This Is Called: Planning Ahead

TokyoLightsOr maybe it should be called Trying to Bring Some Order to the Madness. With all of these inspiring end of year book lists, I just keep adding and adding to my TBR pile. More frighteningly, I keep adding to my purchases for both the physical and the virtual bookshelves, which will make next year’s challenge of reading them all soooo much harder.

Still, I am trying to combine the 3 main challenges I have set myself: I am buying or have already bought lots of German and Japanese books. So here are some of the delights currently waiting patiently for me or flying on wings of Christmas joy towards me:

Japanese Fiction

Keigo Higashino: The Devotion of Suspect X

Ryu Murakami: Audition

Natsuo Kirino: Grotesque

Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore

Fuminori Nakamura: The Thief

Fumiko Enchi: The Waiting Years

Minae Mizumura: A True Novel

TokyoLights4I miss those days when I would be able to read Japanese novels in the original. [Although always with a Kanji dictionary to hand. I remember our colleagues studying English, French, Italian or Spanish at university would laugh at us for having to use a dictionary to read even the shortest novel.] I now have to rely on translations and there are very few available, even of the classics. I miss my collection of Kawabata, Mishima, Dazai Osamu etc.  They are all safely boxed up in an attic in the Thames Valley. Maybe rereading them could be my challenge for 2016 or whenever we move back to the UK?

German Challenge

Stefan Zweig: Meisternovellen

Bernhard Schlink: Liebesfluchten

Irena Brezna: Die undankbare Fremde

Edda Ziegler: Verboten Verfemt Vertrieben

Richard Weihe: Sea of Ink

Alois Hotschnig: Maybe This Time

TokyoLights3I also have a few crime novels in the mix. I’ll be rereading Jakob Arjouni and hope to read his last novel ‘Brother Kemal’, published posthumously this year.  I also want to explore the writer Sebastian Fitzek, who writes breathtaking psychological thrillers, and is beginning to make a name for himself beyond the German-speaking world.

I would love to ask for more suggestions, but am afraid that I might succumb to temptation… The Calvinist spirit of self-denial does not enter my soul when it comes to books (or desserts).

Instead, I will ask if you have read any of the Japanese or German writers on my list and what you think of them. And, if you haven’t, maybe you want to join me in the challenge and we can discuss them together?

TokyoLights2Just to put you in the mood for Japan and its literature, I have included some pictures of the Christmas/New Year lights in Tokyo.


5 thoughts on “This Is Called: Planning Ahead”

  1. Marina Sofia – I know just what you mean about trying to impose some order on one’s reading. I don’t even want to think about the order I ought to impose on my own. And you’re not the only one who could use some self-discipline when it comes to new acquisitions…. *sigh*

    1. It’s just too easy to click and buy online, plus I can never resist bookshops, plus they are not a major acquisition, so it’s easy to not notice how they pile up…

  2. Lots of great ideas here (even if your choices are a lot more slanted towards crime novels than mine would be!). I may be getting a copy of ‘A True Novel’ from the publisher – fingers crossed 😉

    There’s not as much J-Lit available in English as in some other languages, but there’s still plenty to choose from – I’ve somehow managed to accumulate a private library touching on three figures…

    As for G-Lit, I’ve had my eye on that Zweig book (Fischer Verlag?) for some time now, and I recommend the Hotschnig 🙂

    1. Well done – but perhaps more Japanese literature is available in Australia than in the UK? [Other than Murakami, of course.] I remember back in the days when I was studying Japanese all of the translated books were either Kodansha International or else from the US.
      Yes, the Zweig book is from Fischer Verlag. Love them: good-quality, cheap (if you buy them in Germany) paperbacks – have all of Kafka from them, for example.

  3. I think there’s a lot more available now, and the rise of sites like the Book Depository means that you can access them more easily. Vintage do a lot, as do Penguin Classics, and other UK publishers like Peter Owen and Pushkin Press have some J-Lit on their list now. Some writers are still mainly the domain of US publishers, but I’ve bought some of those second-hand through Abe Books 🙂

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