Best Japanese Reads 2009
- Out by Natsuo Kirino 2004-exciting slice of lower life crime novel
- Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki 1904-beautiful work that teaches us a lot about how to approach literature and art.
- Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness by Kenzaburo Oe-I love the four stories in this volume. 1969
- The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki. Centers on the lives of four sister in preWorld War II Osaka-1948
- The Woman in the Dunes by Kobe Abe-1964-
- Crazy Iris and other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath (stories from eight authors selected and introduced by Kenzaburo Oe) Most of the authors are atomic bomb survivors. 1985
- Quick Sand by Junichiro Tanizaki-an excellent choice for the GLBT challenge for 2010-it does not seem like a nearly 90 year old novel 1928
- The Flower Mat by Sugoro Yamanto -an historical novel of 17th century Samurai life centering around the wife of a samurai 1948
- One Man's Justice by Akira Yoshimara-story of a soldier returning home in defeat and disgrace. A universally applicable story that gives us a good look at conditions in Japan right after WWII. 1978
- Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto-most of those who have posted on this and Kitchen like Kitchen better-you will not go wrong with any of her works. 1989
I explicitly proclaim myself as a neophyte in terms of the Japanese novel and put this list forth with that understanding. Japanese novels will be an important part of my reading life (and my blog) from now on. I will always be grateful to Dolce Bellezza for introducing me to the Japanese novel. As far as The Reading Life and Japanese literature, please send me any ideas or suggestions as to new directions to go in. I hope I have only just begun a very long reading relationship.
I was motivated by a great post on Wuthering Expectations to do a series of best of 2009 posts. I will do at least one more post, the next will center on the my best reads since I began my blog (less the Japanese works).
I'm so pleased to see Out at the top of your list, as it was my favourite too.
I'm planning to read The Woman in the Dunes soon, so am pleased to see that on your list too.
Wonderful that Woman in the Dunes and The Makioka Sisters made your top ten! I'm incredibly impressed with how many books you read for this challenge. Japanese literature is one of my first loves, but I haven't read as broadly yet. I've taken note of the titles here that I don't know and look forward to reading them sometime in The New Year.
I'm surprised you had never read any Japanese literature before this year, as you seemed just the opposite! 42 books since August is amazing! I haven't even read nearly as much and I've been reading Japanese lit since over 15 years ago, in college. (My first was Yoshimoto's Lizard, I think. Next was Kawabata's Snow Country.)
From your list I've only read The Makioka Sisters and Goodbye Tsugumi.
Farmlanesbooks-I hope to read her Grotesque in 2010
Verbivore-I would love to see your reaction to The Makioka Sisters or his Quicksand
Claire-in truth when I was in college-there was nearly no translated Japanese Lit-of my 55 years or so of near complusive reading at least 45 of those years I read little fiction other than classics-I mostly read philosophy, history, poetry and biograhies-collections of essays, journals etc-In he last few years I am kind of making up for lost time! To a large extent I have learned via bookblogs how to find modern (to me that means after WWII) fiction I can read with enjoyment
I'm quite surprised that there's not a single Haruki Murakami's on your list. I can't remember if you have read his work for this challenge or not (since you have read so many!).
I'm intrigued by the Makioka Sisters and Quicksand. I recommend The Key by Tanizaki (which is his only book that I have read).
mee-I read Murakami's Dark and his Dance Dance Dance-maybe once I read his "big books" I will alter my rankings- I will Read both the Key, Diary of a Mad Old Man and Naomi soon, I hope.
Welcome to the world of Japanese Literature :)
I've been reading them long enough before I found the challenge (Tho my interest in writing book reviews started a bit late).
But I have to admit that, the challenge does make me read it more frequent than before.
42books in a year is WOW...haha I can't read that many in a year...tho I want to but time is againts me :(
Great list. I love reading literature set in different countries or about different cultures yet I have a big gaping hole when it comes to Japanese literature. Thanks.
Mel, your enthusiasm for this genre continues to amaze me...I've only read five book myself, and it's my challenge! However, you inspire me to pick up so many works which have thrilled you, and of course to add them to the Must Read/Suggested list in the review site's sidebar. I'll be ever grateful to you for your participation.
You have really found the key to a whole new world of reading through the challenge! That is wonderful! Your story is like a success story for challenges. I actually haven't read any of the books in your top ten and I really, really must because they look fantastic. Especially Out. Thanks for the great list. You've just increased my TBR list. :)
Love the way you reached out and grabbed this challenge. Sounds like it was a wonderful and enriching reading year for you.
What a great list! I have always loved Haruki Murakami, but would love to give some other Japanese authors a try. I'll definitely be checking some of these out. Thanks!
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