Is it still the Sunday Salon if it's Monday? Oh well, here I am anyway a day late. Yesterday, as expected, I started on the project of sorting and removing the stuff from one room so that I can move stuff from another room into it. Our apartment is actually considered spacious by Japanese standards but we have way too much stuff! Too much disorganised stuff! It's a big project as I attempt to organise and cull as I go along. Anyway, it keep me busy all day and it wasn't until crawling into bed last night that I got a chance to read. I stayed up a bit late reading but I finally finished A Tale of Two Cities which feels especially nice since I've been reading it forever, so it seems. I still need to read the introduction and appendices but I've completed all 31 installments of the story itself.
One thing that disappointed me a bit while reading was the fact that the endnotes had spoilers in them. I'm a compulsive footnote and endnote reader. I always think they're added to help me understand better and I'd be missing something if I didn't read them. Plus they usually do help situate the story in history or explain some element I wouldn't have realised otherwise. I read the Penguin edition of A Tale of Two Cities and there were quite a lot of endnotes, almost all of them interesting and informative. But in the last quarter of the story, the endnotes started mentioning events to come and how the current phrase or situation related to it, so by the time I got to the end myself there was little surprise. I still enjoyed the story but as a first time reader it would've been nice to read it without spoilers.
For that reason when I read a classic for the first time, I always read the Introduction last. It's a known fact that the Introduction will have spoilers as it discusses the various merits of the story. However, this was the first time that I remember having the story spoiled for me by the endnotes. Has anyone else had this problem? I'm sure if I could go back and do it again I'd still read the endnotes because they added to the story for me. And I really can't blame Dickens for my lack of knowledge requiring them in the first place!
In other bookish news for the week, I visited Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, my favourite place to find English books in Tokyo since it seems to have the most selection, last Tuesday and came away with 2 books. A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (hyaku-nin-isshiu) is one of the most famous anthologies of Japanese classic poetry originally collected together in the 13th century. It was mentioned several times in the notes to Tales of Moonlight and Rain, and I'd heard of it previously when reading The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon. So when I spotted the English translation I simply had to take it home. The second book is A Geisha's Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice which is part memoir part photo book/coffee table book and full of gorgeous photos. As much as I love the convenience of shopping online, nothing quite compares to browsing in an actual bookstore and finding treasures you hadn't even know about.
Hope everyone has a good week!