minimal book reviews/Japan wrap-up!

I have been reading a lot of really good books lately, and I haven’t updated the book review series in a while, so here we are. And I even have a theme for these 3 books: Japan!

Hitching Rides with Buddha by Will Ferguson.

Canadian travel writer Will Ferguson hitchiked from the South to the North of Japan, following the blooming sakura. His account of this trip on the road is thoroughly enjoyable. This book is poetic, funny, often hilarious and a very relaxing read. I loved it! You’ll learn a lot about Japan: nature, samurai, zen, love-hotels, drinking culture… But mostly you’re going to meet many great characters along the road.

This is a book about getting to know people. What does it really mean?

(The Italian title of the book is Autostop con Buddha)

What I talk about when I talk about running, by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Murakami is one of my favourite writers, and I truly enjoyed this non-fiction little volume. The book is a mix of memoirs and personal thoughts about running, writing and self-discipline.

You don’t need to be into running marathons to appreciate this book (I am an example of that), but chances are you will give running a try after reading it! In the second chapter, ‘Tips on becoming a running novelist’, Murakami writes about how he started writing while he was still running a jazz club. I think it’s kind of impossible to not like this book….

Andreas just said “that is slightly biased”

(In Italian the book is called L’arte di correre.)

Il coperchio del mare, by Banana Yoshimoto (original title: 海のふた /Umi no futa). This book is not translated into English. Banana is very  popular in Italy, where there are translations of all her books. Some are really good (like Kitchen, for example, that you can find in English), some are not so great. This one came out in 2004, and it’s a good one. It’s the story of a girl, Mari, that after her graduation moves back to her home village and opens a little kiosk selling granite (a type of ice dessert).

She becomes friend with a girl, Hajime, who’s covered in scars and is deeply depressed. Banana has a special talent for weaving themes like death, love, sorrow and madness into poetic little stories, like this one.

The book is not very long, and it is a pleasure to read. It is a very feminine book, in a way.

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