Saturday, February 20, 2010

'Pillow Book' Friday: A bad idea?

The Pillow BookYou may or may not have noticed that I haven't posted on The Pillow Book this week. To be honest I'm a little discouraged due to lack of interest and participation. Is there something I could be doing differently to encourage more conversation? I realize that I've been bad myself about not participating in the blogging community as I would like lately but I have been trying to keep up with the Japanese literature schedule. So I guess I'm wondering if I've finally driven away my readers because of my sporadic blogging over the last couple of months, whether it's the choice of book, or if it's simply down to timing.  So could you please give a virtual show of hands if you are, or would like to join in a read-along for The Pillow Book? If you want to read along but haven't had a chance to start yet, or have gotten behind, please let me know. We're only a handful of pages in so far so you could easily still catch up, plus I'd be happy to slow down the pace or change the dates if that would be better as I think reading and chatting about it together could be a lot of fun.  I'm quite enjoying reading The Pillow Book again with this newer translation and do plan to continue with it myself regardless, although again, I do think reading together would be more fun. From now on I do plan to include more of my own thoughts on the posts, so even if you haven't read it hopefully that will be less book club-ish. Anyway, I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know either way.


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  1. *putting hand up as high as possible*

    Okay, I admit I haven't started yet... I have to finish I Am a Cat first (yes, still struggling with that but I'm down to 110 pages) -- can't seem to start with The Pillow Book before I've done so. It's because I'm still afraid I won't like Sei Shonagon and I can't hadle two Japanese oldies at the same time ;) But I *do* want to start a.s.a.p.!

    I have even bought a related book that I want to read after we've finished The Pillow Book (see my last Sunday Salon) and... *sneak preview* I've got tickets for a one-off theatre play of The Pillow Book on March 21st! :)

    Just hang in there (maybe slow down a bit?) and I'll join you!

  2. hi, my twitter name is different, but I recently wrote about this book, so you know who I am.

    I am sorry that not many responses are coming back for Makurano sohi.

    I am Japanese and learned it in highschool.

    We did not read all the chapters, but it was really interesting, and so modern, when I read it again.

    I could only comment about the famous first part,
    In Spring, it is the dawn.

    What amused me is about the winter part.

    The other seasons are so poetically described, but at the end of the winter part, it became suddenly realistic, and
    Sei Shonagon complain about the burned white charcoal.

    I am sorry I read in Japanese, so words I used above must be different from the textbook you use.

    I just wanted to say how I appreciate your site and
    how you try to introduced this not so well known but interenting book,compared to Genji Monogatari, to many people.

  3. I love reading your posts, just cannot read along with everything, because I find the overlapping of the Jap Lit Book Group and the Jap Lit Read-along overwhelming, so I can only participate with one or the other. In any case I still really love reading your blog. :)

  4. You haven't driven me away. I just passed on this discussion because I prefer Murasaki. Shonagon was too catty for my taste.

  5. Hi Nat, I'm a few sections behind this week so that's why I haven't been by to discuss this week's reading yet. Sorry! I still haven't finished I Am a Cat either :s. It's been a bad month for me reading-wise. Don't feel as if I have lost interest, I'm just running behind and have enjoyed what I have read so far of The Pillow Book.

    It has been quite quiet across the blogosphere in general.

    I mentioned this read-along earlier this month on my blog but will mention it again to see if we can raise interest; I think Jackie of Farm Lane Books is interested in joining in but is reading Genji currently.

  6. I'm so sorry you've felt discouraged! :/ I think read-a-longs are still quite new to the blogosphere, so perhaps that's why more people haven't joined up? I just got my copy of The Pillow Book from the library, so I'll definitely be with you next week! (I haven't started yet, but I'm not worried about catching up, for the reasons you've pointed out.)

    Honestly, I don't think readers are driven away by sporadic posting in these days of feed readers. Whenever I go on a blogging break, as soon as I come back, my numbers are right where they used to be. I know I'm always delighted to see you pop up in my Google Reader, but I understand that you don't have the time to post uber-frequently!

  7. I'd really like to join in but the timing is terrible for me. I'm finishing up Woolf in Winter and trying to start a new blog (you're the first to find out).

    The beginning of the year is busy with renewed efforts to do more than one can in a given time.

