The International Booker Prize Shadow Jury Gathers Again for 2023: An Introduction, and A Few Predictions

Here we have half a month to go before the Japanese Literature Challenge 16 officially ends, and I find myself peeking eagerly into the realm of the International Booker Prize for 2023. The Shadow Jury is assembled again, prepared to read the longlist which is revealed on March 14 and to determine which books we would choose to be on the shortlist (revealed on April 18).

Before I introduce the Shadow Jury, let me give you six predictions I have for the official longlist:

Aliss at the Fire by Jon Fosse (translated by Damion Searls)

Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi (translated by David Boyd and Lucy North)

Lady Joker, Volume 2 (by Kaoru Takamura (translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida)

Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated by Brian FitzGibbon)

Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal (translated by Jessica Moore)

All The Lovers In The Night by Mieko Kawakami (translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd)

Perhaps it is no surprise to you that three of the six are Japanese. And now, for the Shadow Jury. They are as follows:

Tony Malone (Twitter: @tony_malone) is an occasional ESL teacher and full-time reader who has been publishing his half-baked thoughts on literature in translation at the Tony’s Reading List blog for just over fourteen years now. One unexpected consequence of all this reading in translation has been the crafting of a few translations of his own, with English versions of works by classic German writers such as Eduard von Keyserling and Ricarda Huch appearing at his site. As always, he’s looking forward to seeing what the judges have selected, and then rolling his eyes at them…

Meredith Smith (Twitter: @bellezzamjs) has been writing about books at her site, Dolce Bellezza, since 2006. Now that she has retired from teaching, she has much more time to devote to her passion of reading translated literature. She has hosted the Japanese Literature Challenge for sixteen years and been a member of the Shadow Jury for nine. It is her great joy to read and discuss books from around the world with both the panel and fellow readers.

David Hebblethwaite (@David_Heb) is a reader and reviewer originally from Yorkshire, UK. He started reading translated fiction seriously a few years ago, and now couldn’t imagine a bookish life without it. He writes about books at David’s Book World, and is also on Goodreads, and Instagram @davidsworldofbooks. This is his tenth year on the Shadow Jury, and it has become a highlight of his reading year. There are always interesting books to read, and illuminating discussions to be had.

Oisin Harris (@literaryty), based in Canterbury in the UK, reviews books at the Literaryty blog. He earned an English degree from Sussex University and an MA in Publishing from Kingston University. He is a librarian at the University of Kent and a co-editor and contributor for The Publishing Post’s Books in Translation Team, as well as the creator of the Translator Spotlight series where prominent translators are interviewed to demystify the craft of translation. His work on Women in Translation was published in the 2020 research eBook of the Institute for Translation and Interpreting, entitled Translating Women: Activism in Action (edited by Olga Castro and Helen Vassallo).

Frances Evangelista (@nonsuchbook) works as an educator in Washington DC. She elected a career in teaching because she assumed it would provide her with lots of reading time. This was an incorrect assumption. However, she loves her work and still manages to read widely, remember the years she blogged about books fondly, chat up books on Twitter, and participate in lots of great shared reading experiences. This is her fifth year as a shadow panelist for the International Booker Prize.

Vivek Tejuja (@vivekisms) is a book blogger and reviewer from India, based in Mumbai. He loves to read books in Indian languages and translated editions of languages around the world (well, essentially world fiction, if that’s a thing). He is Culture Editor at Verve Magazine and blogs at The Hungry Reader. He is also the author of So Now You Know, a memoir of growing up gay in Mumbai in the 90s, published by Harper Collins India. His second book, Strange Bedfellows is out in September 2023, by Harper Collins India. 

Areeb Ahmad (@Broke_Bookworm) currently works in the social and development sector. He moonlights as Books Editor at Inklette and Editor-at-Large for India at Asymptote. Although he is an eclectic bookworm, he swears by all things SFF. He goes out of his way to consume queer literatures, experimental writing, translated books, and contemporary poetry collections. You can find him either desperately hunting for book deals to supplement his overflowing TBR pile or trying to figure out the best angle for his next #bookstagram photo as he scrambles to write reviews. He impulsively began book blogging in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since.

