It’s a funny thing when you’re teaching, or hosting a challenge, that you probably end up being the one who learns the most. When I began the first Japanese Literature Challenge in 2006 it was to better understand a culture which fascinated me, but also because I’d read not one work of Japanese literature. I knew that by creating a challenge I would find many novels in the genre to read, and I’d hoped to find many book lovers who’d share the journey with me. It was such a fulfilling endeavor that I have hosted the challenge for five years.
This year, I did not give away prizes as I have in previous years. I wanted the joy of reading the works themselves to be their own prize. Plus, the teacher in me finds it very hard to single out a select few for prizes when the list of participants has been many. Apparently, this is copacetic because neither the list of participants, nor the amount of reviews, has dwindled.
I read more Japanese novels this year than I have in any of the previous Japanese Literature Challenges. They are still not enough to quench my appetite. As with eating anything extraordinarily delicious, when I’m reading a fascinating genre I only want more. Fortunately, we have Tanabata’s Murakami Challenge to give us regular doses of Haruki’s work. We also have a JLC4 review site to which we can turn for enticing novels as yet unread.
There are two weeks before the Japanese Literature Challenge 4 officially draws to a close. That gives you time to quickly read one book, thereby fulfilling the challenge requirements, or to pull your thoughts together for any wrap up post you may wish to write. I’d love to know which authors, and titles, were your favorite. I’d love any suggestions for next year.