Friday, February 26, 2010

'Pillow Book' Friday Read-along

The Pillow Book The Pillow Book

A few people expressed interest in reading together The Pillow Book of Sei Sh┼Źnagon, a collection of random thoughts, lists, and observations about court life, written about 1000 years ago in Heian era Japan. The diary-style and lack of a continuous narrative makes it an ideal book to dip in and out of, so we'll be reading along at the leisurely pace of 10 entries a week (unless otherwise notified).  Starting in February 2010, and lasting until the autumn, every Friday (unless otherwise notified), I will put up a post where we can discuss the week's reading.  Feel free to join in any time. As we're reading quite slowly, it'll be pretty easy to catch up, or you can simply jump in at our current discussion, or any of the previous posts.  Also, if you've read The Pillow Book previously we'd love to have you share your thoughts too.

A note about the translations. For this read-along I'll be referring to the Penguin Classics edition [ISBN: 978-0140448061] translated by Meredith McKinney.  Also well-known is the Ivan Morris translation published by Columbia University Press [ISBN-10: 0231073372] which was my first introduction to The Pillow Book a few years ago.  However, it is a more abridged version with only 185 entries compared to 297 in the Penguin/McKinney edition.  As well, the order that the entries are presented sometimes differs so it can be confusing.  I know that some of you will be reading along with the Morris translation though so each week I will try to include the relevant section and page numbers in the Morris that correspond to the same entries in the McKinney translation where possible.

Reading schedule:
(Links will take you to the discussion posts for the respective entries)
February 5th - Week One (Entries 1-10)
February 12th - Week Two (11-20)
Due to a slow start, read-along will resume in March.
March 5th - Week Three (21-30)
March 12th - Week Four (31-40)
March 19th - Week Five (41-50)
March 26th - Week Six (51-60)
No discussion on April 2nd, Good Friday.
April 9th - Week Seven (61-70)
April 16th - Week Eight (71-80)
April 23rd - Week Nine (81-90)
April 30th - Week Ten (91-100)
No discussion on May 7th.
Moving to bi-weekly posting (but following a similar pace of 10 entries per week, therefore 20 entries approx. every 2 weeks).
May 14th - Week Eleven (101-120)
Break for BEA, Book Blogger Con, etc.
June 11th - Week Twelve (121-140)
June 25th - Week Thirteen (141-160)
July 9th - Week Fourteen (161-180)
July 23rd - Week Fifteen (181-200)
August 20th - Week Sixteen (201-240)
Break for Summer Vacation
September 24th - Week Seventeen (241-260)
November 20th - Week Eighteen (261-297, Supplementary 1-29)
end November - Final thoughts

This is how the schedule stands at the moment but is subject to change. Any changes to the schedule will be indicated here. For the most part we'll discuss each week/every couple of weeks, but occasional changes or delays to the schedule will be made when necessary, so please refer back to the schedule above for confirmation. If you have any questions, or concerns, please don't hesitate to email me (inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com).

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

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