Paul Fulcher (@fulcherpaul) is a Wimbledon, UK based fan of translated fiction, who is active on Goodreads, where he contributes to a MBI readers’ group.  He is a Trustee of the Republic of Consciousness Foundation, which runs the Republic of Consciousness Prize (@prizeRofC), which rewards innovative fiction, including in translation, from small independent presses. His reviews can be found on his Goodreads page.

Jeremy Koenig (@KoenigRMHS) is a high school English teacher outside Washington DC. Over the years, he’s become a fierce champion of translated literature and small presses, both making up the bulk of his Best of the Year lists. His reading life has been greatly enriched by the other members of this shadow panel, to whom he’s deeply grateful. He’s also a current student of Norwegian who aspires to reading Jon Fosse’s work in the original (“på Norsk”). This is his first year as a shadow panelist.

Do follow along as we read, and review, the books for the International Booker Prize 2023. We promise to highlight the very best. At least, in our opinion.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

For him, I was the daughter and son he’d never had, the confidant he’d always sought, the business and art partner who’d boldly advocated for his goals, and the lover he’d dreamed about but held in abeyance. For me, he was the father I’d lost, the companion with whom I could discuss the day’s minutiae, the business mentor who’d supported me beyond my wildest dreams, and the lover for whom is longed but could never have. (p. 248)

I had to break away from my reading of Japanese literature, and books for the Nordic Finds, to complete this month’s Book Club choice: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. I quickly found myself immersed in the story of Belle de Costa Greene, who was the extraordinary librarian for J. P. Morgan in the early 1900’s.

Her courage, strength, and intellectual ability are inspiring, as we learn of the way she gained Mr. Morgan’s complete respect. He gave her great financial allowances to bid for the books he wanted at auction.

Belle perfected the ability to “hide in plain sight,” as she sought to present herself as a White woman in a highly prejudiced society. Yet, she was not the only one with secrets. Anne, J. P. Morgan’s daughter, was involved in a “Boston marriage” with another woman.

This book is a perfect choice for Book Clubs, as it includes a myriad of topics: race, feminism, adultery, friendship, and the very powerful relationship between an extremely wealthy man who needed this extremely intelligent and brave librarian.

The Japanese Literature Challenge 16

Welcome to the Japanese Literature Challenge 16!

During January and February of 2023, we will read Japanese novels, short stories, mysteries, thrillers, or even poetry if you so choose.

Please leave a link to that which you have read by clicking on the Mr. Linky widget below. That way, we can all have a chance to enjoy what you chose.

I so look forward on sharing this virtual trip to Japan with you!

A Reading Year in Review: 2022


  • Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama (Japanese Literature Challenge 15)
  • Touring the Land of The Dead by Maki Kashimada (Japanese Literature Challenge 15)
  • Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (reread)
  • Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino (Japanese Literature Challenge 15)
  • A Man And His Cat by Umi Sakurai (Japanese Literature Challenge 15)


  • The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (Nordic Finds Challenge 2022)
  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarzcuk (International Booker Prize 2022 longlist)
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (reread)
  • The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley


  • Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent (Reading Ireland Month 2022)
  • Heaven by Meiko Kawakami (Japanese Literature Challenge 15, International Booker Prize 2022)
  • Elena Knows by Claudia Pineiro, translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle (International Booker Prize 2022)
  • The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman, translated from the French by Leslie Camhi (International Booker Prize 2022)
  • More Than I Love My Life by David Grossman, translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen, (International Booker Prize 2022)
  • Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated from the Korean by Anton Hur (International Booker Prize 2022)


  • I Is Another by Jon Fosse
  • A New Name by Jon Fosse (International Booker Prize 2022 longlist)
  • Tomb of Sand (International Booker Prize 2022 Winner)
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (#1954 Club and #Narniathon21)
  • City on Fire by Don Winslow (DNF)
  • How Lucky by Will Leitch (Edgar Award 2022 longlist)


  • Happy Stories Mostly (International Booker Prize 2022 Longlist)


  • The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher (20 Books of Summer, reread)
  • All The Lovers In the Night by Meiko Kawakami (20 Books of Summer)
  • Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumata (20 Books of Summer)
  • Intimacies by Katie Kitamura (20 Books of Summer)
  • Book of Night by Holly Black (DNF) (20 Books of Summer)
  • Heights by Louise Candlish (20 Books of Summer)
  • Geiger by G. Skordeman (DNF, 20 Books of Summer)


