By his own account, Haruki Murakami is nobody special.

In his newly translated book of essays, “Novelist as a Vocation,” the beloved author contends, over and over, that he’s a rather mediocre person — “the type who’s always shown to the worst tables at restaurants” — who’s just good at sticking to a boring routine and working hard. These skills, he writes, and a series of auspicious introductions in 1990s New York are what led to his meteoric rise to global literary fame.

Novelist as a Vocation, by Haruki Murakami,Translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen.224 pagesKNOPF, Nonfiction.