  8. Hello Tanabata, I'm sorry I failed to join your recent and present readlongs eventhough Ive said before that I'm keen about it. In my case it's just that I've been
    busy with other things lately and I can't even write posts for my own blog these days. I don't think you're doing a terrible job at hosting, not at all. I suppose it maybe just because theres a little more activities scheduled than what many bloggers can commit too. Uhm perhaps itd help not to do the readalongs so often, or perhaps just combine the readalong and discussion group into one. That's all I can think of right now, I hope it's any help :) you always take care!

  9. I really want to join the read-alongs, but the reasons why I haven't so far is because I'm trying not to commit to anything that involves books I don't yet own. I hope lots of people join, though!

  10. I also found that the J book-group and read-along overwhelming. I'm a slow reader by nature, so I can't possibly join everything. As much as I love Japanese literature, I need to read others and diversify my reading.

  11. Since I recently read the book, I probably won't be rereading it so soon -- but I'd love to follow along whenever you decide to post!

  12. I am sorry you feel discouraged. I am sorry that I have not posted a comment to Pillow Book.

    I am slowly following Pillow Book, but I must admit, I feel sometimes out of my element which prevents me from commenting. I am just trying to grasp the book (silly, I know). Your weekly posts have helped me to stay on track and gain a further understanding, and appreciation for the book.

    BTW: I like Mark David's suggestions.

  13. gnoegnoe - LOL. OK. :)
    Have you made any progress in I Am a Cat? Well, whenever you are able to start, please know that you can come back and discuss any of the sections that we've already covered. And I look forward to hearing about 'The Pillow Book' play. How fun!

    sumit - Owl59 is that you?
    It's amazing, isn't it, how modern it is. How we can still relate to so much of what she says, even though it was written over 1000 years ago.

    Nice observation about the winter part in the opening entry. It's probably her comments on the aspects of everyday life that I find the most amusing.

    And thank you for your kind words, and taking the time to comment.

    claire - Thanks! When I set up the schedule I assumed most people wouldn't want to read all of the books. I'm sorry though if you've felt you couldn't take part because the schedule was too busy. I'm glad to have you join in whenever you can. :)

    Travis - Thanks. I haven't yet managed to read Genji. I think it'll be my project for next year.

    Paperback Reader - I haven't read all that much this month either. Here's hoping for a better March for both of us!
    I wrote this post in a particularly low mood so I realize I was kind of overreacting, but thank you so much for your support! I look forward to getting back to The Pillow Book next week. And please come back to chat about I Am a Cat if/whenever you manage to finish.

    Eva - I know this type of book doesn't appeal to a lot of people. I let my blue mood take over. I'm glad you've got the book now and look forward to hearing your thoughts on it when we resume next week.
    Feed readers really are wonderful aren't they?

    lena - I know how hard it is to fit everything in sometimes, but that doesn't seem to keep us from trying. Congratulations on the new blog.

    Mark David - No worries. Life has a way of occupying all our spare time. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I never expected anyone to want to join all the group reads, I was just feeling kind of down so let the low participation get to me. I'm ok now, promise. :)
    I put up a poll to sort of address your suggestion (and others have suggested it too). So far the poll is suggesting that I just keep the schedule as is, but even if that is the case, I think I'll definitely re-evaluate for next year. I appreciate all your support!

    Nymeth - No need to apologize. I know you're trying not to buy many new books. I'd love to have you join us some day though, if you get a chance.

    mee - I completely understand. I'm quite a slow reader too, and even though I'm focusing on reading more Japanese literature I know that other people probably want a bit more variety in their reading schedules. I set up a poll to gauge opinion on whether I should change the schedules for this year, but either way I think I'll re-evaluate for next year. I do hope you'll still join in when you can.

    Rebecca - No need to re-read, but I'd definitely love to hear your thoughts so do feel free to jump in on any of the weekly postings.

    ibeeeg - Thanks, I'm glad to know that you are reading along. I have recovered from my blue period and am looking forward to resuming the Pillow Book discussions next week. I don't always understand all of the historical, and especially not some of the ancient poetry, so we're in the same boat.
    And I'll definitely look at making the schedule less hectic in the future. Thanks for your input.


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