  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (20 Books of Summer)
  • Perestroika In Paris by Jane Smiley (20 Books of Summer, Paris in July 2022)
  • Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (20 Books of Summer, Paris in July 2022)
  • Maigret and The Reluctant Witnesses by Georges Simenon (20 Books of Summer, Paris in July 2022)
  • The Martins by David Foenkinos (20 Books of Summer, Paris in July 2022)
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami (20 Books of Summer, read along with Swift as Inspiration)
  • Outside by Ragnar Jonasson (20 Books of Summer)


  • Never by Ken Follett (20 Books of Summer)
  • Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada (20 Books of Summer, Women In Translation Month)
  • Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (20 Books of Summer, Booker Prize 2022 longlist)
  • life ceremony by Sayaka Murata (20 Books of Summer, Women in Translation Month)


  • Shogun by James Clavell
  • Tai Pan by James Clavell
  • Gai Jin by James Clavell
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks (for Book Club)



  • BabelAn Arcane History by R. F. Kuang
  • Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt (celebrating its 50 year anniversary, reread for the fifth time)
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (reread for the fourth time)


  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (audio on BBC Sounds)
  • Three Assassins by Kotoro Isaka
  • The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (for Book Club)

I spent less time blogging this year, and more time rereading some of my favorite pieces of literature throughout my life: Harriet the Spy, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Anna Karenina, The Secret History, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, The Shell Seekers, The Horse and His Boy, and I Is Another.

But, the year was not without great joy participating in favorite blogging events. I loved reading for the following:

And now, my favorite books of 2023 (in no particular order):

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • I Is Another/A New Name by Jon Fosse
  • Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
  • Heaven by Meiko Kawakami
  • Elena Knows by Claudia Pineiro
  • Intimacies by Katie Kitamura
  • Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
  • Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi
  • The Marriage Portrait by Maggie 0’Farrell

2023 beckons, with repeated favorite blogging events, and newly published books. I do not know if I will post as regularly as I have over the past 16 years, but I will pop up from time to time, particularly this winter as we embark on the Japanese Literature Challenge 16 in January and February. Please know, I do look for what you read, and do love the book passion we share.

The Japanese Literature Challenge 16 is coming soon…

I wondered if there would be an interest in hosting the Japanese Literature Challenge for the sixteenth year, and so I threw out the idea on Instagram last evening. It seems that there are, in fact, a few ardent fans for whom the event still holds great interest. As it does for me.

And so we shall begin in January, reading such literature as catches our eye and leaving links, if you so desire, to a sticky post which will be at the top of my blog. Let’s hold the event for January and February, giving us two months to indulge this passion.

I will be reading, and hosting a few give-aways for, the following books:

People From My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami
The Roads to Sata by Alan Booth (not technically Japanese literature, but still an exploration of the culture)
Lady Joker Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura
Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura

Already, I can feel the excitement building within my heart. Can you?

Will you join in?

(On Instagram as #japaneselitchallenge16)

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Book Three: The Birdcatcher (October 1984-December 1985)

Book Two ended with Toru having a blue-black mark on his cheek, the size and shape of a baby’s palm. He does not know how he got it any more than he knows how to get rid of it, and like everything else in these strange series of events, he seems quite accepting. In fact, other than his pursuit for Kumiko, I find him to be a terribly passive person.

When his uncle told him to “stand on a street corner somewhere day after day and look at people who come by there,” (p. 328) Toru does just that, although he ends up at the Shinjuku city center. He looks for hours at people’s faces, and only one person connects with him. A woman comes to sit by him who is well dressed, meticulously, in fact, and at their second meeting she asks him to come with her. She purchases him new clothes, new shoes, a new watch, and gets him a haircut. She introduces herself as Nutmeg Akasaka, as Toru insists on having her name; her equally meticulous son she calls “Cinnamon.”

As a young boy, Cinnamon witnessed two men outside of his window, in the middle of the night, digging around a tree. And then one put something inside it, which Cinnamon discovered to be a heart. Since then, he does not speak. He moves his lips, and his fingers convey messages, but he has no voice.

And then one evening, a total stranger is sitting in Tori’s darkened living room. He introduces himself as Ushikawa, but “everybody calls me Ushi.” As he works for Noboru Wataya, he promises to find a way for Kumiko and Toru to be reunited, if Toru will “cut all connections with this ‘hanging house.’ Which means the house with the well that Toru sits within, thinking.

