In his novel Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami said, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” I instantly memorized that quote, as I like to do with Murakami’s words, because one of the reasons I love to read is for the way that it takes me outside of my box. As well as everyone else’s.
What would my life be with a steady diet of classics, or fairy tales, or mysteries written only by people of my own culture? It would be as dull as a steady diet of cheeseburgers and fries: neither nutritious nor interesting. I need to eat samosas and chicken biryani, beef lo mien and tempura, as much as I do spaghetti and meatballs. I need to read books written by people of other cultures as much, or more, than I need to read those written by my own.
Aarti of Book Lust has planned a challenge which will run from September 23 through September 29 called A More Diverse Universe. To participate, readers will chose a work of speculative fiction written by an author of color. In conjunction with my own Japanese Literature Challenge, therefore, I’d like to read Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. (You can find a list of Japanese sci-fi writers here.)
I know that in September, I am first and foremost committed to reading The Thorn Birds with my dear friend, Lesley. But, I’d like to participate in Arti’s most worthy challenge, and I encourage you to give it a try as well. Do you have any other suggestions? Any titles you’d like to read yourself?