Thursday, June 09, 2011

Japanese Literature Challenge 5 (and a JLit Giveaway)

It's time once again for the Japanese Literature Challenge, hosted by the lovely Bellezza, and already in its fifth year! It started last week on June 1st and runs to the end of January, 2012. All you have to do to take part is to read ONE book! However, it's no surprise, I'm sure, that I plan to read more than that. I have a bookshelf full of JLit books that I haven't read yet, but these are some of the ones I'm most hoping to read over the next few months.

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe
It's the Japanese Literature Book Group selection for this month and I'm just waiting for my copy to arrive so I can start.

Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
These are the JLit Book Group selections for August and September, and I'd love to have you join us for any of these.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
This is probably my most anticipated book of the year. I can't wait until the English translation is finally out in October! Also, I'll be hosting a discussion/read-along of 1Q84 in November both for the Japanese Literature Book Group and the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge.

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
I've read a couple of her books so far and I have to say I'm not completely sold on Yoshimoto. But her new one sounds very good and I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Naoko by Keigo Higashino
I've heard lots of good things about this author recently, and last month's Hello Japan! Mystery challenge put me in a mystery mood.

The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
I thoroughly enjoyed both of her other books available in English: The Housekeeper and the Professor, and Hotel Iris, so it's time I finally read this one too.

And plenty more, but if I were to list all the JLit books I'd like to read, we'd be here all day!

Which Japanese Lit books are you looking forward to reading this year?

To celebrate the start of the Japanese Literature Challenge, I have 3 contemporary Japanese stories to give away.

Be With YouBe With You by Takuji Ichikawa
When Mio suddenly returns home one rainy day, her husband and son can’t believe their eyes. For a year they’ve been mourning her sad and untimely death. Now here she is again. How could such a thing be possible? Did love bring her back from the grave? And most importantly, is she here to stay? Together, the reunited family start looking for answers to these questions. What they discover is a secret buried deep in the past … and the future.

Back in 2003, Takuji Ichikawa’s heartbreaking story of a couple’s second chance at first love captivated millions of Japanese readers. The novel was so popular it inspired a blockbuster movie, a top-rated TV series and a best-selling manga. Now published in the U.S., Be With You proves one thing: Love is a miracle that lasts a lifetime and beyond.

The Devil's Whisper by Miyuki Miyabe
Miyabe is known for her slice-of-Japanese-life suspense novels - and The Devil's Whisper continues her winning ways. Three deaths come in quick succession: one girl jumps from the roof of a six-story building; another falls in front of a train; and a third is hit by a late-night taxi. But how are they related? And are they accidents, suicides... or murder?

Slowly, the answers are uncovered by sixteen-year-old Mamoru, the nephew of the unlucky taxi driver, who is being held by the police on charges of manslaughter.

Determined to help his uncle, the enterprising young man discovers that the girl who met her death under the wheels of his uncle's taxi had participated in a devious scam, and that three of the four girls involved are already dead. When a powerful businessman reveals new evidence that could free Mamoru's uncle, Mamoru decides he must not only clear his uncle's name but go all out to save the last of the four girls being targeted by the real killer.

And then the killer contacts him...

Maoh: Juvenile Remix, Vol 1, 2 & 3 by Kotaro Isaka and Megumi Osuga (set of 3 books to one winner)
“As crazy as your ideas might be, as long as you believe in yourself and tackle the issue head-on, you can even change the world.”

Ando is a high school student who has the power to make others say out loud what he’s thinking. Inukai is the mysterious leader of a vigilante group called Grasshopper, which is at odds with the city’s redevelopment plan. In this chaotic city, these two will come together to weave a story of courage, determination and confrontation.
For more information and sample chapters: Maoh: Juvenile Remix from Viz Media.

Giveaway details:
There will be 3 winners.
You may enter for one, two, or all three prizes, but you can only win one of them.
Anyone, anywhere can enter.
The giveaway will close on June 20, 2011 and the winners will be notified the following day.
To enter, please complete this form:

Good luck!

This giveaway has now closed, and the winners have been announced.

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  1. Looking forward? Hm, "Manazuru" by Hiromi Kawakami - for sure. I've read "Tread On a Snake" by this author and I was amazed by Ogawa's language, style, the art of creating the story. Pure pleasure of reading it!

    Now I'm in the middle of reading "Love in the Margin" by Yoko Ogawa ("Yohaku no ai", it was not translated into English yet) and I really enjoy this book:)

  2. Jeez! ^^' It was supposed to be: "I was amazed by Kawakami's language..." - sorry!;)

  3. I'm looking forward to The Lake, to Strangers, and to the Something Gorge you told about awhile ago. I bought it, just can't remember the title right now! Also, I can't wait til I finish all the Murakami novels on my shelf. I'm really looking forward to you hosting the read along of 1Q84; it's going to be the highlight of the autumn! Thanks for joining in my challenge, Tanabata. I love reading Japanese literature with you.

  4. I've just decided to join in the challenge too. I'll be reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World this summer and then joining you in the fall for 1Q84! I have a busy reading schedule but I miss my forays into J-Lit from last year.

  5. Have fun with your choices - I am slowly starting to build up reserves of new J-Lit too :)

  6. I'm still to read Ogawa, and I also really want to read The Lake.

    Happy reading =)

  7. I'm curious - are people reading in English or Japanese? I'm finding it quite difficult to purchase Japanese language versions of books (that are not HUGELY expensive).

  8. I recently won a copy of The Lake so I'm thinking about unofficially joining with that one (maybe officially if I get it read). ;) Though I'm really tempted by your Woman in the Dunes readalong! I've been wanting to read that since the very first JL Challenge!

  9. litera - No worries, I knew what you meant. I'm kind of jealous that you get to read these books. I wish we had more JLit in English translation. It seems that Manazuru is Kawakami's first to be translated into English. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

    Bellezza - And I love reading Japanese literature with you too! :) Taroko Gorge is the one you're thinking of, I think. And yes, I really can't wait for October! If you have any suggestions for the 1Q84 readalong, just let me know. :)

    Kristen - Yay! I'm glad you've decided to join too. I've missed hearing about your forays into JLit. Let me know when you're going to read Hard-boiled Wonderland. I'd love to re-read it, and may tag along, if you don't mind.

    Tony - Thanks. My JLit books seem to be multiplying. But I suppose there are worse things. ;)

    anothercookiecrumbles - I really enjoyed both of Ogawa's books that I've read so far. I hope you do too, when you get a chance to read her.

    bohfive - I think most people taking part in the challenge are reading Japanese lit in English translation. Unfortunately I think most of us, myself included, can't read in the original Japanese. Though I'd love to be able to!

    Trish - Oh do join us for The Woman in the Dunes! I haven't started it yet but it seems fairly short. There's still time. :)

  10. Thanks Nat, I don't know how I could've missed that the JLit Challenge #5 had started -- but I did! Going to cjeck in at Bellezza's *right now*!

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed The Diving Pool & the housekeeper when I read them last year & have Hotel Iris waiting on my shelf for this years challenge.

  12. Very nice giveaway. My almost 16 year old daughter has taken a great liking to Murakami thanks to you introducing me to his work via your blog which then led to her reading his stuff. Anyway, she tends to be a picky reader, but has an interest in Japanese authors right now. One of these books would most likely be read by her as well as me. I know that I will be adding 1Q84 to our bookshelves.


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