When Cinnamon comes to visit Toru, bringing groceries and cleaning his home, it becomes clear that Toru works for Cinnamon and his mother in some capacity. She has clients, who wish to remain anonymous, and for that purpose Cinnamon has set up an impenetrable wall of security, both digitally and in the physical world.

Nutmeg and her mother had escaped from Manchuria to Japan. On the way, an American submarine surfaced next to the transporter they were on, and it seemed that all the passengers would be killed. Much like what happened to the animals at the zoo, where Nutmeg’s father, who was the chief veterinarian with a blue-black mark on his cheek, worked.

The themes of war, in Asia, are clear and horrific. They are almost unbearable to read and write about. Yet, it is about Kumiko and Toru which I am most interested. When the cat comes back, unexpectedly, the reader senses that Kumiko, too, will come back. But, this is the quest which Toru is on: bringing his wife back no matter what. And to me, the mysterious characters sprinkled throughout the novel, serve to point him in the right direction towards accomplishing this feat.

By infiltrating the complex computer system which Cinnamon has set up, Toru and Kumiko are able to converse. Briefly. And then, while in the bottom of the well, Toru is able to get through the wall into Room 208, the one with the heavy scent of flowers and a woman in bed who will not let him shine the light on her face. (I believe this woman to be the one who called Toru on page one, asking him how well one knows anyone. I believe it is also Kumiko; they are one and the same.)

Eventually, Kumiko explains the hateful, evil person that is brother, Noboru. He ruins everything he comes in contact with, from their sister, to the “imaginary” Creta whom he violated. Kumiko will not rest until she kills him, then turns herself in. “I am calm with the thought that I will have to obliterate his life from this world. I have to do it for his sake too. And, to give my own life meaning.” (p. 603)

So, here are some thoughts I hold about each character:

  • Toru’s purpose is to bring back Kumiko.
  • Kumiko’s purpose is to vanquish her brother, Noboru.
  • Noboru’s purpose is to destroy everything in his path, in order to gain power.
  • Nutmeg’s purpose is to overcome the terrible poverty and sorrow in her life by becoming involved in fashion, and making those around her “heal” in her “fitting room.”
  • Cinnamon’s purpose is to support his mother, while dealing with the image of the heart he found, buried in the ground, which I believe to be his father’s.
  • May’s purpose is to challenge Toru in his search, sometimes deliberately blocking him so that he will persevere, sometimes standing by his side in friendship.
  • Mr. Honda’s purpose is to tell Toru to think hard, and long, and maybe getting his wife back was a more important job than being a lawyer for right now.
  • Lieutenant Mamiya’s purpose was to shed light on the atrocities of war.

What do you think? Do you agree with any of my suppositions? It seems to me that Murakami has written an incredible labyrinth of lives intertwined, perhaps encouraging us to go into some “well” of our own to consider what it is that has been done to us; what it is that we must overcome, or discover, or fight for.

The Shadow Panel for the 2022 International Booker Prize Chooses its Winner

We have read, and sometimes reread, all the books on the International Booker Prize long-list. We have entered scores in a Google spreadsheet for each of these categories: writing, content and longevity. We have met on Zoom, both with ourselves and with translators Anton Hur and Daisy Rockwell. And, we have ”thrashed out” our opinions on Slack. Arriving at the winner for this year’s International Booker Prize was exhilarating and thought provoking. It is some of the best reading and discussing of literature in translation that I do all year.

Our shortlist differed from the official shortlist only by replacing The Books of Jacob and Heaven with Happy Stories, Mostly and The Book of Mother. Therefore, our final vote revealed these results:

6th place: The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman, translated by Leslie Camhi

5th place: Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated by Tiffany Tsao

4th place: A New Name by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls

3rd place: Elena Knows, by Claudia Piñeiro translated by Frances Riddle

2nd place: Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell

1st place: Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur

It may be interesting to note that Tomb of Sand was behind Cursed Bunny by one point in our scoring.

