Saturday, November 28, 2009

Japanese Literature Book Group and Read-along: What would you like to read in 2010?

The current schedule for the Japanese Literature Book Group and the Japanese Literature Read-along group is as follows:


The discussion of The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata will start on Monday, November 30th.  How is everyone doing?  Talk about last minute, I'll be reading most of The Old Capital this weekend!  If there is anyone else out there that hasn't started yet, you still have time.     

Our next book will be The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, and the discussion for that one will be begin on January 25th, 2010. 


We are currently reading I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume.  We read Volume One for November 15th, and will be discussing Volume Two on December 15th, and Volume Three on January 15th. Volume One is the shortest of the three and you could still easily catch up if want to. You're welcome to join in the discussion any time.

(Slightly off topic, as it has nothing to do with books, but everything to do with cats, you have to check out this amazing cat-friendly house.)

The next book is tentatively set as  The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

To give everyone a chance to find the books, I thought now would be a good time to select the next couple of books for either group.  So what would you like to read in 2010?  Are there any Japanese literature books that you've been wanting to read but haven't got around to yet?  Or any titles that you've already read but would like to discuss with others?  It might be fun to do some themed months later on but this time the nominations can be any genre or author.  If you have one suggestion or many, please leave a comment with the titles.  Then in about a week, I'll set up a poll so we can vote to choose our future group reads.  How does that sound?  If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Also a reminder that if you're on Twitter, you can follow @readingjapan for updates on the reading groups, and any other Japanese literature news that comes up. 

I was also recently able to join Google Wave (Thanks Trish!), a new platform that is kind of like email, instant messenger, and Google Docs all rolled into one. It's still in beta and as such is still invite only but I have a few invites to share. Quite a few book bloggers have joined up already, and there are quite a few different book-related discussions going on, so let me know if you'd like to join too. I'll dole out the invites first come first served. As Google Wave isn't restricted to 140 characters like Twitter is, we could perhaps discuss our group read titles further over there, and I've just started a Japanese Literature Wave for any general JLit discussion. Sound confusing? It is a little at the very beginning but it's pretty easy once you get started. And if you're not interested that's fine too. The main discussion will always take place right here.

OK, so get nominating those books you'd like to read.


  1. Japanese Literature Group is Reading A Personal Choice by Kenzaburo Oe in Jan 2010 and Rouse Up Young Men also by Oe in Feb

    -I suggest we consider a work by Junichiro Tanizaki like Some Prefer Nettles or Quicksand-

    I would love to have an invitation to google wave, if possible

  2. I'm interested in joining up for the next readalong (The Housekeeper and the Professor) but I can't for the life of me search for your wave. So if you could add me, it'd appreciate it. I'm nonlovely (at) googlewave (dot) com :)

  3. I'm quite interested in Google Wave. Here's my info: debnance at google dot com

  4. Mel - I didn't know there was a Goodreads JLit group. I'm not on Goodreads (have thought about it but I have so many other things online already that I can't keep up with). Discussing more JLit is tempting though.

    I'd love to read either of those Tanizaki titles. Thanks for the suggestions.

    And I've just sent you an email about Google Wave.

    Lena - That'll be great to have you join us for The Housekeeper and the Professor. Are there any other JLit books that you'd like to read?

    I've added you to the Japanese Literature Wave. I'd just started it last night then went to bed, sorry.

    readerbuzz - Sure thing. And you meant at GMAIL dot com, right?

  5. Please could you add me to the Japanese Lit wave? farmlanebooks (at) googlewave (dot) com Thank you!

    I hope to join you for the Wind Up Bird Chronicle discussion and possibly Housekeeper (if my library manages to get hold of a copy in time)

  6. Jackie - I've added you to the wave. And that would be great to have you join us for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and The Housekeeper and the Professor, if you can. Any other Japanese lit you'd like to read next year?

  7. I second Mel's suggestion for Quicksand by Tanizaki (I'm intrigued since her post). I think I also mentioned before about Silence by Shusaku Endo.

    Please add me to the wave too: dioniys @ googlewave. Thanks!

  8. Hello Tanabata! Sorry I've been invisible for the longest time and hadn't been able to join the group's activities.Unfortunately I still don't have a copy of I Am A Cat, but as for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle that's one book I'm sure I can get a copy of.

