Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Japanese Literature Poll (JLit Book Group and Read-along)

Thank you to everyone who has joined in the discussions for our first Book Group selection, The Old Capital , and for those of you who are reading along with I Am a Cat. My apologies for not being a good host this month.  December ended up being quite busy for me so I haven't been able to host or participate as much as I would like. [Note to self: Don't schedule any group reads in December next year.] However, I hope as the group finds its feet, it will grow and most importantly, that we can read some good books together next year.

Our current schedule is as follows:

Japanese Literature Book Group

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Discussion to begin January 25th.


I Am a Cat, Volume Three  by Sōseki Natsume, 
Discussion to begin January 15th. Is everyone ok with that? I know there are a couple of people who still need to catch up with Volume Two. As long as those who have kept to the schedule don't mind, I'd be happy to push the date back a little. Perhaps the end of January instead? Or even one month later, for February 15th? Volume Three is the longest of the three, so please let me know either way.

Then we will go ahead with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami for our next selection, as a few people expressed interest and hopefully they still will once it comes up. Schedule to be determined, but it will be after we have finished I Am a Cat.

So now it's time to choose our future reads for both/either the Japanese Literature Book Group or as a Read-along. About a month ago I asked you to nominate some Japanese literature titles that you'd like to read. Thank you to everyone who left suggestions. Below are the books you recommended. Titles are linked to Amazon if you'd like to find out more about the books before making your selections. I'd pretty much like to read all of them myself but what I'd like you to do is vote for the 5 or 6 titles you'd most like to read in 2010. Unless you want to start having the Book Group every month (I'd be willing to consider it if there was enough interest), our current pace means that we won't be able to read all of them next year, which is why you must choose the ones you're most interested in. I set up a poll in the right sidebar, so if you're reading this in a feed reader, please come by to my actual blog to vote on your preferred titles, or have your say by leaving a comment on this post. I'll leave the poll open for two weeks to give everyone who would like to join a chance to vote. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Some Prefer Nettles - Junichiro Tanizaki
Quicksand - Junichiro Tanizaki
The Makioka Sisters - Junichiro Tanizaki
Kokoro -  Natsume Sōseki
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion - Yukio Mishima
A Quiet Life - Kenzaburō Ōe
The Silent Cry - Kenzaburō Ōe
Silence - Shusaku Endo
Goodbye Tsugumi - Banana Yoshimoto
Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto
Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
Dance Dance Dance - Haruki Murakami
The Sound of the Mountain - Yasunari Kawabata
The Pillowbook of Sei Shōnagon
Train Man - Hitori Nakano

The small print:  Links in this post to Amazon contain my Associates ID.  Purchases made via these links earn me a small commission.  For more information visit my About Page.


  1. I just voted and I'm going to see if I can get a copy of the next book for discussion. I'm sorry I couldn't join the last time but hopefully I'll be able to this time.

  2. I want to join in the discussion for Wind-up Bird, and my vote for the next read along is for Dance Dance Dance. Thanks, Tanabata, for sponsoring these!

  3. happy holidays to you too...though for now holidays are going to get over..
    waiting in anticipation for the new year....i missed hard core reading in the
    previous two months and i want to continue with it in this new year...so i
    have started with reading valuable reviews on book blogs and getting my
    hands on the good ones sooner or later...i am making a list...a kinda shopping
    list for a1books.co.in :) :) :)

  4. I am currently reading The Pillow Book for myself and I'm not interested in I am a Cat, but I am Definitely interested in reading The Housekeeper and the Professor for the end of January. I've heard it's just great.

  5. Nat, don't worry about being a bad host during December as we've all been busy. Personally I wouldn't mind postponing the date of Vol. 3 of I Am a Cat for a couple of weeks if it gives others the opportunity to catch up.

