Boy, a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles occasions this mega-monograph. For the uninitiated, the cover captures much of Murakami's mix-mastery of the Pop Petri dish. A particularly horrifying rendition of one of his signature nonsensically-named characters, DOB, with multiple eyes and fangs, comes at the viewer on a wave -- a tsunami? -- moving from left to right (the West to the East!). DOB is Mickey Mouse's mutant spawn, the Disney DNA warped from the nuclear fallout of American influence -- both geopolitical and cultural. Similarly nightmarish visions abound within -- irresistibly seductive, slick, silly and sick all at once. Two of his most emblematic sensations are "Lonesome Cowboy" and ?Hiropon? -- an uninhibited Adam and Eve duo who haven't yet gotten the memo from the Serpent and are shown hedonistically frolicking with their own bodily discharges. This five-pound-plus doozy could have covered the material in half the volume -- minimal copy is drawn out with enormous margins and fonts large enough for the visually impaired. But one cannot even flip to the end without feeling fascination and (grudging) respect for this impresario. (Traveling with the book, I was mobbed by people eager to ogle it.) So don't be surprised if you find yourself addicted to buying whatever he comes up with next. The ultimate question remains: will the Murakami tsunami ultimately drown us or him? -

April 15: "A page...will begin with some principles of astronomy, or the motion of the earth; then come the laws of sound..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.