Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Japanese Literature Challenge 3

Our journey begins,
the masters bid you welcome--
attend to their words.
Magical Mystical Teacher

The Japanese Literature Challenge 3 marks the start of another reading adventure! That is what a challenge is meant to do- challenge you to read some of the books you've been meaning to read or challenge you to step out of the box and try something new.

Japanese Literature is usually defined by the beautifully written prose and poetry. And Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza has organized this challenge to begin July 30th, 2009 and end January 30th, 2010! "All you have to do is read one work of Japanese origin. It can be literature of course, but don't feel confined to that. You may choose to read poetry, biographies, short stories or even manga. If you are willing to read one such piece, you've met the challenge." All the readers who are participating in the challenge have a link at Dolce Bellezza to their announcement of their participation and their reviews HERE! There are some wonderful prizes for participating too! For all the details about the challenge and prizes head over to Dolce Bellezza HERE and read all about it. Bellezza also has a list of reading suggestions. (click on "reading suggestions" to be taken to the list!). Anyone can sign-up to participate and last look there were 67 people up for the challenge already!

This challenge gives me the nudge to read Haruki Murakami, famous for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Kafka on the Shore and a long list of other books. He is well known for mixing the mundane with the bizarre. One of my choices to meet the challenge is to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle ... "Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician." I'm eager to finally read this author! Thanks Bellezza for giving me the nudge!

One of my other choices is Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa..."When Takumi's wife suddenly returns from the grave, he can't believe his eyes. How could such a thing be possible? Is she here to stay? Has love miraculously triumphed over death? As Takumi starts looking for answers to these questions, he discovers the secret of his wife's appearance is somehow linked to the past...and the future". This love story "captivated millions of Japanese readers", inspired a blockbuster movie, a TV series and a best-selling manga. It also took me into the manga section of Borders to find it. I love a good ghost story and this seems to blend both a love story & ghost story into something very special. The opening paragraph hooked me:

"When Mio died, this was how I thought.
Whoever made our planet must have made
another planet at the same time,
somewhere in the universe.
That would be the planet where people go when they die.
The name of that planet is Archive."

As I finish these books and maybe a few others ( I know I'm being a bit over ambitious here now!) I'll be putting up my reviews. I'll have a link to my reviews here!

Before I end today's post, I just wanted to point out the beautiful photograph that we are all using for our Challenge! It is from Tanabata, writer of In The Spring It Is The Dawn blog. She currently lives in Japan and took the photograph. She writes, "That photo was taken on the island of Miyajima, near Hiroshima. The shrine on the island is called Itsukushima-jinja and is a World Heritage site. The torii gate is considered one of the three great views in Japan." I think it is just an amazing photograph! I wanted to thank her for creating it for Bellezza and for allowing us to all share it for the challenge!

Up for the Challenge? Have you read any Japanese literature? Share some suggestions here!

Reviews for the Japanese Literature Challenge:
(Click on the Title to read the review)

Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa
Strangers by Taichi Yamada


Happy reading....
Suzanne

21 comments:

Carl V. said...

I'm so glad you are joining in with us. It should be great fun, Bellezza is a wonderful challenge host and your book choices sound great!

Suzanne said...

Hi Carl! This is the perfect opportunity for me to open up my horizons a little! I went a little crazy too- bought a few more books by Japanese authors including the 1100 page tome The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu! It looks fabulous!

Thanks for the warm welcome!
Suzanne

wheresmyrain said...

oh, please please read MUrakami, he is one of my favorite authors, "Wind up Bird chronicles" is absolutley fantastic

umn....also good is anything by Banana Yoshimato and "Women in the Dunes" by Kobe Abe

wheresmyrain said...

one more ( sorry, love Japenese Lit. and you got me excited)
another author that I fell upon thinking it was Hariku Murakami, its another Murakami, he wrote "Coin Locker Babies"sort of disturbing....but good stuff

Suzanne said...

Thanks so much for the rave review of Murakami! Ok, I'm definitely in for Wind Up Bird Chronicles! I'm also making a note of the other 2 you recommended! Hey, are you participating in the challenge? If not you should think about doing it!