    The titles I'd most like to read in 2010 are:

    The Pillowbook
    Battle Royale
    The Makioka Sisters
    Dance Dance Dance
    The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

  6. I'd be happy to push the date back for I Am a Cat to February. But even so, I can't promise to finish all three chapters (I can probably finish the second one). Just my 2c :)

    ps: I voted for the books. I don't remember why I didn't nominate Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Murakami, because that's his next book I'm planning to read.

  7. Great list! I voted for the ones I haven't yet read, except one I want to reread.

  8. First of all: Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu! I think you did a wonderful job as a host, no need to fret about that! It's all about the fun, isnt it? I feel bad for not having reviewed The Old Capital yet (especially because it is my 2nd best read of 2009) nor having participated actively in the discussion of I Am a Cat. But I'm not going to let it ruin my feelings of enjoyment :)

    Now onto your question about the deadline for our last stage of I Am a Cat. Pushing the date to Feb 15th would be very welcome! I am reading something else at the moment and I would like to start with The Housekeeper and the Professor after that (which is being read by Mr Gnoe btw and he really likes it ;)

    Well, I off to vote for our next reads!

  9. PS I am not going to vote for Dance dance dance since I very recently read the book, but I can highly recommend it! It would be good to read Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase first though..!

  10. I, too didn't get to do as much reading and blogging as I wanted to last December, but I suppose we just have to accept that fact of life there are always more things to do than what we actually want to ;)

    Anyway, I'm really glad the group will be reading Wind Up Bird. As it happens, I finally found the trade paperback edition of the book two weeks ago so I'm now even more excited for us to get started!

  11. Battle Royale is awesome and undoubtfully can become a book to discuss because of it's contraversy.

    I've read it last year but I wont mind reading it again and again

  12. Sorry, I'm in idiot and just realised that I actually had to vote instead of listing preferences! Will do that now.

  13. Iliana - No worries, I know it's hard to juggle everything and you've had other things to occupy you lately. That said, I'd love to have you join in when you can.

    Bellezza - I'd love to hear your thoughts on The Wind-up Bird. It's been a few years since I read it so I'm looking forward to the re-read.

    Anamika Joshi - I hope you had a nice holiday, and I hope you find some great books to read this year. I know I have lots that I'm looking forward to.

    Rebecca - We'd love to have you join in whenever you can. I've heard great things about The Housekeeper and the Professor too. And there seems to be some interest so I'm thinking to go ahead with a slow read-along of The Pillow Book.

    Claire (Paperback Reader) - Thanks for being so understanding. I still wish I could've posted more last month though. And I hope you saw the new discussion date for vol. 3 of I Am a Cat.

    Plus you're not an idiot! I said in my post that you could vote in the poll or leave your choices in a comment, and I would've added them in. But thanks for using the poll. :)

    mee - Thanks for your 2 cents. :)
    Hard-boiled Wonderland... is a lot of fun! One of my favourite of Murakami's books, I think.

    claire - Sounds good. I'm curious which one it is that you want to re-read. Nosy me!

    gnoegnoe - Happy New Year to you too! Thanks for your kind words. You're right, it is supposed to be fun, but I still wish I didn't get so behind last month. Oh well, here's to a new year and hopefully some great Japanese literature along the way.

    You saw the new date for I Am a Cat, right? And I'm glad to hear that Mr Gnoe is enjoying The Housekeeper and the Professor. I'm really looking forward to it.

    I hadn't realized that Dance Dance Dance is somewhat of a sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase as I haven't read either of them yet. Since it looks like DDD will be one of the books (from the poll), I think I'll have the option of an extra read for those that want to read AWSC first.

    Mark David - Yes, there never does seem to be enough time to do everything we want to, does there? I'm glad you were able to find a copy of The Wind-up Bird. I'm sorry that we've extended the reading of I Am a Cat to February. I hope you won't mind waiting to discuss the first part of The Wind-up Bird until March.

    Novroz - I can imagine, about it being a good book to discuss because of the controversy. I'm going to read it this year regardless if the group reads it or not. :)


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