Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Japanese Literature Challenge 15

Again I am joining in on the Japanese Literature Challenge, now in its fifteenth year. The event is hosted at Dolce Bellezza. It started this month and continues through March 2022.

I like this event for many reasons. The emphasis is on enjoyment and not on meeting a goal. I do enjoy Japanese mysteries, and this year I am branching out to other genres. My husband also likes books translated from Japanese, so he has introduced me to some of the authors.



Here are a few guidelines:

  • Read as many books as you like from January through March. (Even if that is ”only” one.)
  • Make sure the work was originally written in Japanese.
  • Choose from classic to contemporary works, whatever appeals to you.
  • Leave a link at the main post for the challenge so that others can see your review.


And here are some books I am planning to read for the challenge:

  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Geoffrey Trousselot  (Translator)
  • The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, Eric Selland (Translator)
  • Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, Allison Markin Powell (Translator)
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator)
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino, Stephen Snyder (Translator)
  • I would love to read one or two more crime fiction books by Keigo Higashino, but I may not be able to fit those in.



18 comments:

Cath said...

This is one of those areas of literature where I'm completely ignorant. I'm not sure I've ever read anything Japanese apart from a few travel books where Japan was visited. James May in Japan, on TV, was also very interesting. *But* I will be reading something from that area for my Round the World challenge (in April) so watch this space! I know you do this Japanese challenge regularly, are there one or two good books you would recommend?

Also the Round the World challenge has lists of recs for people to choose from so here's the link to North Asia which has quite a few Japanese books.

https://bookgirlsguide.com/best-books-set-in-asia/

Margot Kinberg said...

I give you a lot of credit for joining these challenges, Tracy. And I'm interested in this one, because I haven't read enough Japanese literature. I'll be looking forward to your reviews to give me some ideas for exploring it further.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I absolutely loved THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR and THE MEMORY POLICE by Yoko Ogawa if you have time for more.

TracyK said...

Patti, both THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR and THE MEMORY POLICE sound good. I have THE MEMORY POLICE on my Kindle so I will see if I can get to it, and if not by March, maybe later this year.

Rick Robinson said...

I’m completely clueless on this category of fiction. Is it genre, literary, non-fiction, or…?

I’m currently participating in Rick’s Reading Challenge: find something appealing to read, amongst all the books in the building. Something I’ve had on hand for more than 2 decades. We’ll see.

TracyK said...

Cath, I think all of the books I have read for the Japanese Literature Challenge in the past have been mysteries. I have read several by Keigo Higashino, and enjoyed them. The Devotion of Suspect X is a favorite, and the first of his books to be translated, I think. It is an inverted mystery, some people don't like those.

I recently finished Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and will be reviewing it soon. I loved it but some people don't care for it. It is a time travel book but not typical. If I think of any others I will let you know.

I checked out the list at Book Girls Guide. The one of most interest to me is Fallout, about John Hersey's work to reveal the truth about Hiroshima. It is not Japanese and not translated so doesn't fit this challenge, but would be a very interesting read. They also recommend Convenience Store Woman, which is on my list (and my husband has read). Sam Sattler reviewed it at his blog.

TracyK said...

I do love challenges, Margot, although I often overcommit myself, OR get distracted into reading other things.

TracyK said...

Rick, as far as I know any book originally written in Japanese and translated to English (or another language if you can read it) qualifies for this challenge. Genre doesn't matter, but there lots of Japanese mysteries that have been translated, so that is what I have read in the past. Also, I just enjoy reading literature from other countries, so I like to do that with or without a challenge. Sometimes translations are not so good or easy to read, but I take my chances.

I am also going to do a TBR reading challenge, which is to stick to books already purchased. All the books I am doing for this challenge qualify for that. Although I too want to find some books that have sat on my shelf for a decade (or two?) without reading them. So far I have only bought one book this year, an achievement for me.

Rick Robinson said...

I haven’t bought any, but got 7 for Christmas, so no shortage. I just returned 2 to library, got 2 more there. Once I’m up to it I’ll start reading those, I guess. Raining and 40s here, good reading weather, if I were in the mood. Idly let my eyes scan along the ToBeRead books this morning, chose nothing. I don’t buy books unless I want to read them, so why does nothing appeal?

Lark said...

Good luck with this one! I've heard lots of good things about Convenience Store Woman. :)

TracyK said...

Rick, I run into the same problem all the time. Shelves and shelves of books that I bought because I wanted to read them and then I reject them when I am looking for a book. That is one of the reasons why I have set limits on buying books for the next three months at least. I am way too easily enticed into buying a new book.

I envy you the rain you are getting.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Lark. I am looking forward to reading Convenience Store Woman. My husband liked it. And I like the length, 163 pages.

Cath said...

Thanks for the recs, Tracy. I've made a note of them and the author Yoko Ogawa that 'pattinase' recced too. This could be interesting.

Sam Sattler said...

This sounds like a rewarding challenge. I've read a bunch of Japanese mysteries and crime novels over the years, but that's about it. This makes me wonder if I would enjoy that countries other genres as much as I've enjoyed almost all of the ones I've read in crime and mystery. I'll follow your progress to see what you come up with.

TracyK said...

Sam, For past Japanese Lit Challenges, I had always done mysteries and done only one or two. This time I have a few short non-mystery novels I want to try out. I liked the first one, so far it is going well.

TracyK said...

Cath, I have been looking into the novels and shorter works by Yoko Ogawa also. Since we have The Memory Police I will start with that, and I may not get to it for this challenge. Later in the year maybe.

col2910 said...

Nice challenge, Tracy. I think last year actually saw me enjoying a couple of Japanese crime fiction books. The few I read before that hadn't agreed with me. Hopefully, I might find some more goods ones this year.

TracyK said...

I always enjoy this challenge, Col, and I am glad Dolce Bellezza decided to do it again. Japanese crime fiction does seem to be variable, I find. Something for everyone I guess.