I’m so excited for the Japanese Literature Challenge 8 to begin! Like the Woman Waiting For The Moon above, I’m waiting for the thrill that reading Japanese literature brings to me, especially when shared with others.
Eight years ago, when I hosted the first Japanese Literature Challenge, I hadn’t read many of the most famous authors, and now I feel compelled to introduce some of them to you. Probably you know of Haruki Murakami, Yukio Mishima, and Banana Yoshimoto. But, how aboutor Keigo Higashino? Or, the delightful Japanese/American children’s author, Cynthia Kadohata, whose books have won a John Newbery medal and the National Book Award?
I have set up the Japanese Literature Challenge Review Site here, where you will see in the sidebar a list of authors I’m going to highlight for each month of the challenge:
January: Banana Yoshimoto (a writer who claims that her two themes are “the exhaustion of young Japanese in contemporary Japan” and “the way in which terrible experiences shape a person’s life.”)
I will highlight a novel from each author for each month, which I invite you to read with me if you choose. Or, you could choose another book by the same author so we can compare. Or, you can read none of the books by the author of the month and venture out on your on course. Click here for a list of suggested titles in case you’d like a few.
During the month of September, I propose a group read-along of Haruki Murakami’s latest book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage. The book will be released in English on August 12, 2014, and I’d love for anyone to join me in reading it during September.
There are also some wonderful prizes to be given away through the course of the challenge. Naxos Audio is giving away two audio books. One is The Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of The World by Haruki Murakami. The other is a book of poems entitled Narrow Road to The Interior & Hojoki. Tuttle publishers have sent me several books which I will review and give away. One is Natsume Soseki’s famous book, Botchan, another is Kaiko Takeshi’s book, Darkness of Summer which I will begin to start off this challenge.
Updates will occur on this blog as the Japanese Literature Challenge progresses. Links to the books you’ve read may be left on the review site for us to enjoy. Please join in with me as we explore more of what Japanese literature has to offer. All that is required is to read one work of Japanese literature from now until January, 2015. Simply leave your name below and I will sign you up.
(p.s. Don’t be deterred if you are participating in the Paris in July challenge, and/or the Spanish Lit Month challenge, as am I. They are both in July, and the Japanese Literature Challenge lasts all the way through January, 2015. There’s plenty of time to read Japanese literature from August on. Also, mark your calendars now for Tony’s January in Japan.)