Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada

Blurb from Goodreads

Asa’s husband is transferring jobs, and his new office is located near his family’s home in the countryside. During an exceptionally hot summer, the young married couple move in, and Asa does her best to quickly adjust to their new rural lives, to their remoteness, to the constant presence of her in-laws and the incessant buzz of cicadas. While her husband is consumed with his job, Asa is left to explore her surroundings on her own: she makes trips to the supermarket, halfheartedly looks for work, and tries to find interesting ways of killing time.

One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole—a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape filled with eccentric characters and unidentifiable creatures, leading her to question her role in this world, and eventually, her sanity.

Why I Want To Read It

Hello, it is the first day of the (work) week again! Unless you are from the Middle East and your first work day is Sunday. Regardless, I hope that everyone started their week on the right note and with the right attitude. However, if it had been testier than usual, I hope that the rest of the week will go in your way. I hope that the coming days will be filled with nothing but great and positive news. As the Koreans do it, fighting yeorobun! On another note, the World Health Organization has recently announced the culmination of the global health emergency caused by COVID-19. That amounted to three years of our lifetime. However, the virus is still very much present; case in point, cases have been rising again here in the Philippines. As such, I hope everyone will still observe the minimum health standards. I also hope everyone is doing well, in body, mind, and spirit.

To kick off another week of blogging, I am sharing a fresh Goodreads Monday update. Speaking of, I just realized that this is my second to the last Goodreads Monday update this month. Wow. Time does fly fast and before we know it, we are nearly halfway through the year. Anyway, I spent the past two months reading works of Japanese literature; my travel at the start of April prompted me to kick off my journey into this part of the literary world which I ordinarily schedule in July, my birth month. In April, I read exclusively the works of writers who are new to me while May was dedicated to Japanese writers who are familiar to me. I am currently reading my fifth Kenzaburō Ōe novel, Death By Water. With this book, he is now tied with Gabriel García Márquez as my third most-read Nobel Laureate in Literature winner; the top two are occupied by two Japanese writers, Kazuo Ishiguro (eight) and Yasunari Kawabata (six).

However, for this week’s Goodreads update, I am featuring a writer whose oeuvre I have not yet explored; I have done so in April and, without design, it was the same direction that May took. After having been converted into a devout reader of Japanese literature, I have also become aware of the many different Japanese literary prizes; they have tons. Among these literary awards is the Akutagawa Prize, a literary prize founded in 1935 in memory of writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. Along with the Naoki Prize, the Akutagawa Prize is one of the most sought-after prizes. Among the many winners of the prize is Hiroko Oyamada who won the award in 2013 with her novel, The Hole. The Hole would eventually be her second work to be translated into English, after The Factory.

I think I came across The Factory during the height of the pandemic. This is important because “factory” has been a recurring theme among female Japanese writers; Sayaka Murata, another winner of the Akutagawa Prize, explored this “factory” in her novels. Another thing I noticed is the eccentricity that permeates these works; Mieko Kawakami, another winner of the said prize, for instance, had a novel titled Breasts and Eggs. But the quirkiness of these books’ titles, I have eventually learned, belie the complex subjects they explored. I am expecting the same from The Hole. It is the reason why I am looking forward to what Oyamada has to offer. It also warms my heart how female Japanese writers are gaining more global prominence and making their presence felt on the global stage. As one book reviewer has noted, contemporary Japanese literature – at least those that were made available to English readers – is dominated by female writers.

How about you fellow reader? How was your Monday? What books have you added to your reading list? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!