What books did I read in a year? How can you read more ? (2018/2019 school year)

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review! Exactly one year ago, I uploaded on this blog a “What books did I read in a year?” post that, surprisingly enough, became one of the most viewed posts on this blog. I thought that it would be interesting for me to post another one of these while giving tips on how you can find more time to read.
This year, being my first year in the “literature and languages” section at school, my compulsory reading list significantly increased. I also found myself reading mostly books of essays, poetry (I only included poetry books that I read in their entirety) as well as books by Japanese authors, which I mostly read since I conducted a six-month long school project on women in Japanese literature. As you can probably tell, this year there were mostly two common literary “themes”: the Beat Generation and literary theory. If I have any predictions for next year, since I will have eight hours of philosophy so I will be reading more in this vein. I woul…

10 books you should read this summer 2019

Summer is upon us; the sun beats down onto our sunglasses-covered faces as we sip onto an iced soda while reading beside the pool or as we bury our toes in the sand. School reading lists remain a distant memory… but a question arises: what to read? We often disqualify certain books as not being apt for summer reading; the veil of literariness is apparently unappealing for most readers, too reminiscent of the scholastic sphere (Dostoevsky seems incongruous lying on a beach towel). So here is a list of ten books, in no particular order, a mix of contemporary oeuvres and classics, where I am assured that at least one of them will be your perfect summer read.

-Blue Eyes, Black Hair(Les Yeux Bleus, Cheveux Noirs) by Marguerite Duras A desultory-seeming narrative that beautifully represents the impossibility of accurately and loyally depicting the intensity and rawness of human emotion. A story of nonreciprocal love, of obsession. One of the lesser-known books by Duras, but one of my favori…

Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo

Hello and welcome back to The Young Reader’s Review! It has indeed been a while but today I am back, fresh and rested, for a new review! You might have heard that, a few days ago, Joy Harjo was nominated as the first Native American U.S. poet laureate. To celebrate this, I thought that I could discuss on here one of my favorite poems of hers: “Perhaps the World Ends Here”.

“Perhaps the World Ends Here” is itself an enthralling title, playing with our curiosity with its almost apocalyptic undertones and the visions it is saturated with: we imagine the “here” to refer to the abysses of a never-ending canyon that stands inches before our feet, where the phrase “perhaps the world ends here” may in fact edge its way into our frightened mind. But this title also arises questions in the semantic domain: what does the “world” refer to? Is it the world as we see it, or is it our individual world that orbits around us? And, most importantly, what does “here” refer to? Personally, this particular…

Jean-Paul Sartre in Japan: An Essay

出口なし. “Deguchinashi”, no exit. That’s what Jean Paul-Sartre’s play No Exit (the French title “Huis clos” meaning more or less “behind closed doors”) looks like in Japanese. The French “Huis clos”, being a set expression (“huis” derives from the Latin “ustium”, meaning “door” and “clos” is the past participle of the verb “clore”, meaning “to close”)  gives a more secretive aspect to the play meanwhile the words “exit” or “出口”(meaning “exit”) combined with the negative adverb “no” or negative suffix “なし”, show the suffocation of the play’s characters: the glimmer of hope with the concept of an “exit” is quickly refuted. If you have lived in Japan for a while, you will be familiar with the two characters “出口” since they are omnipresent in train stations.
It’s 7:50 AM at Shinjuku station. A calm havoc, an organized anarchy of three million people, bustling crowds of tired salarymen, rushed young women with a face full of makeup and some foreigners here and there. Yet, many of them stop, fo…

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review
You’re a teenager, you have that I-hate-the-world-around-me-Holden-Caulfied-is-God angst and you post passive aggressive memes on your Instagram with bitter, self-ironic comments. You try to be seen reading Sartre because even though you don’t understand a word he says since you’re pretty sure that he’s smarter than you are. You will eventually wander into a bookstore one day with thirty dollars in your pocket and The Smiths playing in your earbuds, see the name Kerouac that vaguely resonates in your mind and then impulsively purchase On the Road and proceed by going to buy a beanie at a thrift store. You will then go through a phase where all you want to do is drop out of high school and do a road trip in California, leading a life of debauchery and poetry. A couple of years pass by. Then, you somehow come across Big Sur, perhaps in a public library or at your aunt’s garage sale. Hazily remembering how you worshipped On the Road, you de…

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review! It’s been a while but now we meet again to talk lit. It’s currently an early Saturday morning, the sun is timidly shining onto the idle suburban Tokyo streets, gradually melting away a thin layer of frosty dew. I am currently sitting at my desk, accompanied with an as heartwarming as warming milky cup of tea, casually flipping through the pages of the play that I will be reviewing today. Did I say “play”? For it has been a while since I have reviewed a play on this blog. Nevertheless, I will not be presenting to you just any play arbitrarily picked off the shelves of some local library (even though that is actually somewhat tempting), oh no, I will be writing about one of the cornerstones of American theater:  the one and only The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

I feel that it would be morally incorrect to subject this work of art to summarization due to its extreme complexity and depth. But, in case you’ve never heard of this play, The Crucib…

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Hello and welcome to The Young Reader’s Review ! It’s that time of year: summer is slowly beginning to tire, autumn is faint-heartedly stepping onto the stage and we are all starting to recalcitrantly settle back into the monotony of the passing days at work, or, in my case, at school, perhaps taking a weary and desperate look every once and a while at the calendar to count the days until we will be able to, once again, momentarily forget our daily routine. Notwithstanding this, with a couple hundreds of pages bound into a book, you can submerge yourself into any other world at any given moment.

If you follow my blog on Instagram (@theyoungreadersreview), you probably noticed that, this summer, I tried to challenge myself by striving to push my limits in the matter of what I read (feel free to share what you read this summer in the comment section!) Therefore, I comprised a list of all of the books that daunted me the most and the first work that made its name on this list was the one …