Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBAW: Reading and blogging, blogging and reading

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!

The topic for Day 4 is all about the reason we blog in the first place, because of the books! I know for me, being able to share this love of reading with others is one of the best things about book blogging.

Monday, September 12, 2011

BBAW: Interview with Iris from Iris on Books

I missed the deadline to sign up for the BBAW Interview Swap but when I mentioned this on Twitter over the weekend, Iris kindly offered to be my partner. So today I have the pleasure of sharing with you the chat we had during the last couple days. We've divided it into two halves: the first half is over at Iris on Books, the second half is here. So if you haven't yet read the first part, be sure to head over to read Part One of our Interview, then come back here for Part Two.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Community Spirit

Book Blogger Appreciation Week begins today, a week-long celebration of everyone who blogs about books. This year's theme is Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers, and each day there is a different topic to discuss. Today we are focusing on the members that make up this great community.

I never really know what to say exactly for these kinds of posts since I love the wide variety of blogs out there, and all the wonderful people who work so hard on them. Book bloggers are some of the nicest people you'll find online and each and every one of you is a valued member of this community. Whether you blog about classics, or literature in translation, or non-fiction, or poetry, or YA, or audio books, or kidlit, or... you get the idea. Whether you blog every day, or once a month. Whether you're just starting out, or have been around for a while (cough). The thing that draws us all together is our shared love of books.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

JLit Preview: 'Kokoro' by Natsume Sōseki (+ JLit Book Group Schedule Change)

Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki
Original title: こころ (kokoro)
Translated from the Japanese by Meredith McKinney
Fiction, Published in Japan in 1914
(new English translation, 2010)
Penguin Classics, 234 p.
No collection of Japanese literature is complete without Natsume Soseki's Kokoro, his most famous novel and the last he completed before his death. Published here in the first new translation in more than fifty years, Kokoro--meaning "heart"-is the story of a subtle and poignant friendship between two unnamed characters, a young man and an enigmatic elder whom he calls "Sensei".

Haunted by tragic secrets that have cast a long shadow over his life, Sensei slowly opens up to his young disciple, confessing indiscretions from his own student days that have left him reeling with guilt, and revealing, in the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between his moral anguish and his student's struggle to understand it, the profound cultural shift from one generation to the next that characterized Japan in the early twentieth century.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Six Months Later

I remember exactly where I was on September 11th, 2001 when the planes hit the twin towers in New York. I was in our apartment in Tsunashima (we lived in Yokohama then) watching TV in bed (the 9 o'clock evening news was almost finished). We saw the second plane hit on live TV, and we guessed that this was no accident while the reporters were still scrambling, before they even figured out what was going on. We were glued to the TV, and were horrified as we watched the towers collapse. The world changed on that day, and it has never completely recovered. Understandably, today, many people in the US and elsewhere are remembering that day ten years ago, and remembering the 3000 people whose lives were taken so cruelly.

Today also marks exactly six months since the huge earthquake and tsunami devastated large parts of northern Japan. I will always remember where I was at 2:46 PM on March 11th, 2011 as well. I was here in our apartment, this time in the eastern suburbs of Tokyo. I will remember how when the earthquake started at first I kept sitting at my desk thinking it would be over soon. You get used to having little earthquakes happen on a fairly regular basis when you live in Japan. But I will remember how it didn't stop. How it kept getting stronger. How the whole apartment was swaying dramatically from side to side. I will remember how I wondered if this might be it. The Big One. And whether the building might collapse around me. (It was a big one, but not The Big One, as far as Tokyo was concerned, as we soon found out). And then when the earthquake did finally subside, I will remember how I, a little bit shakily, went back to my desk and was glued to Twitter for news and updates. I will remember watching on TV the utter horror of incredible waves of water inundating entire towns along the northern coast.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett

Fiction, Harper Collins, 2011
ARE (Advance Reader's Edition), 349 p.
Source: Publisher/ Harper Collins
From the publisher's website:
Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Best Cultural Book Blog?

If you're a book blogger, you probably already know about Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which is coming up next week. However, if you haven't yet heard about it, in the words of the original founder Amy Riley of My Friend Amy, it "was started in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading." In essence, it is a week-long celebration of book bloggers and the book blogger community.

One aspect of Book Blogger Appreciation Week is the Awards for Best Blogs in a variety of different categories. And I was very thrilled to find out today that In Spring it is the Dawn made it to the shortlist for Best Cultural Review Blog. I don't know who nominated me in the first place, but whoever you are, you're awesome! Thank you!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: August links

Hello Japan!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Hello Japan! mini-challenge for August. The topic was Origami and the task was to create some origami. Click on the links below to see the beautiful things that everyone made.

Hello Japan! September and October mini-challenge: When One isn't Enough

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above.

September & October's Topic