Also, while those two quickly emerged as the favorites, I must stand by my personal choice of A New Name by Jon Fosse. While it is not necessarily a stand-alone book, for it is part VI-VII of Septology, the brilliance with which it is written, and translated, is undeniable. I understand that my fellow jurors questioned A New Name’s ability to win, as it is more fulfilling to read the two books which came before (The Other Name and I Is Another). Of course, I agree; it is best to read all three books in Septology to get their full effect. However, the reflection on his life that the main character makes is made all the more profound by Fosse’s use of flowing sentences with no periods, by words and themes which repeat each other, by the comparison of another life in the shadow of Asle’s. To me, no other book compares. In fact, I was unable to read any book, for several weeks, after finishing A New Name.

And so it is that we conclude this year’s round of shadowing the International Booker Prize. May I commend the insight and brilliance of my fellow panelists: Stu, Paul, David, Frances, Oisin, Vivek and most especially Tony, who tirelessly led us through it all. I respect each of you more than you know, and thank you for continually broadening my reading horizons.

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.

It’s World Book Day! Celebrate with ten free books in translation from Amazon…

Click here.

Included amongst the titles are a travel memoir from Bolivia, literary fiction from Tunisia, a memoir from Ghana, psychological thrillers from the Netherlands, historical fiction from Israel, book club fiction from India, contemporary fiction from Japan, fantasy from China, and a children’s book from Venezuela.

The Puma Years by Laura Coleman: “The rapturous story of one woman’s liberating journey in the Amazon jungle, where she fell in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.”

The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai: ”A stirring allegory about a country in the aftermath of revolution and the power of a single quest.” (translated by Lara Vergnaud)

North to Paradise by Ousman Umar: ”The inspiring true story of one man’s treacherous boyhood journey from a rural village in Ghana to the streets of Barcelona.” (translated by Kevin Gerry Dunn)

Where The Desert Meets The Sea by Wernie Sonne: ”A heart-stirring story where the boundaries of love and friendship are challenged by the intractable conflicts of war.” (translated by Steve Anderson)

An Eye for An Eye by Carol Wyer: ”A detective spiraling out of control works to uncover the truth and stop an elusive killer before they strike again.”

The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor: ”A heartwarming and transporting romantic comedy about finding happy ever after on your own terms.”

The Easy Life In Kamusari by Shion Miura ”In this lively coming-of-age tale, a young man is thrust from city life into the trials, mysteries, and delights of a mythical mountain forest.” (translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter)

Mother Dear by Nova Lee Maier “A nightmarish home invasion prompts one woman to do the unthinkable to protect her family.” (translated by Jozef van der Voort)

To The Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi: ”Spanning a millennium of tangled lives, this story delves into the powerful forces that drive mortals and gods alike toward revenge, loyalty—and love.” (translated by Poppy Toland)

The Caiman by Maria Manrique: ”The unforgettable story of how one man’s friendship with his alligator sparked a lasting legacy.” (translated by Amy Brill)

Thank you so much, Amazon, for honoring this day by gifting us ten free books from around the world! I have already downloaded all ten for my kindle, and wonder if you’ll do the same?

Sunday Salon: Midway through the International Booker Prize 2022 longlist, and wondering about books which shock us

Herrick Lake

Reading has always been an open path for me. It is the route to escape, joy, adventure, companionship, and with my appreciation of of translated literature, developed about ten years ago, the understanding of other cultures. So, reading the #IBP22 long list is a special anticipation for me every year.

This year’s list, in my opinion, is particularly brilliant. I am only half way through it, but I have read of mothers with Parkinson’s and manic depression, daughters who love them, Polish Jews from the 1700s, and a head coming out of a toilet made of fecal matter and trash. Wait, what?

There are those readers who thrive on bold writing. Writing in which the author knows no boundaries in imagination, vivid imagery, and horror to capture our attention in conveying their point. While I admire the audacity required to write like this, I personally struggle with feeling disgust at the same time.

Brave souls in our Shadow Panel adore this kind of writing, the kind written by Fernanda Melchor and Bora Chung. What does it say about me who likes other books better? Do I expect the world to fit into a neat concept of “ironed tablecloths, bone china, and polished silverware for tea”? No, our world is full of rags, chipped pottery, and no utensils at all for food which can scarcely be found. I know that…

I read for pleasure. I read for increased understanding. I read for enlightenment and new awareness. But, I inwardly struggle with books which highlight the grotesque. Do you?