In celebration of Bookbed’s eighth year, let me share to you my Top 8 Japanese Books Recommendations as of July 2018. (Note: I’ve already read these babies a couple of times!)
1. The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji Monogatari) by Murasaki Shikibu
Considered as the first novel to be written in history by Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is a Japanese classic. This is the abridged edition that I read in 2014. I also have the longer edition (more than 1000 pages. ) which I haven’t read yet (one of these days, for sure).
2. The Setting Sun (斜陽, Shayō) by Osamu Dazai
This novel was published in 1947 after the end of World War II, written by an author whose thoughts I felt resembled mine, particularly whenever I find myself awake at two o’clock in the morning.
Despite its bleak setting and constant mentions of death and suicide, this book made me appreciate the life I have right now. The heart wrenching flow of thoughts of Dazai’s characters stressed that Life is Suffering and that PAIN is a shadow that will follow you until the end.
3. Confessions (告白, Kokuhaku) by Kanae Minato
This is one of the best Japanese crime fiction novels I’ve read so far. Reading this reminded me of the bullying I experienced back in early 2000s. As a survivor, I could relate to the characters.
4. Silence (沈黙, Chinmoku) by Shusaku Endo
A bookstagrammer inspired me to read this historical fiction novel. (Like many, I follow a number of bookworms on Instagram, and that’s how I build my TBR list.) Based on Megumi’s post (she disappeared [so no handle to share]), this book will provoke readers to question their religious beliefs. That was what it did for me, at least. It took me months to get over this story. Thousand of “what ifs” infested my mind and until now, I still don’t have the answers.