Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The year so far ...

Year of the Snake photo YearoftheSnake_zps412c8504.jpg

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone who celebrated this past weekend.

As for what I've been reading in this Year of the Snake so far* ... not a whole lot, but what I have read has been great.

In January I read two books by contemporary Japanese authors: The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa, and The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami for Tony's January in Japan event, and Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books and am looking forward to reading more by both of these authors. Click on the links to read my reviews.

At the beginning of this month I started reading Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel for a book group. However, I just couldn't get into it so I decided to put it back on the shelf and try again some other time. I'm not quite over my year-long reading slump yet, so for the most part I'm letting my mood choose my reads. I'm giving myself permission to not stress about reading. So instead I picked up Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus, and it captured me right from the start. It is a beautiful story about overcoming grief that I hope to tell you more about soon.

After I finished Hikikomori and the Rental Sister, it took me a few days to finally settle on another book. I kept picking up books but putting them back down again. Not helped by the fact that I kept thinking about Thomas and Megumi, the characters from Hikikomori and the Rental Sister. Well, apparently sometimes you just need a fun 'stranded-on-a-remote-island' love story, because I ended up devouring On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves this weekend. Hey, it is almost Valentine's Day after all.

Now I'm back to indecision about what to read next. The Briefcase was one of five titles short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. I'd like to read some of the other titles, and the winner will be announced in mid-March, so they are high on my list. I have several books that I started last year but never finished that I would like to return to at some point. Or one of my many unread JLit books. Or... or... always too many choices!

What great book(s) have you read so far this year?

Speaking of Japanese literature, thank you to everyone for their kind comments about my blogiversary! I wish I could give all of you the Japanese books you mentioned, but alas, there can only be one this time. The lucky winner of one Japanese literature book of their choice is Kristen M. (We Be Reading), who will be getting a copy of Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. That's a book I'm very much looking forward to reading as well. I hope you enjoy it, Kristen!

*Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar over a hundred years ago, so unlike many of its Asian neighbours who celebrate the lunar New Year, in Japan the Year of the Snake began on January the first.

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  1. Yoko Ogawa wrote The Housekeeper and the Professor, right? Loved that one! Would love to read more.

  2. Um, yay for me! :) And that's really interesting about the Japanese calendar. I guess they've got the best of all worlds!

  3. Looking forward to getting to a few of the ones you mentioned. I know the feeling about having a hard time finding the next book. For me, I can't seem to get off the J-lit kick. About to reread Oda's Stories of Osaka Life. I did read some K-lit, and will be putting up a follow-up recommendation post soon.

  4. Happy New Year to you too ;)
    I know that feeling of not knowing which book to choose next! Not much of a problem right now since starting my English studies. Plenty of books to read, sometimes more than I can handle.
    Anyway, despite that all I'm trying to get back into blogging and I'm having bloground to see who else is still blogging ;)
    I'll be back again!

  5. Congratulation to Kristen. I am caught in those moments of not knowing what to read next, due to so many choices! What about dipping in and out until one book caught you? :)

  6. I'm reading Tana French's Broken Harbor. It's just as good as her previous mysteries and I wish the store would close (we're about to get hit with a huge snowstorm), so I could stay home and read. Maybe tomorrow. :)

  7. I really enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson so far and I've also enjoyed some quite light, fun reads.

  8. I just finished Yoko Ogawa's "Revenge." I really liked it, so I think I will jump into her "The Diving Pool" soon! ;)

    I'm also reading Lafcadio Hearn's "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, Series I" with a 19th-c lit group. Very interesting for me since I've been to Matsue and that's where LH is, as of Chapter 7.

  9. Sorry for the LATE reply but next too reading few books, I'm not reading many blogs either :( Anyway, 'Hikikomori" sounds interesting so I'm looking forward to your review. And I'm going to have a peek at what you said about The Briefcase -- it's on my shelf so I don't want to know too much about it yet.

    The book I liked best so far this year? Of the... (ouch) six-and-a-half this year that must be Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Have you read it?

  10. Hikikomori and the Rental Sister sounds really interesting, I'll check it out!


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