Good morning, bibliophiles! It’s that lovely time of month again; the time where I share a master list of all the stacks that I read during the month of May. To be honest, May was a fantastic month for me because I read tons of stuff and most of it was fairly decent. It was also the month where I finally got off my lazy rear-end and obtained a library card, which contributed wonderfully to all of the reading shenanigans.
As per usual, I’ll have the title, author, genre, a super succinct synopsis, a link to any relevant reviews, and my overall rating for the title. Everything is broken up by genre.
Naruto Volumes 4 & 5 by Masashi Kishimoto
- Shōnen, Action-Adventure, Fantasy
- Naruto and his team are participating in the Chunin exams, where they encounter many more ninja-in-training from various villages across the land. The exams focus on testing the high-level intelligence of a shinobi, which means that some people may die while others will kick serious ass.
- Not a fan of all of the new characters introduced; Sakura is still annoying as all motherfucking Hell; I find the testing methods to be very intriguing; a bit slow-paced for what it is.
- 3/5; 3.75/5
Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition Volume 8 by Natsuki Takaya
- Shōjo, Supernatural, Rom-Com, Slice-of-Life
- In this volume, we learn about Yuki’s childhood, which was deeply moving, heartfelt, and sad.
- The continual weaving of interpersonal relations & feelings that go beyond simple romance is breath-taking; the humour is sweet and genuine; gorgeous artwork.
Oishinbo, A La Carte Volumes 1 to 4 by Tetsu Kariya & Akira Hanasaki (Artist)
- Seinen, Cooking, Comedy
- The manga revolves around the adventures of a culinary journalist named Shirō Yamaoka and his partner, Yūko Kurita, as they explore the myriad number of foods considered to be “Japanese cuisine.”
- Each volume focuses on one specific aspect of Japanese cuisine, which is really awesome; the volumes provide brief histories, as well as cooking and preparation methods, the different types of the dish, and regions where it’s specialised; conflicts with Yamaoka’s father (the antagonist, essentially) can grow to be tedious at times, or just plain annoying; humorous and entertaining; highly informative.
- 4/5; 4.25/5; 4.25/5; 4/5
Japanese Literature (#OwnVoices):
Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami
- Fiction, Novella
- Takes place from the perspective of an adolescent who’s smitten with the lady that sells sandwiches at his local convenience store.
- You can read my full review for this title here.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
- Follows a stray cat as he gets adopted by a nice young man, and then a few years later they go on journey together.
- Exceptionally written; breath-takingly simple yet elegant; emotionally riveting and wholly heart-breaking; moving exploration of bonds that people create with one another; cat’s persona is curiously entertaining while being deeply contemplative.
- I cried for 2 hours after finishing it and am physically incapable of writing a review without sobbing, so no review as of yet.
- The best book I have ever read in my life.
White Flash/Black Rain: Women of Japan Relive the Bomb edited & translated by Lequita Vance-Watkins & Aratani Mariko
- Non-fiction, Poetry/Prose
- Combination of various forms of poetry and prose from women who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and women who were forced to be pleasure slaves for the Japanese soldiers.
- A full review of this book will be up next week!
- Heart-breaking; honest and intensely vivid; profound commentary on the necessity for world peace and why we should stop testing/using nuclear weapons; blunt critique on how these catastrophic events could have been avoided.
One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu by Peter McMillan
- Classical Japanese Poetry
- A collection of the Japanese 100 Poems that were written during the Heian Era and then compiled into a collection a few hundred years later. The edition is a translation done by Peter McMillan.
- A full review will be posted as a comparison between three different editions and will be up in two weeks.
- Poems are simple and beautiful, capturing Heian Era’s devotion to love, loneliness, art, and nature well; translations are over-simplified, causing them to lose a lot of their Japanese authenticity and essence; good introduction for folks who are unfamiliar with this classical work and are looking to check it out.
Meg: Primal Waters (Meg #3) by Steve Alten
- Action-Adventure, Suspense
- Takes place 18 years after the events of the second novel, The Trench, and follows middle-aged Jonas as he becomes a host for an adrenaline-junky, reality TV series called Daredevils.
- You can read my full review for this title here.
The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) by Thomas Harris
- Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction
- FBI Trainee, Clarice Sterling, is sent into a high security facility for the criminally insane to speak with brilliant psychiatrist and serial murderer, Hannibal Lecter, about catching a recent serial killer named Buffalo Bill.
- A full review for this book will be up on Sunday, June 3rd!
The Night Stalker (Detective Erika Foster #2) by Robert Bryndza
- British-Slavic Literature, Crime Fiction
- Detective Erika Foster returns in this sequel to The Girl in the Ice to hunt down a serial killer who likes to strangle men with a plastic bag, leaving them naked and tied to their beds.
- A full review for this book shall be up next week.
- Very predictable and severely lacking in suspense; hated the killer’s POV, which completely detracted from any intrigue or intensity; uses same professional conflicts as book one, making it lazy and unimaginative; homophobic dialogue by more than a few characters; utterly boring.
And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
- Supernatural Horror, Psychological Thriller
- Two young girls flee their home and run-away to their aunt’s house under mysterious circumstances. Upon arriving, it becomes terribly apparent that the house is haunted and cursed, especially when the trees start to creep closer and closer.
- You can check out my full review for this book here!
The Journal of Ben Uchida by Barry Denenberg
- Middle-Grade, War Fiction
- An account of a young boy’s experience in the Japanese internment camp during the Second World War written by a white male author.
- Just no.
A Place Called Hiroshima by Betty Jean Lifton & Eikoh Hosoe (Photographer)
- Photographic Journal, World War II
- The journal outlines the decimation of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb dropped on the city on August 6th, 1945 and the lasting effects of radiation that affected the Japanese people, as well as how the city has rebuilt itself in the aftermath.
- You can read my full review for this book here.
Modern Japanese Society, 1868 to 1994 by Ann Waswo
- Japanese History
- The book discusses all of the major modern political and economic factors that went into Japan’s growth and evolution as a bustling society.
- You can check out my full review for the title here!
Japan—Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture by Paul Norbury
- A concise collection of information on Japan and Japanese culture and etiquette for travellers.
- You can read my full review for this shitty and offensive book here!
That does it for my reading wrap-up for the month of May! Please, let me know if you’ve read any of the books in this post, or if any of them have caught your interest.