Suzanne

BTW, got your email with addy! Thanks!

wheresmyrain said...

Im faux angry with you for bringing to attention its existance...because I am so tempted to it hurts, but I don't know If I have time to commit to it....maybe,if a book comes along that makes it worth it.any carrots?

Helen said...

Oh, this is a challenge that I would like to join...just not sure if I have the time. I'll have to think about it. I know nothing about Japanese literature but I use to read manga quite a bit.

Suzanne said...

wheresmyrain! Have you read Out: A Novel by Natsuo Kirino? That's one of the only Japanese author's I've read and it was great. 4 women who work in a factory bond over the murder of one of the women's husbands. (One of the women strangles her husband, but needs help getting rid of the body...) And of course if you need more temptation, there are plenty of recommendations at the challenge site! :D

Suzanne said...

Oh Helen! Would be so much fun! I know our reading schedules get pretty tight, but at least the challenge is until the end of Jan. and you don't have to commit to which book to read, only to reading one.... :D no pressure though! And you can join anytime too!

Take care,
Suzanne

mel said...

To me the Japanese Challenge gives me the incentive to read a whole new genre of novels. I just completed and posted on my first book of the
challenge "After Dark" by Haruki Murakami which I greatly enjoyed. I am going to try to read at least ten Japanese novels by the end of the challenge

GentleLavender said...

I loved the opening paragraph about the other planet called the Archive, it was deeply moving. Keep writing.

wheresmyrain said...

suzanne I feel officially challenged, that sounds like a great book...I officially concede and will be joining the Challenge, i will post the button on my site post haste

Suzanne said...

Hi Mel!
Nice review of After Dark! I need to put that one on my TBR list now! It's a perfect example of how Murakami starts his novels off with the mundane everyday things... I'm glad I chose him as the first book for the challenge. Of course we only have to read one, but I know already I have 3 in mind! Congrats on your first month in the world of blogging too!!

Hi GentleLavender!
After I read the first paragraph of Be With You I was also very moved. It is almost written like a form of Haiku. The first chapter is the father trying to describe to his child the death of his mother. And the concept of the other planet and "Archive" was just perfect.

Hi Wheresmyrain!
I'm glad you are up for the challenge! I know, like we need another book to read! But at least we have 5 months to do it in! And I look forward to your review! Are you going to pick up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle?

wheresmyrain said...

I could review wind up....but i dont know if i could give it justice...thats kind of my review.its that good,but hard to explain. Ill give it a think. Yes, when i realized the time frame for completion i emediatly felt foolish, i am very much in...watch out bookshelves

Suzanne said...

wheresmyrain,
No need to feel foolish- I have so many books in my TBR pile that I wouldn't be able to fit one more in for the next year! So 5 months is not a lot of time when you are a reader! And you are one!! Just thinking about fitting in a challenge can be hard! But I'm glad you are up for it!

Suzanne said...

wheresmyrain,
No need to feel foolish- I have so many books in my TBR pile that I wouldn't be able to fit one more in for the next year! So 5 months is not a lot of time when you are a reader! And you are one!! Just thinking about fitting in a challenge can be hard! But I'm glad you are up for it!

Helen said...

Well, I've done it, Suzanne. I've decided to join. This is going to be fun. I've chosen First Snow on Fuji by Yasunari Kawabata. Thanks for posting this challenge. I wouldn't have known about it if you didn't. :)

Suzanne said...

Oh Helen!
This is going to be fun! I've heard of the author Kawabata but not First Snow on Fuji... I love the title though! Great! We're all in! :D And I'm glad it's peaked your interest! And mine too!

Take care,
Suzanne

Cathy said...

I have this challenge written sown - I need to view my TBR pile to see whether or not I have books that meet he criteria or if I need to purchase - I will add the challenge to my blog once I have a candidate book.

enjoy!

Suzanne said...

Great Cathy! I look forward to seeing what book you find! And of course the great review you'll write afterwards! Thanks for joining in on the fun!

Suzanne

Suzanne said...

Ok Everyone! I finished my first book in the challenge! I'll be posting the review Tuesday Aug. 25th! And I'll put a link at this post for it too!

How's everyone else doing out there?!

Suzanne

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