Weekend Reads #12: Classical Japanese Literature & British Crime Fiction

Good morning and happy Saturday to you all! I hope that your weekends are off to a lovely start! My plans are to do a lot of reading and then spend most of the two days marathoning wrestling specials as this is Wrestlemania weekend. Due to Sir Betrothed’s passionate love affair with wrestling, these weekends are an annual holiday event in this household that will include plenty of yummy food and plenty of sweaty bodies trying to create a momentous event in wrestling history.

Before all the wrestling shenanigans begin, I wanted to briefly share with you the books that I plan on reading during the weekend and into next week. Many of you may have seen my Life Update post where I chatted about my struggles with pneumonia. During the two to three weeks that I was sick, I could not read a single page of anything. As such I ended up DNFing the books that I was reading because so much time had passed (The Astonishing Colour of After, which I will return to one day, and The General’s Daughter, which I was not really enjoying). A couple of days ago, I was able to start some fresh reads and luckily, I seem to have found my focus again!

I have got three books to share with you and they are all quite different from one another, which is neat because it will help break things up for me and keep my ADHD from becoming too active.

The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndzagirl-in-ice-1-4-1

This is a British Crime Fiction Thriller that starts with the discovery of a dead body found beneath the surface of a frozen lake in England. It turns out the woman found is from a very prestigious family, and the manner of her death is rather grisly. Detective Erika Foster, who is returning after taking leave due to a personal loss, is assigned to handle the case, which turns into chaos as the family tries to run the investigation. This is the first book in a series.

So far, I am enjoying the writing style. It utilises British English language and spelling, which makes it more comfortable for me to read in my head since that is the sort of English that I speak often. The pacing is a tad bit slow, but there are a lot of details, so it complements the progression. My only qualm with the book is how Detective Erika Foster is written, as well as some of the other females in the book. It is becoming rather clear that the author does not have a lot of experience writing women, and his portrayals are more than a little off, as well as downright offensive at certain points. But the story has me very intrigued and I really want to know who the killer is.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norsemythologyspecialeditionAnother British literature novel, this book is written by a very talented author whom I have grown to admire and respect over the years, Neil Gaiman (American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane). The book is a collection of classical Norse mythological stories, including stories about Odin, the All-Father; the creation of the world; stories about Loki and Thor; the tale of Ragnarok. In his “Introduction,” Gaiman mentions how he tried to keep the stories as true to the originals as possible, while making them accessible to people who may not be familiar with these tales. He also talked about how this collection is his personal interpretation of the stories as he read them growing up and continued to study them for this novel as well as a couple of others that he has written, and they should not be taken as the sole source for the Norse mythos.

Unlike his other works, Norse Mythology has been a fast read. The way that it is written is sweeping, making it much easier to interpret and understand these stories than their original counterparts (Prose Edda, The Poetic Edda). I will admit that there are a lot of characters and information in the tales that describe the formulation of the world, which can make it slightly confusing, but I still find it to be very interesting stuff. So far, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Norse Mythology, but has felt intimidated or unsure of where to begin. I think this book lays the foundation and basic understanding of this specific mythos very nicely, giving you a platform to start with.

I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki62772

Written by one of my favourite authors of all-time, I Am a Cat tells the story of Japanese society and its many inhabitants—poor, wealthy, young, old—from the perspective of an unwanted, stray cat. His musings and insightful commentary have labelled the novel as one of the great Japanese classics and is known as a very revealing book in terms of Japanese society and the mindset of the era when everything was shifting into a more contemporary and Western style of living. The writing style is distinctly Sōseki in every way, with meticulous use of details and the mundane activities to examine much more deep-rooted ideologies and beliefs.

I love Sōseki and this is a splendid example of why. He has a way of truly expressing and laying out the way of the world from a natural and candid perspective that you do not really find with other classical authors. His writing, while tedious at times, is beautiful, inviting, and extraordinarily astute. The book is a little bit dense, but I am enjoying it immensely nonetheless. This is a group read that I am doing with my GoodReads Japanese Novel and Light Novel Group, which you can check out by clicking the link if you are interested.

These are my trio of reads for the weekend! Have you read any of these books or authors? Do any of them sound interesting to you? Please, share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing! ♥

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  1. Pingback: Current Reads: Filipino Ghost Stories & Existentialist Robots

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