    I'm excited to read others' thoughts on The Old Capital, especially yours. I'll watching out for those posts. Hope everyone's doing well in the community :)

  9. I have an award for you over at my blog. Click on Award

  10. I have no suggestions because I know little to nothing about J-lit! So I'm just going to be along for the ride. I am totally in on The Old Capital discussion and am planning on reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and The Housekeeper and the Professor.
    I sent you a message on Google Wave to be added to the J-lit wave.

  11. The Housekeeper and the Professor is awesome. I'll try to join in. If possible, please add me to Wave.

  12. Kokoro by Soseki has been on my tbr pile for quite a while or maybe Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen?

  13. Do you still have any wave invites left? I think I would like to try this :o)

  14. Nat - I've been looking around and I found one that I think is a really great choice!

    It is called The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. It has been on my to read list for a long time and has a compelling storyline.

    There is a second Nobel laureate from Japan, Kenzaburo Oe. It would be fun to read one of his novels. He has written many works, probably less than a quarter translated into English, but I think it would make for great discussion - he liked to tackle heavy subjects in his literature. :)

  15. katrina - Thanks for the suggestions. As the current Read-along book is I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume it would be interesting to read something else by him to compare, and Banana would be a good contemporary choice.

    Terri B. - Yes, I do still have a couple. I just emailed you. :)

    Lena - Great suggestions, thanks! I've been meaning to read something by Mishima for ages! And reading something by the Nobel-winning Oe would be good too.

    Barbara - I might have missed it but I didn't see a contact email on your blog. I still have a couple of Google Wave invites so please get in touch if you'd like one. Thanks.

    Mark David - I'm completely behind myself so I understand. I hope you're well, and I'm glad to hear that you'll be able to get hold of a copy of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

    Book Bird Dog - Thank you! :)

    Kristen M. - Coming along for the ride is perfectly fine. :)
    I'm so glad you're joining us for these books. And I already added you to the wave.

    mee - OK, two votes for Quicksand. And yes, I seem to remember you mentioning Silence before. :)
    So many Japanese lit books to read! It should keep us busy for a while.

  16. Some Japanese books that I would like to read (and need some encouragement for):

    - The Pillowbook by Sei Shōnagon
    - The Silent Cry by Kenzaburō Ōe (the not-so-attractive Dutch title is a translation of 'Playing Soccer in 1860' :\)
    - The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu)

    I guess these would be great for read-alongs. I have never read anything yet by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki and would like to try some more Mishima. For the bookgroup some contemporary writers would be great too, especially authors that are not very well known (yet) in the West.

    I'll let you know if I think of anymore titles!

  17. Oh, could you add me to the Wave? My address is kathrin.p [AT] googlewave [DOT] com :-)

    Also, I would suggest Train Man (Densha Otoko) by Hitori Nakano. It is different from the usual Japanese books we get here, but it is really interesting. In fact, it was also made into a movie and, I think, also in a TV series... (I first heard about it in a class on Japan and the otaku phenomenon at university.)

  18. gnoegnoe - Thank you for the suggestions. The Dutch title for The Silent Cry really isn't very appealing is it? LOL. I've had it on my TBR for ages though so it would be good to have an incentive to finally read it.

    I'm toying with an idea to have a very slow read-along of The Pillowbook next year, to last several months. Would you be interested in that? I'd love to have someone to read The Tale of Genji with too but I'm not sure I could do both next year so I might do one next year and one the year after. Still thinking..

    Kathrin - I added you to the wave, hope you saw that.
    Thanks for the suggestion of Train Man. I haven't read it but have seen it in the shops and the story behind it is quite interesting. It would be a good break from some of the older classics.

  19. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  20. Lucy - Sorry it took me so long to reply but welcome! I'm glad you took the time to leave a comment to let me know you're here and reading along. And thank you for your kind words.

  21. tanabata, thanks! I already saw you added me to the wave :-) I saw that most suggested classic Japanese lit, so I figured I'd add something more contemporary in for a change...

  22. Kathrin - I haven't been on Google Wave in a few weeks. Another thing to catch up with this month.
    I think sometimes it's the classics that are the most well known but it's nice to add something more contemporary to the list. Even if it doesn't get selected in the poll, I'm going to have to read it at some point.


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