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Author Topic: Japanese novels
Member # 9913

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Lately I've been lost when I go down to Barnes and Noble. I am a science fiction nut, and I am very particular in the books I read. I finished the Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton a few months ago, and have been reading stand alone novels that I read only because I have nothing better to do. Most of them are trash, and I've been unable to find one that really interests me.

I went into the bookstore a few weeks ago and noticed a book called The Twelve Kingdoms, by Fuyumi Ono. I had seen an anime by the same name, and remembered that the show was based on a series of books. Turns out these books were translated and brought to the US.

I've since purchased and read all of them, and I really enjoyed them. If you have ever seen the anime I suggest you read the books, you won't be disappointed.

Yesterday I picked up another book by Hiroshi Yamamoto called The Stories of Ibis. So far it is intriguing. Humans are a minority and androids have created their own civilization. It is a collection of stories a wanderer tells to an android named Ibis about human and android interaction. I am really enjoying it.

Has anyone else read any Japanese literature they can recommend to me? I have enjoyed what I have read so far.

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Member # 7039

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I haven't read any Japanese science fiction, but I have read some interesting Japanese literature. I started reading Shusaku Endo after reading that OSC got some of his inspiration for Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide from his novel Deep River. So I read Deep River, The Samurai and got part way through The Sea and Poison before I had to stop because I was too busy. I really liked all of them, especially Deep River, but it's not what I'd call easy reading.

The only other Japanese book I've ever read was a mystery called All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe. I don't usually like mysteries, but it ended up being a real page turner.

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Member # 55

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You really can't go wrong with Haruki Murakami. He doesn't write science fiction, but there's a strong fantastical thread in his writing that I think would appeal to most SF readers. Kafka on the Shore is a good place to start and the short story collections After the Quake and The Elephant Vanishes are really solid.

The only other Japanese literature I've read is The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata, which is probably only worth reading if you're into Go, and Junichiro Tanizaki's Naomi, which is well written and interesting and quick, definitely worthwhile if you are interested in 1920's Japan.

Shusaku Endo looks interesting — I'll have to try some of his stuff.

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Member # 7039

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We had to read Naomi for a class, and I didn't even mention it because I really didn't care for it. I guess if you're specifically looking for a story on the Japanese "modern girl" and for a story about how Japan was changing in the twenties, then sure, but as a piece of literature all by itself just for fun? There are probably about a hundred places you should look first before there. It is a quick read though, regardless.

I tell myself every year that I'm going to read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and never get to it, but I've heard absolutely amazing things about Murakami.

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Member # 524

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Read Or Die (R.O.D.) is one of my favorite anime stories, along with Twelve Kingdoms. There are light novels that the anime is based off of. If they are in English I would check them out. I bought and read the 3 GitS books. They were pretty good. I might check for the Twelve Kingdom books. The different stories of each nation would be fun to read.
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Member # 7900

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"The Wind Up Bird Chronicles" does have its slow parts so it takes real commitment to stick around between the moments of genius. Once you accept Murakami's storytelling quirks, its easier to sit back and enjoy the ride. I fell in love with his writing after reading "After the Quake," one of his books of short stories. Its now the place I recommend that most people start.

Natsuo Kirino has also been on my list to read for awhile, but I haven't gotten around to her yet. She writes mysteries and most of her material is described and dark and psychological, very noir.

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Member # 433

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I've read a bunch by Mishima, but I don't know if I'd recommend them or not. He definitely gives a very interesting perspective as a highly nationalist, political figure which comes out clearly in his writing. Much more so than anything people complain about OSC writin, which I don't bring up to start a war about OSC here, I'm just saying his politics define his writing, but Japanese politics from a couple generations ago make it apolitical to me, and I just think it's interesting.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Member # 4774

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Oe's book A Personal Matter was interesting. Woman in the Dunes was disturbing.
With the Light is a manga, but it is the single best thing I've ever read about autism. No pity, no, woe is me, just pure trying to understand autism. I love it.

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