Current Reads: Japanese Literature – Coming-of-Age & Dystopian Sci-Fi

Good morning, Chums. It feels absolutely wonderful to be back home! I hope to give y’all an update on how things have been fairing here as I finally have some positive news to share on the health front. But before I sit down to do that, I’m going to be a potato for the next couple days and spend time with my family. Plus, this will also give me a chance to gather some food photos to share! I’m not sure about y’all, but I love foodie pictures.

Last night it rained so much! We had a lovely little storm, which created the perfect ambiance for reading and resting. So, to celebrate the arrival of one of my favourite nature things in the whole wide world, I picked up a couple of books—both #OwnVoices Japanese literature—and savoured the fine grey evening. One of these titles I know that many otaku mates will recognise as there was an anime film adaptation of it. The second is the latest release by one of my favourite female authors ever! The library hold I had on this sucker finally came in, so I decided not to put off reading it, like I usually do with other libs books. I also have a couple of non-Japanese books that I’ve either paused reading or am chipping away at slowly whenever I have a spare few minutes in between life-stuff. Check ‘em out below!

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I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino is a seinen coming-of-age story about a young girl who has a terminal disease and the boy she befriended weeks before her death, told from his perspective. The critically acclaimed novel has spawned a manga, an anime film from studio VOLN, as well as a live-action adaptation. I haven’t seen either of those yet, nor have I read the manga, but hope to do so once I finish the novel.

I’m only a handful of pages into this so far (50ish), and I absolutely love the writing. It’s quite bare and nondescript, which helps to build the emotional investment gradually as we read about these two individuals interacting with one another and slowly deepening their connection to each other. I feel like feelings are whispering into my ear with each page that I read, helping to wrap me in a blanket of grief that is inevitable. Suffice to say that one day I will have to buy a physical copy of the book because it may just very well turn into a genre favourite.

The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa is a dystopian novel about an unnamed island where everyday objects—such as roses, birds, etc.—are starting to disappear. Then one day, more serious things start to vanish with the residents being none-the-wiser about it. There are very, very few people who have the power to recall what has been forgotten, but they try and remain hidden for fear of a retribution via an oppressive force known as the Memory Police, a crew that is determined to ensure that what is forgotten shall forever remain as such.

I’m only a few pages into this as I began it this morning while I was having breakfast. Ogawa-sensei’s writing is… indescribably brilliant. She has a way of crafting these incredible settings and atmospheres that can seep into your bones with discomfort, but it’s done in a manner that makes it hedonistically irresistible, especially for fans of intellectually stimulating reading experiences. It’s hard to tell that this was written over 20 years ago (this year marks its first release in English). I can tell already that this isn’t going to be an easy book to read as there shall be weighty and darkly wistful themes being explored. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to get swept away by the dynamic tide of it all.

In addition to those two, as I mentioned above, I’ve a couple of others that I’m taking my time with. The first is The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah. This is an #OwnVoices British-Afghani YA sci-fi novel about how after a devastating natural disaster, the entire world is completely submerged beneath the ocean. There is a young girl, whose name is Leyla, that ends up going on an adventure in the mysterious yet dark seas in search of her father, who was taken by malevolent forces under falsified felony charges.

This has been phenomenal to read so far. I love how unapologetically British the vernacular is, the Muslim and Afghani representation is strong and unfiltered, and I also have been consuming the world-building with a child-like glee. It’s beautifully imagined and excellently written. I have paused my reading of this for now, however, because the book was due back at the library. So, when my new hold comes back in, I hope to finish it and see how Leyla ends her adventure.

The last book I shall mention is The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle. This is the first book in an adult science-fiction, techno-thriller series called The Origin Mystery. I don’t know much about it other than it involves the origin of humans and some supposedly mind-blowing secret that has been guarded for thousands of years.

Action-adventure thrillers like these are my comfort drugs. I can consume them easily without much thought or effort merely for some simple fun. I also like to know very little going into it so the twists and turns can have more effect. I’ve been reading the eBook edition of this on my Kindle App and I take in a chapter at a time either before sleeping or in between homework assignments or while waiting at the doctors’ offices. Because of that, I’m only about ten to fifteen percent (10-15%) into it, so nothing of too much consequence has occurred yet. I do like the writing. It’s fast-paced and just descriptive enough to provide me with an idea of the environments, yet not so overwhelming that it prevents my own imagination from filling in some of the details myself. I tend to like this writing style for this genre because it allows the stories to feel more interactive and pleasant.

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Thank you so much for visiting me today! I appreciate your support. I wish you a lovely day ahead.

お立ち寄りいただきありがとうございました。よい一日をお過ごしください。

If you enjoy my content, please consider providing me with a one-time donation ($3). All proceeds go towards the maintenance and upkeep of my blog, as well as towards my prescriptions. Additionally, you can suggest one anime or Asian drama for me to watch during the month for reviewing purposes! Thank you very much.

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