Sunday Salon: Twenty Books of Summer, a Taste of Spring in Illinois, and anticipation for the International Booker Prize Winner.

It’s great that Cathy allows flexibility in her Twenty Books of Summer challenge because I have been tossing around lists in my mind since she first announced it. “Should I cull all the books I’ve wanted to reread?” I asked myself, for they are legion.

“Or, should I read all the review copies which have been sent my way this Spring while I was focusing on the International Booker Prize list?” (and what an exceptional list it is!).

“Maybe the best thing to do is open the Japanese literature books that I gathered for the Japanese Literature Challenge 15 but never got around to reading…,” I thought, and that is how I’ve decided to begin.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is, of course, a reread for me. But, all the others are new, especially Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda. The WSJ says this of it: “Part psychological thriller, part murder mystery – it is audacious in conception and brilliant in execution.” I am so eager to begin this book sent to me by Bitter Lemon Press.

I must confess to already beginning Me by Tomoyuki Hoshino, as I have been listening to it on my walks. Publishers Weekly says, “Hoshino’s ambitious novel is pleasingly uncomfortable,” which indeed it it. It seems there is a bit of unreliable narrator going on, and I can see that it will look deeply at what our identity is. I particularly anticipate the afterword by Kenzaburo Oe. (You can find a review on Tony’s Reading List, who clearly has read it before I have.)

The rest include The Roads to Sata, Lonely Castle in the Mirror, and people from my neighborhood. Each one calls my name in its own way, as I am so hungry for Japan. Perhaps some of these may appeal to you, too?

May I show you a few pictures from our walks this Spring? Truly, Illinois has its beautiful moments. Before we get to our ghastly summers, which my husband aptly calls Hell’s Front Porch.

Finally, this week brings us the winner of the International Booker Prize, which will be announced on Thursday, May 26. Our Shadow Jury will declare our winner before that, and I will tell you they are strongly inclined to choose Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell, or Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur. I, however, will never sway from my opinion that Jon Fosse’s Septology is far and away the best I have read in years. So much so that when I finished A New Name it was many weeks before I could even read another book.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Twenty Books of Summer, a Taste of Spring in Illinois, and anticipation for the International Booker Prize Winner.”

  1. Another set of Japanese books? You are incorrigible! 😍😍 I’m going tomorrow to see all the shortlisted authors and translators for the International Booker, my first major in-person literary event since the pandemic started, and I’m so excited! I haven’t read them all but intend to…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know; I am incorrigible! I cannot resist their call, nor their country.

      How wonderful that you are going to see all the authors and translators for the International Booker Prize!! Wow, that will be super exciting. While each book on the shortlist this year was marvelous, so let Jon Fosse know I think he should win for A New Name.😉

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    1. I am not usually one to read nonfiction, much to my chagrin, but this trip from one end of Japan to the other, interviewing every kind of person, sounds irresistible, doesn’t it? I will tell you more when I read it. xo

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    1. I wish you could come on the walks with me in person. As it has been so cold this year (my favorite kind of weather!) the blooms stayed for quite some time, and it was really lovely to be outside enjoying them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice list! Mine (live on Thursday), will also include the Japanese titles I didn’t get to finish during your challenge – by the way, it’s about time I update my post on that!!
    I have just spent a week in the Shawnee National Forest, Illinois nature at its best – I have stayed there 5 times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how you are revealing your list on the day the official winner is revealed: Thursday, May 26 at 3:45 for us in Illinois. You can see it on YouTube, which you probably already know. I can’t wait to see which book(s) you are rooting for. My personal favorite is Jon Fosse’s Septology, with A New Name this year. Although, many jurors on the Shadow Panel doe not feel it can stand alone.

      I have never been to Shawnee National Forest, but I will tell me son. He loves to camp, we both love nature, and it sounds like a wonderful place!

      Liked by 1 person

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