What books did I read in a year? How can you read more?

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review! After watching many “What/How many books did I read in a year” videos on Youtube, I was very tempted to make a post of the sort myself since I enjoyed watching this content. After doing a poll on Instagram (add this blog on Instagram; link in sidebar!) where you all ever so kindly expressed your support, I decided to go through with this idea. Now, I started this list at the beginning of August last year (so pretty much a year ago) so here are the books that I read in an entire year. I hope that this might also give you some ideas to which books you could read in the near future! As a side note, I read all of the books in their original language except for those in German, Japanese and Russian since I unfortunately do not master those languages (yet). I also decided to include novellas and plays since I found that reading, for example, a Shakespearean play can be a more difficult read compared to some young adult novels. Anyway, here ar…

A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees by Yoshida Kenko (吉田兼好)

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review ! Summer is finally here and hopefully, wherever you are, you are lucky enough to be enjoying nice weather and to be wallowing in leisure. I am currently working on an ambitious review for this blog (like always) that will be posted within the next couple of weeks but I recently read something that just struck me as being the utmost perfect summer read: the collection of short essays A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees (1330-1332) by the Japanese Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenko (吉田兼好, 1283?- 1350?) (translated to English by Donald Keene). These short essays that range from the length of a sentence to several pages long are actually extracted (by the Penguin Little Black Classics collection) from the larger work Essays in Idleness (徒然草) which is not only Kenko’s most famous oeuvre but is also considered to be one of the most important works of medieval Japanese literature.
I know what you’re thinking: you saw that this was written in the f…

October Poem by Ryuichi Tamura (田村隆一) & The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review! For those of you who do not know, about five months ago, I moved to the Land of the Rising Sun. To avoid getting carried away, I am going to keep it very simple by saying that it was a cultural shock. Also, considering that I have (finally) been disenthralled from any school-related constraints and that the Japanese tsuyu rainy season is upon me, it is safe to say that you might notice a slight peak in productivity on this blog (or the reviews will be (dangerously) more analytical and in depth, or I will spend the rest of the summer lying prostate on my bed eating ice cream). Anyway. Being a literary soul, one of the first things that piqued my interest in Japan was obviously literature and I couldn’t help but compare Japanese literature with the Western literature that I had known my entire life. My impressions as a foreigner of literature’s place in the Japanese society deserves an entire blog post to itself, but I will be today talkin…

How I analyze a literary text (with the example of Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death-“)

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review ! In his Limits of Interpretation (1990), Umberto Eco distinguishes “semantic interpretation” from “critical interpretation”. “Semantic interpretation” would be reading material on a linguistic level and not analyzing the text in terms of literature, in other words, being a “naïve reader”, meanwhile “critical interpretation” would be doing exactly that. It is one thing to understand a text. It is another to understand it: to dissect it to understand its intricacies in order to reveal “its hidden depths”. Umberto Eco would also say that my phrasing is maladroit, that there is no such thing as a universal “depth” to a literary text since everybody will experience interpretation differently. That is exactly what my blog is for: I not only share with you my “thoughts on a book or poem” but I share with you my interpretation. That is where resides one of the many beauties of literature: your interpretation of a text will always be unique, the…

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review! May has arrived, already marking the fifth month of two thousand eighteen (that went by quickly). Moments ago, I was idly lying on my bed, a drowsy open book resting on my chest. The unripe pre-summer sun, crawling its way into my room, bathed it in its irradiant and warm light. Suddenly, I had the sudden realization that I hadn’t made the classic “good ‘ol book review” in months. Aghast, breaking out of mellowness’ trance, I tried to think of a beloved literary pearl that I could recommend. In this state, a sentence came to mind: Don’t panic. A small grin etched itself on my face. This quote considerably shortened my meditation for a title, a book, a world, a universe immediately came to mind. Behold, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams. Enjoy. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I were not your typical love story: I did not blindly fall into its arms, seduced by the charm of its title, like I usually do  (…