Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburo Oe. Literature.
A beautifully written book that is not in the slightest bit enjoyable to read. (Nor, in case you’re wondering, do I feel like a better person for having read it.) Weirdly tame and uncreative juvenile delinquents are marched to a village, to be shortly thereafter abandoned as the villagers flee the plague.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for 69 by Ryu Murakami. Young adult.
No, not THAT Murakami, the other one. And no, not THAT 69 (get your mind out of the gutter), the title refers to the year – 1969 – in which it takes place. Having read the blurb for Murakami’s other work Coin Locker Babies I was expecting something dark from this book, but frankly it was so light it could float away.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Phoenix Code by Catherine Asaro. Science fiction/romance.
Catherine Asaro is one of my favorite writers, but that said, I cannot recommend this book. While I enjoy her style enough that I never wanted to actually put it down, the beginning was very slow, and after the plot picked up, there were far, far too many times that I thought to myself: “Oh, no way.” The ending is especially unbelievable.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. Literature.
This book was fine. In a clear, readable way, it tells the simple story of the friendship between a housekeeper and her son with a mathematics professor who has only eighty minutes of long-term memory. But I demand a bit more from books than that they be “fine.” There are so many great books out there, why read one that is just “fine”?… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. Young adult.
A sweet, though ultimately rather puzzling little book about loss and living in spite of it. Not truly my thing, but I can see why it’s on the local high school reading lists.
“However! I couldn’t exist like that. Reality is wonderful.”
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Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Love Poems from the Japanese translated by Kenneth Rexroth. Poetry.
Not anywhere near the standard of the previous book of Rexroth-translated Japanese poetry I’ve read, One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese. All of the best poems in here were also in that one. So read that one instead.
“Your hair has turned whiteWhile your heart stayedKnotted against me.I shall neverLoosen it now.”—Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
… >> Read more