Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Theme Buying

Much like the Themed Reading Lists that were going around a few weeks ago, there's a definite Japanese theme running through my recent book purchases. Except for the 2 from Europe, they're all pretty much either by Japanese or about Japan/Japanese.

From the top:

Hear the Wind Sing - Haruki Murakami
--This is Murakami's first, quite short, book that appears to only be available in English in this version, easy to come by in Japan but difficult elsewhere.
Farewell to Manzanar - Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston
--An account of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. When looking up Picture Bride, see below, this came up on the also suggested list which reminded me that I put it on my wishlist ages ago.
Kinshu: Autumn Brocade - Teru Miyamoto
--Sometimes I like epistolary novels, other times not but this one's out in paperback now so I thought I'd give it a try.
As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in 11th-Century Japan - 'Lady Sarashina'
--Written in the same era as The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, which inspired this blog, I've been thinking of getting this one for awhile.
Suite Française - Irène Némirovsky
--I finally tried out The Book Depository (Thanks Danielle, I think I heard about it from you first!) by ordering this and the following.
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
--I love Waters' books and have been looking forward to this one but I was good and waited for the paperback (British edition of course!).
Zen Buddhism - D.T. Suzuki
--I love visiting Zen temples in Kyoto and I'd like to learn a bit about Buddhism, being as I'm currently clueless. And I'm reading this for the Banned Book Challenge!!
Green Tea to Go - Leza Lowitz
--It caught my eye at the book shop- short stories set in modern-day Japan. Fun title too!
Picture Bride - Yoshiko Uchida
--Heard about this recently from Robin on A Fondness for Reading and was intrigued.
Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne - Ben Hills
--It's actually had some bad reviews but there's supposedly been some attempts to suppress this biography of the wife of the Crown Prince. That of course instantly made me want it!


  1. Tanabata, that's a great reading list. I'm going to have to add them to my own TBR list. Thanks for including a reference to my post on Picture Bride. I hope you will get a chance to watch the film, too. It's lovely.

  2. I got Suite Francaise today. I've heard so many good things about it that I hope it lives up to my expectations.
    Some of your other books sound so interesting - I love epistolary novels so I look forward to hearing more about Kinshu. Enjoy your new books!

  3. That is a wonderful list of books. I have not read too many books with a Japanse theme, but now you have me curious. I did read Farwell to Manzanar many many years ago and still think of it from time to time. Happy reading!

  4. Robin,
    No problem. Your review is what made me want to read it. Then when I looked it up they had it in stock, so instead of simply adding it to my wishlist I added it to my order. But now when to fit it into my reading schedule.

    Thanks. Suite Francaise sure has had a lot of hype about it. I wonder how we'll react to reading it ourselves.

    Literary Feline,
    Thanks. Lots of books to look forward too. Unfortunately I already think that every time I look at my bookshelves! Farewell to Manzanar isn't too big so hopefully I can fit it in soon-ish.

  5. What great books! Glad to hear you tried the Book Depository--so far I have had good experiences with them! It has definitely made ordering from the UK far more economical.

  6. Danielle,
    I've got another book on its way from The Book Depository! The discount on Amazon Japan isn't always as deep as I was used to in the UK or US. Guess they have to figure in the cost of importing it in the first place. So definitely cheaper sometimes, and that's always a good thing. :)

  7. Ooh, I think I'm gonna have to look some of these up.

    And I just wanna touch 'em! I *heart* books.

  8. What a beautiful stack of books and they all sound so good. I've read exactly one - Suite Francaise. You'll either love it or hate it, I think. I had trouble deciding, at the time, because there are so many uppity characters - I didn't like that. But, it's so visceral that it has really stuck with me.

  9. LOL Andi! :)

    Nancy, I'm looking forward to reading Suite Francaise to see which side I fall on. I tend to think I'll like it but we'll see.

  10. Do you have access to many bookstores where you live? I have to venture far and wide here in South Korea.

  11. Japan fascinates me but it's a mystery to me why I haven't been able to get into Japanse literature. Perhaps I should try some of their more modern writers? "Picture Bride" sounds good and so does "Green Tea to Go", but I'll wait to see what you think of them before I start.

  12. Bybee,
    Since we live just outside Tokyo there are a few large bookshops that carry a reasonable section of English books, also a couple of English used book stores. And Japan has a version of Amazon so while the prices aren't as cheap as Amazon in the US or UK, you have access to most of the same stock so I actually do most of my buying online.
    Plus I've got loads of unread books around that I stocked up on when we were living in England so they'll keep me busy for quite some time.

  13. Lotus,
    It may be a while- hope you're patient. :P


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