My Reading Diary

The Pleasure of Reading Just About Anything

A well-crafted book is a precious thing and a bright story is a work of genius, regardless of who wrote them, when they were written, or how much copies they have sold. They’ve already become eternal!

 

The Pleasure of Reading Japanese Literature

I, Sahara Eves, find that nothing tops Japanese Literature, with all due respect to everyone else. This personal preference has stood the test of time for many reasons. These are my top 5:

Top 1: Diaries, travel journals, and books of random thoughts thrive in the Japanese literary scene whereas they remain untapped or disfavored in other countries. And it happens that these are the genres I like the most due to their natural and unaffected way in uncovering the narrator’s psyche. They are a window to the human soul, and it certainly is fun to watch and read about its many adventures as it roams the earth and discovers new ways of life.

Top 2: Japanese Literature likes to deal with all sorts of topics. It certainly has a thing for bold and challenging issues such as decay, non-conformism, alienation, xenophobia, and female sexuality. It’s like deliberately poking a beehive with a stick! On the other hand, it touches upon self-empowering and extrovert matters such as the dignity of human beings, the importance of knowing oneself, kindness, and endurance.

More often than not, it finds itself preoccupied with war, urbanism, broken ideals, identity crisis, and the reality as it is without any icing on top. Even so, there’s always a place for wonder, curiosity, and magic. But what blows me away the most is its unflinching pursuit of free will, purpose, and meaning; which makes it a beacon to every individual who’s not afraid to study the human face and look the world in the eye.

Top 3: I don’t know precisely where Japan’s subtle violence comes from, but it certainly paints everything it touches or sees. Disaster breaks on a holiday, people snap under the sun, wisdom blooms in a nightlife hub…. Award winning authors speak of the perks of Japanese Nothingness, but then again, some of them commit suicide. Solitude is praised, but then again, is followed by a desire to feel and see the world very closely. Cosmic oneness is achieved on a Tuesday, but then again, the whole world goes to hell on a Thursday by some unfathomable twist….

Just like in real life, death sits right next to birth, tears of joy are mixed with tears of terror. Devouring a meaty Japanese book is like riding a rollercoaster that takes you to the moon only to show you doom from above. It takes a brave heart to get immersed inside, but then again, many enjoy the crash as much as they enjoy the crescendo. Breathtaking doesn’t even cut it as a fair description!

Top 4: Japan, with its folklore, political life, and well-guarded image, seems to me like a giant who wants to show his unique powers to the entire world. The desire is so immense it’s making him take pleasure from being non-homogenous with the rest of the population, unintelligible to the rest of the world, and completely isolated. In this strange world, pride comes in not to boost the ego, and extremism comes in not to create chaos, but to reinforce the ‘thing’ that’s making the individual different and inimitable. These two qualities are the equivalent of noble and worthy of self-esteem.

Top 5: In Japanese Literature, inner life and emotional state prevail over plot development and moralistic preaching. This particularity makes any character sound familiar, and ordinary storytelling become special; i.e. universal, subjective, and almost unaffected by time (or any other mundane variable). That’s why millions of readers identify with the author or the events, no matter where they are, where they come from, or where they’re heading on the streets of life.

 

A List of Foxy Reads, Courtesy of Sahara Eves

When you come in contact with an amazing story you cannot help but feel totally invested in everything that’s taking place: the action, the consequences, the picture behind the prose, the smells and sounds behind the white sheet, the characters, their destiny, etc.

You live the story, and by the end of the journey, it would have had altered your life before you even realize it days or months later. Certain images are forever implanted in your brain. Feelings unknown before arise to defy your most secret inhibitions and shake the foundations of your beliefs. Personal convictions are reexamined. Random thoughts are born for the heck of it.

That would be the key function of this page: listing such stories and linking them to what they have inspired; another piece of wisdom, a genuine life lesson, a new feeling, a bizarre daydream, a grand epiphany, or a fantasy.

We wish you a pleasant reading. Please try to open your eyes to new horizons and your mind to new possibilities. In the end, that’s what a foreign culture is ought to do. Take care and have fun!

  • Kawabata’s Sunny Place, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “A Sunny Place.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 3-5. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Fire Girl, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “The Girl Who Approached the Fire.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 8-9. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Canaries, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “Canaries.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 22-23. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Glass Boy, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “Glass.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 32-35. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Cautionary Tale for Shitty Parents, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “Love Suicides.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 56-57. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Winter Man, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “Toward Winter.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 61-65. Print.
  • Kawabata’s Sparrows, a short story Reference: Kawabata, Yasunari. “The Sparrow’s Matchmaking.” Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories. Published November 14th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman. (Pages) 66-68. Print.
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