Happy Tuesday everyone! It is the second day of the week already but I hope everyone is doing well and is safe. Tuesdays also mean one thing, a Top Ten Tuesday update! Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s given topic is Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List
Technically, summer has already passed by us. Here in the Philippines, the rainy season has already commenced. Nonetheless, for this Top Ten Tuesday, here are ten books on my reading list for the coming two months. As July is my birth month, I have again decided to dedicate it to works of Japanese literature, which is basically my comfort zone. I am also looking at reading works of Asian Literature in August. Without more ado, here are books on my 2022 Summer Reading List.
Title: From the Fatherland, With Love
Author: Ryu Murakami
Translator: Ralph McCarthy, Charles De Wolf, Ginny Tapley Takemori
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publishing Date: 2013
No. of Pages: 666
Synopsis: The world has turned its back on Japan: it has been economically devastated, thrown into political turmoil – and then attacked.
A small team of highly trained, ruthless North Korean special forces troops invade the city of Fukuoka, holding the residents hostage. This is the vanguard of operation ‘From the Fatherland, with Love’ – if nothing is done to stop them, 120,000 more troops will follow.
And while the government seem incapable of acting, there is one possible source of resistance, a troubled gang of psychotic misfits, masters of guns, explosives and toxins, self-taught and unhinged. But they are driven only by a desire for chaos, and death…
Thrilling, bloody and unstoppable, From the Fatherland, with Love is a vast, mad achievement: an all-too-believable, vividly realized alternate present, with the careening, incendiary power of Murakami at his terrifying best.
Title: A Quiet Life
Author: Kenzaburō Ōe
Translator: Kunioki Yanagishita, William Wetherall
Publisher: Grove Press
Publishing Date: 1996
No. of Pages: 240
Synopsis: Kenzaburō Ōe is one of the most original and important writers of our time, and nowhere is his genius more evident than in his mastery of the Japanese “I”-novel – that uncanny blend of the real with the imagined, memoir with fiction, the reconstruction of the history with the evocation of the inner life.
A Quiet Life is narrated by Ma-Chan, a young woman who at the age of twenty finds herself in an unusual family situation. Her father is a famous and fascinating novelist; her older brother, though mentally handicapped, possesses an almost magical gift for musical composition. The lives of both father and son revolve around their work and each other, and her mother’s life is devoted to the care of them both. She and her younger brother find themselves emotionally on the outside of this oddly constructed nuclear family. But when her father leaves Japan to accept a visiting professorship from a distinguished American university, Ma-Chan finds herself suddenly the head of the household and the center of family relationships that must begin to redefine.
Title: All the Lovers in the Night
Author: Mieko Kawakami
Translator: Sam Bett and David Boyd
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 219
Synopsis: Fuyuko Irie is a freelance proofreader in her thirties. Living alone, and unable to form meaningful relationships, she has little contact with anyone other than Hijiri, someone she works with. When she sees her reflection, she’s confronted with a tired and spiritless woman who has failed to take control of her own life. Her one source of solace: light. Every Christmas Eve, Fuyuko heads out to catch a glimpse of the lights that fill the Tokyo night. But it is a chance encounter with a man named Mitsuka that awakens something new in her. And so her life begins to change.
As Fuyuko starts to see the world in a different light, painful memories from her past begin to resurface. Fuyuko needs to be loved, to be heard, and to be seen. But living in a small world of her own making, will she find the strength to bring down the walls that surround her? All The Lovers in the Night is acute and insightful, entertaining and captivating, pulsing and poetic, modern and shocking. It’s another unforgettable novel from Japan’s most exciting writer.
Title: The Sound of Waves
Author: Yukio Mishima
Translator: Meredith Weatherby
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: October 1994
No. of Pages: 183
Synopsis: Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. It tells of Shinji, a young fisherman, and Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. Shinji is entranced at the sight of Hatsue in the twilight on the beach, upon her return from another island, where she had been training to be a pearl diver. They fall in love, but must then endure the calumny and gossip of the villagers.
Title: Convenience Store Woman
Author: Sayaka Murata
Translator: Ginny Tapley Takemori
Publisher: Granta Publications
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 163
Synopsis: She’s thirty-six years old, she’s never had a boyfriend and she’s been working in the same convenience store for eighteen years.
Her parents wish she’d get a better job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.
But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone take her away from her convenience store…
Title: The White Book
Author: Han Kang
Translator: Deborah Smith
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 161
Synopsis: From the Man Booker International Prize-winning author of The Vegetarian comes a book like no other.
The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a simple list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty, and strangeness of life.
Title: State of War
Author: Ninotchka Rosca
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 360
Synopsis: A lavish festival amid a long-drawn war – the defining image of this allegorical novel – portrays the deep-seated consciousness and longings of a people facing the dark days of the Martial Law regime.
Desperate for relief from the violence and repression in the city, Eliza, Adrian, and Anna set sail for the island of K— to take part in a popular festival, hoping to lose themselves in the crowd, to dance and drink the nights away. Yet, amid the merrymaking, the young people find themselves pulled into a series of schemes that shove them, inch by inch, towards an inevitable doom.
In this gripping tale of revelry, torture, subterfuge, and warfare, State of War creates a forceful impression on readers of exhuming the buried bodies and forgotten atrocities of a repressive regime, and illuminates the conflicts and turmoils of an entire country and culture.
Title: Silent House
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Translator: Robert Finn
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publishing Date: 2012
No. of Pages: 402
Synopsis: A moving story of a Turkish family gathering in the shadow of the impending military coup of 1980.
In an old mansion in a village near Istanbul, a widow awaits the annual visit of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, first arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her faithful servant Recep, a dwarf – and her late husband’s illegitimate son. But it is Recep’s nephew Hassan, a high-school dropout lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the family into Turkey’s century-long struggle for modernity.
Title: The Garden of Evening Mists
Author: Tan Twan Eng
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 332
Synopsis: Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice “until the monsoon comes.” Then she can design a garden for herself.
As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?
Title: The Bridge of Heaven
Author: S.I. Hsiung
Publisher: Graham Brash (Pte) Ltd
Publishing Date: 1986
No. of Pages: 391
Synopsis: Diminutive 86-year old Professor Hsiung is an undisputed giant in his own right. His international reputation as a literary phenomenon came with the publication and performance of the much acclaimed play in English, Lady Precious Stream. It was staged in London from 1934 to 1936 and ran for 900 performances.
Jiangxi-born and Beijing educated, Professor Hsiung has published several other books which have been translated into many languages. His novel, The Bridge of Heaven, is described by H.G. Wells as “more illuminating … than any report or treatise (on China). The reader will find the characters of Mr & Mrs Ma and Li Ti-mo irresistible, and the reactions of the hero, Ta Tung, a startling illumination of the revolutionary motives and tendencies of multitudes of Chinese.