Thursday, December 27, 2007
Japan Challenge wrap-up
For the last 2 years I've set myself a personal challenge to read more Japanese Literature. In 2006 I read 9 books by Japanese authors and this year I decided to keep track on my blog, setting myself a goal of 12 books. I didn't quite make it but I'm still pleased with some of the reading I did do.
1. The Bridegroom was a dog - Yoko Tawada
2. The Makioka Sisters - Junichiro Tanizaki
3. All She Was Worth - Miyuki Miyabe
4. Zen Buddhism - D.T. Suzuki
5. Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
6. The Dancing Girl of Izu and other stories - Yasunari Kawabata
I also read 3 books by non-Japanese writers, set in, or about Japan, which I think should count too, since my interest is in all things Japanese, not only Japanese authors.
7. Hitching Rides with Buddha - Will Ferguson
8. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne - Ben Hills
9. Kwaidan: Ghost Stories and Strange Tales of Old Japan - Lafcadio Hearn
So all together I figure 9 out of 12 isn't too bad.
Best book(s) I read for the challenge?
Easily The Makioka Sisters. I really enjoyed this one and it'll be in my Top 5 for the year.
Book(s) I could've done without?
Unfortunately I could've done without The Bridegroom was a dog which I just found a bit too bizarre for my taste, and Zen Buddhism since a fair portion of it was simply beyond me and made me feel a bit discouraged about ever understanding Zen Buddhism. I also wasn't crazy about All She Was Worth, but I'd been noticing her books in the bookshops for ages so it was still worth trying one.
Any new authors? Will I read them again?
All the authors were new to me! The ones I'd most like to read more from are Junichiro Tanizaki, Yasunari Kawabata, and Will Ferguson. I'd also like to read more of Lafcadio Hearn's writings on Japan, specifically the old myths and ghost stories.
Best thing about the challenge? What did I learn?
That there are so many more books by Japanese or about Japan that I'd like to read!
Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge has helped get me back in the groove and even when her challenge ends early next year, I plan to continue reading Japanese Literature whenever I have the chance. Instead of setting a specific goal though next year I'm going to treat it more like a long-term personal project. I'll post more about this again in the New Year.