Another reading challenge for 2019 has caught my eye. Meredith (@Dolce Bellezza) is hosting her 12th Japanese LIterature Challenge this year. I’ve participated in her challenges numerous times before and enjoyed each of them. I already have some Japanese literature on my Classics Club list, and two new books on my Kindle that would qualify for this challenge, so I decided to join…again.
This time, I am also going to add a few films to watch. Long ago, when my kids were little, I took a continuing education class at the University. It was called the “Art of Japanese Film” and I absolutely loved the class! And then, a few years ago, my husband and I bought a boxed set of DVDs of movies by the brilliant Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, so Hubby and I are going to have our own Japanese Film Festival during this Challenge.
Books to Read:
- The Book of Tea, Kazuko Okakura
- Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
- Absolutely on Music, Haruki Murakami
- Sweet Bean Paste, Durian Sukegawa
Films of Akira Kurosawa to Watch:
- Stray Dog
- Seven Samurai
- The Hidden Fortress
Other Japanese Films to Watch:
- Miss Hokusai (we watched it on January 2, 2019) This is a film based on the life of the daughter of the great painter, Hokusai. It was adapted from a Manga series written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura. It was directed by Keiichi Hara, and won numerous awards.
- Ugetsu (based on the book, Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Akinari Udea)
- Spirited Away
- Our Little Sister
- My Neighbor Totoro
Click on the titles below to read my reviews of books I read for Dolce Bellezza’s previous Japanese LIterature Challenges.
- The Big Wave, by Pearl S. Buck
- Thousand Cranes, by Yasunari Kawabata
- The Bells of Nagasaki, by Takashi Nagai
- After the Quake, by Haruki Murakami
- Twenty-Four Eyes, by Sakae Tsuboi
- Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Akinari Ueda
- Knit Kimono, by Vicki Square
- The Revenge of the Forty-Seven Samuari, by Erik Christian Haugaard
- Kira-Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata
- Summer of the Big Bachi, by Naomi Hirahara
- Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki
- The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Agawa
One more thing…
My husband’s grandmother was a “picture bride” brought from Japan to Hawaii in the early 1900s as a bride for one of the Japanese plantation workers. If you are interested in that fascinating part of history, you can read my review of the book, Picture Bride, by Yoshiko Ushida. If you can find it, there is a beautiful little film called “Picture Bride,” that is well worth seeing. There are many stories of the 20,000 or so women who were the picture brides. They didn’t know their husbands-to-be before they were brought to Hawaii, and some to California. Each was chosen as a bride by their photo.
My husband’s grandmother and aunt are in this photo of plantation workers in Hawaii.
Forty-nine years ago today, I married my best friend. He and I were, and still are, kindred spirits. Both of us felt that kinship when we first met, but we also had proof sitting on our respective book shelves. Each of us owned a very old book from the same set of books….one on his shelf and a matching volume on mine. His was Pride and Prejudice (Reader, need I say more?), and mine was Silas Marner. For that reason, and of course many others, we decided WE were meant to be.
My husband is reading Joseph Conrad’s, Lord Jim, and he shared with me this enlightened sentence from the book knowing how much I hate reading introductions, and knowing that I refuse to read introductions BEFORE I read a story. They always ruin the story for me!
Early May is a special time in my family. The family often gathers to celebrate the birthdays of my brother and of my father who would have been 97 years old on this birthday. We also celebrate Mother’s Day (a little early this year) and honor our amazing Mom who is still so strong in intellect and spirit, although increasingly unsteady physically.
So our visit meant a road trip for Hubby and me, which we are enjoying very much, especially after this long and confining winter. We, of course, brought our Kindles with us. When it was my turn to drive, Hubby read The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, by Anthony Gottlieb. And while he drove, I read my current mystery: Death in La Fenice, by Donna Leon.
We stopped for an overnight visit with my brother and sister-in-law, both voracious readers, so we left with this extensive list of books to read:
- Dark Money, Jane Mayer
- The Emperor of all Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
- The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholtz
- Nobody Cares About Crazy People, Ron Powers
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
- A Deadly Wandering, Matt Richtel
- The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
- On Immunity, Eula Biss
- Lab Girl, Hope Jahren
- At Home, Bill Bryson
- The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman
And when we arrived at my mother’s place, I found that she had just finished reading Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart, for her book club . I also thought you might be interested to see some of the books on her shelf so I took some photos for you.
With the family together (minus one brother and sister-in-law), we talked a lot about the current state of affairs in this country and the world, but we also talked a lot about books. It’s so nice to come from a family of readers!
Hubby and I took a short break from projects and reading to make our Spring pilgrimage to the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. We go there a number of times each year, usually as a day trip since it’s only an hour-and-a-half drive away from us. But once a year we like to stay an extra day at the resort next to the Garden and spend two days walking the trails/pathways and soaking up the beauty. Included in our special package for the resort this time were tickets to the nearby tulip festival. So we have enjoyed two days of beautiful early spring blossoms and blooms…and the weather cooperated and gave us blue sky, sunshine, and temperatures that weren’t exactly warm but comfortable enough.
When we returned home this afternoon, I discovered that a book I had pre-ordered months ago had arrived on my Kindle. It’s a perfect book to follow up such a lovely trip to the Garden! I have some fun reading ahead of me!
Forty-eight years ago this weekend I met my Hubby. He and I are very different from one another, but the following quote from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights describes us perfectly.
In 1964, I started keeping a little red and black record book with the titles and authors of the books I was reading. I was faithful to that record book until recent years when I transferred my reading list to a spread sheet and then into LibraryThing. I still love to go back to my record book, however, to see what I read 5 years ago, or as I did this morning, to see what I read 50 years ago today!
That book was The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. The photo above is of my hubby’s copy — his favorite book, well-worn and well-loved and still on our shelf after all these years. I didn’t love the book the way my husband did. I thought it was terribly sad and depressing, and I never reread it. Perhaps, after 50 years of life experience and a lifetime of reading, I should read this timeless book again and see what I think?
The book begins:
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.